24 May 2011

BEA and BBC, Here I Come...

If you're going, or already there, and you happen to see this post, shoot me an email or tweet me at @CoffeeBookChick.

I'm thrilled. I'm ├╝ber-excited to the almost-point of frothing at the mouth (perhaps not that excessive, but you get the idea). I'm finalizing my packing to head on up to New York City from Florida to attend BEA tomorrow, Thursday, and Friday! I'm dragging my husband who will be meeting up with our New York and New Jersey friends while I'm roaming around through BEA.

I will try to put a quick post up each day, but...who am I kidding? At least a picture or two? I'll try.

I am still trying to figure out which events to attend - is anyone else as confused by the schedule on the website as I am? It's just me, I'm sure, and I know there's a ton of information. I am attending Book Blogger Con on Friday, woot!

Overwhelmed! Ecstatic! Swooning with eagerness!

So here's my picture (mmhmm, this is a good picture from my honeymoon in Italy about a year and a half ago, I don't really look the same now...) If you see me, please come up and say hi, and rest assured, I will probably have a frazzled look on my face!

Happy BEAing and Armchair BEAing!
Natalie at Coffee and a Book Chick


19 May 2011

A Pretty Vintage Find...

So, here's a personal thing about me - lately, I've enjoyed visiting antique stores and other places that sell vintage jewelry and clothes. I've always been a contemporary person as it came to style, etc., but something about the 1970s and before is just calling me. I'm waiting a few more weeks before buying the clothes since I've been working out, but I've been falling all over myself with picking up jewelry and postcards.

Last weekend at Sugarfoot Antiques & Shabby Chic in Jacksonville Beach, Florida, I came across this find! A postcard with the most intriguing picture and then...check out the note on the back! (Click on the photos to get a better close up).

With the caption of "The Morning After," it's no surprise the picture is of a gentleman the day after having one too many. I hope he had a fun evening, at least!

But the even more curious part is the message on the back. It's written to a young woman in 1908, and it reads:

Dear Mab:
We are very much shocked to hear of the dissapations in which you have been indulging. Hope that as you are young you will outgrow.
Sincerely Yours,
R.H. & A. W.

I think dissapations may have been misspelled and it should have been "dissipations" which would mean wastefulness. I can only assume, based on the picture, and the message to the recipient hopefully outgrowing these youthful actions, meant that Mabel was perhaps participating in too many parties that were deemed a waste of her time?

Nowadays, a young woman having a couple of drinks and partying even a few nights a week doesn't seem to be a big deal. But in 1908? This would have been something delectably scandalous and I can't imagine what might have been worse: Being the subject of rumors and gossip, or getting a postcard in the mail for all to see that even your own family or friends from far away have heard about it!

And because I'm an Ancestry.com fan and have a membership there, I found that Mabel probably would have been approximately seventeen-years-old, and I then ended up tracking down a member whose cousin was the grand-niece of Mabel Zieske's husband! How cool is that? They now have the pictures of the postcard that I emailed over to them. Isn't it incredible that 103 years later, a simple postcard ended up in Florida from Minnesota, and the purchaser of the card (me) was able to connect with a relative of the postcard's recipient? Not to mention, I want to know more about Mabel!

I dig it.

So how about you? Have you had any vintage mysteries that you can share?

Happy Finding,
Coffee and a Book Chick


18 May 2011

Exit the Actress, by Priya Parmar

Books sweep you away into their world, but historical fiction makes you live in it.

Exit the Actress by Priya Parmar takes place in the mid-1600s and tells the story of Ellen Gwynn, also known as Nell. Starting out as an orange seller to the audience during theater productions, and with a mother who is an alcoholic and a sister who is a prostitute, Nell rises into the world of stage acting and catches the eye of King Charles. Simultaneously becoming a friend to his queen, Nelly also becomes mistress to him. This could certainly present a problem, but Ellen's a sweet young woman who doesn't have ill intentions. She simply loves her man, loves her family, and loves her friends and she tells her story through journal entries, and it's one that truly captures the imagination effectively.

