Friday, July 30, 2010

Beautiful Place by the Sea

For the past fourteen summers my family has spent a week in Ogunquit, Maine, the Beautiful Place by the Sea. Ogunquit is known as an arts community and is one of the top 10 beaches in the United States. It retains its old time charm by having no chain restaurants or hotels.
I don't know if this is an ordinance, but other than bank branches, the only chain store in the place is Cumberland Farms. That's not a problem because if a personal desperately needs their Dunkin Donuts or McDonald's they are 5 minutes up Route 1 in Wells. I've been on my vacation all week, and am on my way home as this post goes live. Since I haven't been able to share new pictures with you, here's some from past trips.
My dad enjoys the pavilion at the top of the beach. It's right by the trolley stop. The trolleys are a great way to get around and many of the seaside towns in the area use them.
Walking the Marginal Way is a tradition for most people who visit Ogunquit. My family likes to have dinner at one of the great restaurants in Perkins' Cove and then take the walk back into the center of town.
Climbing on the rocks and scaring the pants off their mother is a highlight of the week for the kids.
In a few days I'll have pictures from this year's trip, and of course a post about all of the places we ate!!


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Vintage Thingies Thursday: Summer Camp

As a child I always wanted to attend sleep-away camp, but never got to. However, as an adult I've been 12 times, since we take our sixth graders to environmental camp each year, at an actual camp on the shore of a lake.
Donna Parker: Mystery at Arawak was one of the books that inspired this desire in me.
The seven-book series of Donna Parker books were written by Marcia Martin. Mystery at Arawak was published in 1962 and was the sixth in the series.
Besides getting to be a cool junior counselor, Donna found herself being pursued by the neatest counselor at the camp!
My book was purchased at a yard sale more than 30 years ago from someone named Linda.
From dishes to tools, furniture to toys, Vintage Thingies Thursday at ColoradoLady has something for everyone! Stop by and check it out!


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Giveaway: Sea Escape by Lynne Griffin

Sea Escapeis the second novel from nationally recognized family life speaker and author Lynne Griffin. With her particular insight into the dynamics of mothers and daughters, she brings readers into the lives of Laura and Helen, an adult daughter with a distant mother. A sudden stroke incapacitates Helen, bringing Laura to the realization that they may never have the chance to bring back the deep, warm relationship she remembers from her early childhood. Discovering a love letter written to Helen by her long-dead husband, Laura tries to connect with her mother by reading the letter aloud to the comatose woman. Hunting through her mother's ocean-front home Sea Escape, Laura finds more of the precious letters written during their courtship and early marriage, as well as others from the Vietnam War era, when Joseph was a war correspondent. Believing that her father's loving words have the power to heal, Laura reads the letters to Helen as she awakens but seems unable to speak. Through the letters Laura learns more about the father she lost when she was eleven and begins to understand some of the secrets of betrayal and sacrifice in her family.
Lynne has generously provided me with not only a copy of Sea Escapefor one lucky reader, but a copy of her first novel, Life Without Summer, for a second reader! Here's a summary from the publisher: Life Without Summer draws a haunting portrait of two women whose lives converge after a hit and run accident outside a school. Fans of Deep End of the Ocean and Good Grief will be transfixed by this novel about family, forgiveness and the struggle to find hope in healing.
Let's make winning super simple, OK?
  • Leave a comment telling me which of the two books you prefer. Be sure there is a way for me to contact you.
  • For extra entries become a Follower, Tweet, or blog about the giveaway.
  • Open to U.S. and Canadian residents only.
  • Giveaway will close on Friday, August 13 at 11:59 PM, Eastern Time and winners selected via random integer generator.
  • This review is one of many on the TLC Book Tour for Sea Escape. Definitely go check them out, because many are also having the same giveaway!
Don't the covers of these two novels call to you? I know I'd stop and check them out in a book store!


