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Fall Into Reading–Book Haul

Summer has faded away. Fall has officially started here in Pennsylvania. The leaves have started to change color before they fall from the branches. Tis the season of sweater weather, pumpkin flavored everything and library book sales!

Last year I posted my findings at a local library book sale; a tiny stack of books for a small price. Two weeks ago I headed out to the old roller staking rink to spend a few hours walking through the labyrinth of used books. Armed with comfortable shoes and a reusable Target bag I combed through the hundreds of books to take home eight books for less than $10.

Listed below will be a picture of the books I found with the synopsis and the publishing date (does anyone else actively look for the publishing date just to see what year the novel was written? Or is it just a second nature for me since I had to cite so many books for essays in high school and college?). Enjoy my findings and happy reading!

the little book

The Little Book by Selden Edwards—2008

When Wheeler Burden—banking heir, rock idol, baseball hero, bestselling author—suddenly finds himself dislocated in time from 1988 San Francisco to Vienna in the year 1897, he’s arrived at a pivotal moment in history, philosophy, art, and culture. It is a time when the coming twentieth century looms before the world with great promise and peril, and when Vienna is enjoying its magnificent swan song as the epicenter of modern thought and the seat of European intellectual and political life.

But what’s most important to Wheeler from the earliest moments of his arrival are finding an appropriate set of clothes and discovering the identity of the luminous young woman he encounters early in his stay. These simple actions set in motion a series of events that will ultimately reveal the incredible truth at the heart of Wheeler’s adventure and will illuminate the eccentric Burden family’s unrivaled impact on the very course of human history.

the dante club

The Dante Club by Matthew Pearl—2003

Boston 1865. A series of murders, all of them inspired by scenes in Dante’s Inferno. Only an elite group of America’s first Dante scholars—Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Oliver Wendell Holmes, James Russell Lowell, and J.T. Fields—can solve the mystery. With the police baffled, more lives endangered, and Dante’s literary future at stake, the Dante Club must shed its sheltered literary existence and find the killer.


Spells by Aprilynne Pike—2010

“I can’t just storm in and proclaim my intentions. I can’t ‘steal’ you away. I just have to wait and hope that, someday, you’ll ask.” Tamani said.

“And if I don’t?” Laurel said, her voice barely above a whisper.

“Then I guess I’ll be waiting forever.”

Although Laurel has come to accept her true identity as a faerie, she refuses to turn her back on her human like—and especially her boyfriend, David—to return to the faerie world.

But when she is summoned to Avalon, Laurel’s feelings for the charismatic faerie sentry Tamani are undeniable. She is forced to make a choice—a choice that could break her heart.

the library of shadows

The Library of Shadows by Mikkel Birkegaard—2007

Imagine that some people have the power to affect your thoughts and feelings through reading. They can seduce you with amazing stories, conjure up vividly imagined worlds, but also manipulate you into thinking exactly what they want you to.

When Luca Campelli dies a sudden and violent death, his son Jon inherits his second-hand bookshop, Libri di Luca, in Copenhagen. Jon has not seen his father for twenty years, since the mysterious death of his mother.

After Luca’s death is followed by an arson attempt on the shop, Jon is forced to explore his family’s past. Unbeknown to Jon, the bookshop has for years been hiding a remarkable secret. It is the meeting place of a society of booklovers and readers, who have maintained the tradition of immense power passed down from the days of the great library of ancient Alexandria. Now someone is trying to destroy them, and Jon finds he must fight to save himself and his new friends.

la cucina

La Cucina by Lily Prior—2000

Since childhood, Rosa Fiore—daughter of a sultry Sicilian matriarch and her hapless husband—found solace in her family’s kitchen. La Cucina, the heart of the family’s lush estate, was a place where generations of Fiore women prepared sumptuous feasts and where the drama of extended family life was played out around the age-old table.

When Rosa was a teenager, her own cooking become the stuff of legend in this small community that takes pride in the bounty of its landscape and the eccentricity of its inhabitants. Rosa’s infatuation with culinary arts was rivaled only by her passion for a young man, Barolomeo, who, unfortunately, belonged to another. After their love affair ended in tragedy, Rosa retreated first into her kitchen and then into solitude, as a librarian in Palermo. There she stayed for decades, growing corpulent on her succulent dishes, resigned to a loveless life.

