"Before you, Bella, my life was like a moonless night. Very dark, but there were stars, points of light and reason. ...And then you shot across my sky like a meteor. Suddenly everything was on fire; there was brilliancy, there was beauty. When you were gone, when the meteor had fallen over the horizon, everything went black. Nothing had changed, but my eyes were blinded by the light. I couldn’t see the stars anymore. And there was no more reason, for anything."

~ Edward Cullen

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday (4)

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

I'm really looking forward to my pick this week. I read this authors first romantic drama a few weeks ago and really enjoyed it. This one sounds just as good:

Title: Forget You
Author: Jennifer Echols
Release Date: July 20, 2010

There’s a lot Zoey would like to forget. Like how her father has knocked up his twenty-four-year old girlfriend. Like Zoey’s fear that the whole town will find out about her mom’s nervous breakdown. Like darkly handsome bad boy Doug taunting her at school. With her life about to become a complete mess, Zoey fights back the only way she knows how, using her famous attention to detail to make sure she’s the perfect daughter, the perfect student, and the perfect girlfriend to ultra-popular football player Brandon.

But then Zoey is in a car crash, and the next day there’s one thing she can’t remember at all—the entire night before. Did she go parking with Brandon, like she planned? And if so, why does it seem like Brandon is avoiding her? And why is Doug—of all people—suddenly acting as if something significant happened between the two of them? Zoey dimly remembers Doug pulling her from the wreck, but he keeps referring to what happened that night as if it was more, and it terrifies Zoey to admit how much is a blank to her. Controlled, meticulous Zoey is quickly losing her grip on the all-important details of her life—a life that seems strangely empty of Brandon, and strangely full of Doug (jennifer-echols.com).

Backyard...The Finished Product!

So here's the pictures I promised of the backyard we've been working so hard on. My flowering bushes are really starting to flower and just look beautiful. We're supposed to get frost tonight though so I just hope they make it.

Here's the picture of the new "shed" we put up this year. I call it the extra large tupperware container in the backyard. Putting the new flowerbed around it really helped make it look a lot better, and now I think it's a cute little addition to the back yard!

This is my favorite part of the finished back yard. The gazebo and the new patio furniture. We bought the gazebo last year and it's permanently bolted to the concrete (this is actually the second one...the first one blew away in a storm because my hubby didn't think it needed screwed down). It makes a great covering for the furniture and I love how classy they look together.

From a different angle...see my cute little frogs on the table :)

The bed around the patio and fire pit from one angle...

and from the other angle.

This is the firepit that we put in two years ago. Hubby and his dad hand laid all the bricks and cemented them in. It's great because we don't have to worry about putting new sand between the bricks every year and it never moves. We added the red leafed sand cherry bushes around it last year. It's great for those cool summer nights.

Here's my pink bleeding heart...I planted it as a small start last year and it's quadrupled in size.

My azalea on the back side of the house. It's loaded with flowers this year and just gorgeous.

So that's my backyard...we're talking about adding a small water feature next year, but I told hubby I might just take a year off from yard work!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Tuesday Teaser (7)

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

**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!

Considering I have three books started, I have quite a variety of teasers this week.

Teaser #1

People are constantly telling me I'm beautiful. I used to see it, especially when I was dressed up, going out somewhere. Sometimes, I still do, but mostly I avoid looking into mirrors (pg 172).

~Tangled by Carolyn Mackler --- Loving this book!


Mary Ann didn't laugh at him. Didn't tell him he had an overactive imagination and walk away. She gulped and nodded (pg 208).
~Intertwined: Gena Showalter --- This one is due back at the library tomorrow. I can't put it down so hopefully I'll be able to finish it fast!

Teaser #3

These days, I have all the time in the world to sit there and pick at every revolting morsel that Joan puts in front of me. Because I've stopped taking the school bus. Joan and Cynthia have decided that I'm too "traumatized" to ride the bus (pg 157).
~Touch: Francine Prose --- This book has good bones, but I'm not liking the execution.

So those are my Tuesday Teasers...what are yours?

Monday, April 26, 2010

What are you reading? (9)

It's Monday! What are you reading this week? is a weekly event now hosted by One Persons Journey Through a World Of Books. It's helpful way to take a look at what you have read and what you want to read!