Sunday, July 25, 2010

Monday Reading Report: 7/26

I am at the beach in Ogunquit, ME this week, and got some great beach reads to bring with me! But, I may not be able to make all my weekly visits, as I'll have little access to technology.
Sandra Brown's latest romantic thriller Tough Customer looks like it won't disappoint. It's the story of a young woman who meets her father for the first time when he is called to help keep her safe from a crazed stalker.
I received two very different books from Sourcebooks. Holly's Inbox: Scandal in the City by Holly Denham is definitely going to be beach reading at it's best! Written entirely in e-mails, this second installment of Holly's adventures focuses on a scandal erupting that could ruin the happiness in both love and career that Holly has recently found. One of the things I love about Sourcebooks as a publisher is that they speak to me as a reader. Historical fiction, mysteries and chick-lit are what I'm all about!
Sourcebooks also sent me the intrigueing What Alice Knew: A Most Curious Tale of Henry James, William James, their Sister Alice, and Jack the Ripper from first time author Paula Marantz Cohen. Seems like it will be a great historical mystery/thriller. I really like the cover design on this one. It's very dark and mysterious, showing the back view of a Victorian woman, The image is bordered with a traditional golden frame and the title is in a plain, traditional font. Then the sub-title down lower is at an angle in a bright red font that is reminiscent of that used on murder-mysteries long ago.
I've also received the new Jane Porter, a major force in the chick-lit market, She's Gone Country. Be sure to come back for that review, I'll have FIVE copies to giveaway! I'll be sharing these all with my mom as we lounge at the beach and poolside. Or, if it rains, our hotel has a gorgeous porch with big rockers where we can rock 'n' read!
An Accidental Woman by Barbara Delinsky is a follow-up to Lake News. Both books have been out for many years. I love the way she writes about New England life.
The Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella, very funny story about a finance lawyer who runs off to the country and becomes a housekeeper. Unfortunately her fancy education did not include cooking or even sewing on a missing button!
Death of a Hussy is #5 in M.C. Beaton's cozy mystery series about Scottish policeman Hamish MacBeth. It was a very quick read, but lots of fun as always.
I was reading Sunflowers by Sheramy Bundrick last week, but I didn't finish it. It was well written and an interesting idea of what Van Gogh's last year's may have been like, but I couldn't get past the sadness and loneliness of his life, and knowing the outcome just made it sadder.
CURRENTLY READING: Desert Wives by Betty Webb. This is the second of her Lena Jones mysteries, about the murder of the Prophet of a fictional polygamous cult called Purity in the Arizona/Utah desert.
To see what others are reading and have received this week, visit Mailbox Monday, hosted by <>Marcia at The Printed Page and It's Monday, What Are You Reading?, a weekly event hosted by <>Sheila from Book Journey.

Friday, July 23, 2010

I'm a Winner!

Like many bloggers I often enter giveaways. Recently I won a few things.
Deborah, from Deb's Vintage Soul was having a giveaway for some lovely gray pearl shank buttons. They look so yummy in the picture, don't they? I'm going to make myself a twisty bracelet like Deb's. She still has more buttons and other great vintage items available in her etsy shop, also called Deb's Vintage Soul.
The wonderful Jen from J. Nichelle Holiday is also very vintage. From her blog I won a Sugar Exfoliant and Body Emulsion made by Haus of Gloi. They smell like sugar cookies sprinkled with coconut, yum! Everything at Haus of Gloi is 100% vegan and cruelty-free, so I can feel extra-special when I use it.

Every Wednesday I participate in Cym Lowell's Book Review Party. If you've never checked it out, it's a great place to discover new books. Or if you're a book blogger you should really link in, the review doesn't have to be from that exact day. 
Cym does a random drawing of participants every week for an Amazon gift certificate and last week I was the winner! Yay for me!
So go on and get out there! Enter some giveaways and let us see your goodies!