Then, one day, she meets the mysterious chef, known only as l’Inglese, whose research on the heritage of Sicilian cuisine leads him to Rosa’s library and into her heart. They share one sublime summer of discovery, during which l’Inglese awakens the power of Rosa’s sensuality, and together they reach new heights of culinary passion. When l’Inglese suddenly vanishes, Rosa returns home to the farm to grieve for the loss of her second love. In the comfort of familiar surroundings, among her growing family, she discovers the truth about her loved ones and finds her life transformed once more by the magic of her cherished Cucina.

leonardo's swans

Leonardo’s Swans by Karen Essex—2006

Isabella d’Este, daughter of the Duke of Ferrara, born into privilege and the political and artistic turbulence of Renaissance Italy, is a stunning black eyed blonde and an art lover and collector. Worldly and ambitious, she has never envied her less attractive sister, the spirited but naïve Beatrice, until, by a quirk of fate, Beatrice is betrothed to the future Duke of Milan. Although he is more than twice their age, openly lives with his mistress, and is reputedly trying to eliminate the current duke by nefarious means, Ludovico Sforza is Isabella’s match in intellect and passion for all things of beauty Only he would allow her to fulfill her destiny; to reign over one of the world’s most powerful and enlightened realms and be immortalized in oil by the genius Leonardo da Vinci. Isabella vows that she will not rest until he wins her true fate, and the two sisters compete for supremacy in the illustrious courts of Europe.

the house of velvet and glass

The House of Velvet and Glass by Katherine Howe—2012

Katherine Howe, author of the phenomenal New York Times bestseller The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane, returns with an entrancing historical novel set in Boston in 1915, where a young woman stands on the cusp of a new century, torn between loss and love, driven to seek answers in the depths of a crystal ball.

Still reeling from the deaths of her mother and sister on the Titanic, Sibyl Allston is living a life of quiet desperation with her taciturn father and scandal-plagued brother in a elegant town house in Boston’s Back Bay. Trapped in a world over which she has no control, Sibyl flees for solace to the parlor of a table-turning medium.

But when her brother is suddenly kicked out of Harvard under mysterious circumstances and falls under the sway of a strange young woman, Sibyl turns for help to psychology professor Benton Derby, despite the unspoken tensions of their shared past. As Benton and Sibyl work together to solve a harrowing mystery, their long simmering spark flares to life, and they realize that there may be something even more magical between them than a medium’s scrying glass.

the mercy falls collection

The Mercy Falls Collection by Colleen Coble—2009, 2010, 2011

The Lightkeeper’s Daughter

A storm brings an injured stranger and a dark secret to Addie Sullivan’s California light house home. The man insists she is not who she thinks she is, but rather the child long lost and feared dead by the wealthy Eaton family.

Addie secures employment in the Eatons’ palatial home, keeping her identify a secret. As dusty rooms and secret compartments give up clues about her past, Addie finds faith and a forever love.

The Lightkeeper’s Bride

Working the phone lines one evening, Katie Russell overhears a chilling exchange between her friend Eliza and a familiar male voice. Katie soon learns that Eliza has disappeared, and the crime may be linked to another investigation headed by the handsome new lighthouse keeping, Will Jesperson. Katie and Will soon form and alliance—an alliance that blossoms into something more.

The Lightkeeper’s Ball

Olivia Stewart is heiress to an empire. Her family numbers among the Four Hundred-those considered the most distinguished in America. But their wealth has evaporated and now their security rests upon Olivia marrying well.

Using her family’s long-forgotten English title, Olivia travels to Mercy Falls, California, as Lady Devonworth. There she plans to marry Harrison Bennett, a wealthy bachelor. Harrison soon falls for her, but it turns out they’ve both been hiding something.


Let’s Talk About Depression.

This is a sensitive topic to write about, but I feel that it’s important to recognize that many people suffer from some type of depression. I was diagnosed with depression about five years ago when I was 19. At the time I was dealing with a lot of stress from college and family issues. So my Mom finally convinced me to talk to my Doctor about the stressors in my life. After talking with her, I agreed to try taking Sertraline which is a generic form of Zoloft. Unfortunately, I had been suffering from depression since I was around 13 years old. I’m not going to go into detail about what was going on in my life that caused my depression because I want this post to focus on what depression actually feels like and how it affects the aspects of life.

Depression does indeed affect many aspects of your life. In my experiences I’ve noticed that depression affects my social needs, my likes, and my attitude. Activities that I normally love lose their appeal, a lot of times I found that I would start something and then almost immediately lose interest. There would be other times I would just want to sleep all day long. Fortunately, I was able to force myself out of bed because I knew it wasn’t feasible to stay in bed all day. My attitude also changed drastically. I had low self-esteem. I hated the way I looked and I hated my situation in life. As a result I closed myself away from family and friends. There was no need for me to talk to anyone because I didn’t want to.
The feelings of sadness do envelop you. It’s as though the sun leaves your life. Everything loses its color. The world is just draped in different shades of gray. It’s hard to keep your eyes dry. Tears always seem to come at any time whether you want them to or not.