This was a wonderful week for me. I only had a three day work week, and spent Thursday with my mom in Berlin, Ohio which is home to a large Amish population. We went to towns of little craft shops, antique stores, and at lunch at an adorable little cafe. I got some cute little frog statues for my back porch, and a few beautiful pieces of pottery. It was a great day. When I got home later that evening, hubby and I headed outside and got our new flower bed cut, and all the new bushes planted.

Friday we were up with the sun, and hard at work. My the end of the day (about 9:30 at night...lol), we had spread five yards of mulch, weeded all the flower beds, put out the lawn decorations, finished boxing in the garden, halled dirt to the back to finish off the new shed, and spread the compost all through the garden. We were beat, but the back yard looks amazing (I'll be taking some pictures for on here as soon as the rain stops) and we only have about another yard of mulch to spread out front and then all of our lawn work will be done for the summer, except for maintaince.

All this business didn't leave me a ton of time for reading, but I did manage to finish two books, and I'm almost done with two more.

This week I finished:

I'm also over half way done with Tangled by Carolyn Mackler and Touch by Francine Prose. I'm loving Tangled. I started it today and read over half the book in about an hour and a half. If we would not have had to leave for a birthday party, I probably never would have moved from the chair and read start through. I've been struggling with Touch all week. It's a good story, and I like the characters, but it's moving at a slow pace and not holding my attention like I would like it too.

Here's what's up this week:

  • Finish Tangled and Touch
  • Snap: Carol Snow - repeat from last week
  • Ghostgirl: Tonya Hurley - This book looks so cute. The cover is really cool, and the pages are embossed with silver with flowers and illustrations. I"m really looking forward to reading it.
  • Intertwined: Gena Showalter - This book is due back to the library and can't be renewed because of a hold, plus I've read some of Showalters books aimed towards adults and rather enjoyed them.
  • Ice: Sarah Beth Durst - This book is way out of my element, but after how much I loved Rampant, I decided to give something different a try and see how I liked it.

We're supposed to have beautiful weather this week, so I'm hoping to walk in the evenings and head to the gym at least three days next week. Plus, the nicer it is, the more time I have to sit out back and read!

Review: The Everafter

Title: The Everafter
Author: Amy Huntley
Pages: 256
Rating: 4.5/5

Madison Stanton doesn't know where she is or how she got there. But she does know this--she is dead. And alone, in a vast, dark space. The only company she has in this place are luminescent objects that turn out to be all the things Maddy lost while she was alive. And soon she discovers that with these artifacts, she can re-experience--and sometimes even change--moments from her life.

Her first kiss.

A trip to Disney World.

Her sister's wedding.

A disastrous sleepover.

In reliving these moments, Maddy learns illuminating and sometimes frightening truths about her life--and death (Cover Blurb).

I thought the concept of this book was great, and the idea was so unique. I was hooked right away and had a hard time putting this book down. I finished it in less than 24 hours, which lately for me, is a huge accomplishment.

Maddy has died. She doesn't know how or why. At first, she doesn't even know quite who she is. She founds herself bodiless, floating in a place that she calls "is." As she travels through "is", Maddy begins to see other objects along the way. A sweatshirt, a pen, a rattle. All items that she lost during her life. As Maddy touches it object, we are rushed back to that time, and Maddy is able to relive the moment, over and over again. Through these objects, Maddy begins to uncover who she is, and what her life was like.

To give away any more of the book would be robbing the reader of the magnificent story that Huntley has woven together within these short 250 so pages. I was blown away by this story, especially the mystery of Maddy's death. Let's just say that my mouth fell open and stayed that way for several minutes. Huntley's ideas and concepts about death, and what the afterlife is like, were so fresh and different that the story moved along without the reader slowing down and asking if they've read this before.

I had grabbed this book at the library, but I definitely think I'll be grabbing a copy for my keeper shelf!

Simone Elkeles Giveaway!!!

Due to my great and undying love for both Perfect Chemistry and Rules of Attraction, I am going to share these wonderful novels with TWO lucky readers!!

