Books To Take You Away From It All

Tag Archives: relationships

To the student nurses at The Nightingale hospital, the ward sisters are heartless and frightening, with impossibly high standards. But the sisters have troubles of their own…
Violet
The new night sister is not all that she seems. Who is she and what dark secret is she hiding? As the mystery deepens, Sister Wren is determined to find out the truth.
Dora
The student nurse is struggling with her own secret, and with her heartbreak over Nick, the man who got away. A new arrival on the ward brings the chance to put a smile back on her face. But can she really get over Nick so easily?
Millie
Dora’s fellow student is also torn between the two men in her life. But then an unexpected friendship with an elderly patient makes her question where her heart – and her future – really lies.
As the nation mourns the death of King George V, it seems as if nothing is ever going to be the same again, especially for the women at the Nightingale.

Sissy:  Back at the beginning of June we reviewed the first book in this series, The Nightingale Girls.  Much to our delight, we were able to receive a copy of this book, number two in the series, so we just had to read it!  And recommend it to you!

Sissy (again):  Oh, you thought Bubby might chime in about how much she enjoyed the continuing saga of Dora, Helen, and Millie?  You thought she would natter on about the new nurse Violet, or wail about waspish sister Wren?  Well, you thought wrong.  Bubby is, at present, in Spain!  You heard right–Spain!  But I am not jealous.  Oh, no–I would never begrudge Bubby the opportunity to savor the sights of Seville and meander in Madrid.  And I certainly carry no envy concerning her plans to leap over to Lisbon, Portugal, and trot down to Tangier, Morocco.  I am perfectly happy to  stay here and write this blog by myself in the exciting and stimulating environs of small town America.  So, until further notice…

At any rate, The Nightingale Sisters is thoroughly enjoyable, and you will find yourself highly invested in the dramas, highs and lows, and everyday dealings of the nurses at the Nightingale hospital.  4 starched-white bubbles!

Also–Stay tuned for upcoming blogs from me and various guest bloggers in my sister’s absence.  It will be exciting!

Click HERE to buy The Nightingale Sisters by Donna Douglas at Amazon.com

©2014 Bubble Bath Books


Ruby Jewell knows flowers. In her twenty years as a florist she has stood behind the counter at the Flower Shoppe with her faithful dog, Clementine, resting at her feet. A customer can walk in, and with just a glance or a few words, Ruby can throw together the perfect arrangement for any occasion.
Whether intended to rekindle a romance, mark a celebration, offer sympathy, or heal a broken heart, her expressive floral designs mark the moments and milestones in the lives of her neighbors. It’s as though she knows just what they want to say, just what they need. Yet Ruby’s own heart’s desires have gone ignored since the death of her beloved sister. It will take an invitation from a man who’s flown to the moon, the arrival of a unique little boy, and concern from a charming veterinarian to reawaken her wounded spirit.

Bubby: I have a new mission in life. It is to go to my nearest bookstore and purchase every single book that Lynne Branard (also known as Lynne Hinton and Jackie Lynn) has ever written. And then I will sit in my comfy chair with my stack of books and disappear into a world of meticulously crafted characters and communities that feel like I’ve been there before. And when I’ve read them all (and don’t bother me until I’m done) I will be a better person, because this book touched my soul.

Sissy: Let it be known that I read this book first. I texted Bubby telling her that it was wonderful and that she must read it. Exactly 23 hours and 55 minutes later, she texted me back that she wished our mom could read it (highest praise ever) and that she was giving it 5 bubbles. It is not everyday that you read a book that not only entertains you and thrills you with the anticipation of romance but also makes you think deeply about your own life. The Art of Arranging Flowers is one of those rare treasures.

Bubby: I’d like to talk about my favorite character here, but I can’t choose. Of course I love Ruby Jewell, our main character but there are so many people that I connected with as if they resided in my own town. Oh, I’ve got it. I choose Henry. Sweet, shy, stuttering Henry who loves librarian Lou Ann from afar by sending anonymous bouquets for months before finally asking her out. And as it turns out, she has loved him from afar the whole time! And what he creates for her in his backyard! Amazing! But the whole book is full of little interconnected stories like this. So wonderfully done, I am still amazed.

Sissy: What about poor little motherless Will? I totally fell in love with him and wanted to bring him home with me. And I adored Captain Dan Miller, former astronaut. All the wonderful things that he had learned in his life experiences and shared with the people of Creekside really made me contemplate my existence. And then all the behind-the-scenes things he did that we don’t find out about until the end? Priceless. I even felt a great affection for Ruby’s dog Clementine. Basically, author Lynne Branard is a sorceress who casts a magical spell with her words and makes you become deeply emotionally involved with all her characters.

