Summer Giveaway – The Good Dream, by Donna Vanliere

the-good-dreamIn honor of summer a favorite book of the Club’s, we’re going to be giving away a gently used library-bound copy of The Good Dream, by Donna Vanliere.As posted earlier, this is Meg’s favorite Love Story (although it has nothing to do w/ the typical “romance” but delves deeper into the ties of motherhood-by-adoption). And AB has now become a fan too! We recently found a used copy of this book that we want to share with one of our readers – and we’re focusing this giveaway on our “follow-by-email” button. (But hear us out before you run away in fear of more spam email!)

“In The Good Dream, the reader will find exploration of themes of good vs. evil, the value of community, and bravery–the kind that inspires us all.” -AB

No Spam or Excessive Emailing

For those of you who are regular followers, you know that, at most, we only post about 1 article a week, sometimes only every 2 weeks. So that means that by signing up for our emails, you will ONLY receive an email when we post an article on our webpage. There will be nothing spammy or excessive. We just want to make sure that everyone knows when we post reviews (because, as we’ve found, Facebook notoriously filters things from people’s newfeeds, even if you’ve “liked” our page).

Giveaway Instructions

So how can you enter the giveaway? Just do any of the following to receive entries.

  • First, those of you who have already signed up for our emails, you will be automatically entered into the giveaway for 3 ENTRIES.
  • For our Facebook followers, if you SHARE the giveaway Facebook post, you will receive 1 ENTRY.
  • If you let a friend (or grandma) know about this who is not on Facebook and they sign up (or you sign them up), you can MESSAGE us privately, letting us know (along w/ their email so we can confirm) and you will personally receive 4 ENTRIES into the giveaway. (Sorry if that’s confusing, but we want to facilitate everyone.)
  • Finally, every new email follower that signs up will receive 5 ENTRIES into the giveaway. 

The giveaway will run from Friday, June 23rd – Wednesday, June 28th at 10pm CST. The winner will be notified either via Facebook or email (based on entry method). We hope you will all share the Shabby Coat Book Club with your reading friends!
(See below for where to find the “Follow by email” button).

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Desktop view of “follow” button


Mobile device view – “follow” button appears while scrolling up

To the Bright Edge of the World, by Eowyn Ivey

Review by AB

I’d like to think that it’s not a coincidence that as I sat down in my front porch rocking chair to write this review, I was fortunate to spot two especially large birds settling in the tall pines at the edge of our property. If you read To the Bright Edge of the World, you will understand the significance of such a moment. The love of birds and the mystery surrounding their nature plays an important role in the novel, but this story is not just for bird lovers.

Eowyn Ivey’s frame story (a story within a story) is a tale of love and adventure set in the 41qpsissbfL._SX321_BO1,204,203,200_late 19th century. It follows Colonel Allen Forrester as he leads a treacherous expedition to find the source of Alaska’s Wolverine River, leaving behind his young wife and budding ornithologist Sophie at a military outpost.

The story is unique in that it is comprised entirely of letters and journal entries that Allen and Sophie (and others) write. The real-time nature of this format, the period photographs and drawings that are taken from real publications, and the unexplainable phenoma surrounding the events of the story keep the reader engaged and sympathetic toward the characters. The distinct voices of Ivey’s characters stir up a desire to see these wild, unkempt places that the author knows so well. If you’ve ever been to Alaska, as I have, you will be reminded of the vastness of its glaciers and forests at the same time that you are reminded of the courage of the people who call it home.

I give the book 4 stars only because of its slow start (this is no beach read), though the more I began to understand the characters, the less that bothered me.

Purchase To the Bright Edge of the World.


“There is a mythical element to our childhood, it seems, that stays with us always. When we are young, we consume the world in great gulps, and it consumes us, and everything is mysterious and alive and fills us with desire and wonder, fear, and guilt. With the passing of the years, however, those memories become distant and malleable, and we shape them into the stories of who we are. We are brave, or we are cowardly. We are loving, or we are cruel.”

“There is hope in our wanting to be something better, even if we never manage it. Maybe that is what I can hold to. The wanting.”

Summer Reads 2017

Here’s just a list of fun and/or interesting-but-not-tedious reads for long vacation drives and warm summer days. We’ve categorized them (somewhat) for a quick perusal based on reader interest. We hope you’ll find some you enjoy! 

Editor’s Pick*

TMGTruly, Madly Guilty, by Liane Moriarty (Genre: Fiction)
Three couples gather for an afternoon barbecue and find their lives permanently altered. So what in the world happened at the barbecue? I (Natalie) couldn’t put down Truly, Madly Guilty until the author answered this question. Moriarty teases out the details in a somewhat maddening, but incredibly suspenseful way. That’s why this is my summer read choice. You won’t be bored reading it by the pool or on the beach. Continue reading

The Secret of Spellshadow Manor, by Bella Forrest

spellI’d like to say that I’ve never succumbed to the lure of clickbait. Usually I’m a strong person on Facebook. Clickbait? That’s for simpletons. But … well, there was this kind of ad post with a cool-looking book cover for The Secret of Spellshadow Manor that said “If you loved Harry Potter, you will LOVE this new series! Get the kindle deal today only!” And unfortunately, I’m a huge HP fan, and, well, anyway it was a great kindle deal. I mean, yeah, the author is known for a ton of cranked-out vampire mysteries, but this could be her Shining Star … right? Continue reading

Children’s Book Week


May 1st marked the start of the 98th annual Children’s Book Week. To commemorate this week that encourages children’s literacy, I’ve put together a list of some my family’s favorite books. Libraries and bookstores across America celebrate this special week, and you can check out events in your area with this interactive map.