At Fairfield High School, on the outskirts of Chicago, everyone knows that south siders and north siders are't exactly compatible elements, So when head cheerleader Brittany Ellis and gang member Alex Fuentes are forced to be lab partners in chemistry class, the results are bound to be explosive. But neither teen is prepared for the most surprising chemical reaction of all - love. Can they break through the streotypes and misconceptions that threaten to keep them apart?

When Carlos Fuentes returns to America after living in Mexico for a year, he doesn’t want any part of the life his older brother, Alex, has laid out for him at a high school in Colorado . Carlos likes living his life on the edge and wants to carve his own path—just like Alex did. Then he meets Kiara Westford. She doesn’t talk much and is completely intimidated by Carlos’ wild ways. As they get to know one another, Carlos assumes Kiara thinks she’s too good for him, and refuses to admit that she might be getting to him. But he soon realizes that being himself is exactly what Kiara needs right now.

In order to win both of these books please leave a comment on this post that contains the following information:

  • Your Name and State
  • Email Address
  • If you are a follower

If you are a follower of the blog, you will automatically receive another chance to win

This contest will be open until Saturday May 8th. Winners will be announced the following day.

These are absolutely amazing books that I cannot get enough of. I can't wait to share Alex and Carlos stories with the two lucky winners!

Review: Rules of Attraction

Title: Rules of Attraction
Author: Simone Elkeles
Pages: 324
Rating: 5/5

When Carlos Fuentes returns to America after living in Mexico for a year, he doesn’t want any part of the life his older brother, Alex, has laid out for him at a high school in Colorado . Carlos likes living his life on the edge and wants to carve his own path—just like Alex did. Then he meets Kiara Westford. She doesn’t talk much and is completely intimidated by Carlos’ wild ways. As they get to know one another, Carlos assumes Kiara thinks she’s too good for him, and refuses to admit that she might be getting to him. But he soon realizes that being himself is exactly what Kiara needs right now (goodreads.com)

I've been so excited for this book to come out and last Tuesday I raced to Borders to grab it. Low and behold, Borders didn't have it in stock. Thank goodness I have internet on my phone, because I promptly ordered it off of Amazon.com and had it in my greedy little hands by Thursday. By that time, I had already started reading another book so Rules of Attraction got pushed to the weekend.

I've not been shy about how much I loved Perfect Chemistry and wanted to marry Alex. It was my favorite book of last year, and one I always return to when I just need to get away for awhile. I was worried that Rules of Attraction wouldn't live up to the hype of Perfect Chemistry, but I had no reason to worry. Simone Elkeles has done it again. In fact, I almost (yes folks...I almost) liked it better than Perfect Chemistry...I certainly thought Kiara was a better female lead.

Carlos is Alex's younger brother. He's been shipped back to the US to live with Alex, after getting caught up in the gang life in Mexico. He's got an attitude, and he's heading for trouble...and it all so hot. I just couldn't get enough of him. Within a week of being in the US, drugs are found and Carlos's locker at school. Alex works a deal for Carlos to move in with the Westfords as a type of probation rather than being sent back to Mexico or juvie. As Carlos lives with the Westfords, we begin to see glimpses of who he really is. Below that tough exterior, is a truly amazing man who is slowly falling for Kiara Westford.

Kiara is smart and independent, but has never really been popular at school or with the boys. She's certainly not the type of girl that Carlos would be interested in. She wears baggy shirts, hiking boots, and talks with a stutter. And I adored her. Her character is so real. The one issue I had with Perfect Chemistry was how fake Brittany could come across...it didn't make me love the book any less, I just didn't think she was always as strong as she should have been as the female lead. Kiara, on the other hand, never once let me down. She's full of spunk and attitude and always has a surprise up her sleeve. She truly was the perfect girl for Carlos.

I don't want to give anymore of the plot away, but I highly, highly recommend these two books...in fact, I recommend them so much I'm going to do a giveaway...more details to come!!

Monday, April 19, 2010

This thing called exercise...

Ok, so I'm going to try this again. And I'm serious this time. I even bought new shoes:

Aren't they pretty?

I'm heading out to the Y today to hit the treadmill and the elliptical, and then tomorrow yoga. I use to do that every week but fell out of the habit.

