Thursday, March 31, 2011

City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare

I have finished the second book in the series and I will hopefully work on the third tonight/tomorrow. Cassandra Clare is an imaginative and graphic writer and I am finding her books very hard to put down.

The first book had mainly Clary's POV, the daughter of a Shadowhunter, but this book has several different points of views of shadow hunters, a werewolf and a vampire. She also introduces stunning and not so attractive faeries in this book.

You learn in City of Bones (The first in the series) that Clary's mother kept her in the dark of the Shadowhunter’s world. After her mother is taken by the father she thought was dead, her mom is now in a coma. She now is experiencing a dark world she never knew existed and a father, Valentine, who is the villain, while discovering herself in an wild ride.

4 Stars

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

City of Bones was so good. The story centers around a strong female central character that lives in New York City. Clary Fray witnesses a murder of what the executioners call a demon. But then the body vanishes and the murderers are invisible to everyone but Clary. The murders are called Shadowhunters, who are charged with keeping the world protected from demons. Clary doesn’t understand why she can see these Shadowhunters? Clary gets in the middle of it all, being a key player in the continuing battle. With her strong personality and force of will, Clary steers her way through the Shadowhunters world. After her mom disappears, Clary makes the choice to go with the Shadowhunters and try to save her.
This book has magnificent characters. I would recommend this book to anyone and not just YA.

4 Stars

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The White Devil by Justin Evans

I had never really looked into the background of Lord Byron, but this book will got me up to speed rather quickly. Byron not only left behind a legacy as a poet, we find that he also left behind a ghost. Not his own ghost, but the ghost of his envious homosexual lover, John Harness. Harness spent 200 years or so as a quiet spirit in the basement of Harrow School, doing nothing much more than the sporadic rattling. But when American student Andrew Taylor shows up at the school, he decides that Taylor looks so much like Byron that it's time to get some long awaited vengeance.

Harness has some unbelievable gifts as a ghost, and Taylor does a lot of scuttling to try and solve the mystery. The pace is quick and tends to jump around, as we cross the country and dart back-and-forth across the centuries. It’s wonderfully fun and funny. In fact it created what the urban dictionary calls a brain boner. In other words I now want to know everything I can about Lord Byron’s life.

3 Stars

Four Seasons in Rome: On Twins, Insomnia, and the Biggest Funeral in the History of the World by Anthony Doerr

I just loved this book. I have always wanted to travel overseas and in fact I plan to do so in the next two years.

Anthony Doerr had a chance of a lifetime when he was awarded a fellowship in order to write a book. The opportunity offered allowed him adn his wife and young sonsto live in Rome with a stipend and a writing studio for a whole year. So, everyone packs up and goes to Europe.

Doerr's love for the city and its culture comes out in his writing. He describes some of the buildings so well that you feel as though you are a part of the experience.Everything about being in a foreign land where you don't know the language was magnified by the fact that they were new parents with twin boys. That fact makes this a delightfully funny book with memorable scenes that will cause you to laugh out loud and the beauty of Rome is in much of the details.

This is a good travel book as well as a wonderful story. After reading about the families experience I can't wait to go.

5 Stars

Monday, March 28, 2011

Lowcountry Summer, by Dorothea Benton Frank

Caroline has returned to live at the family plantation home after the relatively messy break up of her marriage. The home had once been the residence of her mother, Lavinia Boswell Wimbley and left to Caroline. Lavina continues to make her presence known if she is not thrilled with something her daughter has done. This novel presents Caroline's extended family and the different degrees of their life. Separation, bereavement, disease, love and the proper raising of South Carolina children into proper young ladies and gentleman are all focused on in the novel.

The rhythm of this novel was wonderful I felt like I could hear, feel and smell the hanging moss, water lapping at the dock, a garden of roses, and the warmth of the wind.

I would definitely read this on a hot afternoon sitting under an umbrella with a mimosa.
4 Stars

Sunday, March 27, 2011

In Our Mother's House by Patricia Polacco

I absolutely enjoyed this picture book. I picked the book up on a whim at Borders an once I started the book I couldn't put it down. On fact I read it twice. The story is told in the voice o the first adopted child is a lesbian couple. The story tells how her home is filled with love an how almost everyone is supportive. There is a mean, judgmental neighbor but the story does not dwell on it and there is no happy ever after with the neighbor. The story shows that not everyone will accept you but you should be happy accepting yourself.
5 stars

Friday, March 25, 2011

Never Eighteen by Megan Bostic

Austin is dying. Austin is on a mission to fulfill his bucket list and to ensure those he loves, and those he has hurt, will start living fully, something he will never be able to achieve. This is a weekend Austin will never forget.

