The Sunday Salon

If a Sunday Salon is written when it’s still Saturday, is it a Saturday Salon?  Hmmm.

If you’re reading this on Sunday morning, my family and I are en route to Catalina Island, 26 miles across the sea, off the coast of Southern California, where we’ll take a golf cart around Avalon, swim and snorkel, eat, rent bikes, and relax for the day.  The last time we went, when my 10 year old was just a baby, we saw a huge pod of dolphins just off the coast- it was crazy.  There were hundreds of them, leaping and playing and pirouetting into the air.  I hope we see some wildlife on this trip, too. 

So this was an interesting week, but not the best week for reading.  I read The Septembers of Shiraz by Dalia Sofer, which was spectacular!  I finished it just last night, which unfortunately was several days late for the online book club at Every Day I Write the Book, but there are tons of comments over there about it, so many in fact that I don’t really have anything new to add to the discussion.  I’ve read so many opinions of the book now I’m not sure how to review it, aside from saying I loved it.  Have you ever read so many reviews of a book that you feel like you can’t come up with something fresh to say about it?  I think that’s what happened. 

I noticed that Dewey’s Weekly Geeks were doing something interesting last week.  If I understand correctly, the Geeks were to list books that they’d read but had not reviewed yet, and ask their readers to post questions about the books for them to answer.  So I’m going to borrow the Geeky idea and give you my list.  If anyone wants to ask me a question, go for it! 

The Septembers of Shiraz by Dalia Sofer

Queen of the Road by Doreen Orion

Loving Frank by Nancy Horan

The Safety of Secrets by DeLaune Michel

Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott

I started two other books this week- The Last Queen by CW Gortner- which just came out July 29th and is fascinating historical fiction, and Shrink Rap by Robin Altman- which is filled with short, hysterical essays on parenting and child psychiatry (it’s a hoot!).  I’ve got the hysterical one in my car for “waiting” times (swim class, gymnastics) and the historical one on my nightstand for evening reading.  

Oh, I forgot to say that CARE from Care’s Online Book Club was the winner of my Queen of the Road giveaway!  Your book is on it’s way, my dear!  Enjoy!  Everyone still has time to enter the The Safety of Secrets giveaway, which will run until August 8th.  

I hope you all have a beautiful summer Sunday!

The Sunday Salon

Sunday has arrived in all it’s glory! My house is super QUIET with my husband and kids away at a friend’s horse jumping competition, so you’d think I’d be reading, but you’d be wrong. I am busy busy busy alternately procrastinating and working on a zillion things that have been left undone all week as I have been cavorting with the kiddos- laundry and dishes and bathrooms, oh my!

The only reading I’ve been able to get in this week has been during the 45 minutes my kids were in their swim class each day. My younger one gets mad if I’m not watching her dives or her butterfly stroke, so I have to continuously be looking up in case she happens to glance my way. I’ve only finished one book this week, and it happens to be the one I’m giving away tomorrow- Queen of the Road by Doreen Orion! It’s a good one, so if you haven’t entered my giveaway and would like a chance to win, click HERE to find out how. You have until Monday 7/28 at midnight PST.

As much as I liked Queen of the Road- and I really did! It was very funny and great for the summer travel season- I am really anxious to find a book and be utterly BLOWN AWAY by it. I mean BUH-LOOOOOOWN AWAY. It’s been awhile since something has completely knocked me out. Suggestions, anyone? I don’t want to hear about anything that’s pretty good, pleasant, ok, not bad, nice– give me something freakin’ fantastic, if you can!!

I’ve been checking out lots of blogs recently, again in an effort to be WOWed by something. I’ve been reading the same blogs for months, almost always book blogs, and not venturing too far out beyond my blog roll (not that they aren’t all wonderful and consistently good!!) but recently I started to branch out a bit and have found some really awesome, new (to me) blogs. One that is just amazing for it’s photography is appropriately called BLISS. She shoots in and around her home in beautiful Portland and her kids are a favorite subject. Another cool blog I’ve been stopping by recently is Hooked on Houses. Julia from HOH is a self described real estate junkie and lover of homes, big and small. If you love houses, check her out! One other one that I want to share (even though she’s been in my blog roll a long while- but it’s definitely not a book blog) is The Queen Mum. If you have delicate sensibilities, don’t- I repeat- don’t visit. She drops the f-bomb quite liberally. But if that’s not a problem for you, get ready to laugh. I have had to wipe tears from my eyes on more than one occasion from her screamingly funny posts, like this one. But don’t say I didn’t warn you.

What books and blogs have blown you away recently?? I would love to know!

The Sunday Salon

Wow, it’s been hot here in Southern California.  Our normal June Gloom is nowhere to be found.  

