Mrs. Twist Reads This: Dumplin’

It’s time for this month’s read from our book club — Mrs. Twist Reads This — Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy.  Our book for March will surely put a smile on your face.   Written by Julie Murphy, a YA author, this beloved novel, a #1 New York Times bestseller, will soon be a major motion picture starring Danielle Macdonald and Jennifer Aniston. I hope to see you at our book club meeting the last Thursday of the month, March 29 at 7 p.m.  Tell a friend and get them to read along with us!

For fans of John Green and Rainbow Rowell comes this powerful novel with the most fearless heroine—self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson—from Julie Murphy, the acclaimed author of Side Effects May Vary. With starry Texas nights, red candy suckers, Dolly Parton songs, and a wildly unforgettable heroine—Dumplin’ is guaranteed to steal your heart.

Dubbed “Dumplin’” by her former beauty queen mom, Willowdean has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American-beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked . . .  until Will takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back.  

Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Teen Blue Bonnet Pageant—along with several other unlikely candidates—to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does. Along the way, she’ll shock the hell out of Clover City—and maybe herself most of all.

Want to sign up to read along with us?  Whether you are local to our Fort Worth monthly meetings, or just want to be apart of a community of women reading more and spending less time using technology, sign up for  free here on our Mrs. Twist Reads This page at Bookmovement.

Mrs. Twist Reads This: I’m Proud of You

Is “Read More” on your resolution list?  Then, consider this your personal invitation to join our Mrs. Twist Reads This book club!  It’s free, we meet once a month and have fun discussing each month’s selection while we nosh and sip.  Save the date for Wednesday, January 31 at 7 p.m.

This month’s book is I’m Proud of You by Tim Madigan.

“It began as another newspaper assignment, a celebrity profile of the children’s television icon. But in Fred Rogers, Texas journalist Tim Madigan found more than a fascinating subject. From their first meeting in 1995, at Rogers’ invitation, the two became unlikely friends, a deep and abiding relationship that lasted until Rogers’ death in 2003. In that time, Madigan found Rogers to be much more than the calm and compassionate personality of television. He was a person of unique human greatness who embodied love, compassion and wisdom his every waking moment. He was the transcendent being who guided Madigan through periods of life-threatening depression and the tragic death of a sibling and helped him heal his difficult relationship with his father. I’m Proud of You reveals Fred Rogers as a person who deserves a place among history’s greatest people. It chronicles male friendship at its finest and most powerful. And it is a book that has already brought hope and inspiration to many thousands of its readers.”

Here’s an even better part — The author, Tim Madigan, will be joining us to answer all our questions, share additional insights and sign your books!  You may best know Tim from his writing at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. By the mid-1990s, Tim had become one of the most decorated newspaper reporters in recent Texas history (three times named the state’s top reporter), while writing about everything from sick children, to serial killers, cowboy poets, to his own experiences as a husband and father.  He is so personable and I just know you will enjoy getting to meet him.  I am honored, that with bribery of homemade carrot cake, he accept my invitation to join us for the evening.

Want to join us?  Visit our book club’s page at BookMovement by clicking on this invitation link here to sign up.  It’s free and by creating an account you will receive notification emails from me when a new book has been selected and when the club is planning to meet.  You can also use the site to RSVP your attendance at our monthly gathering, create your personal queue of books, follow discussion boards and see the newest releases from your favorite author.  Our book club usually meets the last Thursday of the month in Fort Worth (we adjusted this month’s gathering to accommodate Tim’s schedule).  But, even if you don’t live locally and just want motivation and accountability to spend more time reading, you can follow along remotely.  I select each book based on the group’s interest and so far we’ve read some pretty good books!

I hope we will see you at the end of the month!  Until then, happy reading!

Mrs. Twist Reads This: Best Day Ever

Our bookclub is coming up the week after Thanksgiving and I wanted to share what we’re reading this month, and if you have time during the holiday, some ideas on other books to read over the week.

In the bestselling, page-turning vein of The Couple Next Door and The Dinner, Kaira Rouda weaves a gripping, tautly suspenseful tale of deception and betrayal dark enough to destroy a marriage…or a life.