I was broken while reading this story seeing as just two months ago a family member buried a dear six year old who passed away from cancer. The journey of this incurably ill teen trying to experience his bucket list in one weekend than most do in a life span was heart wrenching. Knowing the end of his life is coming quickly, Austin tries to make penance, tries to encourage and tries to love all the people in his life within 48 hours.

Austin went through the mood swings that a typical teenager does but I think they were more exaggerated due to his illness. The anger and bullishness that Austin showed with some of the people he was supposedly trying to help was brutal to read. I picked this book thinking that it would be a feel good and discovered it was anything but and maybe just maybe it was too soon for me to think I was ready to read a book like this.

3 Stars

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Paris Wife by Paula McLain

I love to read about Hemingway and in fact dragged my parents to visit his house when we were in Key West when I was younger. Paula McLain’s latest novel, The Paris Wife, captures Paris through the eyes of Ernest Hemingway’s first wife, Hadley Richardson.

This is one of those novels that I could not put down hence why I am sitting here at my computer yawning while I write. The story begins in the Midwest in the early 1920′s, where a young Ernest Hemingway meets and falls in love with Hadley Richardson, a woman 7 years older.

It was with her that he spent those years in Paris living that life that is so well-known as an artist retreat along with James Joyce, Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Ezra Pound, and Gertrude Stein, who all put in an appearance as well.

The novel is set up flawlessly from the beginning. We are given an in detail look so we can understand where the couple have come from. Anyone who knows anything at all about Hemingway knows he was married and divorced many, many times. So we know right from the get-go that this marriage is doomed. But now I know why none of Hemingway’s marriages worked. His alcoholism and depression were too much for him to handle.

After finishing this story I believe that Richardson was the all consuming love of Hemingway’s life. I have heard it said that he wished he could have made it work with Hadley, and that he loved her all his life. But the disease he struggled to overcome most of his adult life wrapped itself around him and would never let go in addition, armed with the sad truth that Hemingway committed suicide, the darkness in him also served as a type of foreshadowing. I knew how the story would end and yet still I couldn’t put it down.

5 Stars

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Heir to the Everlasting by Janice Daugharty

A wonderful narrative about a multi-generational people of women in Georgia, Heir to the Everlasting, can cross generational lines. The first two thirds of the narrative are placed around the early 1900’s (between 1900 and 1920) and are very specific in the living of a woman in that period. This part moved with history and moments in time that are authentic events. I really liked the design and the pace of those two thirds. The present day part of the story was a bit harder to read, the plot got a little off topic with nonstop details on fishing (which considering this is a YA novel I found a bit strange) and other interludes that didn’t help the story progress.
Most of the book was well written and I truly did like the story.

3 Stars

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Stitches; A Memoir by David Small

My sixteen year old son asked for this graphic novel and I acquiesced quite easily because he tends to buy/ask for superheroes or anime which tends to be harmless. The book came and DJ disappeared to his room as he tends to do only to come down two hours later book in hand and deeply disturbed. He quietly handed me the book and said read this under his breathe. Well my son never requests me to read anything he gets as we have two different styles so it must have been important. I sat down and began to read.

The illustrations and text in Stitches: A Memoir are done by the author/illustrator David Small. The illustrations are exceptional and express an emotional force that almost tells the story more than the text itself.

I thought as I read the book about what torment the author went through in writing and illustrating the book. I could see why my son looked so disturbed. It is not easy to read about childhood mistreatment. I can't say that the illustrations added to the story but, it was the skill of the author that made me read on. It is another story telling of the toughness of adolescents in the face of an adult’s lapse in judgment and exploitation that were clearly based on their own, individual troubles.

4 Stars

South of Broad by Pat Conroy

Started at ten pm finished this last night or technically at one am this morning and it's still filtering through. The novel is set in Charleston and is a love letter to the city, among other things. The main character is Leopold Bloom King also called the Toad for his thick glasses and bug eyes. He's not very good-looking and has been scarred for life by finding his ten-year-old older brother dead in the bathtub of an apparent a suicide.

