Five Friday Favorites

988424_566188093488613_1058872697_n Five Friday Favorites is a weekly meme hosted by the lovely Book Badger that spotlights five favorite bookish things. Everyone is invited to join in on the fun!

I fudged the rules just a tad (sorry, Book Badger!), by featuring five favorite literary passages instead of the theme du jouer, which is secondary characters. These five books are full of poignant quotes, and I’m excited to share some of my dog-eared pages with you all! As you can see, I am a big-time fan of Ann Brashares and Beth Hoffman!

savingceeceehoneycutt“Life is full of change, honey. That’s how we learn and grow. When we’re born, the Good Lord gives each of us a Life Book.

Chapter by chapter, we live and learn.'”-”
— Beth Hoffman (Saving CeeCee Honeycutt)

Looking for Me by Beth Hoffman“Never tie your happiness to the tail of someone else’s kite.”
― Beth Hoffman (Looking for Me)

9461872“She existed in her friends; there she was. All the parts of herself she’d forgotten. She knew herself best when she was with them.”
— Ann Brashares (Sisterhood Everlasting—Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants #5)

452306“You know what the secret is? It’s so simple. We love one another. We’re nice to one another. Do you know how rare that is?”
— Ann Brashares (The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, #1)

32234“In a perverse way, I was glad for the stitches, glad it would show, that there would be scars. What was the point in just being hurt on the inside? It should bloody well show.”

—Janet Fitch (White Oleander)

Saving CeeCee Honeycutt Sinn

1625742_471634879631984_588126569_nMeet CeeCee Honeycutt, the newest member of the Sinn family!  She found her way into my life one fateful morning when I scooped her up from the side of the road. I’ll never forget how scared and lost she looked as she wandered in front of cars near a busy street. Not knowing what to expect, I swung my car door open and called out to her. Without hesitation, she jumped into the Taurus and stared up at me with an unmistakable look of relief.  Since she had no collar or registered microchip, I had to do some serious sleuthing to reunite this mystery mutt with her owner. Little did I know, she had already found her way home.

6617928So what does this have to do with books, you ask? Well if you’re a Beth Hoffman fan, her name should ring a bell. According to my neighbors, her name is CeeCee, which is rather fitting considering that’s the name of one of my most favorite literary characters. In fact, they both started their homeward-bound journeys from very rocky pasts.

Of course there’s no way of knowing what this dog has been through, but I do know that she desperately needed a safe place to land. I may not have a fancy Cadillac or a stately Southern mansion like Aunt Tootie, but I’d like to think that CeeCee is just as thrilled to be living in her new home as her literary counterpart.

If you’re an animal lover and enjoy good books about strong Southern women, check out Beth Hoffman’s blog. This wonderful author is dedicating her book tour to raising money for animal shelters! If you haven’t ready any of her books, you’re in for a real treat. Read my reviews here and here.

Audiobook Pick of the Month: Looking for Me by Beth Hoffman

Looking for Me by Beth HoffmanFrom the publisher: Teddi Overman found her life’s passion for furniture in a broken-down chair left on the side of the road in rural Kentucky. She learns to turn other people’s castoffs into beautifully restored antiques, and eventually finds a way to open her own shop in Charleston. There, Teddi builds a life for herself as unexpected and quirky as the customers who visit her shop.  Though Teddi is surrounded by remarkable friends and finds love in the most surprising way, nothing can alleviate the haunting uncertainty she’s felt in the years since her brother Josh’s mysterious disappearance. When signs emerge that Josh might still be alive, Teddi is drawn home to Kentucky.  It’s a journey that could help her come to terms with her shattered family—and to find herself at last.  But first she must decide what to let go of and what to keep.

Why I liked it: This book is the reason why I LOVE Southern fiction.  With a storyteller’s easy grace, Beth Hoffman whisked me away on Teddi’s emotional journey from a small town farmer’s daughter to a successful antique shop owner. Filled with messages of hope, kindness and tolerance, the story cuts to the very core of what is meant by “paying it forward.”

I especially love how Teddi’s journey of self-discovery revolves around antiques. There’s something very beautiful about breathing new life into an old, unwanted item.  One of the reasons why I adore Teddi is that she sees the beauty in everything and refuses to give up hope. With each chapter, I rooted for her as she struggled to connect with her emotionally-detached mother, and when she relentlessly searched for her missing brother. But what I love most about Teddi is that she’s kind to others without expecting anything in return.

One of my most favorite moments happened toward the end of the book when Teddi took pity on an old, destitute man who appeared at her store with a truck load of old antiques to sell. She didn’t particularly want to purchase unsolicited goods, but she didn’t have the heart to  turn him away.  I won’t give away any spoilers, but I will say that her good deeds paid off big time in the end!

Favorite secondary character: Of all the wonderful characters in this book, it’s hard to choose a favorite. As Teddi begins to find her place in the world, she befriends an unforgettable cast of characters, including Tula Jane Poteet, an old, eccentric kleptomaniac ; Olivia, Teddi’s romantically-challenged best friend; and Albert, a gifted antiques restorer with a sour disposition and a heart of gold.

I guess if I had to choose, my favorite would be Mr. Palmer, the owner of a Charleston antiques store who gave Teddi her first big break into the business. He was the first to recognize her artistic talent and gave her the encouragement to pursue her passion. We should all be so lucky to have a Mr. Palmer in our lives.

The narrator: If there was an academy award for audiobooks, this narrator should win best actress! Jenna Lamia does a stellar job capturing each of the characters’ unique voices. With her authentic Southern accent and effortless storytelling skills, she delivers a top-notch performance for a truly great book. She also narrates Hoffman’s debut novel, Saving Cee Cee Honeycutt, which by the way is one of my all-time most favorite books. You can read all about it here!

Summed up in three words: Heartwarming, poignant, memorable.