Monday, October 25, 2010

Book Review: Casting About by Terri DuLong

Casting About
Casting About by Terri DuLong
Publisher: Kensington
Publish Date: October 26, 2010
Paperback, 352 pages
Fiction, Women's Fiction, Southern Fiction, Cedar Key series #2

My Review:
Why I read this: I read Spinning Forward last year and loved it so I jumped at the chance to review Casting About this year.

How is the novel driven:  Character - it's what I refer to as "small-town fiction", similar to Jodi Thomas' Harmony, Texas series.  The town even has a life of it's own and the people in the town are great to see and get to know.  You feel like you are part of Cedar Key when you read these books.  The plot moves it along well, but I would say the focus is on the characters.

My thoughts:Well Ms. DuLong has done it again.  She has managed to suck me into life on Cedar Key so thoroughly that I didn't want to leave, in fact I want to go visit the real Cedar Key.  Casting About picks up with Monica, who is Sydney's daughter from Spinning Forward.  She is now running her mom's knitting shop and enjoying her 5-month-old marriage.  Of course something has to happen or there wouldn't be a book.  That something is her new husband Adam's 8-year-old daughter, Clarissa.  She is dropped into their life leaving Monica wondering if she has the nurturing inside her to be a mother or if she is just like her grandmother who gave her mother up for adoption.

Such a different angle for a book.  Imagine being a newlywed and not even sure you want to have kids.  Monica is use to Clarissa visiting but nothing prepares her for life with a younger girl.  As Monica begins to question her mothering ability, things begin to change slowly.  I really like how things happen in this book.  There is no poof and within the first few days and Monica is an excellent mother.  It's a learning process.  What Monica doesn't realize is it is a learning process for all mothers whether you are a natural mother to your children or a step-mother or adoptive mother.  And where she's extremely lucky is she's not alone, she has her friends and family in Cedar Key to help her every step of the way.

I loved watching Monica, Adam and Clarissa grow and change through this novel.  I loved seeing how the townspeople and family were again.  I loved the other undercurrents running through the book and most of all I loved the knitting.  I don't know how to knit but every I read one of these books I want to learn.  I actually bought stuff last year when I had surgery, but never quite got it.  Somehow I think it's time to get the knitting supplies back out and learn.

Casting About is a beautiful story of love, hardship and triumph.  It feels close enough to real life and I honestly felt like I was right there with Monica enduring the fears, trials, and happiness through the book.  Life is never easy but those moments when things go right really shine through and Ms. DuLong does a beautiful job showcasing the good and the bad and the wonderful small-town life of Cedar Key.  I can't wait to visit again and see what the inhabitants of Cedar Key are up to next.

My Rating: 4.5/5.0

About the Book:

In this beautifully crafted and uplifting novel, the author of the acclaimed Spinning Forward welcomes readers back to the lush Florida island of Cedar Key, where the vibrant shades of hibiscus and azaleas are the perfect backdrop to a colorful, quirky community. . .

In the four years since Monica Brooks moved to Cedar Key, she's found a home, a husband, and now a business to love. Taking over her mother's bustling knitting shop is a welcome challenge, but Monica's exciting plans are waylaid by unexpected news. Her husband's ex-wife has been deemed an unfit mother, and custody of their eight-year-old daughter, Clarissa, is to be transferred to Adam.

Going straight from honeymoon to motherhood--especially when she's unsure she wants children--leaves the normally even-keeled Monica doubting herself at every turn. Yet in a place like Cedar Key, nobody goes it alone. With help from friends and relatives, Monica, Clarissa, and Adam begin to forge a close-knit family of their own--one that will need to be strong enough to withstand all the surprises set to unravel. . .

About the Author:

You can read about Terri on her website here.


FTC Information: I received this book from the author for review.  All opinions expressed are my own and they are my honest opinions, I am not compensated anything beyond receiving the book for review.  I have Amazon links on my review pages but I do not make any money from these because of NC laws.  I put them solely for people to check out the books on a retail site.

Spooktacular Book Blog Giveaway Hop - October 25-31

Welcome to the Spooktacular Book Blog Giveaway Hop - I love participating in these - I always find new blogs and usually get new readers. I'm going to keep this simple. Fill out the Form, choose the books you would like to win and you are entered, no extra entries this time, but if you get a chance do tweet or let others know about all the great giveaways.  Check the linky at the bottom and visit other wonderful blogs and enter to win great books, swag and more!

First, these are open to US/Canada only, I'm low on funds at the moment.  Sorry international - next hop I'll try and do international.  Giveaway is open 12:01am 10/25 - 11:59pm 10/31.  So what am I giving away?

First a deliciously spooky book that is perfect for a cold night alone and though it is YA, don't let that put you off - this will thrill adults as well.
Solitary: A Novel (Solitary Tales Series)

Solitary by Travis Thrasher

ARC of Matched by Ally Condie (doesn't have this cool cover, sorry, but it's not out until the end of November so it's your chance to read this awesome book early)

Don't Look Back (Women of Justice Series #2)
Don't Look Back by Lynette Eason

Poisoned Kisses (Silhouette Nocturne)
Poisoned Kisses by Stephanie Draven

Dark Road to Darjeeling (Lady Julia Grey)
Dark Road to Darjeeling by Deanna Raybourn (ARC)

What Alice Knew: A Most Curious Tale of Henry James and Jack the Ripper
What Alice Knew by Paula Marantz Cohen (ARC)

Hothouse Flower: and the Nine Plants of Desire (Vintage Contemporaries)
Hot House Flower by Margo Berwin

That's it - a selection of 7 books.

If you are having trouble viewing the form, a link to it is here

What are you Reading Monday - October 25

Come post weekly and see what others are reading too just so you can add to your tbr - I always do! For more information see Sheila at One Persons Journey Through a World of Books and join in!

Books Completed Last Week 
Reading Now:
  • To the Nines by Janet Evanovich (audiobook in car)
  • Casting About by Terri DuLong (review)
  • Pirate Latitudes by Michael Crichton (audiobook - listen while walking)
  • Heart with Joy by Steve Cushman
  • The God Hater by Bill Myers
  • The Mullah's Storm by Thomas W. Young
  • The Unidentified by Rae Mariz
  • Rampant by Diana Peterfreund
  • Ascendent by Diana Peterfreund
  • Love Means Zero by Daisy Jordan
Reviews completed this week (books read before this week):
Other books still need to review:
  • Wings by Aprilynne Pike (library) 
  • The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong (mine)  
  • The Van Alen Legacy by Melissa de la Cruz
  • Cross Bones by Kathy Reichs (audiobook)
  • Matched by Ally Condie (review)
  • Break No Bones by Kathy Reichs (audiobook) 
  • Evermore by Alyson Noel (library)  
  • Spells by Aprylynne Pike (library) 
  • Candor by Pam Bachorz
  • The Strain by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan 
  • Tough Customer by Sandra Brown
  • Definitely Dead (audiobook)
  • Hard Eight by Janet Evanovich (audiobook)
  • Jenna and Jonah's Fauxmance by Emily Franklin and Brendan Halpin
  • Audrey, Wait by Robin Benway (library)
  • Burned by P.C. and Kristin Cast (audiobook)
Summary -

Good week - I got through my required review books for the week, I still have some to make up and a a full schedule coming up.  Look for lots of great interviews, guest posts and reviews as well as giveaways coming.

Best of the week:  Somewhere Along the Way by Jodi Thomas was my favorite, and Don't Look Back by Lynette Eason comes a close second.