My daughter is going to summer camp tomorrow for 9 days.  Her bags are packed and she’s ready to go. It’s a Girl Scout camp 100 miles away from home, and she will be in the horse unit this year; grooming, feeding, and riding horses, and mucking out stalls (blech!), but she loves it all.  She’s most excited about trail riding, which she hasn’t done too much of in the past.  The camp had an Open House yesterday, so we all went up there to see it, even though the girls went to camp last year.  They wanted to show us what cabins they were in and tell us different things they did.  Plus this is my daughter’s first year in the horse area, so we wanted to see that.  I stuck this book into her duffle bag just in case she has any time to read.  It’s about a brave 10 year old girl, and I want her to be brave at camp!  I think she’ll like it.

I had lots of reading time on the way to the Open House and back.  I just finished Karen Harrington’s Janeology Friday (the review will be written soon!), and literally minutes after turning the last page, a package from Hyperion arrived on my doorstep with two new ARCs, House and Home by Kathleen McCleary and Sweetsmoke by David Fuller.  Even though I have a huge TBR pile, on our way out the door to the camp I grabbed House and Home.  There was some grumbling from The Red Tent and A Thousand Splendid Suns, who have been in the TBR stack for months, but House and Home had an appealing cover (the ARC has a completely different cover than the one shown here-blue with a box of wooden matches- and a picture of a house on the box) and the blurb on the back sounded really interesting.  And it was!  I read it straight through in one day.  It was terrific.  The author is a reporter and writer for HGTV, Good Housekeeping, and The New York Times. This is her first novel, and I was floored not only by the excellent writing, but how many parallels there were to my own life.  House and Home is set to be released July 1st, and I’ll write that review soon, too.  This is one I’ll be telling my friends about.

I started another book today while my kids swam in my mom’s pool.  For once it’s not an ARC or a book for review, but one that I’ve had sitting around awhile (since Christmas, actually).  Has anyone read Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott?  It is subtitled “Some instructions on writing and life”.  Well, who doesn’t need that??  I’ve only made it through the introduction and the first two chapters, but I’m hooked.  Funny, smart, and unpredictable is the way I’d describe it so far.  It’s one I don’t want to fly through, but rather savor and think about.  The TBR stack (“pick me!  pick me!”) will just have to hush for awhile.

With one daughter at camp and the other one a little lonely and clingy, it will be an interesting week.  My younger one will miss her sister, even though she insists that she won’t, so I plan to keep her busy.  She’ll be attending Vacation Bible School in the mornings and swim lessons at the high school with her “friend who’s a boy” in the afternoons.  The less time she has to complain about boredom, the better!

Oh, just a reminder about my June giveaway:  Leave a comment HERE by June 30th to win a copy of Mrs. Lieutenant.

What are you reading this week?

The Sunday Salon: Memorial Day Weekend

Memorial Day weekend is here, but it seems strange to say Happy Memorial Day when it’s such a somber holiday. Still, for most people it’s 3 days off, enough time to get away, relax, recharge, and that is certainly something to be happy about.  But in between barbeques and whatever fun stuff you have planned, I hope you’ll take time to think about the brave men and women who paid the ultimate price for our freedom.  Patti from Displaced Beach Bums wrote a lovely Memorial Day post about remembering that speaks to the true meaning of the holiday. 

It’s been an exciting reading week for me.  One of the highlights was an email from Meg Waite Clayton, author of the new novel, The Wednesday Sisters.  Turns out she’s a fellow LibraryThing early reviewer, and graciously agreed to write a guest post for Books on the Brain about her very own book club.  I can’t wait to read her thoughts!  I haven’t read her book yet, but I’ve heard great things, and my bud Trish from Hey, Lady! offered to send it to me.  It’s good to have friends. 

I was also thrilled to discover I’d snagged another LT early reviewer book, The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen.  I loved her earlier novel Garden Spells, reviewed HERE, so I can’t wait to read this one to see how it compares. 

A box arrived on my doorstep Thursday from the Literary Ventures Fund.  I’d requested a book from them, and to my surprise they sent me not one but FIVE books!  I started one of them yesterday called The Fires by Alan Cheuse.  It’s actually two novellas in one book.  I’m flying through it and should have a review up by Tuesday.

I am going to have to take a speed reading class to keep up with all these books!!  Although skimming and reading superfast really isn’t my style, because I find I don’t retain as much when I try to read faster.  Slow and methodical, that’s me.  Anyone else like that?

What are you doing this weekend?  We saw Indiana Jones yesterday and went to eat at Red Robin with my parents. The kids had a friend sleep over, and my oldest has another sleepover party to attend tonight.  I pulled weeds and planted some green beans yesterday.  Thankfully it wasn’t too hot and I was able to get it all done.  My husband will continue painting his office today.  He’s been at it since Friday and is in his own little world.  Me?  I’m reading..

Have a great week!