“I glance at my wife as she climbs into the passenger seat, and I am bursting with confidence. Today will be everything I’ve promised her…and more…”

Paul Strom has the perfect life: a glittering career as an advertising executive, a beautiful wife, two healthy boys and a big house in a wealthy suburb. And he’s the perfect husband: breadwinner, protector, provider. That’s why he’s planned a romantic weekend for his wife, Mia, at their lake house, just the two of them. And he’s promised today will be the best day ever.

But as Paul and Mia drive out of the city and toward the countryside, a spike of tension begins to wedge itself between them and doubts start to arise. How much do they trust each other? And how perfect is their marriage, or any marriage, really?

Forcing us to ask ourselves just how well we know those who are closest to us, Best Day Ever crackles with dark energy, spinning ever tighter toward its shocking conclusion.

Want to join in and read it with us?  Join the Mrs. Twist Reads This book club through BookMovement. It’s free and even if you don’t live local to our monthly meetings, you can still join our club!  It’s a great way to create accountability to spend more time reading and less time using technology.

Here’s a fun link I found for “Eleven Books You Can Read Over Thanksgiving.”  I hope to maybe checkout one or two of these books after I’ve finished all my cooking.

What is Your Tendency?

I am reading an interesting book right now in my book club Mrs. Twist Reads This (read more here).  The Four Tendencies by NYT best-selling author, Gretchen Rubin, is an indispensable personality profile that reveals how to make your life better, and other people’s lives, too.

During her multi-book investigation into human nature, Gretchen Rubin realized that by asking the suspiciously simple question “How do I respond to expectations?” we gain explosive self-knowledge.

She discovered that people fit into Four Tendencies:  Upholders, Questioners, Obligers, and Rebels.  Our Tendency shapes every aspect of our behavior, so understanding this framework lets us make better decisions, meet deadlines, suffer less stress and burnout, and engage more effectively.

The first step is to determine what your tendency is.  Visit her website here to take a free, simple quiz.  After you have completed the quiz you will automatically learn your tendency.  Then dive into the book to learn more about how to use your tendency to become happier, healthier, more productive and more creative.  It will be fun to guess what other people are.  For example, I know that Mr. Bee is a Questioner.  I can’t tell you my tendency…you have to wait until book club night!

The Four Tendencies hold practical answers if you’ve ever wondered:

  • People rely on me, so why can’t I rely on myself?
  • Why do people tell me that I ask too many questions?
  • How do I work with someone who refuses to do what I ask – or one who keeps telling me what to do?
  • How do I stop by teenager from dropping out of school?
  • Why can’t I convince my patients to take their prescriptions?
  • How can my team become more effective, with less wasted time and conflict?

At our book club meeting on October 26 we are going to do a fun activity to learn what our tendencies are and help each other to harness our strengths.  Wanna join the fun?  Visit BookMovement, our book club website to sign up for a free account.  Use this invitation code to join our club, and whether you are local or far away, you can be a part of a community spending more time reading and less time using technology!

Mrs. Twist Reads This: Book Club This Thursday

Have you finished this month’s book club selection — The Heirs. It’s been fun hearing from our book club members as they get into each book to say “I love reading again” or “I am so glad I am learning to read different kinds of books.”  I echo these sentiments.  I love a good mystery, but it’s been enlightening to find myself reading books I wouldn’t normally pick up.  Rieger’s writing style is very descriptive and pulled me into the relationships that unfolded. Siblings, parents, spouses, lovers, history, she included everything. I gained perspective from each character, yet she left just enough mystery for me to wonder.  This is a good read and made me want her to write a sequel.*

That’s exactly why I started Mrs. Twist Reads This — to broaden my horizons of books and to spend more time reading and less time using technology.  We are up to 35 members and would love to have you join us. Using BookMovement as our free, online repository for suggestions to see what other book clubs are reading, we can stay connected to upcoming books and build our own personal queue of books even if you live hundreds of miles away.  We meet once monthly for a cocktail or iced tea and a snack while we chat about the book.  It’s fun to be in the company of other women to form our own community!

You can still sign up here and once you do you will start receiving periodic email reminders of upcoming meetings.  This month’s meeting is Thursday, September 28 from 7-8:30 p.m.  That’s when you will find out what we are reading in October!

Happy reading!

