Saturday, August 22, 2015

Review: Sea Lovers (Selected Stories) by Valerie Martin

Sea Lovers Selected Stories
by Valerie Martin
Genre: Short Stories
Published by: Nan A. Talese
Publication date: 8/18/2015
ISBN: 9780385533522
Pages: 336
Format: Hardback
Source: Publisher

Summary from Goodreads

For four decades Valerie Martin has been publishing novels and stories that demonstrate her incredible range as a writer, moving between realism and fantasy while employing a voice that is at once whimsical and tragic. The twelve stories in this collection showcase Martin's enviable control, precision, and grace and are organized around her three fictional obsessions—the natural world, the artistic sphere, and stunning transformations. In "The Change," a journalist watches his menopausal wife, an engraver, create some of her eeriest and most affecting works even as she seems to be willfully destroying their marriage. In "The Open Door," an American poet in Rome finds herself forced to choose between her lover and a world so alien it takes her voice away. "Sea Lovers" conjures up a hideous mermaid whose fatal seduction of a fisherman provides better reason than Jaws for staying out of the water. In "The Incident at Villedeau" a respected gentleman confesses to killing his wife's former lover, an event that could be construed as an accident, an impulsive act, or a premeditated crime. Exploring themes of obsession, justice, passion, and duplicity, these drolly macabre stories buzz with tension.

My Thoughts

I have often said that it is difficult for a reviewer to write a review for a collection of short stories but once again I'm giving it a go so bear with me!

I began the stories while I was waiting for my daughter to get an MRI and you could tell that the first few stories were earlier works of the authors because they are unpolished and raw but in a good way not a bad way you can feel the bluntness the author is trying to express in each of the first few stories. As I progressed through the book you could feel the author growing as a writer not only were the stories a bit longer but they were more refined, more self-confident and you know what they say practice makes perfect! My favorite stories were in the "Among the Artists" section of the collection, they just really drew me in and even though all her stories are wonderful these few really hooked me on this book and renewed my love for the short story!

I Give This Book:

The only reason I am giving it four star instead of five is because the last story while still very good was a bit of a let down for me, subject wise I just didn't care for it.

Thanks for stopping in,

The books reviewed here have either been sent to me free of charge, or borrowed from my sister or the library, or they were bought (it is an addiction really). However, my reviews have never been, nor will ever be, affected by whether a book’s a freebie or not. A review is just one person’s opinion. It’s always best to check out a book for yourself.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Review: The Night Sister by Jennifer McMahon

The Night Sister
by Jennifer McMahon
Genre: Paranormal Suspense
Published by: Doubleday
Publication date: 8/4/2015
ISBN: 9780385538510
Pages: 319
Format: Hardback
Source: Publisher

My Thoughts

I was completely under the spell of this book! So why only four stars then? Well it is how the story takes a weird paranormal sic-fi type ending shifting completely from the psychotic ending I thought it would. McMahon threw a paranormal creature into the story pretty early but I thought they were just creepy tales to add that skin crawling feeling to the story but that wasn't the case and the "wares" find a way into the main storyline and this is where I was a little disappointed. So enough with the bad! I loved this book and if the "wares" ended up being a psycho sister I would have been singing the praises of this book from the mountain tops so if you don't mind a paranormal creature or two then this book is definitely for you!!

I Give This Book:

Thanks for stopping in to see what I've been reading!


The books reviewed here have either been sent to me free of charge, or borrowed from my sister or the library, or they were bought (it is an addiction really). However, my reviews have never been, nor will ever be, affected by whether a book’s a freebie or not. A review is just one person’s opinion. It’s always best to check out a book for yourself.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Swap-bot Swaps....

I have been participating in swaps more often now and I did a few easy swaps on Swap-bot at the end of my pregnancy to start to get back into the swing of things and I thought I would share some of them with you all today, these swaps are from April and May.

This one was a Newbie Postcard Swap, you send out three and receive three in return but as of today I have only received two of them. 

Next up is another postcard swap this one was April's Random Postcard Swap. One sent, One Received!

I do love to send snail mail even something as simple as a card so I participated in a simple Easter Card Swap, we were to send out two Easter Cards and Receive two in Return, here is what I got.

Here is a swap that might interest my bookish readers, Interest Me No. 23 Swap, is where you send a copy of the page your on in the book you are currently reading so as to maybe interest your swap partner in a new book, here are the pages I received, this was a two for two swap.

