Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read.” —Groucho Marx

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Down the Darkest Road by Tami Hoag...a Review

This was one of the darkest books I’ve read in quite some time.   Sometimes I wonder about my fascination with this type of book and t.v. show.   I must be very depraved myself to read  and watch this stuff.   The book centers around the Lawton family, Lance and Lauren, the parents, and two daughters, Leslie and Leah, aged four years apart.   That in itself was confusing trying to keep straight who we were reading about.   When Leslie turned a rebellious sixteen, she was abducted by a pervert.   Two years later her father, Lance committed suicide by staging a car accident.   Lauren, the mother, all but forgot about her younger daughter, Leah, when she became obsessed with trying to obtain justice for her missing, probably deceased daughter, Leslie.    The bad guy was extremely methodical and careful and clever; the officials were never able to pin anything on him in Leslie’s disappearance.   However, Lauren knew he had done it and she was determined to seek vengeance/justice.   And the saddest part was, who could not relate to how she felt?  Life certainly had treated her dirty.   I didn’t like how she wallowed in her bitterness and how she more or less couldn’t appreciate the fact she still had one daughter left…a daughter that needed her mother.    It was a depressing story, and an ugly tale of perversion, really spelling it out.  I am not sure the ending really salvaged the story for me.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Lethal by Sandra Brown...a Review

Honor Gillette and her four year old daughter, Emily, live in Tambour, Louisianna.  It is a quiet and peaceful town where every one knows everyone and their business.   It is protected by the local police department and the Sheriff's office, but all is not as it seems.  One fine morning all Hell breaks loose with the murder of seven employees of the local trucking company and one alledged murderer on the run, a disgruntled employee, one Lee Coburn.   When he is found injured in Honor's yard, Honor's world goes bezerk.   She and her daughter are held captive, their home ransacked, and eventually they are kidnapped by the alledged murderer.  All of the corruption stemming from the trucking company, is spear headed by the BookKeeper who finds Coburn's involvement disconcerting and he is targeted for disposal.   But not only is Coburn in trouble with the BookKeeper, so are Honor and Emily and anyone they trust.    It's a winding twisting tale of murder and deception.    Some would go to any measure to protect their empires.  Honor would go to that same measure to protect her daughter, and Lee Coburn, wants to finish what he starts.
  It took awhile to get into this book, but once I found the hook, it had me and from then on, it was hard to put down.   A good read and I love a good mystery!  

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Keeper of the Light by Diane Chamberlain...a Review

Wow….what a novel this was!!!!!   I could not put it down and stayed up way past my bedtime…Lol.   This was possibly the best book I have read in awhile.   Or at the very least was right up my alley.   Mz Chamberlain’s writing is new to me, but she will be ranked among my favorite authors.   Her writing was captivating, her storyline well developed and implemented and her characters as real as they could be.   Each had their redeeming qualities and each their weaknesses as well. The novel exposes human frailty and the repercussions our choices have upon not only ourselves but those that we love and those that love us.  We  meet Annie O'Neill the night she dies, as she was brought into the ER, a victim of a gunshot wound.  Her treating physician is Dr. Olivia Simon, the woman whose marriage crumbles with the passing of Annie O'Neill.   Olivia will go on to seek whatever she can find…what did Annie have that Olivia could not offer her husband?   Paul Macelli, Olivia’s husband, will abandon his marriage to grieve in anonymity and build his shrine to Annie.    Dr Alec O’Neill will mourn the death of his wife and his marriage only to find he knew very little about her in reality, and Mary Poor, the Keeper of the Light turns out to also be the Keeper of Annie’s deep and dark secrets.   She is the only one who can save these three people from Annie’s misplaced influence on their futures.  There are many twists and turns in reaching the ultimate revelations and as a reader one can empathize with each character and their reactions to the truth.  But the greatest sorrow is in Annie’s truth and how she suffered through it.  An Excellent read!!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes...a Review