Wish me luck!

Review: The Secret Year

Title: The Secret Year
Author: Jennifer Hubbard
Pages: 208
Rating: 3/5

Take Romeo and Juliet. Add The Outsiders. Mix thoroughly.

Colt and Julia were secretly together for an entire year, and no one—not even Julia’s boyfriend— knew. They had nothing in common, with Julia in her country club world on Black Mountain and Colt from down on the flats, but it never mattered. Until Julia dies in a car accident, and Colt learns the price of secrecy. He can’t mourn Julia openly, and he’s tormented that he might have played a part in her death. When Julia’s journal ends up in his hands, Colt relives their year together at the same time that he’s desperately trying to forget her. But how do you get over someone who was never yours in the first place (

I had heard and read amazing things about this book when it was first published, and I kept picking it up at Borders, reading the synoposis, looking at the price and putting it back. Now that I've read the book, I'm glad I didn't pay the $17 for the book, and waited until I found it within the new releases at the library.

I enjoyed the idea of the book. A secret relationship with the rich girl, and the poor boy. Rich girl dies. Poor boy must deal with heartache all alone and by himself. However, despite the fact that I enjoyed the idea, I'm pretty sure I've seen this movie before. It just seemed...flat.

I don't think the story had any oomph. It could have gone so many places, and taken so many turns, but instead I think it remained stagnate. I just don't ever feel like the situation was every really fully resolved.

Plus, I thought the sex in the book was kinda raunchy for a book directed at young adults. This kid would get with anyone!

So, all in all, it was ok but it wasn't mind blowing. It definitely didn't leaving me wishing to read more by this author.

What are you reading (8)?

It's Monday! What are you reading this week? is a weekly event now hosted by One Persons Journey Through a World Of Books. It's helpful way to take a look at what you have read and what you want to read!

Wow, I've been slacking and I haven't done this meme in forever. It feels good to be back!

This past week I read two books, and I'm almost finished with the third. I have a little less than have to go in Rules of Attraction by Simone Elkeles. It is the sequel to Perfect Chemistry, my favorite read from last year, and so far I'm really enjoying it.

I finished:

Both of these were much talked about YA reads, and I loved Rampant and The Secret Year was an ok read for me.

This week, I'm going to stay on the YA kick and I'm hoping to finish the following reads:

  • Rules of Attraction - Simone Elkeles
  • Tangled - Carolyn Mackler: I've read some really good reviews about this one on other blogs and I'm looking forward to it
  • Touch - Francine Prose: I grabbed this one from the library because of the cover, and the premise of the story sounds interesting - a young girl in touched inappropriately on the bus by her three best friends, and the aftermath of the situation.
  • The Everafter - Amy Huntley: I'm sure I've read something about this somewhere because I recognized the book, but I really liked the cover.
  • Snap - Carol Snow: Another read that I picked up because the premise sounds interesting - People who eventually pass on begin showing up in a young girls photography.

So that's what I hope to enjoy this week. How bout you?

Review: Rampant

Title: Rampant
Author: Diane Peterfreund
Pages: 406
Rating: 5/5

Forget everything you ever knew about unicorns . . .

Real unicorns are venomous, man-eating monsters with huge fangs and razor-sharp horns. Fortunately, they've been extinct for a hundred and fifty years.

Or not.

Astrid had always scoffed at her eccentric mother's stories about killer unicorns. But when one of the monsters attacks her boyfriend—thereby ruining any chance of him taking her to the prom—Astrid finds herself headed to Rome to train as a unicorn hunter at the ancient cloisters the hunters have used for centuries.

However, at the cloisters all is not what it seems. Outside, the unicorns wait to attack. And within, Astrid faces other, unexpected threats: from the crumbling, bone-covered walls that vibrate with a terrible power to the hidden agendas of her fellow hunters to—perhaps most dangerously of all—her growing attraction to a handsome art student . . . an attraction that could jeopardize everything (www.bn.com).

This book is amazing! This is probably my favorite read so far this year. I read this book in one sitting, only moving from my seat to refill my wine glass, and go to the bathroom! I'm pretty sure my hubby thought I grew roots into the chair. Once I started, I could not put this book down. It was too good! I cannot wait to read the sequel.