Being on medication has helped me. Currently I take a very small dosage of Sertraline. I have noticed a difference in the way a feel, but I’m not completely cured; if that’s the correct term. However, my biggest test came this past March. On March 11, 2014 I lost my best friend. My 13 year old Golden Retriever passed away. I had him since he was a puppy. We grew up together, played together, and caused trouble together. He was my brother, my best friend, and my protector. Losing was like losing a part of me. I honestly feel as though if I was not on depression medication, the depression that followed my dog’s passing would have been crippling. Yesterday marked three months since he passed away and I still miss him every single day. There is a small ball of depression in the pit of my stomach, but it doesn’t consume me.

For those of us who suffer from depression, finding an outlet will help overcome the pain. If you are one of the millions who suffer from depression please remember this important piece of information. You are not alone. You may feel like there’s no one in this entire world that knows what you’re going through, but that’s the disease tricking you. Everyone has experienced depression in their lives. You are strong enough to conquer your depression.

Book Review: The Lady of the Rivers by Phillippa Gregory




Jacquetta, a descendant of the river goddess Melusina, has a special gift; a gift that has been passed down through generations. She possesses the ability of sight. With the help of tarot cards, a charm bracelet laden down with about two hundred charms, or by looking through a scryer’s mirror, she can see into the future. However strong her gift is the images she sees don’t always make sense, like the image of a Queen riding a horse with backwards horseshoes. Other images terrify her like a winter’s snow stained red with blood.

As a young girl, Jacquetta visited her uncle. There she met Joan of Arc who was imprisoned in her uncle’s castle. Jacquetta’s great aunt, Lady Jehanne, the Demoiselle of Luxemboury, horrified that Joan was taken prisoner with the accusation of performing witchcraft, convinces her son to release Joan into her responsibility. Taking Joan under her wing will ensure that Joan’s safety is assured. Jacquetta and Joan strike up a quick friendship, they are brought together by a common gift. However, Joan believes that the Almighty God speaks to her and guides her rather than Jacquetta’s family belief of the river goddess. Like her great aunt, Jacquetta tries to warn Joan against proclaiming her spiritual beliefs to a government ruled by men, but Joan is determined to see her journey through to the end, knowing that God has laid out a path for her. Jacquetta watches in horror as her friend is beaten down emotionally during her intense trails. The men convince her to admit that she is just a raving lunatic and a disgrace to her country. In a moment of weakness she gives in. She admits that everything she believes in is lies. The men are intensely satisfied that they have broken down a young girl. In their joy they burn Joan at the stake as a common witch. Jacquetta learns a very harsh lesson; a strong-willed woman cannot hope to succeed in a man’s world

A few years after Joan’s execution, Jacquetta is married to John the Duke of Bedford. Immediately after they are married the Duke reveals that he only pursued Jacquetta for her mystic abilities and that he can’t give her children. He exposes her to the mysteries of alchemy and astrology while strengthening her abilities to his advantage. Periodically the Duke sits her in front of a mirror and asks her to see into the future. Will he be successful and powerful? Will war tear apart England? Jacquetta tries her best to oblige the Duke, but is confused at what her visions mean.

Her marriage to the Duke is short lived. He passes away unrepentantly, leaving her alone in the royal court. Jacquetta finds solace in the arms of Richard, her late husband’s most trusted knight. The two leave the royal court in order to live a life full of love and happiness together. Following the birth of their first child, which they go on to have eleven throughout the novel; they are both summoned back to court to serve King Henry and his new, young wife Margaret. Serving the young King and Queen becomes a tumultuous road for Jacquetta and Richard. With the entire country on the verge of war, Richard is constantly sent to gather men, command soldiers, and keep the kingdom safe. On the other hand, Jacquetta becomes the Queen’s closest friend and advisor. She helps the young Queen in a sisterly compassion. The two women face endless troubles, the biggest occurs when the King suddenly falls into a deep sleep that lasts for over a year. No one knows quite what caused the mysterious sleep, but it causes a rift in the already quarrelling country. Again Jacquetta sees the difficulty that a powerful woman has in a world ruled by men.

In the end, Jacquetta and Richard discover where their loyalties truly lie. They leave the royal court to finally spend time with their children and grandchildren. The novel ends with Jacquetta returning to the river near her home to see what Melusina has in store for their oldest daughter, Elizabeth.


Can We Talk About Inspiration For A Moment?

If you’re a writer or have dabbled in anything creative you know that inspiration may not always be available. Writing is my creative outlet, but sometimes inspiration can elude me. It may sleep through my fingers like grains of sand.

On the other hand, inspiration can come on at any time. For example, last night inspiration came to me around 11:30pm. Nothing like trying to get some sleep on a Sunday night when inspiration comes knocking. There are two different options when in these kind of situations; you can simply attempt to fall back to sleep and hope that the inspiration will come back. Or you can switch on a little reading light, grab your pen and notebook and start writing. According to most of the literature I’ve read regarding writing when inspiration hits you, it’s best to continue writing until the idea is completely written down, even if it takes a few hours to extrapolate from your mind.