My friend, Pam, recommended this book for our March book read.   She had read it in high school, I had not.   I think she must have read it for psychology class and I must ask her about that.   Anyway, the book is written from Charlie Gordon’s POV.   Charlie was the eldest son of Matt and Rose Gordon and had one  younger sister, Norma.   Charlie suffered from mental retardation which was totally misunderstood at the time of this story.  That is why his dad took him to his Uncle Herman’s to get him out of the house and away from Norma and some imaginary fear that Rose had about Charlie hurting Norma.   Charlie was 32 yrs old and working at a bakery  and he longed to be smart/normal.    He became involved in a University study about the brain.    The study also involved a white mouse named Algernon.   Algernon had undergone brain surgery which resulted in a very smart mouse.   Charlie became the first person to undergo the same surgery and he became a genius.   Overall, it is a sad story as the effects were only temporary.  But Charlie has a lot to say about all that he learned on his rise and fall from genius.  My recurrent thought was be careful what you wish for; it might just happen.   There are a lot of subjects that are brought front and center regarding how we treat one another, how we perceive the disabled, and what truly is important in ones life.    Well worth the read.    This is one that will stay with you awhile.

Monday, March 19, 2012

EMBRACE by Jessica Shirvington--a review

Well, I am certainly glad I am not locked into one category of reading.   I decided I was going to investigate YA reading with  angel themes.   I was not one bit disappointed with this selection.  Violet Eden was turning seventeen and at that age you came of age if you were a Grigori.    For Violet, who had limited close friends/family, her entire life changed at seventeen.   People were not who they seemed and apparently neither was she.   She was Grigori, half angel/half human, and if Grigori, then also a protector of the human race.  She has the freedom of choice to reject being a Grigori or to embrace.   And with everyone thinking they have a say in this decision, did she really have the freedom to choose?   Follow her journey and find out for yourself.   The book is well thought out with a lot of action and some otherworldly red hot romance as well!  I am already anxious for September 1 release of book #2 ENTICE.   And yes, I was up all night to finish it.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

At Least Ten Left to Read!

I received a new book this week , The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Settington.   Can not wait to read it, but I have works in progress.   My Facebook book club is reading Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes.  I don’t recall having read it in high school and so far so good.  I try to read fifty pages a day or thereabouts.   Then my night reading is Jessica Shirvington’s Embrace, which it looks like maybe I will fly through it with no  effort at all.!  As I get nearer the end, I am sure I will be pulling an all nighter to finish it.   Sometimes it is very nice to have the time to rearrange my schedule for reading.  (I’m an insomniac since 2009).

Today is Sunday and it’s time to announce the TBR list from this week:

Keeper of the Light by Diane Chamberlain

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

The Stranger You Seek by Amanda Kyle Williams

Blue Monday by Nicci French

Always so much I want to read!   I have determined though that until I get my children’s book published I am only going to purchase only one book a month.   At that rate I should be able to catch up on my reading in no time!  Looking forward to that!

Happy Reading my friends; it’s a good thing to do!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Tall Blondes by Lynn Sherr...a Review

I love animals; in particular, I love horses, dogs, cats and giraffes.  They all have in common beautiful expressive eyes.    This is the second book I have read about giraffes recently and I’ll not read another.   This was a factual account and again there was a lot of history reported, but the most interesting chapter was the first where it listed quick facts.   A giraffe’s tongue is approximately 18” long.   The male reaches a height of 18’ and weighs in at 1.5 tons.   Females are usually around 16’ tall and weigh approximately .5 ton.   They live up to age 30.   Calves are born after a 15 month gestation period and stand 6 ft at birth.   They are also born with horns.  The female usually has two horns, males three and some even have as many as five.   They are gentle giants and do not fight amongst themselves and threaten no other animal, although their hooves can and do become a violent and deadly weapon when fending off an enemy.  They do not have tear ducts, although they have been seen shedding a tear.  There are nine different color patterns.   Although I found the writing dry, I enjoyed the full color pictures.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh Review

Her name was Victoria and she had been a troubled, misunderstood child- raised in the foster system and rejected from family to family and group home to group home.   We meet her on her eighteenth birthday when she is emancipated from the “system”.   Her story is told from the current day and reverting back to her past.   She was always angry, didn’t want touched, and did not trust anyone or anything they said.   Even when there was a glimmer of hope for the future, Victoria blew it and knew she was unrepairable, a lost cause, and no one would be able to love her.

Elizabeth truly loved this angry rag muffin of a girl. She wanted Victoria to be her daughter.   She taught her everything she knew about the language of flowers.  As life would have it,  with human frailty, doubts and misunderstandings, that was not to be .   With a one word lie, Victoria was ripped from Elizabeth’s heart and sent to a group home.