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Vintage Thingies Thursday: Red Tractor

My father's Depression-era tin airplane was such a hit last week, I thought I'd share you another one of his childhood toys. This red tractor was very well-loved; it still has dirt embedded in the tires!
The large rear tires are labeled AP Grade Balloon, 1800x24. At some point in the tractor's history someone painted the inside of the front tires blue, but it has chipped off. One of the tires falls off, but since we just display it, we haven't bothered to fix it. Sometimes repairing vintage items lowers their value. It's pretty heavy, probably made of cast iron. I think the best thing about the tractor is the farmer driving it, who is part of the mold.
When I see these old toys that my dad actually played with, I picture him in the backyard at his Aunt Gertie's house in Windsor Locks, CT. I never knew the house where he grew up, but I was often at Gertie's as a young child, so that's where I picture him. She lived alone in the family's Victorian farmhouse until she was in her 80s. Her house looked almost exactly like this one. In the back there was a lot of grass and an old carriage house. I can just picture him sitting in the grass and playing trucks, the only boy, while his sister and girl cousins did something girly. Many of my antique and vintage items came from this house, including my huge collection of pink Depression glass.
For more memories and nifty items, visit Suzanne @ ColoradoLady, our Vintage Thingies Thursday hostess. Suzanne is known for her family of dachshunds and has a whole bunch she is sharing this week!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Monday Reading Report 7/19

I participate in two great reading memes each Monday. Mailbox Monday, hosted by Marcia at The Printed Page is a meme where folks share the yummy books that showed up at our doors! WARNING: Mailbox Mondays can lead to extreme envy and GINORMOUS wishlists!! It's Monday, What Are You Reading? is a weekly event hosted by Sheila from Book Journey. Bloggers share books completed last week, the books currently being read and the books you plan to read this week.
I received two books for review this week. What We Have: a Family's Inspiring Story About Love, Loss, and Survivalby Amy Boesky is a memoir about a family where the women often die young of cancer, and Amy's fight to live a positive life out of that shadow. As a cancer survivor from a family of survivors I am eager to read this one.
Doctor Margaret's Sea Chestis a historical novel by Waheed Rabbani about a trunk found in the storage room of a Delhi, India hospital in 1965. The trunk belonged to a young female doctor who traveled to India in the 1880s. It sounds like it will be a really interesting read.
I've been reading a lot of mysteries lately. This week I tried two series that are new to me: Goodnight, Ireneby Jan Burke, and Desert Noirby Betty Webb. I enjoyed them both and have put the second book in each series on hold at my library. I like "discovering" series that are a few years old because then I can read several of them really quickly. It's kind of like watching a TV series on DVD instead of waiting each week for a new episode!
Two other mysteries I've read have a historical twist to them. And Only to Deceiveby Tasha Alexander takes places in Victorian times, with the wealthy widow Lady Emily Ashcroft unraveling a mystery surrounding her husband, a man she did not know very well. It is the first in what is currently a 4-book series. Madeleine Robins Point of Honouris about Sarah Temperance, an independent woman in Regency London who makes discreet inquiries and is spectacularly adept with both a rapier and a short sword.
I'm about half way through Sunflowersby Sheramy Bundrick, historical fiction about the last 2 years of Vincent Van Gogh's life in Arles, France. When that's done I have M.C. Beaton's Death of a Hussy, from her Hamish MacBeth mysteries. Then I need to read Doctor Margaret and What We Have to review.
While you're here, be sure to check out my Giveaway for Hidden Wives by Claire Avery, a very interesting novel about two sisters escaping from a polygamous group.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Fun in the Sun

It's been steadily hot and humid in New England for the last couple of weeks. I'm thrilled to have central air conditioning, which is not common in our area. I'm also thrilled that my health is better so I can go to the lake more often with my niece and nephews, and I'm able to physically do more.
I'm pretty sure Cooper isn't fond of being out on the big tube with the boys and their remote control boats.
The Big Mabel holds two people and can be towed from the boat.
I attempted to nap, and Cooper decided to join me!
We had a great sunset barbecue on the 4th, and then stayed out on the lake to watch the fireworks. It was great because we could see them from every town around the lake.
I'm excited to be going back this weekend!