Bubby: There are several women in my life whom I love dearly that will be receiving a copy of The Art of Arranging Flowers as soon as it is published on June 3, 2014. It’s so lovely that it must be shared. 5 bubbles. 5 big huge rose-scented bubbles and I’d give it 6 if I could.

Sissy: When I find an author who writes like this, so transcendently and beautifully, I want them to live and write books forever. So Lynne, if you ever need a kidney, give me a call. 5 bright, unbreakable bubbles.

Click HERE to buy The Art of Arranging Flowers at Amazon.com

We received a copy of this book from Netgalley in return for a fair and honest review.

© Bubble Bath Books 2014

 

 

 


“The best times of my life, the times that have passed by me the most quickly, were the times when the roses grew wild.”


 The lessons that most enrich our lives often come unexpectedly. That’s what Kate Bowman learns when she moves temporarily—with her husband and baby son—to her grandmother’s Missouri farm. The family has given Kate the job of convincing Grandma Rose, who’s become increasingly stubborn and forgetful, to move off her beloved land and into a nursing home. But Kate knows such a change would break her grandmother’s heart.

Just when Kate despairs of finding answers, she discovers her grandma’s journal. A beautiful handmade notebook, it is full of stories that celebrate the importance of family, friendship, and faith. Stories that make Kate see her life—and her grandmother—in a completely new way….

Sissy: In the absence of Bubby this week I am doing something new in conjunction with something old, just to shake things up and see if I can get myself in trouble (when the cat’s away…). The NEW thing is that we are going to revisit some of our favorite reviewed authors of the past and see what else they have up their sleeves, whether new or old.  The OLD thing is Friday Favorites, which Tending Roses by Lisa Wingate qualifies for since it was published in 2001.  Get it? (I’m also putting all my text in green, just because Bubby’s not here to stop me!).

 We first reviewed Firefly Island by this author in April of last year, and later found out that she has written many award winning books and series’.  I decided to introduce you to Wingate’s very first book, Tending Roses, which is also the first book in a series of 5.  Here are Lisa Wingate’s own words about the genesis of Tending Roses:

“My grandmother came to stay with me when the baby was small, and together we decided to plant flowerbeds in front of my house. One day, when the baby was fussy, we had to go inside rather than finishing the flowerbed. Grandma bundled the baby and sat down in the chair with him, and soon he was quietly drifting off to sleep. As the afternoon sun streamed in the window, Grandma leaned back, closed her eyes, and began telling me the story of her life, and her flowerbeds, and the lessons she learned there. That story, “Time for Tending Roses,” eventually became the inspiration for my first mainstream novel, Tending Roses, which was published by New American Library (Penguin Putnam) in June, 2001. Of all of the books, Tending Roses remains my sentimental favorite, because of the real-life connection with my grandmother.”

Now, I’ve got to tell you, I felt like the lessons Kate (the main character) learns through her grandmother’s story journal were universal, having application for me and for everyone.  I just wish I could have perfect recall of them at the exact moment I needed them (and was about to do or say something stupid…).  This story is so real, so human, so emotional–it makes complete sense that it was inspired by the author’s own feelings and experiences.  Tending roses is a complex and heartwarming tale of family relationships, love, and plain old human life, and is well worth the read.  I give it 4.25 bubbles, and I definitely plan to read the rest of the series!

Click HERE to buy Tending Roses by Lisa Wingate at Amazon.com

© Bubble Bath Books 2014


#1 New York Times bestselling author Debbie Macomber has won the hearts of millions of readers with her moving and inspiring stories. Now wedding bells are ringing in the tight-knit community that gathers around A Good Yarn, a store in a pretty Seattle neighborhood. Knitters come to the store to buy yarn and patterns but somehow they leave richer in friendship and love.
Bubby: Sometimes you just want a lovely romance novel with a guaranteed happy ending. Debbie Macomber always comes through and Blossom Street Brides is no exception.

Sissy: Bubby stole my line. I was going to say that Debbie Macomber always delivers. So yeah, what she said.

Bubby: Wow, Sissy. That was so insightful!

Sissy: Bubby says I have to say something useful now. Macomber weaves a great tale of love and relationships, obstacles that you know will eventually will be resolved, and you enjoy the journey of how that comes to pass. Blossom Street Brides played like an a-list chick flick on the screen of my mind.