The novel starts in the summer before Leo's senior year of high school. He's an talented and courteous paper boy and he's also working off his community service in the antique store of a mean elderly man. Leo makes friends with several new students which are beautifully written supporting characters. There is a pair of twins, Trevor and Sheba Poe, brother and sister orphans Niles and Starla Whitehouse, Ike Jefferson; and several of Charleston's socialites, Molly Huger, her boyfriend Chadworth Rutledge, and his sister Fraser. Together this group begins a tight-knit friendship that will last through the years, as many of them marry and begin families.

But there are many sinister secrets that worry the friends. Somehow, Leo's compassion is the glue that holds this group together. Leo helps to bridge the gaps in social standing.

The book is written with unforgettable, genuine characters. A lot of fibers are woven together to create this wonderful story. Overall, I enjoyed this book and will be pondering it for a while.

4 Stars.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Wintergirls by Laurie Halse-Anderson

This is a book that will haunt you forever. I have never had anorexia explained to me more plain and clear than through Lia’s voice. It was appalling and terrible and yet I could roughly appreciate parts of why she acted out the way she did. Her family cares for her but it becomes obvious that they cannot understand or empathize with her issues and have a hard time coming to terms with her illness. To them and actually to most people the answer is she just needs to eat. But that’s not an option in Lia’s distorted world of scales, calorie counting, fat and hunger. So instead of eating she goes to great lengths to hide her shrinking size. I ached for her because her self esteem was non-existent.

Understand that the novel is very realistic. It has cross outs and uses different size fonts to show what Lia is thinking. It was well done and I believe it brought to life what Halse Anderson was trying to get across. The writing is poetic in places and book clearly showed off her talent when it comes to writing from a haunted teenager’s perspective.

5 Stars

The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter

The story is different to most YA novels I have read and it kept my interest the whole way through. The major characters were well thought out, but I would have liked a little more thought given to the supporting characters. Henry was beautifully written, he comes off as dark, tormented and mesmerizing but in realty he was gentle, caring, had an air of timelessness about him and the patience that would seemingly come with immortality.
Kate was credible, likeable and simple to relate to except for the point at which she chose to go to Henry. I cringed a little at her way of thinking until she got to the point of what he could do for her mother. However, this didn’t detract from my enjoyment.
The development of Kate and Henry’s relationship seemed normal. I found James’ unexpected friendship a bit bizarre at first but when I got to the end, I understood the reasoning behind it.
All in all the book was well written and enjoyable but yet knowledgeable.
4 Stars

Swamplandia by Karen Russell

There is a 13-year-old would-be alligator wrestler named Ava Bigtree at the heart of Karen Russell's new book Swamplandia . When she grows up, she'll wrestle gators alongside her mother, to bring tourists and cash to the family theme park.
In a twist Ava’s mother dies, leaving the family bankrupt. Ava’s remaining family disperses and her father leaves on undisclosed business. He brother then leaves and her sister disappears into the Everglades to marry a ghost she met via a Ouija board.
An ordinary girl would crumble. But her sister’s departure forces Ava into the mangrove forests and swamps to find her missing sister.
For help finding her sister, Ava recruits a homeless swamp-dweller called The Birdman. He agrees to pilot her through the swamp. As he poles his skiff deeper into the twisting waterways, its clear Ava is indeed heading for misery, though the Birdman's direction is hardly direct.
The plot of the book covers well-trod terrain: An adolescent visits the shady side to reunite her family. When the story its destination is clear. No surprises and an easy read.
4 Stars

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Romancing the Dead by Tate Hallaway

I love paranormal romance and in Tate Halloway 3rd installment of the "Garnet"  she finally seems to get her happy ending with Sebastien her vampire love. The story was drawn out and it took great discipline to keep on reading. There were several instances where I thought "just get to it already". All in all the book was typical chick out.
3 stars

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Tiger's Wife by Tea Obrecht

While I was shopping at Barnes and Noble I picked up a copy of Tea Obreht’s The Tiger’s Wife. A co-worker recommended the book so I decided to grab a copy while I was looking for something for my son. I finished the book in about two hours, decisively dragging out the back half. When I finally closed the book I realized that this was
the finest work of paranormal realism I have read. Obreht packs an assortment of treasures into her work. Each chapter reveals smaller and more incredible stories, each character is multidimensional.