Our main character Astrid, is thrown into the world of unicorn hunting when her and her then boyfriend, are attacked one night in the woods. Astrid comes from a long line of unicorn hunters, and throughout the novel, we learn her history and the history of her family. Astrid's mom is a little wacked out, and the one drawback to the novel, but not enough for me to give the book less than five stars.

One reason why I think I really loved this book was the fact that it was unique. So many of the young adult novels today revolve around vampires, werewolves, and fairies. Not that I don't love those books too, but unicorns was something different. Plus, I had always pictured unicorns as My Little Ponies with a horn. Boy, was I wrong.

Another thing that is really cool about this book, is all of the research that author, Diana Peterfreund put into it. Check out her website here. It is chocked full of information about unicorns, plus a summary of the next book in the series.

March in Review

So this post is a bit behind, but I figure better late than never. Reading wise, March was a horrible month for me. I managed to read six books with one DNF, that I hope to one day complete. I just lost my groove and nothing caught my interest. I think I'm over it now, but with the nice weather, I find my reading time cut in half (and obviously my blogging time). There's just so much to do!!

We have a lot we want to do outside, including raising the garden and boxing it in, putting in a new flower bed, plus weeding, mulching and edging the existing beds. We already put up a new shed, put the cover back on our outdoor patio pavilion, and bought new patio furniture (which is so comfortable and I have been living on because the weather has been beautiful). We ended up going with a set with a padded love seat, two side chairs and ottomans. When I get a chance, I'll take pictures and so everyone where I'll be spending my summer :)

We didn't have any luck with the pregnancy efforts this month, but we are starting the process to become foster parents and are looking into adoption. We had another consult with the Drs and the direction we have been taking is not working for us. They are recommending hormone injections (really expensive!) for the best results. Besides the price, our chance of multiples increases from 2% to 20% and that scares the heck out of me. We actually chose to take a break from everything this month and just give ourselves some time to think.

Hope everyone had a wonderful month!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Review: Fried Green Tomatoes

Title: Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe
Author: Fannie Flagg
Pages: 432
Rating: 4.5/5

An American classic resplendent with the charm, grace, and grit of all good southern literature, Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe is Fannie Flagg’s enduring tale of the beloved folks who live in a small Alabama town. At its center are some truly remarkable women, connected by a place and a generosity of spirit grounded in family, good friends, and good food.

The story begins in 1985 with the friendship between shy, middle-aged Evelyn Couch, sadly aware she’s gotten “lost along the way,” and Ninny Threadgoode, an eighty-seven-year-old resident of the Rose Terrace Nursing Home in Birmingham. Evelyn soaks up the older woman’s stories of Whistle Stop, Alabama, where Ninny’s irrepressible sister-in-law Idgie and Idgie’s friend Ruth ran a cafe–the center of life in this small town. Indeed, it is the story of wild, wonderful Idgie, and her big sense of humor and bigger heart, that give Evelyn the courage to find her own happiness (www.bn.com).

Fried Green Tomatoes is my absolute, all time, favorite movie. I don't know why I've waited so many years to read the book. It was amazing.

I've never read any novels by Fannie Flagg, but I have definitely found a new favorite author. Her writing style totally captures that down home southern feel that brings her characters and stories to life. I was blown away by the writing in this book. One thing I learned while reading this book, is that the movie is actually a much milder version of the book, and like most things, I enjoyed the book even more than the movie.

Like the movie, my favorite character in the book is Ruth. She's such a complex character who touches the lives of so many. She always touched my heart in the movie and she's done the same in the book. Ruth's life because quite complicated when she chooses to marry a man who doesn't respect her and treats her like a piece of garbage. He's arrogant and abusive and the best thing she ever does is to leave him. In doing so, she makes a wonderful life with Idgie, and we get to see how she influences all of Whistle Stop.

Fried Green Tomatoes is a wonderful feel good read, and I would recommend it to anyone who just wants to take an afternoon and get away!!

