Welcome To All Around The Circle!

Glad you've found the time to visit today! I'm Elle and I blog about my family, book reviews, arts and crafts, education and so much more. Life is always changing around here, but we try to keep up the best we can. I hope you'll follow along on our journey.
Feel free to visit other locations I maintain: CraftWithKids NetWork FB Group, SparkPeople Connections, and Lighthouse Lane Tags 'N Snags.


Book Review: Wind Chime Point

Wind Chime Point (Ocean Breeze #2)Wind Chime Point by Sherryl Woods

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is the second book in the Ocean Breeze seeries. For some reason I enjoyed this book more than the first.

The focus is on Gabriela, where as the first book focused on Emily.
Gabi finds herself unemployed, broken up with her boyfriend and pregnant. She returns to Sand Castle Bay to figure out her next steps and finds herself becoming friends with the local cabinetmaker, Wade Johnson. Their friendship grows and she resists the fact that she may be falling for him. Of course her grandmother, Cora Jane, is right there trying to nudge their relationship along.

The story also continues with the planning of Gabi and Samantha's sister Emily's wedding. Samantha is still feeling down in the dumps because she's not landing any acting jobs and Gabi steps up to try to help her with public realtions. The last book in this series will be Samantha's story and I'm hoping that book is even better than this one.

This series is a very relaxed and mellow. It's not heavy on the romance, but more so focused on the mentality of falling in love and making life choices.

Book Review: Sand Castle Bay by Sherryl Woods

Sand Castle Bay (Ocean Breeze, #1)Sand Castle Bay by Sherryl Woods

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is the first book in the Ocean Breeze series by Sheerryl Woods. The Castle family consists of Emily, Gabi, Samantha and their meddling grandmother, Cora Jane. The women have returned to the small North Carolina town due to a hurricane that has torn apart their grandmother's restaurant and they're all there to help her.

The story focuses on Emily who hasn't returned to Sand Castle Bay since breaking up with her high school sweetheart, Boone Dorsett. Emily decided to leave behind her boyfriend and the place she grew up in order to pursue a career elsewhere as an interior designer. Boone does not wait for Emily and marries, has a son and then becomes a widow after his wife passes away from an illness. So when Emily returns ten years later both Emily and Boone are a little worried about old feelings being stirred up.

For some reason this book took me longer to read than normal. It seemed slow, a bit predictable and the wishy-washiness of Boone and Emily was a bit annoying. That said I will read the next two books in this series to see what's in store for Gabi and Samantha.

Speed Of Reading Test

The average person could read Game of Thrones in 484 days.
Click the image to find out if you could read it faster. (via BlinkBox Books).

This quiz said I read 325 words per minute and if I read for 40 minutes each day, I could get through 48 books per year. That sounds about right, but I usually don't get 40 minutes a day in of reading a book (I try though.) It also revealed that I'd read 286 days faster than the average person.

Book Review: A Week In Summer: A Short Story by Meve Binchy

A Week in Summer: A Short StoryA Week in Summer: A Short Story by Maeve Binchy

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was a very short story and the first book I've ever read by Maeve Binchy.

The story was about marriage, dedication to work and family, late-in-life parenting, and the lack of vacationing in this family's life.

Kathleen decides that since her husband has been let go of his teaching job, they have a week in summer that they can schedule a vacation; something they've never done before. Kathleen's husband Brian is depressed and really isn't interested in going anywhere, but they make an agreement that if he goes on this vacation she will give him some time to figure himself out.

Kathleen heads to a senior citizens travel agency (this part was quite funny being this is what my Associates degree is in) and can't seem to choose a destination that her husband would be happy with. Finally the agent asks to consider what she'd like to do, not her husband. She points out that she would like to trace her ancestry, which brings her to the decision of Ireland as the destination for their vacation.

Nice storyline, but a bit depressing at parts.

Book Review: Return To Willow Lake by Susan Wiggs

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is the ninth book in the Susan Wiggs' Lakeshore Chronicle Series.
The story focuses on Sonnet Romano, her mother Nina and her longtime childhood friend Zach Alger.

The book starts out with Sonnet visiting the town she grew up in because she is home for her best friend and step-sister, Daisy Bellamy's wedding.  This is the continuation from the eighth book in the series, 'Marrying Daisy Bellamy.' 
 The one sentence that sort of threw me off was this one:

"Since high school, he and Sonnet had gone in different directions, and she hadn't seen him in ages.  Now she couldn't take her eyes off him."

That sentence is in reference to Sonnet's childhood friend Zach Alger.  
Having just read the ninth book, Sonnet and Zach had spent some time together in that book helping Daisy un-pack and I believe they also watched movies together with Daisy and Logan.  The above sentence makes it seem like this was Sonnet's first sighting of Zach 'in ages', when in the previous book they had spent time together.

I usually don't write reviews with spoilers, but this one I feel the need to.

*********************SPOILER ALERT**************************


Sonnet gets drunk at Daisy's wedding reception, has sex in a boat down by
the lake with Zach and she regrets it later.  What she really regrets is ruining their many years of friendship with the complications of the feelings she now has for Zach because of their night together.

She returns to NYC and her boyfriend Orlando whom her father has set her up with.  Sonnet's father, Laurence Jeffries is running for the state senate and Orlando is her father's campaign manager.  She feels they are a good match, however she just doesn't feel that 'love connection' and spends half of the book trying to justify why she shouldstay with Orlando.

The second storyline to this book is a pretty huge one.
Sonnet's Mom, Nina Romano, has breast cancer and she is pregnant. 
Sonnet decides to leave NYC and a fellowship she has been offered overseas, in order to help out with her mother during this difficult time in her life.

Of course there are many interactions with Zach when she returns to Avalon.
They even end up working for a production of a reality series taking place at Camp Kioga.  Most of the book is waiting for Sonnet to come to her senses and see that her and Orlando are not a match and to await the outcome of Nina's health situation.  Most of the book Sonnet is trying to get the friendship that her and Zach had, back to what it used to be.  But in the prior book it seemed like both of them were interested in one another.
  The discontinuity between these two characters was upsetting to me.

I gave the book 3 stars because I've always liked these chracters, I just wish it would've been a more believable between Sonnet and Zach; at least on Sonnet's part anyway.


Book Review: Marrying Daisy Bellamy by Susan Wiggs

This is the 8th book in the Lakeshore Chronicles series by Susan Wiggs.
Daisy has been featured in prior books with a focus on her troubles and
relationship with Julian Gastineaux.  Fans of this series waited for Daisy's
story to be told and I think they will be pleasantly surprised by this book.
If you haven't read previous books in this series, there are enough backstory's re-told to give you a feel for events that have happened in the past.

This is a difficult review to write because I don't want to
 spoil the book for those who would like to read it.
That said, the love triangle between Daisy, Logan and Julian continues.
Julian is in the air force, Logan still carries a torch for Daisy and
continues to be an active parent to their son Charlie.

Daisy is no longer a teenager, but a twenty-something woman with a
career as a wedding photographer and aspirations to one day have her
photographs displayed at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
She is a loving, single Mom who has a troubled love life due to the fact
that she's always felt a deep connection with Julian, but he is away in the
air force and Logan is there daily participating in his sons life.

There are many twists and turns in this story.  So much so that I was up
late at night reading because I couldn't wait to see what would happen
next!  I finished this book in 4 days, which is awesome for me since it usually
takes me about a week to get through a book due to Mom duties and
lack of time to just sit and read in a peaceful environment.