Beginning in the current-day Balkans, The Tiger’s Wife evaluates more than 70 years of the region’s past, much of it under an inescapable war. Both the main character, Natalia, and her grandfather are doctors that are courageously attempting to save people and animals without yielding to the terror. They realize that you cannot win the war against death, but that also doesn’t mean you should stop fighting and give up.

This book was breathtaking and honestly I am a bit jealous of her talent at her young age.

5 Stars

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Pride Predudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith and Jane Austen

OK So I love paranormal stories and this one just seemed like it was fun. So I began Pride and Prejudice and Zombies which is a mixture of the classic Pride and Prejudice and of course the zombies. Zombies have found themselves involved in rebirth in society and literature.

I was keyed up to read this book for one reason; I kept coming across the book in the humor section every time I straightened the section in my position at Borders.

I haven’t read the original Pride and Prejudice in years and I probably won’t ever again even though it looks great on my bookshelf sandwiched in between Twilight and One for the Money. I would have to say that Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is more Pride and Prejudice than it is Zombies.

The Zombies always being a danger and their random attacks of the people in the story was nicely interwoven and I actually wished there were more. The zombies were more of a secondary storyline and I felt were underused as a foundation of torment in the re-telling.

Overall I enjoyed the paperback and liked the zombie addition to a classic story. My only criticism to the story is that there weren’t enough of the zombies.

I will continue on my endeavor by reading Abraham Lincoln and Vampires.

3 Stars

Sink or Swim by Stacy Juba

I received a copy of this book from the author Stacy Juba. The funny thing is when I read the first page I was reluctant to go to the second because she fakes me out. See I do not read historical fiction very often and that it what I though it was. Well considering that I really like Stacy I decided to move ahead and boy was I surprised.

Sink or Swim is a great book. Cassidy returns from being on a reality show and of course her life transforms. She is now a celebrity. Some changes are fantastic but it also seems she has also picked up an obsessed follower. The book is not just the mystery of who the stalker is and what will happen. It's seeing Cassidy come into her own self by watching her grow and change during the course of the book.

I kept trying to speculate throughout the book whom the stalker could be, then I would change my mind. The end was a complete shocker and considering I usually guess who the ending by the middle of the book or movie I really enjoyed being surprised. I picked this book up toyed with the first page for a bit and then dug in not putting it down until two hours later when I was finished.

This was an excellent book. Thank you Stacy for sharing!!

5 Stars

Bikini Season by Sheila Roberts

Sheila Roberts takes us to Heart Lake, WA, where the members of a neighborhood cooking club have realized they’re all starting to have health and emotional issues related to weight gain. They decide to keep the club together as a support system and learn to cook healthy. Unfortunately, the various men in their lives have, shall we say, less than helpful reactions. I have to say I understand this because it seems every time I mention the word diet my hubby tends to make me a full artery clogging breakfast,
Every word of this book rang true, from the candy gifts one husband insists on giving his dieting wife, to the emotional eating another woman has to learn to overcome. But this book isn’t just about weight and dieting. It’s about being truthful with yourself, asking for what you need and want, and knowing you’re in control. Sheila Roberts has a written a book full of comedy, reality, and breathtaking friendships.
4 Stars

Bikini Season by Sheila Roberts

Sheila Roberts takes us to Heart Lake, WA, where the members of a neighborhood cooking club have realized they’re all starting to have health and emotional issues related to weight gain. They decide to keep the club together as a support system and learn to cook healthy. Unfortunately, the various men in their lives have, shall we say, less than helpful reactions. I have to say I understand this because it seems every time I mention the word diet my hubby tends to make me a full artery clogging breakfast,
Every word of this book rang true, from the candy gifts one husband insists on giving his dieting wife, to the emotional eating another woman has to learn to overcome. But this book isn’t just about weight and dieting. It’s about being truthful with yourself, asking for what you need and want, and knowing you’re in control. Sheila Roberts has a written a book full of comedy, reality, and breathtaking friendships.
4 Stars

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Hollywood Wives- The Next Generation by Jackie Collins

Jackie Collins has never been noted for her delicacy or her intricate writing style. In HOLLYWOOD WIVES: The New Generation, Collins gleefully lunges into the entertainment industry and comes up with some juicy tidbits. All of Hollywood is here in their vulgar magnificence. The wives of the title are on an adventure jam-packed journey through this world, dragging the reader along behind them.