Here's a preview for the movie, which I also recommend to everyone!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Review: Aunt Dimity's Good Deed

Title: Aunt Dimity's Good Deed
Author: Nancy Atherton
Pages: 276
Rating: 4.5/5

Thanks to Aunt Dimity, Lori Shepherd was lucky enough to have had a fairy-tale courtship complete with a Handsome Prince and a cozy, honey-colored castle in which he popped the question. It all happened so quickly, so effortlessly, that Lori fell in love with her blue-blooded prince before she really knew who he was. And maybe that's where she made her first mistake. Now married for two years to said prince - Bill Willis, a workaholic lawyer who is, she admits, "honest and scrupulously considerate about his socks" - Lori finds herself inconsolably depressed. She loves Bill dearly but all he does is work, work, work - even their honeymoon was interrupted by a flurry of faxes. And to make her feel even worse, her busybody aunts-in-law keep badgering her about when they will have a new little Willis! But how will that ever happen if she never even sees her husband?

Seeking to recapture the romance in her young marriage, Lori plans a second honeymoon at Aunt Dimity's English cottage. But at the last minute, Bill, true to form, can't make it, so Lori's reliable as-the-sunrise father-in-law stands in (how romantic!) - only to disappear minutes after their arrival, with Lori's pink flannel bunny, Reginald, in tow. Inspired by Aunt Dimity and accompanied by her very precocious twelve-year-old friend Nell, Lori packs the car and sets off on a backroads search for Willis, Sr. Nell proves herself a helpful guide (keeping Lori on the right side of the road!) as well as a mistress of disguise, while Lori finds herself aghast at her own unseemly attraction to Bill's dashing English cousin, Gerald. Soon Lori, Nell, and the ghostly Aunt Dimity find themselves at the center of a centuries-old Willis family scandal that, if revealed, could mean the end of life as they know it, for Willises on both sides of the Atlantic (bn.com).

Lori is really struggling with her life. Her husband Bill, who was the world's sweetest man when they first met, has turned into the biggest workaholic on the planet. To make matters even worse, Lori is feeling incredible amounts of pressure to have a baby and she can't figure out how that will ever happen when Bill's never home!

Lori plans a second honeymoon, hoping the time away from the office and the fresh England air will due Bill a world of good. However, things quickly go down hill, when Bill is called away on business and Lori makes the trip with her father in law. Then to make matters worse, Willis Sr disappears on a wild goose chase trailed by none other than Aunt Dimity and Lori's flannel bunny Reginald!

Lori sets out with Nell, Emma and Derek's daughter in tow and always seem to fall one step behind Willis, Sr. But along the way, they met several family members of the English side of the family and mysteries and secrets abound. Furthermore, the whole situation is complicated by Gerald Willis, Bill's dashing English cousin who seems to take a liking to Lori.

There's nothing I like more than family drama! And boy this book had it all...secret affairs, murder, mystery and mayhem. It was great to see how it all fit together, and how Aunt Dimity touched the lives of others. I just cannot seem to get enough of this great series and hope that it continues to be this enjoyable!

Review: Aunt Dimity and the Duke

Title: Aunt Dimity and the Duke
Author: Nancy Atherton
Pages: 288
Rating: 5/5

Emma Porter is forty, fat, frumpy, and a passionate amateur gardener. When her longtime lover dumps her for a younger woman, Emma escapes the cloying sympathy of family and friends by setting out on a summer-long driving tour of England 's glorious gardens. A Dimity-contrived coincidence brings her to Penford Hall, a sprawling Gothic mansion in Cornwall , where the Duke of Penford is awaiting a miracle. An ancient artifact known as the Lady's lantern must light of its own accord or the Penford line will come to an end--but the lantern is missing.

Convinced there's more than one mystery to solve at Penford Hall, Emma accepts the Duke's invitation to stay on and restore the once-glorious chapel garden to its former beauty. The dark rumors surrounding the death of rock star Lex Rex, who drowned five years ago in the Duke's yacht, and the suspicious near-death of the Duke's beautiful, supercilious cousin, set Emma--with Aunt Dimity's ghostly guidance--on the path to Penford Hall's secrets and the discovery of unexpected love (aunt-dimity.com).

Once I got over the fact that this book would make no mention of Lori or the Willis family, I really enjoyed it. This book actually takes place before the time of Aunt Dimity's Death, and tells the story of Lori's numbers at Dimity's cottage in Finch.