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Vintage Thingies Thursday: Tin Airplane

I love going to restaurants where they have all sorts of old toys on display, don't you? If anyone is starting one of those type places, call me, because I've got lots to offer!
One is this wonderful Depression-era tin airplane. It's wheels still move, and all the glass is still in the windows. Some of the writing has been rubbed off from play and rubbing against other things in one of my dad's many boxes of miscellany in the basement, but you can still read that it says Doug Corrigan's Jalopy. I wonder if it was a promotional toy? My dad still likes to collect promotional toys like Hess Trucks.
It looks great on display with many of his other toys at my sister's house. If I had a place and good way to display them I'd steal them all from her!
For more Vintage fun, visit Suzanne @ ColoradoLady, our Vintage Thingies Thursday hostess!
While you're here, check out my giveaway for the novel Hidden Wives, about teenage sisters escaping a polygamous community.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Giveaway: Hidden Wives

The world of polygamous religions is fascinating to many people, as evidenced by the popularity of the HBO television series Big Love. In Hidden Wives Claire Avery (a pseudonym for sisters Mari Hilburn and Michelle Poche) introduces us to the Blood of the Lamb community through the eyes of teen-age sisters Sara and Rachel. By the age of fifteen, most girls in their community have been married for at least a year, but Sara and Rachel are still unwed and attend the local public school. That changes when the leaders decide that the children should be home-schooled, to protect them from outside influences. Sara, an avid reader and student is devastated as she sits through hours of women tonelessly reading aloud from The Book of Mormon. Rachel, who has always dreamed of becoming a wife and mother, is not as upset. But another change comes to the girls when they learn that Sara has been promised to her half-uncle as a wife, and several powerful leaders have received the word of God that Rachel should become theirs and the Prophet is having trouble making a decision about her. Always more receptive to the outside world, Sara has become friends with a local boy who helps her spirit away the more reluctant Rachel, escaping not only the restrictions of the community but the physical abuse of their father, which is allowed by both their mothers.
Being a person who has always had a "live and let live attitude", the theoretical concept of polygamy has never bothered me. But like all theories, there are those who will abuse and bastardize a well-intentioned concept, and that is what the fictional Blood of the Lamb has done. Chasing teenage boys out of the community, the elders are able to have their choice of multiple brides, even those younger than their own grandchildren. Girls can be forced to marry for political and social reasons, and their "marriages" are usually well before the age of consent, making rape another one of the community's dirty little secrets. Many women in our world cannot conceive of what these girls and women live through every day, and will often ask, "Why do they stay?" For one, it is the world in which they are raised, and we all know how things taught at an early age stay with us. Living in a secluded community, often being home-schooled, many of these people don't know that other ways of life exist. And being constantly indoctrinated about the evils of the outside world, they are often more afraid of the unknown beyond their compounds. Well researched through interviews with former polygamous community members, Hidden Wivesis a compelling story of overcoming adversity at a young age and on one's own, within the framework of a fundamentalist religion.
Below is a great interview with the authors discussing their own unique view of extreme religion, having been raised in a fundamentalist Catholic commune.

US and Canadian Readers: To receive your own copy of Hidden Wives, compliments of Forge Press, just leave a comment with a way I can reach you if you win.
Name will be selected via on Saturday, July 24.
For extra entries you can be a Follower, Tweet, mention the giveaway on Facebook, or blog about it. Leave a separate comment for each entry!
Many other blogs are reviewing Hidden Wives for a TLC Book Tour, and some are also giving away a copy, so be sure to go check them out!
This review is also part of Cym Lowell's Book Review Wednesday. Come on and join the party!