*I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Mrs. Twist Reads This — September Book

When I started my book club it was supposed to be a summer fling to help me read more and spend less time using technology (blogging doesn’t count) — technology meaning Facebook, Pinterest and watching television.  I read a record of five books this summer, which I haven’t done since I was in elementary school when you’d check out the Seen Jane Run weekly readers!

Last month was supposed to be our last meeting until next summer, but it was unanimous that out monthly reads helped all of us to be accountable to reading and we actually look forward to sitting down with a good book. So, I am delighted to share that we will now meet monthly, mostly on the last Thursday of the month.  Our book club is for everyone even if you can’t attend our monthly meetings.  Reading is about creating a community.  Here the invitation link for Mrs. Twist Reads This book club through BookMovement.  It’s is free to sign up and ensures that you will receive email reminders of meetings and be the first to know which book is coming up next.  You can also create your own queue of books you’d like to read on your own outside of book club.

For September we will be reading The Heirs:  A Novel.  Listed eighth on the New York Times “Best Summer Reads” list, released in May 2017 this is Rieger’s second book.

“Six months after Rupert Falkes dies, leaving a grieving widow and five adult sons, an unknown woman sues his estate, claiming she had two sons by him.  The Falkes brothers are pitched into turmoil, at once missing their father and feeling betrayed by him.  In disconcerting contrast, their mother, Eleanor, is cool and calm, showing preternatural composure.  
Eleanor and Rupert had made an admirable life together — Eleanor with her sly wit and generosity, Rupert with his ambition and English charm — and they were proud of their handsome, talented sons: Harry, a brash law professor; Will, a savvy Hollywood agent; Sam, an astute doctor and scientific researcher; Jack, a jazz trumpet prodigy; Tom, a public-spirited federal prosecutor. The brothers see their identity and success as inextricably tied to family loyalty – a loyalty they always believed their father shared. Struggling to reclaim their identity, the brothers find Eleanor’s sympathy toward the woman and her sons confounding. Widowhood has let her cast off the rigid propriety of her stifling upbringing, and the brothers begin to question whether they knew either of their parents at all.
A riveting portrait of a family, told with compassion, insight, and wit, The Heirs wrestles with the tangled nature of inheritance and legacy for one unforgettable, patrician New York family. Moving seamlessly through a constellation of rich, arresting voices, The Heirs is a tale out Edith Wharton for the 21st century.”

We will meet on Thursday, September 28 at 7 p.m. for lite bites, sips (we usually try to have a cocktail relevant to the book and coffee, too) and discussion.  We’d love to have you join us!  If you have an iPhone you can load the free BookMovement app on your phone so you can stay up to date on club news.

I hope you’ll join us to have fun reading again!

Mrs. Twist Reads This Book Club — Next Wednesday and it’s a Party!

Have you signed up yet to be in the Mrs. Twist Reads This book club?  It’s free and tons of fun! This month we are reading Lost and Found Sisters by New York Times best selling author Jill Shalvis.

It’s a sweet story full of sisterly bonds, friendship, romance, mis-truths and family.

If you haven’t started reading it yet, you still have time to sign up here through BookMovement, our on-line book club organizer, where you can see what we’ve read this past summer and select books for your own personal reading queue.  Even if you do not live local to me, but want to be part of reading community (and have accountability for finishing the book), come be a part of our book club.

We meet next Wednesday, August 30 from 7- 8 p.m.  and in addition to reviewing the book — we will also be celebrating my birthday!  And you know what that means…we will have cake and Prosecco!!!  If that’s not motivation to get started reading I don’t know what is!

Be sure to RSVP your attendance on the Club’s selection/meeting page so we know how much bubbly to plan for.  Happy reading!

The Tea Planter’s Wife — You’ll want to drink alot of tea!

Where is Melissa and what have you done with her?  Hello, my name is Melissa and I may be addicted to reading. Seriously.  I was listening to a podcast recently and they shared a great site called Blogging for Books for bloggers who like to read.  They give out review copies to bloggers, retailers, librarians and media outlets in exchange for an honest review. It’s fun to receive my free book in the mail. As long as you follow up in a timely manner with a review, they keep sending books. After you register, you can go through the list to see what books are available for review.  It’s not an extensive list and limited to Penguin Random House and Crown Publishing Group but there are a variety of categories from lifestyle, cooking, fiction and non-fiction, business and faith.