We are first introduced to Emma and Derek in Aunt Dimity's Death. Emma had completely redone the garden, and Derek was in charge of all the home renovations. Also, it is mentioned several times throughout the book about an incident that happened at a chapel in Penford Harbor. Well, this book tells the story of that chapel and it was really well written and a great read.

I really enjoyed the character of Emma. She is so uncertain of herself in the beginning of the novel, and not really happy with her life. She's convinced herself that all is right in her world, and heads out on a journey to see all the famous gardens in England. After a chance encounter with the Pym sisters, Emma finds herself a guest of the Duke of Penford Hall. There she is asked to redo the garden for an old chapel that holds great meaning to both the Duke and the town of Penford.

Derek, and his two children Nell and Peter are also at the hall, hired to make some renovations on the property. Derek is still grieving the loss of his first wife, and his children are hiding a big secret from him. It takes both the hall and Emma to make him see what is really going on in his life.

One thing I loved about this novel, was the mystery and the intrigue surrounding this massive hall. Even the Duke and his loyal servants come across as a bit creepy and secretive. Towards the end of the book, this was really a page turner, and I couldn't wait to find out the answer to the mystery. The twists and turns made for a great surprise at the end!

Review: Aunt Dimity's Death

Title: Aunt Dimity's Death
Author: Nancy Atherton
Pages: 244
Rating: 4.5/5

When Lori Shepherd was a little girl she used to lie in bed at night with a stuffed rabbit named Reginald and listen to her mother's stories of the indomitable Aunt Dimity, who lived in far-off England . But now Lori is a newly divorced, down-on-her-luck grown-up, her mother is dead, and Lori's long since realized that Aunt Dimity was just a character in a comforting bedtime story.

Or was she? One day the bedraggled Lori is summoned from the latest of her dreadful temp jobs to the Dickensian law firm of Willis & Willis. There Willises Junior and Senior inform her that Aunt Dimity was indeed a real person--a very rich real person who's just died and left Lori a respectable bequest. Unfortunately, there's one catch: Lori must visit Aunt Dimity's English cottage and find a secret hidden among the treasure trove of letters written by her mother and Dimity over the four decades of their friendship.

What begins as a fairy tale in an improbably cozy setting becomes a mystery--and a ghost story--as Aunt Dimity's gentle spirit leads Lori on an unotherworldly quest that Dimity could not fulfill in her own lifetime. And for Lori, Dimity's bequest is even greater than she dreamed, as she discovers that in this life, true love can conquer all (aunt-dimity.com).

What a great start to a really cute series!! I really liked Lori, and instantly feel in love with Aunt Dimity. I flew through this book, and can't wait to read more of the series.

I'm new to this whole cozy mystery thing, and I do enjoy a bit of murder and intrigue in my mysteries, but I found the premise of this book to be just what I was looking for. This is the type of book that you can curl up with beside a warm fire, wrapped up in your favorite blanket and get lost in. I loved the descriptions of the Dimity's gardens, and found myself longing to take a trip to England to enjoy the English countryside.

One thing that I thought made this book, was Bill Willis and his father William Willis Sr. This father and son team of lawyers are so sweet, and Bill's love for Lori is adorable. I'm looking forward to reading more about this relationship in coming books. Also, I think William Willis Sr is one of the cutest older gentleman characters I've read about in a long time. He truly cares about Lori and what happens to her.

I've already finished the next two books in the series, and should have the reviews up today. What I'm wondering is, are there more series out there written with the same type of style as these? Like I said, I don't know much about cozy mysteries, but I really am enjoying them, and I'd like to here your recommendations for other series I might enjoy also.

I'm alive.. :)

Hello all! I am indeed alive, I was just down for the count for a while. I was struck with the most horrendous stomach flu two weeks ago that pretty much wiped me out. It's only been in the last few days that I've started to get my energy back. I'm behind on my book reviews, and I have a movie review to write up too. I'm hoping to get that done today, because the only other thing on my agenda is a haircut!

I can't wait to catch up with everyone and I've missed blogging and glad to be back and feeling better!!

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