And the last one for this post is the April Paper Swap, which is where we swap 10 ATC size papers with one swap partner, here is what I received:

There was a couple more swaps I participated in but I haven't got around to photographing all of them yet so I will have more to share with you soon!

Thanks for stopping by

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

A Postcard from the Heart....

A postcard of hearts, over at The Art Journal Emporium we did some heart challenges in February and I started to talk with another member, Marilyn, and we started to swap postcards and other mail art. I have been quite lacks in sending out stuff due to my pregnancy and c-section but I am hoping to get something out to her in the mail today!

Marilyn made me this lovely zentagle heart postcards, I envy her ability to do zentagles because I still cannot figure it out for the life of me, lol!

Thanks for stopping by,

A postcard from Mim

Mim from the International Union of Mail Artists sent me this postcard awhile back that I wanted to share with you all I love how the statue of the woman that she added blends so well with the background!

Thanks for stopping by,

Monday, May 25, 2015

Postcrossing Postcards 1-2

So about two months ago I joined Postcrossing after seeing it over on The Missive Maven, the postcards and stamps that she blogged about receiving were fantastic so I thought why not give it a shot since I love to get and send snail mail.

Here is what Postcrossing is about:

The goal of this project is to allow people to receive postcards from all over the world, for free. Well, almost free! The main idea is that: if you send a postcard, you will receive one back from a random Postcrosser from somewhere in the world.

Here is how it works:
First, the short version:
  1. request an address from the website
  2. mail the postcard to the address
  3. wait to receive a postcard
  4. register the received postcard in the system
The first step is to request to send a postcard. The website will display (and send you an email) with the address of another member and a Postcard ID (e.g.: US-786). You then mail a postcard to that member.
The member receives the postcard and registers it using the Postcard ID that is on the postcard. At this point, you are eligible to receive a postcard from another user. Youare now in line for the next person that requests to send a postcard. Where the postcard comes from is a surprise!
You can have up to 5 postcards traveling at any single time. Every time one of the postcards you send is registered, you can request another address. The number of postcards allowed to travel at any single time goes up the more postcards you send!

Here are the two postcards that I have received thus far:
This one came to me from the Netherlands.

And this one came to me from Japan!

Gorgeous postcards and stamps for my collection if you like to send out and receive postcards and do not yet belong to Postcrossing it is definitely worth a look!

Thanks for stopping in,

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Life (and Hormones) Change....So

 So Addie arrived all safe and sound at 37 week and 1 day!
Today she is two weeks old and even though I am still healing from my c-section I am feeling more and more like myself everyday. At the end of my pregnancy I was feeling rather defeated, I was tired, my hormones were all over the place, Addie was laying on my sciatic nerve so my right leg constantly hurt and even moved on its own sometimes (very twilight zone weird), and much much more but she was absolutely worth it!!!

Since I am feeling more like myself I am missing A Bookish Girl and have decided to just blog here when I can. I have a lot of new ideas especially about journaling, I have started a Commonplace Book and will be working on a single sentence journal, which might be hard because I am not sure I can just write one sentence out of all the things in a day how do you just write one sentence! Of course I will be sharing some of my entries with you and I will be exploring my writings and art on here more, no more separating, no more worries just me. 

Thanks for sticking with me through every up and down!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Starting Over...

I am starting over...
What does that mean?, Your probably saying
to yourself with a look of confusion on your face
well it means I'm quitting my old life and have decided to just
start over. Obviously there are somethings from my old life that
I cannot quit or get rid of, I have lived to long to really truly start over, but the things that are staying are the things that I want to stay like my kids and me of course but everything that I don't want anymore is going, along with this blog!

I have felt an obligation to this blog for so long, it use to be fun and I didn't care about stats or when I posted or if I didn't even post, but something changed and all of a sudden I am checking post views, follower numbers, and this blog pays me nothing to care about those things but I still obsessed over them. I give myself a hard time when I can't find time in my busy life to sit and write a book review and even sometimes the thought of not having the time to write a book review has actually stopped me from reading a book that I really wanted to read, (insert collective gasp here)!

I have been depressed since me and my husband separated and then when my doc told me I was pregnant with ex's baby well that would depress the happiest of people. We are still getting a divorce which is something that I really want for I truly know that I don't love him anymore and that for years I turned a blind eye to what a jerk he was to me, I am no saint either so don't take it that it is all his fault because it is not, but I only have to worry about myself not him so "He was a HUGE JERK"!!! I am due at the end of May and my Addie will alter my life forever so now is as good as time as any to change everything.