There is quite a generational difference between the original Hollywood Wives and this book. The Hollywood wives of the '80s were stringently prize wives who ate lunch at well known restaurants and had affairs to pass the time. The new group of wives is appreciably more contemporary than the last generation. The women whose money and power came solely through their rich Hollywood husbands are long gone and the women are making it on their own money and name with careers in the entertainment industry. The main character of the book is Lissa, Hollywood actress and diva. As the book opens, Lissa suspects her fourth husband is being less than faithful to her and hires a detective to follow her conniving spouse. It goes without saying that the detective is leading man material, and he and Lissa develop a rather interesting relationship.

This may not be the deepest, most intellectual book you will read all year, but HOLLYWOOD WIVES: The New Generation is succulent and enthralling though with warm weather approaching it is a must have in any tote bag.

3 Stars

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Jumbled by K Hiester

My mind grows dim and my thoughts get jumbled
I fight to hold on to what little sanity I have left
My anxiety grows with each passing moment
I think happy thoughts as I try to tamp it down
My husband, my children, my friends
All run through my mind with furious speed
My stomach is in knots
Knowing there is something wrong
But yet unsure of what to expect
I start to panic
My hands shake, my eyes blur, my head pounds
As I become afraid of myself
I am fearful of the unknown
I am scared of consequences of past transgressions
I am frightened of the future
My mind grows dim and my thoughts get jumbled
As I fade from my known existence into insanity.

K Hiester 2011

Monday, March 14, 2011

Spring Awakens by K Hiester

Spring Awakens

As the air grows warm and the sky grows light
Precious birds come back from their long migration
Flowers stir from their long winter’s rest
The ground grows damp and soft
Animals rouse and new life grows
Spring awakens to bring joy after winter’s obscurity.

K Hiester

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher

Being a Star Wars and Debbie Reynolds fan I couldn't wait to read Wishful Drinking for some insight into the life of the Fishers so i grabbed the book and settled into the tub. Well I got insight and so much more (including pruny hands because I didn't get out until I was done). Carrie Fisher has been through so much yet she still comes out laughing. I laughed out loud at her sarcasm and witty way she describes growing up and her career. I hope to read more from Carrie Fisher the author.

5 stars

The Disney Version: The Life, Times, Art and Commerce of Walt Disney by Richard Schickel

Being a Disneyaholic I personally try to read everything Disney. The positive reviews of this book have astonished me. This book is no more than 300 plus pages of personal attacks and insults on everything Disney has ever done. The author seems intent on personally insulting Disney and depicting him as a small-town idiot with no taste or talent. He has dug up critical reviews of every Disney feature and manages to insult everything from Donald Duck to Bambi. The posturing is laughable, and it seems as if every statement he makes ends with '... of course" to say that anyone with any intelligence obviously agrees with his every statement. I expected this book to be critical of Disney and even being the Disney fan I am, I have no problem with that. This book, however, portrays the man as an idiot with no taste and little talent and descends to such a low level of insults that it can only be considered a hack job.

1 Star

Go Ask Alice by Beatrice Sparks

The novel should be shown in every high school across the country, Go Ask Alice should be required reading for every junior high student. Targeted more toward a female audience, I don't think young men would get the powerful message conveyed in this simply written diary as well as young women but the point would still get across.
The main character starts off as a 15-year-old girl full of anxiety and pubescent woes. She's not as thin as she would like to be, not as popular as she would like to be and doesn't really have any friends. Her self-esteem lies at the bottom of the deepest part of the ocean. When her father gets a new job and the family has to move, she sees it as a new start. Her self-esteem shoots to the sky. But... she doesn't make any friends right away, so her self-esteem plunges yet again. This roller-coaster action sets the blueprint for the rest of the novel.
Drugs are introduced into the story and this enemy makes the story more all the more vicious. The events that take place are shocking and the diary format makes them more personal. The fact that it's a real diary, makes it even more poignant. You are right there with her, pulled along for all the twists and turns, ups and downs.
I couldn't have been more surprised with this book. First published in 1971, some of the terms may seem dated but it was more endearing than anything else. The people she interacts with are well written so they have a powerful and lasting effect. I actually teared up at a couple parts. I was swept up into story and in the end, I was left emotionally drained.
5 Stars

The Privilege of Youth: A Teenager's Story by Dave Pelzer

This book is a great encouraging story about a young man who triumphs ove life difficulties. This book will provide you with the feeling that all things are possible and that no matter what is going on in your life, someone else has it tougher, and someone else has survived worse. In this case it is Dave who has survived worst things than most people. It inspires you because he talks about his struggles and that no matter how hard life gets for him, he will be successful. He truly proves that if you really want to be triumphant, it can be done.