This month’s review was The Tea Planter’s Wife by Dinah Jefferies.  Set in 1920’s Ceylon, about a young Englishwoman who marries a charming tea plantation owner and widower, only to discover he’s keeping terrible secrets about his past, including what happened to his first wife, that lead to devastating consequences.

I am usually not attracted to historical non-fiction or “period” books.  I thought the description of the book was intriguing and I am glad I took a chance on this book.

The author is very descriptive and I found myself transported to a 1920’s tea plantation.  It literally made me crave tea — so I enjoyed several pots of PG Tips during this read.

It’s easy to read and once I started, I couldn’t put it down.  It takes a little while to get past the set up of relationships, but once that was done, it was a quick read.

I loved the character development and toward the end I was in tears after all the secrets were revealed.  There were tons of secrets!  I wanted to shake people and say, “Snap out of it!  Why didn’t you say something!” So, it was tedious at times.

The back of the book includes the author’s explanation of how she came to write the book, Q&A conversations with the author, and a reader’s guide — so it’s perfect for book clubs.  I gave it 4 out of five stars.

Now, I am on to our book club selection this month which you can read about here.

White Fur — Book Review: Love/Hate This Book

I just finished White Fur by Jardine Libaire.  This book sent to me for review by Blogging for Books.  Amazon has it rated be reviewers with 4 out of 5 stars.  I gave it 2 stars.

This book was frustrating.  It was hard to get into, but also hard to put down.  I felt like half the book was filled with too many descriptive words, unnecessary conversations with random groups of people and sex. What the author did do that was positive is allow the characters love for each other to evolve where you were actually rooting for them, but then it fell flat.  So many questions at the end!  Why didn’t Elise urge the police and family to pursue charges against Valentina? Where did they get the money to end up in New Delhi and why there? First book I’ve ever started, didn’t want to finish because it was pointless, but I am glad I did finish it only to be irritated at the ending. Was it supposed to leave me feeling as messed up as Jamey and Elise?  Or are they messed up and finally have grown into people they were supposed to be at last?  So many questions left unanswered.  But, apparently, there are a lot of people out there that liked it.  What do I know?

Mrs. Twist Reads This: Camino Island by John Grisham

We wrapped up The Book of Polly last night with an engaging phone call into our meeting by the author, Kathy Hepinstall.  She was lovely and funny and insightful.  We learned so much about the book publishing industry, and that The Book of Polly has already been optioned as a movie! We gave her all sorts of ideas on who should star in the movie and that our book club should be invited to walk the red carpet with her!  We already have our stylist Holley putting together our outfits for the big day. It was an amazing experience and I am so grateful to Kathy that she accepted our invitation to talk with us last night.  The last thing she asked for in our call was a group photo holding Polly’s favorite drink — Margaritas!

So, moving on to July.  We will be reading Camino Island by John Grisham.

“A gang of thieves stage a daring heist from a secure vault deep below Princeton University’s Firestone Library. Their loot is priceless, but Princeton has insured it for twenty-five million dollars.
     Bruce Cable owns a popular bookstore in the sleepy resort town of Santa Rosa on Camino Island in Florida. He makes his real money, though, as a prominent dealer in rare books. Very few people know that he occasionally dabbles in the black market of stolen books and manuscripts.
     Mercer Mann is a young novelist with a severe case of writer’s block who has recently been laid off from her teaching position. She is approached by an elegant, mysterious woman working for an even more mysterious company. A generous offer of money convinces Mercer to go undercover and infiltrate Bruce Cable’s circle of literary friends, ideally getting close enough to him to learn his secrets.
     But eventually Mercer learns far too much, and there’s trouble in paradise as only John Grisham can deliver it.”

According to this review from the NY Times — “Grisham has said that he and his wife dreamed up “Camino Island” during a long car ride to Florida, and the book provides the pleasure of a leisurely jaunt periodically jolted into high gear, just for the fun and speed of it.”

If you haven’t been able to read along with us the past few months, jump in any time.  Here is the link to Book Movement where you can sign up for free to be in Mrs. Twist Reads This book club.  You can see what’s in our queue, write reviews, read and share group discussion questions and be on the list to review emails from me about meetings and happenings in our club.  Our next gathering will be Thursday, July 27 at 7 p.m. to discuss Camino Island.

Have a fab Friday!