it was a spookylicious halloween at ellens darlingly decked out haunt. we all know this adorable tiny house from the outside, but once you step into her spacious multilevel home there was so much to frighten even the sturdiest of souls...
after every frightful bite we were able to settle in and discuss our latest book. first up we had 2 new guests, ellen's neighbor mary kay, newly arrived to the village, a welcomed addition and cheryl, jains neighbor who lives in colorado year round, but comes out a couple of times of year to visit their rental. it was delightful having both of these ladies!
on to the book, it was a resoundingly successful read for everyone! big little lies tackled so many aspects of womens lives, serious topics, hidden agendas, shameful secrets, but it was all done with grace and humor. i think several of us would not have read the book if we knew the topic was abuse, but the way she managed to slide humor in through realistic characters, including the modern day greek chorus of mommies in the car pool we all thought it was an excellent book. to date this book has the highest rating in our book club with a 4.6.
carol had mentioned it would be a good idea to select our books about three months out in advance to give us time to queue up at the library or just have a little extra time to read at our leisure.
when you arrive at carol's you are welcomed by her hip hugging house nestled into the hillside...
built as a forever home, it has strong architectural structure balanced with the breathtaking views
the table was quickly laden with food
we dinned on carols fresh salmon, smoked at the tides, pea and bacon salad, eddies smoked pork, grilled shrimp, fresh bread and brie, apples and brie tarts, zucchini bread with pumpkin butter and suzette surprised us with her pre 61 year old birthday cake for the 28th.
and off we go for a tour of her wonderful home...
including bumping into some additional recommendations~
how can you resist enjoying this protected view, and of course kenny has the most comfy seat in the house.
while suzette tried to quickly read the last 37 pages of the book...
bev and i played in the elevator!
dinner was served at the magic hour, bites were suspended in hopes of the illusive green flash...
now on to the book!
the book had mixed reviews, for several they detested ove and thought the book didn't really grab them until about 2/3 of the way in, but eventually ove won them over and all four had a good cry at the end. suzette had the honor of baring her soul/and tears live and in front of the group as she closed the book just as the last of the ladies arrived.
speaking for myself i was the most enthusiastic about ove, i loved the humor and found many deeply touching lines throughout the book. to me it was about honor, unspeakable loss and love, all written by a man that really touched my heartstrings!
it was a slim group that had finished the book, the ratings will adjust as the rest share their results upon completion.
beverly's eager little and large pups greeted us as we entered her spectacular home, welcoming us all to relax and breath in the beauty of her abode. i have to confess, i love to read, but i love seeing everyone's homes even more! and this is stunning... the soft shades of sand and sea envelope you the moment you walk into her great room. walls of glass bring the beach right to your toes and swirl the fog around your shoulders. calm, relaxing, rewarding, with the perfect spots to curl up with a good book and never move a muscle. heavy sigh of contentment from me!
i fear i was rather amiss with gathering all the food pics, i was too busy engaging with the décor, scenery and drifting out to sea, one of the few moments where food did not take precedence with me! BUT, we did have a delicious meal with asian noodle salad, hoison meatballs, baguettes with asiago, corn, tomato and green bean salad, chicken wings, sushi, and 2 desserts with puff pastry pears and a beautiful cake!
on to our book! ellen shared how much she enjoys period books, where you delve back into history, juxtaposed against the current modern day times. her allure with the book was venice, evoking many memories for her, along with her love of history. on a whole the book was well received, with the few disclaimers that it felt a bit like a cheesy romance novel with the future all wrapped up in such a pretty little bow.
marla not only selected our book, but graciously hosted us all once again~
as cute as the title may be, it was a resounding flop for all of us... the good news is that we can still enjoy ourselves in such wonderful company and surroundings!
who knew the best thing about the book was some fun foot apparel!
and maybe some pie too~
once again we were treated to marlas darling seaside inspired home
i adore her new italian dishes...
earlier in the summer we spent a morning playing with the serving pieces by and in the sea for her fabulous shop coastal bliss designs...
can you tell I love her stuff?
ok, back to her coastal cozy home and décor!
her brand new gorgeous table was quickly laden with a multitude of goodies for its initial christening: fresh french bread and cheese, broccoli salad, chicken salad, potato salad, bread salad, tuna crostini, bacon wrapped chicken, chocolate ginger dipped figs and triple berry pie with ginger whip cream~
i think its safe to say we were a very happy group!
ps i warned you ladies i don't take very good people pics, sorry suzette i caught you with your eyes closed, but at least you are all smiles!
for the mere formality of keeping it real, here was our breakdown of the book...
we all found her writing uninspired, tedious and dare i say boring... it was a private journal that i think should have stayed that way! no one in the group could connect with her... we don't need to say more, for almost all of us to feel the same we can just chalk this one off and get on to other topics of the night.
we had an interesting discussion about further selections... instead of blindly picking new books to read, it has been suggested that each person recommend a book that they have already read and enjoyed, this way perhaps we can come up with a stronger read for the group. ellen selected the glass blower of murano for our august 28th meeting at beverly's home.
welcome to janell's home, stroll past her lavender and olive flanked walkway, enter her charming gates and step into her darling seaside courtyard...
pop off your shoes, we are heading upstairs for a wonderful evening of food and chatter in her spacious light filled great room, with stellar water views and swaths of golden lupine illuminating the hillside...
as always, food is a delightful topic amongst friends... we dined on thai pasta salad, bean salad, kale salad, chips and parmesan dip, zucchini torte, berry compote with cream fraiche and s'more cookies, but WINE is the key selling point!
after a little wrangling, we were able to guide our conversation to the topic on hand, our book reviews~
group average 3.14
overall, we found this book was a difficult read, these are my words, but it was hard topic, on a harsh reality, with no glimmer of hope... of course reading books of this nature are important to jar us from our comfort zones, but it was brought up that some people have such little extra time for reading that they would prefer not to read such grim books, perhaps we could pick something lighter next time. marla filled the bill on that instantly, offering up dancing naked with red fuzzy slippers as our next book de jour :-)
it was another wonderful evening of spirited chatter at janell's, thank you so much for hosting us all again, your home and food were delightful!