This is a story of heroism. He shows his heroism because he always seems to overcome obstacles. He doesn't let anything get him down. He seems to have a attitude that if something doesn't kill him, it only make him stronger. That shows us how brave his thoughts and actions are. I truly recommend this book because it will motivate and make you see life from a different viewpoint, in a more optimistic way.

5 Stars

HRH by Danielle Steele

This book was redundant and boring through and through and 1-star is even too highly rated. The female lead comes off as completely unfeeling and self-centered as she bewails repeatedly "for the first time in my life... I just want ect…..", and yet she had ample freedoms and even spent 4 years away at college in Berkley. She manipulates her father, weeps, whimpers and pouts when she doesn't get her way, and in general is the most single dimensional character I've encountered in any book. Steele is off her game here, and the unvarying repeating of chief plot points leaves me to question if she simply copy and pasted to fill in enough pages for her publisher. Incoherent, superficial, and completely unremarkable.

1 Star

Friday, March 11, 2011

Getting Over It by Anna Maxted

Helen, a twenty six year old single girl, leads a rather standard life for a young Brit. She shares an apartment with a guy she has adored since forever her cat called Fatboy. She's in a long term relationship. She's an assistant for an editor from hell and at night she has a full active social life with her fun-loving friends.

Suddenly everything is turned upside down. She breaks up with her abusive boyfriend but has second thoughts even though she knows that he has and probably will continue to cheat on her. Then her father dies sending her into a series of traumatic events. Now she's trying to keep her common sense about her and keep her mom from ending up beside her father all while trying to find new love.

This story wasn't what I expected. I expected funny instead it is in fact sad. This book is really about different types of loss. It isn't about the laughs and it isn't a romance. It's about the deepest and most painful change anyone can go through: the death of a loved one and getting over it. It isn't all doom and gloom. It's finely laced with funny interludes with her phobic calculating mother, a friend who needs to learn personal hygiene, a boss with attitude and the appetizing Tom. I cannot leave out Fatboy, a revengeful peeing cat with an like of performing inappropriate flatulence.

If you like a novel that will make you chuckle, weep, get irate and cringe you will love this one. I know I did.

Night Road by Kristin Hannah

I received this book as an advanced reading copy and let me say that I WANT MORE! Kristin Hannah’s Night Road is a coming-of-age novel of friendship, forbidden love, choices and tragedy. Lexi is a lonely teen in search of a home, friends, and a place to belong. When she meets Mia a fellow outcast, she is instantly welcomed into the Mia’s family where Jude, the matriarch, treats her like she belongs.

Jude has made a career out of caring for her children. Between volunteering for anything and everything her kids are involved in, and making her home the height of teen activity, the only thing that scares her is the fact that her children will leave her behind for college.

Before they know it, three years have gone by and Senior year is upon them. The only disruption in Lexi’s high school experience has been the strained relationship between herself and Mia’s twin brother Zach. He ignores her, won’t talk to her, yet sometimes she finds him staring at her, or standing close to her like he wants to tell her a secret. These regular occurrences begin to upset Lexi.

Soon complications arise, but the three teens finally come together in a bond stronger than any of them have ever known, a bond that both warms and worries Jude. Senior year is coming to a close and Jude’s biological children have college to focus on. They will leave this small town and embark on a trail to their future which does not include Lexi. Although Jude loves Lexi, her biological children are her main concern, and she won’t permit anything or anyone to disrupt her plans for them.

In the blink of an eye, everything changes. Devastatingly painful and tear-jerking, Night Road is as hard to read as it is to put down. I cannot sufficiently explain the impact this unforgettable novel has had on me, and will surely have on others who read it. What I can say is that all will feel anguish, and all will be better for having experienced the journey.