I did read Gretchen Rubin's new book that is coming out soon called Better than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives and it really showed me that we need to really focus on what is truly important to us and that there is no better time in your life to start making those changes then right now you just have to do it, it is really that simple, I know once you start it might not seem easy but it is much easier than taking that first initial step towards change. I'm taking that step and not letting my inner critic get me down. I also learned from Gretchen's book that there are four different types of personalities when it comes to habits and change and mine requires accountability, I am one of those people that likes a pat on the back, that likes when people see me and all that I am and have done, so I am not giving up blogging completely I am instead starting a new blog but it is going to be more of an online journal that others can read, no niche with art or books, and I'm going to write what I want to write about when I want to write about it and I will not be checking stats only comments because again I love that you all see me for me and are interested in my life. Relationship building is one of my top priorities and that includes online relationships so if you  choose to visit my online journal and see me for me then leave a comment, send a high five, whatever you feel compelled to do because I can use all the help I can get!

Thanks to all of you for giving A Bookish Girl purpose and I'm sorry that this is over but it also brings a sense of relief and happiness!

Thanks again for everything,
Amy Yingling

If you want to check out my new blog which is there but has no design nor any posts yet you can check it out here!

Book Blast & Giveaway: Mademoiselle Chanel by C.W. Gortner

Please join author C.W. Gortner as his latest release, Mademoiselle Chanel, is featured around the blogosphere from March 17-April 3, and enter to win one of three fabulously chic, Chanel-style black and white beaded bracelets! 

Publication Date: March 17, 2015 
William Morrow/HarperCollins 
Formats: Hardover, eBook, Audio 
Book Genre: Historical Fiction
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 DRAMA, PASSION, TRAGEDY, AND BEAUTY: C.W.’s new novel stunningly imagines the life of Coco Chanel—the iconic fashion designer whose staggering creativity built an empire and made her one of the 20th century’s most influential, and controversial, figures. Born into rural poverty, Gabrielle Chanel and her sisters are sent to a convent orphanage after their mother’s death. Here, the nuns nurture Gabrielle’s exceptional sewing skills, a talent that will propel her into a life far removed from the drudgery of her childhood. Transforming herself into Coco—a seamstress and sometime torch singer—the petite brunette burns with ambition, an incandescence that draws a wealthy gentleman who will become the love of her life. She immerses herself in his world of money and luxury, discovering a freedom that sparks her creativity. But it is only when her lover takes her to Paris that Coco discovers her destiny. Rejecting the frilly, corseted silhouette of the past, her sleek minimalist styles reflect the youthful ease and confidence of the 1920s modern woman. As Coco’s reputation spreads, her couturier business explodes, taking her into rarefied society circles and bohemian salons. Her little black dress, her signature perfume No. 5; her dramatic friendships, affairs, and rivalries with luminaries of her era increase her wealth and fame. But as the years pass, success cannot save her from heartbreak. And when Paris falls to the Nazis during World War II, Coco finds herself at a dangerous crossroads, forced to make choices that will forever change her. An enthralling portrayal of an extraordinary woman who created the life she desired, Mademoiselle Chanel is Coco’s intimate story.

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Praise for Mademoiselle Chanel

“In this deliciously satisfying novel, C.W. Gortner tells the epic, rags-to-riches story of how this brilliant, mercurial, self-created woman became a legend.” (Christina Baker Kline, New York Times bestselling author of Orphan Train) “In a novel as brilliant and complicated as Coco Chanel herself, C. W. Gortner’s prose is so electric and luminous it could be a film, and not just any film, but one of the grandest biopics of our time. Divine!” (Erika Robuck, bestselling author of Hemingway's Girl) “A richly imagined, deftly researched novel, in which the ever fascinating Coco Chanel comes to life in all her woe and splendor, her story unfolding as elegantly as a Chanel gown.” (Cathy Marie Buchanan, author of The Painted Girls) “From her heart-wrenching early years through her decades of struggle and glory, Gabrielle Chanel was fascinating—as is C.W. Gortner’s Mademoiselle Chanel. Coco lives again in this rich tale of brilliance, determination, and fierce self-creation.” (Ania Szado, author of Studio Saint-Ex) “Gortner brings to life a woman who was as alluring and captivating as her signature scent. ” (Historical Novels Review) “Gortner brings history to life in a fascinating study of one woman’s unstoppable ambition.” (Booklist) “Well-written and historically accurate . . . An homage to a couture icon whose influence is still powerful today.” (Kirkus Reviews)