This is a heart rending story of a girl coming to terms with supporting herself once she is emancipated, finding love despite the terror she is overwhelmed with.   She must face her fears and her failures if she is ever to find the acceptance and love she so craves.   It is an excellent novel….one I found difficult to deal with at first, but I felt like I grew right along with Victoria as she matured and faced those ghosts of her past.                             

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Today, a Poll

Scholastic came out with a list of 100 books for kids, but I thought I’d see if I could answer them for myself.   If you want to try it, leave a comment below and we’ll compare notes!   Have fun!

Best bedtime book— No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith
Best read aloud--  I Got Two Dogs by Robert Neubecker and John Lithgow
Favorite Fantastic Setting— Harry Potter series by J K Rowling
Most Beautifully Illustrated—Burfur’s Great Adventure by Beth Cutwright(coming soon)
Most Exquisite Style--   Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austin
Most Exciting Ending— Harry Potter by J K Rowling
Most Eye Catching Cover—The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
Most Heart Warming Story—Burfur’s Great Adventure by Beth Cutwright(coming soon)
Most Relatable Character— Grandma Mazur in the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich
Most Side Splitting Hilarious—Any Stephanie Plum book by Janet Evanovich

Now, I know adding my own children’s book when it hasn’t been published yet is a little on the unfair side of things, but I just couldn’t resist!  Happy reading!

Monday, March 12, 2012

How to Open a New Book

I learned this same thing years ago when I was in school....too many moons to mention. But as with all unused knowledge, I had forgotten it. I was in possession of my grandsons Harry Potter book, the first one to increase in size and I tried to open the thick book as I thought I remembered. And then I dropped it, accidentally of course, and the book fell apart.

It was like mourning a family member, with confession to my grandson first on my agenda. He was horrified. He has learned the value of books and he takes great care of his books. How could Grandma do this to his beloved HP book? I immediately ordered a new copy to replace his copy. It was the right thing to do. I told him to read the broken book when he read it for himself. Grandma was forgiven.

Then I happened across this which I am making into a book mark so I never forget again. I will hopefully never murder another book again!!

May you always hold your books tight; may books make your life bright!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

A Trip to the Book Store

Isn't this picture adorable? It reminds me of those weekly trips into town and either visiting the library or the bookstore and trying to leave either with an armful of books. Easier to retrieve an armful from the library than asking the farmer's wife, (mom), to make an armful purchase. The picture is compliments of Barbara Fisher's blog at: http://marchhousebookscom.blogspot.com/ Thank you Barbara.

This week I'm adding four books to my TBR list. All four selections should broaden my horizons. I'm beginning to think I have no specific genre or category of book that I favor. I will read anything, but I want to explore newer authors at the moment and then again I want to read some oldies that I may have missed in high school & college.

TBR: Embrace by Jessica Shirvington

The Keeper of the Light by Diane Chamberlain

The Hollows by Amanda Hocking

Flowers of Algernon by Daniel Keyes

A good novel tells us the truth about it’s hero, but a bad novel tells us the truth about it’s author.

G. K. Chesterton

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Cover Reveal....TASTE

Cover Reveal:Taste by Kate Evangelista

A beautiful cover for sure!
Taste by Kate Evangelista
Coming soon in 2012

At Barinkoff Academy, there's only one rule: no students on campus after curfew. Phoenix McKay soon finds out why when she is left behind at sunset. A group calling themselves night students threaten to taste her flesh until she is saved by a mysterious, alluring boy. With his pale skin, dark eyes, and mesmerizing voice, Demitri is both irresistible and impenetrable. He warns her to stay away from his dangerous world of flesh eaters. Unfortunately, the gorgeous and playful Luka has other plans.

When Phoenix is caught between her physical and her emotional attraction, she becomes the keeper of a deadly secret that will rock the foundations of an ancient civilization living beneath Barinkoff Academy. Phoenix doesn’t realize until it is too late that the closer she gets to both Demitri and Luka the more she is plunging them all into a centuries old feud.