5 Stars

Raymond M Rose Interview

I was lucky enough to meet and interview Raymond M Rose. Ray, as he likes to be called, is the author of two outstanding books, Better Together and The Fire Inside (available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble). I have read both books and rated them both five stars. Currently living in Pottstown PA Ray has two sons and a third child on the way. He is married to “my wonderful wife” Elisa, a teacher.
Ray what is on your nightstand right now?
“The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Loving it, already bought the rest of the books, and can’t wait to read them. And handcuffs. They are always on my nightstand.”
What was your favorite book when you were a child?
The Monster at the End of the Book by Grover. Funny thing is, the monster at the end was always me. Odd.
Who are your top five authors?
Stephen King
Michael Chabon
Audrey Niffenegger
Neil Gaiman
Joss Whedon (please write a book some day)

Book you've faked reading?
The Friday Night Knitting Club (for work)

Book you're an evangelist for?
The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

Book you've bought for the cover?
Belong to Me by Marisa de los Santos

Book that changed your life?
Eat, Pray, Love by Elisabeth Gilbert

Favorite line from a book?
“Her name was Sally Lockhart; and within fifteen minutes, she was going to kill a man.”
The Ruby in the Smoke by Philip Pullman

Book you most want to read again for the first time?
The Harry Potter series. I wish I could erase my memories of reading them and enjoy them all over again.

Thanks Ray for giving us an insight to Raymond M Rose, Father, Husband, Author and Great Friend!!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Flirting with Forty by Jane Porter

When I picked up Flirting with Forty by Jane Porter, I laughed a little. I absolutely love that this is a type of book. I hate to admit this, but I am flirting with the big 41 while Jackie, the main character in this novel, is flirting with the big 40.

I enjoyed reading the novel a great deal. It was a light, fun read that made me laugh exactly what I like to call mind candy. The comedy starts with the first scene where Jackie is getting the family Christmas tree and continues throughout. While I don't have a lot in common with Jackie since she's a recently divorced mother of two, and I am still married and about to become a very young grandmother, I still found myself relating to her and where she's at in her life.

While I do consider this book mind candy and fun, there were some really good messages in this story. I could definitely understand some of her insecurities about her looks and I could also really relate to her relationship with her friends as I know from experience that women can be so judgmental.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Finding the Dream by Nora Roberts

I am rereading books out of my book case just because I can. Finding the Dream by Nora Roberts was a very good book. I loved it because involved children and their relationships with their parents at that age. They didn't muse over too much but when they did it added a flair to the story. This is the third of the trilogy and I read it because I didn’t feel like digging for the other two.

Nora Roberts really knows how to captivate a reader. Laura finding her true love could not have ended this particular trilogy any better. Luckily I was already starting to remember the first two books halfway into the first chapter. I enjoyed the way she had both Laura and Michael struggling to understand their feelings for each other.

The usual misunderstandings, protective family, meddling friends, and circumstances attempt to thwart their romance, but after all this is a romance novel, so you know the guy gets the girl in the end. The characters and scene are so captivating that the book stands alone and is a quick, entertaining, satisfying read. This book also gives you a chance to keep up with Margo and Kate's life as well. When you are through with the book you feel as though these three women are now your best friends.

4 Stars

Motherhood: The Second Oldest Profession by Erma Bombeck

With my daughter expecting her first child I decided to give her the book to read. After I found her laughing at the book I decided to reread the book. Erma Bombeck and her insights, she is what I consider to be part of the American scene, Mom, Apple Pie and Baseball.

This book, which I read in one day. It made me laugh, roll my eyes about how Erma got situations just right and cry. The one chapter that made me cry the hardest is the letter from a mom whose son is a criminal. I love the letter from a teenager asking how did moms super powers.

This is a wonderful read for all moms and she actually be required. This is a book to read in different stages of your life too. This is a timeless book and I am glad that I thought to share it with my daughter who will be a new first time mom.


Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Girl in the Green Raincoat by Laura Lippman

This was my first read by Laura Lippman and I was delighted. The story opens with the main character, Tess, in the third trimester of her pregnancy and on bed rest and she hates it. Crow, her boyfriend/baby daddy tries to keep her occupied with books and CD’s but all Tess asks for is a pair of binoculars so she can spend her days gazing out the window.
Tess notices a young woman, dressed in a green raincoat, walking her dog to a nearby park daily and she learns to time her day around the woman. One morning, she sees the dog alone and seemingly abandoned with its leash still attached. Her inquisitiveness about the girl and why she is not with the dog is more than she can contain, so she enlists the help of friends Felicia and Whitney.

I won’t give the story away but I will say that the author she takes advantage of the situation by having Tess reflect upon her childhood and her connection with her parents. She also reveals a great backstory of Felicia and Whitney. Lippman kept the action energetic, and her minor characters become as likable as Tess herself.

4 Stars