Buy Mademoiselle Chanel

About the Author

C.W. GORTNER holds an MFA in Writing with an emphasis in Renaissance Studies from the New College of California, as well as an AA from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in San Francisco. After an eleven year-long career in fashion, during which he worked as a vintage retail buyer, freelance publicist, and fashion show coordinator, C.W. devoted the next twelve years to the public health sector. In 2012, he became a full-time writer following the international success of his novels. In his extensive travels to research his books, he has danced a galliard at Hampton Court, learned about organic gardening at Chenoceaux, and spent a chilly night in a ruined Spanish castle. His books have garnered widespread acclaim and been translated into twenty-one languages to date, with over 400,000 copies sold. A sought-after public speaker. C.W. has given keynote addresses at writer conferences in the US and abroad. He is also a dedicated advocate for animal rights, in particular companion animal rescue to reduce shelter overcrowding. C.W. recently completed his fourth novel for Ballantine Books, about Lucrezia Borgia; the third novel in his Tudor Spymaster series for St Martin's Press; and a new novel about the dramatic, glamorous life of Coco Chanel, scheduled for lead title publication by William Morrow, Harper Collins, in the spring of 2015. Half-Spanish by birth and raised in southern Spain, C.W. now lives in Northern California with his partner and two very spoiled rescue cats. For more information visit C.W. Gortner's website and blog. You can also find him on Facebook, Twittter, Goodreads, Pinterest, and YouTube. Sign up for C.W. Gortner's Newsletter for updates.


Three Chanel-style black and white beaded bracelets will up for grabs during this blast, follow along for chances to win!  


Giveaway starts on March 17th at 12:01am and ends on April 3rd at 11:59pm EST. – Must be 18 or older to enter. – Giveaway is open to US residents only. – Only one entry per household. – All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion. - Winners will be notified via email and have 48 hours to claim prize, or new winner is chosen. 

Mademoiselle Chanel Book Blast Schedule
Tuesday, March 17

Wednesday, March 18 

Thursday, March 19 

Friday, March 20 

Saturday, March 21 

Sunday, March 22 

Monday, March 23 

Tuesday, March 24 

Wednesday, March 25 

Thursday, March 26 

Friday, March 27 

Saturday, March 28 

Sunday, March 29 

Monday, March 30 

Tuesday, March 31 

Wednesday, April 1 

Thursday, April 2 

Friday, April 3 

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Friday, March 20, 2015

Book Blast & Giveaway: A Decent Woman by Eleanor Parker Sapia

Join author Eleanor Parker Sapia as her historical novel, A Decent Woman, is featured around the blogosphere from March 16-April 6, and enter the giveaway! Up for grabs is an Autographed copy of A Decent Woman, two eBooks of A Decent Woman, and a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Publication Date: February 20, 2015
Formats: eBook, Paperback
270 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction

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Ponce, Puerto Rico, at the turn of the century: Ana Belén Opaku, an Afro-Cuban born into slavery, is a proud midwife with a tempestuous past. After testifying at an infanticide trial, Ana is forced to reveal a dark secret from her past, but continues to hide an even more sinister one. Pitted against the parish priest, Padre Vicénte, and young Doctór Héctor Rivera, Ana must battle to preserve her twenty-five year career as the only midwife in La Playa.

Serafina is a respectable young widow with two small children, who marries an older, wealthy merchant from a distinguished family. A crime against Serafina during her last pregnancy forever bonds her to Ana in an ill-conceived plan to avoid a scandal and preserve Serafina’s honor.

Set against the combustive backdrop of a chauvinistic society, where women are treated as possessions, A Decent Woman is the provocative story of these two women as they battle for their dignity and for love against the pain of betrayal and social change.

Advanced Praise for A Decent Woman

“A Decent Woman brings vividly to life the world of early twentieth-century Puerto Rico through the struggles of Ana Belén, an Afro-Cuban midwife, as she attempts to live a meaningful life. Spanning almost thirty years, the story encompasses Ana’s unusual friendship with Serafina, a white woman of humble origins who marries into a wealthy, upper class family. Race, class, the lingering legacy of slavery, and a woman’s role in this neo colonial society are all effectively illustrated through the intimate depiction of these two intersecting lives.

Author Eleanor Parker Sapia lovingly evokes old Puerto Rico: the graceful colonial city of Ponce, the mixture of African and Catholic traditions, the tropical lushness of the land, and the devastating force of a Caribbean hurricane.