Bubby: It may be a bit early for a beach read, but with Spring Break upon us, this is a perfect vacation novel. 4 bubbles from me.

Sissy: If you deserve a happy afternoon of reading (and who doesn’t?) this is the book for you. 4 bubbles.

Click HERE to buy Blossom Street Brides by Debbie Macomber at Amazon.com

We received this title from netgalley.com in exchange for a fair and honest review

©2014 Bubble Bath Books


Cathy Scarlet and Tom Feather have a dream of being Dublin’s newest and best catering company, appropriately named “Scarlet Feather”. Unfortunately, their families are not on board with their plans. Cathy’s mother-in-law disapproves of everything Cathy does – and her husband Neil doesn’t seem to notice anything Cathy does. Tom’s girlfriend has career aspirations of her own that don’t necessarily match up with Tom’s dreams. Scarlet Feather chronicles a year of hope and heartache, struggle and success as Tom and Cathy try to both realize their new dreams while keeping their old dreams alive.

Bubby: Sissy and I were strolling through the internet trying to decide on this week’s Friday Favorite when we came across Maeve Binchy’s website. Much to our horror, the opening post was a statement notifying us that Ms. Binchy had passed away in July. Since she has long been one of our favorite authors, and we are still mourning the death of our dear daddy in October, this came as quite the shock. I even got all teary (not that it takes much for me to cry).

Sissy: So in honor of Maeve Binchy, who we’re sure we would have been friends with if we’d have known her, we are reviewing Scarlet Feather. Something interesting about Maeve Binchy books is that they are written in a very specific style and not all people like them. Her books contain multiple characters and storylines that weave in and out amongst each other and this book is no different. In reading other reviews for Binchy’s books, I found that people generally either love her or hate her. Bubby and I love her characters, how you feel like they are your family and long-lost friends, and how delightful it is to meet up with them again in other novels.

Bubby: I must make two disclaimers right up front. First, Maeve Binchy’s books sometimes contain a smattering of less-appropriate language and/or the odd sexual innuendo. No F-bombs or heaving bosoms (if you know what I mean) but these characters sometimes make poor decisions. Secondly, I have to be in the correct mood to read a Binchy book. Sometimes (like when I had shoulder surgery last year) I will gather 5 or 6 of her books together and just read them one right after another. And then I want to wait a good long while before I read any more Binchy.

Sissy: Cathy and Tom are characters you like right away. Cathy’s husband Neil is indifferent, cold and dismissive. I wanted to slap him. Neil’s parents needed slapping likewise.

Bubby: Actually, can we just slap Neil’s whole family? Parents, Aunt and Uncle, even Cousin Walter?

Sissy: Slap away! *(There is no actual slapping involved in the making of this blog . . .usually). Muttie and Lizzie Scarlet are likeable real people, flaws and all. The story takes many twists and turns and sometimes readers don’t like the fact that things go really wrong for people in Binchy’s books – just like in real life. But everything always turns out for the best in the end.

Bubby:I have a soft spot for any novel dealing with food as I’m sure our readers have noticed by now. I was thrilled that the Scarlet Feather catering company was a success. Unfortunately, with success often comes sacrifice. Ultimately this book is about dreams and what they are worth. Is your dream more important than your marriage? Your children? Your honor? Hard questions with hard answers. I think that in the end, everyone in Scarlet Feather achieves their true dream – and the consequences that go along with that. There are some humorous bits and the dialogue between the characters is well written and enjoyable. And sometimes it’s just nice to read something where everyone elses’ problems make your own problems look tiny.

Sissy: Wow! That was so eloquent, Bubby! I am tempted to not tell everyone that you are a food snob and that you tried to buy me a bookmark today that said “Many people have eaten my cooking and gone on to live perfectly normal lives.” Therefore, since I am not saying that, I am also not talking about the food in the book.

Bubby: Was that last paragraph supposed to make any sense whatsoever?

Sissy: I just couldn’t think of anything to say after your rhapsodic paragraph that sucked all the oxygen out of the room. Anyway, read Scarlet Feather. And if you like it, read other Maeve Binchy books. 3 1/2 bubbles.

Bubby: Let me adjust my respirator here (no oxygen left in the room, you know). OK. Only 3 bubbles from me – I am still upset that Maeve Binchy passed away and so I won’t be able to read one of her books for a while. Grief is not logical!

Click HERE to buy Scarlet Feather from Amazon.com

© Bubble Bath Books 2013