Ella Bella Ballerina Series. Ella Bella is a young ballet dancer who is transported by music into the story of well-known ballets such as Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker, Cinderella, and a few others. The illustrations are beautiful. My daughter, an aspiring ballerina, loves these books, and even my 6-year-old boy enjoys the stories.


Dinosaurs Before Dark (Magic Tree House Book 1) by [Osborne, Mary Pope, Sal Murdocca]Magic Tree House Series. You will never run out of books to read with this series. And since the author transports her hero and heroine, Jack and Annie, into books via the tree house, she has an endless supply of writing material. I enjoy this series almost as much as my kids. In the first book, Jack and Annie stumble upon the tree house, and, by accident, end up transported to the age of dinosaurs.


A Giraffe and a Half. My kids love reading this tongue twister by Shel Silverstein. It features Silverstein’s always fun and humorous illustrations.



Tacky the Penguin series. Tacky is an unconventional, Hawaiian-shirt-wearing penguin who gets into trouble and then out of it again by hilarious means. Our favorite is Tacky Goes to Camp, where Tacky and his penguin friends nearly get eaten by a bear but are inadvertently saved by Tacky’s love of s’mores.


Henry’s Bright Idea. This story follows a group of sharply dressed, creative animals. Henry the fox is the inventor of the group, but he has lost his latest idea. His friend Eleanor the Bear helps him find his idea. This is a very sweet story, and the book is filled with delightful illustrations.


William and the Missing Masterpiece. The quick-witted cat-sleuth William is called to Paris to catch a thief who has stole the Mona Cheesa. The cheese puns alone in this book make it worth reading.




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World Book Day – A “Must-Read” List

It’s World Book Day today, so we just quickly want to give you the book that we each recommend to people the most. 

Natalie: The Thirteenth Tale, by Diane Setterfield 
Every once in a while I read a book that I wish I could experience for the first time over and over again. This book ranks among my favorite mystery novels simply because of the author’s ability to craft beautiful sentences – and the surprising twist at the end.


Meg: Celia Garth, by Gwen Bristow – This is the book that has it all: history (Revolutionary War era), drama, war, love, spies, a beloved setting (dear Charleston), and a smart and sassy heroine. I’ve yet to have anyone tell me they didn’t love this book.
Note: reading a 1st edition copy makes it even better. 😊img_9373

AB: The Staff and the Sword Series – For fans of the LOTR or The Wheel of Time series, this debut series by Patrick W. Carr (a high school math teacher from Tennessee) is an excellent addition.  I love the deep character development and the intricate plot. These qualities and many more contribute to the epic nature of this series. Start with the first book, called A Cast of Stones.


What Alice Forgot, by Liane Moriarty

Review by Meg 

When I was a college freshman, I wrote a “10 year” letter to myself – to be read when I was 29. It was full of the usual stuff – who my friends were, what classes I was taking, the guy that I currently had a crush on, etc. I put it away in my keepsake box and proceeded to forget about it. Then, when I was 28, right after having my first child, I found it – and decided 9 years was good enough to wait, and re-met my 19-year-old self. By this point in my life, it was mostly funny to read, maybe mildly embarrassing (I liked THAT guy – Really? And thought I might MARRY him??). But that whole instance brings up an interesting question: Do you know what your life will be like 10 years from now?

What Alice Forgot begins with Alice waking up (with a very sore head), thinking she’s 29 years old, madly in love and about to have her first baby – only to be told that she’s actually 39, has 3 kids, and is about to get a divorce. Shealice has absolutely no memory of the last ten years of her life, and cannot imagine how on earth she got to where she is now.

The next 476 pages unfold with Alice trying to remember her life and repair the damage she’s done. But without her memory, she is, as she puts it “floating helplessly above the calendar like an escaped balloon.” I flew through this book – IN ONE DAY (that’s how much I just needed to help Alice resolve her issues). In one sense, the premise is similar to other memory-loss stories like Remember Me, but what’s unique about this story are the close-to-home issues that many “ordinary” people experience – about marriage and divorce (and custody battles), and about the grief and heartache of infertility. The story unfolds with 3 narrative voices – mostly through the 3rd-person omnicient author, but also through the journals of Alice’s sister, Elisabeth and the letters of Frannie, Alice’s surrogate grandmother, to her long-dead fiance. I know that may sound confusing, but I thought the change-up in narration helped weave some interesting texture into the plot (and gave us that special, inside look into Elisabeth’s infertility).

The story’s ending seemed to “work out nicely” – and I’m sure some readers will be disappointed that it wasn’t more shocking and post-modernly heartbreaking – but I really appreciated the fact that the resolution (for all 3 women) had true goodness and what I would call the kind gifts of God winning the day.

Purchase What Alice Forgot here.


“It’s Mother’s Day next Sunday. That’s the most painful day of the year for an Infertile. I always wake up feeling ashamed. Not sad so much. Just ashamed. Sort of stupid. It’s a version of that feeling I had in high school when I was the only one in my class who didn’t need to wear a bra. I’m not a proper woman. I’m not a grown-up.” 

“But maybe every life looked wonderful if all you saw was the photo albums.”

“Each memory, good and bad, was another invisible thread that bound them together, even when they were foolishly thinking they could lead separate lives. It was as simple and complicated as that.”

“Early love is exciting and exhilarating. It’s light and bubbly. Anyone can love like that. But after three children, after a separation and a near-divorce, after you’ve hurt each other and forgiven each other, bored each other and surprised each other, after you’ve seen the worst and the best– well, that sort of love is ineffable. It deserves its own word.”