Ellen was very much the people's actress, a young woman who rose up through society's ranks and became one with the King's courts, gallivanting with them on trips to the countryside, and developing relationships with noted historical figures. It was such a simple task to connect with Ellen and I found every single journal entry to be so engaging and cleverly written. I blushed in certain spots, giggled in others, and raged against injustices. I was hooked on the story, and the story didn't let me go.

Priya Parmar did one heck of a job keeping the story relatable to contemporary times without losing any edge of the 1600s. Her attention to detail was both breathtaking and refreshing, and my personal favorites were the snippets of articles written by the gossip columnist of the times, along with mentions of proper etiquette of a lady. Recipes for curing common ills were oftentimes hilarious, and I giggled with glee awaiting those moments of insight. This is a wonderfully creative story! Well done to the author and I look forward to the next book! (By the way I found myself so interested in stage acting during the 1600s. I blame Priya Parmar for the hours I've spent on my Mac having the most fun researching this topic...)

If you like historical fiction, go get this one. You won't be disappointed. You'll enjoy each endearing page as the story unfolds.

About the Author
Priya Parmar, a former freelance editor and dramaturg holds degrees in English Literature and theatre. She attended Mount Holyoke College, Oxford University and is currently a doctoral candidate at the University of Edinburgh. She divides her time between Hawaii and London. Exit the Actress is her first book. If you would like to learn more about Priya please visit her Simon and Schuster Author Portal

Visit the author on her website by clicking here.
Visit the author on Facebook by clicking here.
Visit the author on her blog by clicking here.

Happy Reading,
Coffee and a Book Chick

FTC Disclosure: I received the book from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion.


09 May 2011

So another vlog for you all today. Is it pronounced "vee-log" or "vlawg?" Just curious...

A breakdown of the vlog - I'm going to BEA, I'm a freelance reviewer now for Shelf Awareness, A Young Wife by Pam Lewis is *awesome* so far. And reviews coming soon: Exit the Actress by Priya Parmar is fabulous, the audios for The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks and Never Let Me Go will keep you thinking about it for days...


Happy Reading,
Coffee and a Book Chick


07 May 2011

The Peach Keeper, by Sarah Addison Allen

There aren't many things in life that can matter more than friendship. It will stand the test of time, old age and silly little arguments, no matter what.

Sarah Addison Allen has once again brought a startlingly sad and sweet tale that combines people, love, and relationships with just a hint of magic that borders on the realm of coincidence. The Peach Keeper is a surprise, bursting with richness set in a curiously eclectic Southern town in North Carolina called Walls of Water that boasts tourist traffic for its famous waterfalls, along with the mystical morning fog that tends to slightly disorient visitors. The famous fog from Walls of Water is also sold in jars. Tourists love that.

Willa runs an outdoor store in her regimented, even boring, life. After all, Friday night happens to be vacuuming night. Quite a difference from her years in high school many moons ago as the known prankster. And Paxton, a high society princess has much more heart underneath all of the precision and planning she so religiously undertakes in every aspect of her life. Working on bringing back the dilapidated manor that once roared with life seventy five years ago so that she can hold a gala, she is consumed with order and makes lists as a hobby. In order to clear out the weeds and to allow for the landscaping to begin, an aging tree out front is removed, which unearths a most unique discovery that brings the past into the present, and ties Willa and Paxton together into an unexpected friendship.

There's no other way to say it except that Sarah Addison Allen has never let me down. She's my comfort read, the type of author who paints a magical world somehow stuck in the midst of reality. I am drawn to her work because it completely removes me from the day-to-day stresses and makes me think for just one blissful moment that perhaps there really is just a little bit of magic still left in the world. I was hooked on when I first read Garden Spells. Then The Sugar Queen, and now, The Peach Keeper. Color me giddy with glee when I realized that there is apparently a book that came out after The Sugar Queen that I didn't know about and I can pick up! 

Her mixture of magical realism, friendships, and food, leap out of the pages with its lyrical dance of description so effectively, I can feel each moment, sense the oddness in the scene with what could very well be just coincidence, and taste the sugary sweetness of the food that is fleetingly described.

This is yet another remarkable story from Sarah Addison Allen of friendships, love, and a reminder to never let a chance of true happiness ever slip you by. And as I mentioned the other day, Sarah Addison Allen is the "sucks-you-in-and-keeps-you-reading-until-your-vision-blurs" type of storyteller. I eagerly await anything she writes. Absolutely anything.