Inspiration knows no boundaries. It will come to you whether you’re ready or not. It’s up to us as creative thinkers to act on these inspirations. What are your thoughts on inspiration? Do you have a difficult time in gaining inspiration? Or does inspiration come naturally to you? Feel free to leave a comment.

Book Review: Roses by Lelia Meacham



Roses is an enthralling novel that tells the story of how a piece of land can tear a family apart for generations. Mary Toliver DuMont begins the novel as an old woman on a mission. Aware of the cancer rapidly deteriorating her otherwise commanding, proud frame, she makes one last trip to her lawyer. Her lawyer, Amos, is an old friend and he is completely shocked at the desired changes Mary is making to her will. Although dazed at her revelations, Amos is resigned to obey her wishes. After returning home, Mary prepares for her unannounced trip to her niece, Rachel. It is imperative that Mary explains to Rachel the changes she has made to her will. She is prepared for Rache’s hurt and anger that were sure to come from the news, but Mary is determined on not allowing Rachel to make the same mistake she did; loving the Toliver farm, Somerset, more than anyone else in the world. Despite the balmy Texas heat, Mary sits on her veranda with a glass of champagne while the past creeps up on her.

The reader is then transported back to the early 1900s when Mary, at the tender age of 15, inherits all of Somerset after her father’s death. Believing in a Toliver curse, Mary’s father bequeathed everything to his young daughter hoping that his wife and son would understand. Unfortunately, Mary becomes ostracized by her mother and brother, but that doesn’t stop her from taking the reins of the large cotton plantation. As a strong-minded, independent young woman, Mary’s dedication to her family’s land and loyalty to her father allows her to focus entirely on Somerset.

However, Mary’s heart is torn with the blossoming love she feels for one of her brother’s best friends, Percy Warwick. As the heir to a successful lumbering legacy the marriage between Percy and Mary would bring together the two most powerful businesses in the town of Howbutker, Texas. Despite all of her attempts, Mary can’t help but fall for the handsome Percy. These two young lovers plan their marriage, but although her love for Percy is strong, Mary’s love for Somerset is stronger. She decides to postpone their wedding until after the cotton harvest. Fed up with being put second to a stretch of land, Percy flees to Canada to clear his mind and try to forget about Mary Toliver.

Percy and Mary remain closer throughout the rest of their lives even though they married different people. It takes many years for Mary to understand the Toliver curse her father tried to save her from When she finally takes Somerset out of her primary focus, it’s too late. She had already lost all that she loved which is why she is so determined to save her niece from the same fate.

Roses are an important symbolism throughout the novel. When the fictional town of Howbutke rwas founded, the two powerful families, the Tolivers and Warwicks, had panted large rose garden on their estates. These rose gardens represented their ancestors who fought in the historic War of the Roses. In Roses, the color of the flower is extremely important. A red rose is used to ask forgiveness. A white signifies forgiveness and a pink rose states un-forgiveness.

October 2013 Updates!

What I’m currently reading:

Roses by Leila Meacham


Products I’m currently obsessed with:

Yes To line:

Yes to Carrots Anti-Frizz Serum


Yes to Cucumbers Soothing Sensitive Skin Daily Calming Moisturizer


Yes to Cucumbers Soothing Hypoallergenic Facial Towelettes (also a make-up remover!)


Bath and Body Works:

Paris Amour Body Spray


Winter Cranberry PocketBac


Products that I’ve been using (not so obsessed with)

Maybellene New York Fit Me! Shine-Free Foundation Stick


Clean and Clear Advantage 3-in-1 Foaming Acne Wash


What I’ve been playing:

The Sims 3 Into the Future Expansion Pack


It’s been a few weeks since I’ve been active here on WordPress, but I thought I’d give an overview of what I’ve been using this past month. My next planned review is going to be on Roses once I’ve finished the novel (which is fantastic, by the way). If there’s a certain product that anyone wishes to see, feel free to leave me a comment. I would be more than happy to give a review for any of these products. 🙂


Amazing Finds At A Local Book Sale!

I’ve been extremely busy the past three weeks with my volunteer job, but I was able to make some time to check out my local library’s book sale yesterday. After being to a previous book sale a couple of years ago, I wasn’t expecting to find too many books to sort through. Yesterday was an exception. There were rows upon rows upon rows of used books available. It was overwhelming! The prices were ridiculously reasonable as well. Paperback books were $.50, hardcovers were $2. While some of the newer releases were individually marked, none were priced higher than $5. I purchased six books for $11! I’m so tempted to make another trip this evening.

Check out your local library to see if they’re hosting a book sale. Not only will you find awesome books at a low price, you will also be supporting your library! Purchase a bag full of books for a good cause :).