Overall, A Decent Woman is a powerful and moving tale; well worth reading.”
-Alina García-Lapuerta, biographer and author of La Belle Creole: The Cuban Countess Who Captivated Havana, Madrid, and Paris

“A Decent Woman opens with a birth and a hurricane and doesn't let up. Deep with delicious detail, scrumptious characters, and full of folklore, this is a unique debut novel from Eleanor Parker Sapia, one that will win her readers over. Written in a clean style that lets the historical ambience seep through into our consciousness, this book is a tale of wonder, of life and death, of love and life and not a few twists and turns. Ana and Serafina are, indeed, decent women living in a hard time. Buy it, read it, love it.”

-Jack Remick, short story writer, poet, and author of award-winning, Gabriela and the Widow

“A Decent Woman takes the reader on a journey into the heat and steam of Puerto Rico in the early 1900s. The writing is so visceral and evocative that you almost feel the rain on your face, the pain of childbirth, fear, betrayal and redemption along with the women in this story of midwives and mothers.”
-Claudia H Long, author of The Duel for Consuelo and Josefina's Sin

“A Decent Woman takes the reader on an unforgettable journey of friendship between two strong women set against the backdrop of colonial Puerto Rico of the early 1900s. When former Cuban slave and midwife Ana Belén delivers Serafina Martínez' first child, an unbreakable bond is formed despite the hurricanes nature and politics thrown in their paths. A striking first novel from Eleanor Parker Sapia.”
-Arleen Williams, writer and author of The Alki Trilogy

“It's not only that I enjoyed A Decent Woman as much as Alice Walker's work, there is a quality to her prose. I went back and read an excerpt of The Color Purple to really identify the similarity. The only way I can describe it is that I wanted to read it in gulps. Like when you're really thirsty. I found myself sucked into the world in three or four lines, and galloping through the prose, because reading more made me want to read more.

A Decent Woman embodies the genre of women’s fiction in the most complete sense of the word exploring the lives of women - young and old, dark- and light-skinned, poor and rich. This is an outstanding read and an important book about a little known corner of women’s history.”
-Yma Johnson, short story writer and journalist

“Eleanor Parker Sapia's historical fiction novel, A Decent Woman, steeped in friendship, romance, politics, and mysticism, is the captivating story of Ana Belén's struggle and perseverance to become a Certified Midwife in turn of the century Puerto Rico. Ana’s passions, joys, and plight are shared by midwives everywhere and throughout herstory.

Reading this book was inspiring. I'm sure readers will enjoy A Decent Woman as much as I did.”

-Sarahn Henderson, Midwife and Educator at Birth in the Tradition

"I really enjoyed this novel and particularly enjoyed the characters who I could visualize clearly as I moved along with the story. Eleanor's descriptions really created such a vivid image in my mind, bringing them to life as I read. I was moved by the various events and was even brought to tears at times. I suspect it will be a huge success and certainly one that I will recommend to my circle of family and friends."
-Gina Tsiapalis, Registered Midwife

Official Book Trailer

Eleanor Parker Sapia's Podcast with Upgrade Your Story on BlogTalkRadio

Buy A Decent Woman

About the Author

02_Eleanor Parker Sapia

Puerto Rican-born novelist and painter, Eleanor Parker Sapia, was raised in the United States, Puerto Rico, and Europe. Her passion for travel and adventure combined with her compassion for those in need have led to her careers as a counselor, alternative health practitioner, and a Spanish language social worker and refugee case worker. These life experiences inspire her writing. She facilitates The Artist’s Way creativity groups, and teaches creative writing to children and adults. Eleanor shares her passion for telling stories on her blog, The Writing Life. A Decent Woman is her debut novel. Eleanor has two adventurous and loving grown children, and currently lives in wild and wonderful West Virginia.

For more information please visit Eleanor Parker Sapia's website. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Sign up for Eleanor Parker Sapia's Newsletter for news and updates.

A Decent Woman Book Blast Schedule

Monday, March 16

Tuesday, March 17

Wednesday, March 18

Thursday, March 19

Friday, March 20

Saturday, March 21

Monday, March 23

Tuesday, March 24

Wednesday, March 25

Friday, March 27

Saturday, March 28

Monday, March 30

Tuesday, March 31

Wednesday, April 1

Thursday, April 2

Monday, April 6


To enter to win one of the following four prizes, please complete the giveaway form below.

* Autographed Copy of A Decent Woman
* A Decent Woman eBooks (2)
* $25 Amazon Gift Card


Giveaway starts on March 16th at 12:01am EST and ends at 11:59pm EST on April 6th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
Winners will be chosen via GLEAM on April 7th and notified via email.
Winners have 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.
Please email Amy @ with any questions.

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