To read an excerpt click here

Find Kate Evangelista at:
Her Website

This was copied and pasted from http://far-past-midnight.blogspot.com.au/2012/03/cover-revealtaste-by-kate-evangelista.html

The Violets of March by Sarah Jio

What a surprise this little gem turned out to be. It took a couple of chapters to sink my teeth into it, but what a delightful book it was. Emily Wilson was a blocked author in the throes of divorce from her cheating husband. So after signing the divorce papers, she went to visit her Aunt Bee on Bainbridge Island for a month. The Island was known for bringing folks back at the right time for healing. She found a diary that was written in the year 1943 which intrigued her. Was it a true story? Who were Esther and Elliott if they were real and why does Emily feel compelled to unravel her families long buried secrets? A very interesting tale, with a lot of surprising twists. Emily developed and matured before your very eyes and learned to read her own heart during her stay with her Aunt. I think I will now have to read Sarah Jio's second book, The Bungalow! What a shame that will be!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

My Sisters Keeper by Jodi Picoult

What a gripping novel!! I had seen the movie many years ago and finally decided I wanted to read the book. I knew ahead of time that the book would be a tear jerker; I did not know that the movie ending was not the same as the book ending.

The story is about one of the most dysfunctional families on the planet. They started out good until the second child was diagnosed with a rare and probably terminal disease. At that point the parents seek out geneticists to assist them in producing the perfect genetic match to her for their third child, Anna. She became the planned savior for Kate and her medical needs. In the meantime, the oldest boy becomes as invisible as the youngest to the parents consumed with the dying middle child. And then the youngest says No to giving her sister a kidney.

I loved the way Ms Picoult wrote her book, each chapter dedicated to a family member or the attorneys representing the youngest daughter, Anna. I really felt like I knew these characters and was just as sucked in to their trials and tribulations as they were. I really felt their pain and insecurity, their frustrations and the heart breaking decisions each family member had to make. This Book made me truly feel! And I found myself pondering how I would have responded given the same circumstances.

There were definitely no easy answers! And it definitely provoked a million tears to fall!

Excellent Writing! Highly recommended and totally thought provoking.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Book Format Preference

What is your book format preference?

The world, she is a changing. And some of us, are very slow followers. I am one who resists change rather than embracing it. I still prefer a real book. I want to feel it in my hands; I want to smell the scent of the printed page. If I am taking my book to my bed, I want to feel it beside me and hear it whisper in the night.

On the other hand, I understand why we need to include the e-reader…a normal progression of the ever forward moving machine called technology. Yes, I even own a kindle. But I much prefer to read from a hard back book.

I remember as a kid we used to leave the farm early on a Saturday morning and the five of us kids would be dropped off at the public library. Or was it just me? I don’t really remember; I seemed to lose all focus but for the books in front of me. It was wonderful to be inside that big OLD Library with all its wood shelving and those thousands of books sheltered within its walls. And who can forget the smell of all those books? If there is a place next to heaven, it has to be the public library!! And every Saturday I found my niche there at the Indianola Public Library.

Paperbacks are not for me. For the most part, I am uncomfortable with the itty bitty print contained in a paperback. It didn’t used to be that way. When I was young, paperback books were affordable and my eyes cooperative enough to tolerate the itty bitty print. I had the entire collection of Emile Loring writings less two. My grandmother introduced me to Emile Loring novels and I sought out the entire collection in paperback through Bantam. I still have them stored in a plastic tub, but I haven’t read one in years—the print has shrunk to a dangerously small status!

Hardback books weather time better than a paperback and usually sport a more comfortable font size than its cousin, the paperback. The hardback book speaks of tradition, historical archives and is the treasure of kings. Great collections of books have always been marveled at and admired. On the other hand, a real book, be it paperback or hardback has weight to it. They can not be moved in a hurried fashion, for example in a fire or flood which would be most unhealthy for the life of a real book. And continuing to consume trees may endanger the ecology of the planet.

E-readers are a new technology and are marching down a road replacing the printed page. Using the e-reader supports the conservation of trees. It contains your entire library and can be easily transported. It saves physical space. The cost of an e-book is generally less than that of a physical book. On the other hand, care must be taken not to lose or misplace your e-reader; you could lose a lot. And should catastrophe strike and we are sent back to a time before technology, the e-reader will have no value at all.

As I see it, it is simply a matter of choice and where your values lie. I’m selfish…I admit it, I still prefer a hard backed book with a nice dust jacket or a printed picture on the cover of the book. I’d love to have my own personal reading room….is there a closet I can sacrifice? Hello?

Keep Reading in any format and keep those brain cells alive and well exercised!