Go. Get. This. Book. Now.

If you enjoyed Liz Michalski's Evenfall and of course, Alice Hoffman, then you should pick up The Peach Keeper right away. Oh, and The Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Groff, too. All equally magical, heartwarming, and delectable.

  1. When I was a kid, I wanted to be a trash man. I would spend hours daydreaming about riding on the back of a garbage truck, jumping off at every house and dumping people’s trash into it.
  2. I was born and raised in Asheville, North Carolina, a place Rolling Stone magazine once called "America’s New Freak Capital."
  3. I have my B.A. in Literature, a major I chose because I thought it was amazing that I could get a diploma just for reading fiction. It was like being able to major in eating chocolate.
  4. I can’t turn away stray cats and I’m convinced they know this.
  5. My father was a copy editor, reporter and award-winning columnist for our local paper.
  6. My mother has a nose ring, but we pretend it’s not there.
  7. Garden Spells, my mainstream debut, didn’t start out as a magical novel. It was supposed to be a simple story about two sisters reconnecting after many years. But then the apple tree started throwing apples and the story took on a life of its own...and my life hasn’t been the same since
Visit the author on her website by clicking here.
Visit the author on Facebook by clicking here.
Follow the author on Twitter by clicking here.
Many thanks to Lisa at TLC Book Tours for giving me the opportunity to read this book, and apologies for noting down the wrong date to post. Upcoming tour stops are listed below - if you haven't visited the blogs below, now is the time!
Wednesday, April 13th:  Knowing the Difference
Friday, April 15th:  Peeking Between the Pages
Monday, April 18th:  Bewitched Bookworms
Tuesday, April 19th:  Book Reviews by Molly
Wednesday, April 20th:  A Few More Pages
Thursday, April 21st:  Sara’s Organized Chaos
Friday, April 22nd:  Life in Review
Monday, April 25th:  The Broke and the Bookish
Tuesday, April 26th:  Life in the Thumb
Wednesday, April 27th:  Crazy for Books
Thursday, April 28th: A Fair Substitute for Heaven
Monday, May 2nd:  Fizzy Thoughts
Tuesday, May 3rd:  Coffee and a Book Chick
Wednesday, May 4th:  Jenn’s Bookshelves
Thursday, May 5th:  Alison’s Book Marks
Friday, May 6th:  Bookfoolery and Babble
Monday, May 9th:  A Library of My Own
Tuesday, May 10th:  Teresa’s Reading Corner
Wednesday, May 11th:  Unabridged Chick
Monday, May 16th:  A Bookshelf Monstrosity
Wednesday, May 18th:  Two Kids and Tired
Friday, May 20th:  In the Next Room


03 May 2011

The View From My World Today...

Life Updates: Not quite the South Florida I should be seeing, right? Isn't it sad when you're traveling for work so much that in order to remember what city you're in, you have to look at your hotel room phone to see what's written on there?

This is my year so far. Traveling for work is much more frequent than it ever used to be, and if it were not for the book blogging community, printed books, audiobooks, and well, more books (not to mention the excitement of getting home to see what did show up in my mailbox), I'd probably be going crazy!

One good thing? I'm going to be able to head to BEA this year! That's right, and I'm dragging my husband since we have friends in New York and New Jersey. I'll be there for Thursday and Friday (isn't the Book Blogger Conference on Friday?), and then my husband and I are staying through the weekend. Now, that will be fun! There are some bloggers I'm hoping to bump into, and especially some fabulous Young Adult bloggers who have expanded my reading interests considerably. Can't wait to meet everyone!

Confession: I thought I mailed out books to a few giveaway winners...but my husband just called to tell me that three wrapped books that are addressed to other people have been found in the dining room, which is where we threw everything when our renovations in the house started a month ago... *blushes with shame*

Reviews coming soon: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot (audiobook and I loved it), Never Let You Go by Kazuo Ishiguro (another audiobook that I loved), and I'm currently reading The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen. She just is this "suck-you-in-and-keeps-you-reading-until-your-vision-blurs" type of storyteller!

So, hopefully I can get back to something a bit more regular soon...?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad