Thursday, December 27, 2012

New Books This Week

New Books This Week:
The Forgotten by, David Baldacci
The Black Box (Harry Bosch #18) by, Michael Connelly
Merry Christmas, Alex Cross by, James Patterson
The Twelve Tribes of Hattie by, Ayana Mathis
Cross Roads by, William P. Young
A Winter Dream by, Richard Paul Evans
Whispers in the Wind #2 by, Lauraine Snelling
A Dog Named Christmas & A Christmas Home by, Greg Kincaid
The Perfect Hope by, Nora Roberts
Hard Country by, Michael McGarrity
The Swan Thieves by, Elizabeth Kostova
My Happy Days in Hollywood A Memoir by, Garry Marshall
Dream More: Celebrate the Dreamer in You by, Dolly Parton
A Gift of Hope: helping the Homeless by, Danielle Steel
The Sweet Potato Queens’ Book of Love & God Save the Sweet Potato Queens by, Jill Conner Browne

Friday, December 21, 2012

Library2Go Spotlight #5~ An Apocalyptic Tale

Since the world didn't end today I thought I'd share an apocalyptic tale that will make you wonder are we safe or did the world just just slow down?!?

The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker narrated by, Emily Janice Card (Also available in e-book) 
Synopsis:Luminous, haunting, unforgettable, The Age of Miracles is a stunning fiction debut by a superb new writer, a story about coming of age during extraordinary times, about people going on with their lives in an era of profound uncertainty.

On a seemingly ordinary Saturday in a California suburb, 11-year-old Julia and her family awake to discover, along with the rest of the world, that the rotation of the earth has suddenly begun to slow. The days and nights grow longer and longer, gravity is affected, the environment is thrown into disarray. Yet as she struggles to navigate an ever-shifting landscape, Julia is also coping with the normal disasters of everyday life--the fissures in her parents’ marriage, the loss of old friends, the hopeful anguish of first love, the bizarre behavior of her grandfather who, convinced of a government conspiracy, spends his days obsessively cataloging his possessions. As Julia adjusts to the new normal, the slowing inexorably continues.

With spare, graceful prose and the emotional wisdom of a born storyteller, Karen Thompson Walker has created a singular narrator in Julia, a resilient and insightful young girl, and a moving portrait of family life set against the backdrop of an utterly altered world.

My Review

This was an intriguing first novel; the authors imagination is pretty amazing, the way she describes the things that were happening to the world were frightening real. This story is beautifully written and is a slow boil with no running around trying to save the world, there is nothing to run from or run to, it is just living in a mixed up world where days and nights have become confused and the earth has slowed and is de-magnetizing/losing gravity. Just to go on trying to live your life when everything has changed but these changes are not seen and only sometimes felt. As she says it’s not that there are explosions or war or rioting in the streets, the world is not on fire it is just quietly changing.

“Later, I would come to think of those first days as the time when we learned as a species that we had worried over the wrong things: the hole in the ozone layer, the melting of the ice caps, West Nile and swine flu and killer bees. But I guess it never is what you worry over that comes to pass in the end. The real catastrophes are always different—unimagined, unprepared for, unknown.”
― Karen Thompson Walker, The Age of Miracles

This is such a different dystopian because it’s well, quiet, is the only word I can come up with, it is a quiet dystopian, yes that describes it. And even as that I was enthralled with this book I didn’t want to stop listening I wanted to know what happened next. It ended just as quietly and it was a satisfying ending.

I don’t know how old Julia was supposed to be (listening on audio must have missed it) but I thought Emily Janice Card did a good job at the narration she made her sound not too young or too old. Her narration was very well done.

4 Stars

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Library2Go Audiobook Spotlight #4

When deciding which book to read next most people know what they are looking for in print form what this column will highlight is a different form of reading, and that is listening to the audiobook. I love audiobooks whether it be traveling in the car, cleaning the house or working I listen to audiobooks all the time.
Most of you know our new Library2Go service makes it easy to download ebooks but what some might not know is there is also a great selection of audiobooks available for download too. I will spotlight some of my favorite audiobooks and narrators.

Todays Spotlight is a Non-Fiction Title: Catherine The Great by, Robert Massie narrated by, Mark Deakins~ Also available in E-Book
Synopsis: Born into a minor noble family, Catherine transformed herself into Empress of Russia by sheer determination. Possessing a brilliant mind and an insatiable curiosity as a young woman, she devoured the works of Enlightenment philosophers and, when she reached the throne, attempted to use their principles to guide her rule of the vast and backward Russian empire. She knew or corresponded with the preeminent historical figures of her time: Voltaire, Diderot, Frederick the Great, Empress Maria Theresa of Austria, Marie Antoinette, and, surprisingly, the American naval hero, John Paul Jones.

Reaching the throne fired by Enlightenment philosophy and determined to become the embodiment of the “benevolent despot” idealized by Montesquieu, she found herself always contending with the deeply ingrained realities of Russian life, including serfdom. She persevered, and for thirty-four years the government, foreign policy, cultural development, and welfare of the Russian people were in her hands. She dealt with domestic rebellion, foreign wars, and the tidal wave of political change and violence churned up by the French Revolution that swept across Europe. Her reputation depended entirely on the perspective of the speaker. She was praised by Voltaire as the equal of the greatest of classical philosophers; she was condemned by her enemies, mostly foreign, as “the Messalina of the north.”

My Review:
This was a great biography it is non-fiction but reads like fiction and kept my attention all the way through. Catherine is a very fascinating woman, one of the great Empress’ of Russia even though she was not Russian. I learned so much about her and her life and what kind of a strong woman she was.

This is a very thorough look at Catherine’s life and I really enjoy the authors writing style and I will be reading his other books. When I was younger I loved Russian history and have always been fascinated by the Romanovs but haven’t read anything about them in a long time and now I think this will begin a re-immersion into Russian history.

Even if you are a reader who usually reads historical fiction and not non-fiction I highly recommend this book it reads like fiction and Catherine had a very fascinating life. It has everything from wars, fights for power, love, jealousy just everything a fiction reader loves in a book but what is great is it’s all true!

This audio book is 23 hours long but I enjoyed every minute of it, Mark Deakins did a great job on the narration and would definitely listen to others by this narrator.

4 Stars

Monday, December 17, 2012

Library2Go Audiobook Spotlight #3

When deciding which book to read next most people know what they are looking for in print form what this column will highlight is a different form of reading, and that is listening to the audiobook. I love audiobooks whether it be traveling in the car, cleaning the house or working I listen to audiobooks all the time.
Most of you know our new Library2Go service makes it easy to download ebooks but what some might not know is there is also a great selection of audiobooks available for download too. I will spotlight some of my favorite audiobooks and narrators. 
Todays Spotlight is : The Time Keeper by Mitch Albom narrated by, Dan Stevens
Synopsis: In Mitch Albom's newest work of fiction, the inventor of the world's first clock is punished for trying to measure God's greatest gift. He is banished to a cave for centuries and forced to listen to the voices of all who come after him seeking more days, more years. Eventually, with his soul nearly broken, Father Time is granted his freedom, along with a magical hourglass and a mission: a chance to redeem himself by teaching two earthly people the true meaning of time.
He returns to our world--now dominated by the hour-counting he so innocently began--and commences a journey with two unlikely partners: one a teenage girl who is about to give up on life, the other a wealthy old businessman who wants to live forever. To save himself, he must save them both. And stop the world to do so.

My Review:
I haven’t read Mitch Albom’s other books, they aren’t in a genre I usually read but after seeing the great write up this audiobook got in Audiofile magazine this one sounded like something I would like, and I wasn’t wrong!

This book is very relevant to the world we live in because it seems everyone is in a rush to get where they are going and wanting more time to get it done, but be careful what you wish for. As Dor found out the hard way, 100’s of centuries ago he designed the first clock but God (or some such person) is not happy with him for this and banishes him to a cave for centuries where he becomes Father Time. Now centuries later God (or some such person) has a deal for him if he can save 2 people he can have his freedom. The 2 people he chooses are a teenage girl, Sarah, who wants to give up her time because she has gotten her heart broken and an old man, Victor, in kidney failure who wants more time, can he save these two people and in turn save himself?

“When you are measuring time you are not living it.” So very true! A very well written cautionary tale about time and not taking it for granted or wasting it, loved the epilogue. Actually I just really liked this whole book. I have seen some reviews saying this book was choppy but I never got that feeling at all and that may be because I listened to it on audio. I thought the story was great and felt like any “choppiness” just made me feel more of what Dor was feeling being in this new world and to really explore it he had to slow time because our world moves so fast. I think this book will appeal to a different audience than Albom’s previous books, yes people who liked his past books will probably like this one but because of the fantasy element of Father Time I think this will appeal to people who read fantasy or enjoy fairytales re-told.

Dan Stevens narration of this book is fabulous! Every voice is spot on, you never question who is talking each voice has its own inflection and tone. I see why this performance has won a well-deserved earphones award and would not be at all surprised if this one wins big at the Audies too! I just can’t say enough about how great the narration of this book is. If you are thinking of reading this one I highly recommend it on audio! Dan Stevens will be a narrator to look for in the future!

4 ½ Stars
5+++ Stars for the narration

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Library2Go Audiobook Spotlight #2

When deciding which book to read next most people know what they are looking for in print form what this column will highlight is a different form of reading, and that is listening to the audiobook. I love audiobooks whether it be traveling in the car, cleaning the house or working I listen to audiobooks all the time.
Most of you know our new Library2Go service makes it easy to download ebooks but what some might not know is there is also a great selection of audiobooks available for download too. I will spotlight some of my favorite audiobooks and narrators.

Today’s Spotlight  Title is: Secondhand Spirits (A Witchcraft Mystery #1) by Juliet Blackwell narrated by, Xe Sands .
This is a very cute little paranormal cozy mystery I hope you will enjoy as much as I did. You will be seeing more books narrated by Xe Sands in this spotlight column as there are quite a few books she has narrated available on Library2Go!
I am hoping the next books in this series will soon be available through Library2Go!
Lily Ivory is not your average witch. Her spell-casting powers tend to draw mischievous spirits while keeping normal humans at a distance. But now her vintage clothing store could give her a chance to make friends in San Francisco....
Lily hopes for a normal life when she opens Aunt Cora's Closet. With her magical knack for vintage fashion -she can sense vibrations of the past from clothing and jewelry—her store becomes a big hit.
But when a client is murdered and children start disappearing from the Bay Area, Lily may be the only one who can unravel the crime. She tries to keep her identity a secret while investigating, but it's not easy—especially under the spells of sexy "mythbuster" Max Carmichael and powerful witch Aidan Rhodes. Will Lily's witchy ways be forced out of the closet?

My Review:
I really enjoyed this paranormal cozy mystery. Lily is a witch who owns a secondhand store and hopes she can just live a normal life without using witchcraft, but things don’t quite work out for her. While buying a collection of clothes from an elderly lady a child goes missing and Lily feels like Mrs. Potts’ life is in danger and her premonition is right on the money and the next day she is found dead. Lily tries to find out what happened to the little girl and Mrs. Potts.

There is also a mythbuster, a male witch, a ghostly spirit and a goblin that turns into a pig familiar who are all interesting characters in their own right with the pig being my favorite! San Francisco and the area of the Haight were kind of a character too, you really get a feel of the bay area and I felt like a tourist discovering it all.

This was the best of two genre’s I enjoy, paranormal and cozy mysteries, it was a great first book in the series and will definitely be a series I continue reading, however I so enjoyed the narration by, Xe Sands that I want to wait till I can listen to the rest on audio so I hope Tantor Audio will get them all recorded soon!

If you enjoy a good cozy with magical elements I highly recommend this series!

The audio production of this was great Xe Sands does such a wonderful job and she is well on her way to becoming a favorite narrator! Xe’s voice has this soft smooth quality that I just love, I enjoyed her slight southern accent not over done just the hint of it and it was perfection!

4 Stars

Monday, December 10, 2012

Library2Go Audiobook Spotlight #1

When deciding which book to read next most people know what they are looking for in print form what this column I will highlight is a different form of reading, and that is listening to the audiobook. I love audiobooks whether it be; traveling in the car, cleaning the house or working I listen to audiobooks all the time.
Most of you know our new Library2Go service makes it easy to download ebooks but what some might not know is there is also a great selection of audiobooks available for download too. So, I will spotlight some of my favorite audiobooks and narrators.

Today’s title is narrated by one of my favorite narrators Karen White she has narrated many of the wonderful audiobooks on our Library2Go site today we will spotlight:

The Roots of the Olive Tree by Courtney Miller Santo narrated by, Karen White
Length: 10 hours, 34 minutes

Description: Meet the Keller family, five generations of firstborn women—an unbroken line of daughters—living together in the same house on a secluded olive grove in the Sacramento Valley of Northern California.
Anna, the family matriarch, is 112 and determined to become the oldest person in the world. An indomitable force, strong in mind and firm in body, she rules Hill House, the family home she shares with her daughter Bets, granddaughter Callie, great-granddaughter Deb, and great-great-granddaughter Erin. Though they lead ordinary lives, there is an element of the extraordinary to these women: the eldest two are defying longevity norms. Their unusual lifespans have caught the attention of a geneticist who believes they hold the key to breakthroughs that will revolutionize the aging process for everyone.

But Anna is not interested in unlocking secrets the Keller blood holds. She believes there are some truths that must stay hidden, including certain knowledge about her origins that she has carried for more than a century. Like Anna, each of the Keller women conceals her true self from the others. While they are bound by blood and the house they share, living together has not always been easy. And it is about to become more complicated now that Erin, the youngest, is back, alone and pregnant, after two years abroad with an opera company. Her return and the arrival of the geneticist who has come to study the Keller family ignites explosive emotions that these women have kept buried and uncovers revelations that will shake them all to their roots.

Told from varying viewpoints, Courtney Miller Santo's compelling and evocative debut novel captures the joys and sorrows of family—the love, secrets, disappointments, jealousies, and forgiveness that tie generations to one another.

My Review:
This is a story of family, resentments, age and secrets. It shows how resentments affect generation after generation and in this family there are 5 generations of first born women with a 6th generation on the way, the oldest being Anna who is 112 and strives to become the oldest living human being, especially since she still has her mind and her body is still pretty spry too. Then there is Dr. Amrit who is on a mission to find out more about super-agers and thinks he has hit pay dirt with the The Keller women but with his research secrets are uncovered that the women would all rather stayed buried.

I really liked this story even though the ending was a bit rushed and not as satisfying as I had hoped. The Keller women are not always likable but you still can’t help falling in love with them, flaws and all. Every mother and daughter has had their share of troubles some more than others, however they all still live in the same house which has become tense as these women move about their days without ever really connecting with each other. But with the youngest coming back home with problems of her own and Dr. Amrit’s research dislodging lost (or best forgotten) memories these women are all doing some soul searching.

Karen White’s narration was fantastic all her different voices and accents were spot on; you always knew exactly who was talking. Her voice took on so many different characteristics of each of the women as they told their story and her delivery held my interest all the way through.

I thought this was a great first novel it is set in California but has a southern fiction feel to it so I think if you are a fan of Southern Fiction I would suggest giving this one a try.

4 stars

Monday, November 19, 2012

Miss Dreamsville and the Collier County Women's Literary Society: A Novel by Amy Hill Hearth

Miss Dreamsville and the Collier County Women's Literary Society: A Novel by Amy Hill Hearth

Synopsis from goodreads:A brilliant debut novel from a New York Times bestselling author about a transplanted wife from Boston who arrives in Florida in the 1960s, starts a literary salon, and shakes up the status quo.

In 1962, Jackie Hart moved to Naples, Florida, from Boston with her husband and children. Wanting something personally fulfilling to do with her time, she starts a reading club and anonymously hosts a radio show, calling herself Miss Dreamsville.

The racially segregated town falls in love with Miss Dreamsville, but doesn’t know what to make of Jackie, who welcomes everyone into her book club, including a woman who did prison time for allegedly killing her husband, a man of questionable sexual preference, a young divorcee, as well as a black woman.

By the end of this novel, you’ll be wiping away the tears of laugher and sadness, and you just may become a bit more hopeful that even the most hateful people can see the light of humanitarianism, if they just give themselves a chance.

My Review:

This was so much fun! I loved every character in this book so much I didn’t want it to end! This gang of misfits turned Naples on its heel and I loved every minute of it!

Mrs. Jackie Hart is a northerner transplanted to Naples in the early 1960’s and since she’s a Yankee she doesn’t really fit in so she starts a Women’s Literary Society and the group that shows up is also on the outside, we have a divorcee, a woman just out of prison for killing her husband, a colored (their words) girl, a man who they let join because they all know he is a homosexual, a woman the whole town calls Plain Jane and the librarian, this group of outsiders and misfits ends up being about so much more than reading books.

This book had humor, drama, and life lessons what I loved about it was the way these and women (and Robbie Lee) came together as strangers with nothing in common and ended up the best of friends and truly involved in each other’s lives. I just wish it had been longer or maybe has a sequel in the works! I liked the historical details of the time, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the KKK, women’s rights and women trying to find their place in the world, civil rights. The Cuban Missile Crisis chapter I thought was well done and really gave a feel to how people in Florida must have felt.

I also liked in the acknowledgments finding out that Jackie was modeled after the authors MIL who was the actual Miss Dreamsville. And this author’s non-fiction work about the Delany sisters’ is one I have been meaning to read for awhile so will be bumping that up on the TBR pile. I hope she will write more fiction because I will be first in line to read more from this author.

4 Stars

Monday, November 5, 2012

Winter Shadows by Margaret Buffie

Winter Shadows by 

Synopsis from Goodreads
Cass feels the long winter shadows on her heart. Her mother died of cancer and her father has remarried a woman who has moved into their old Manitoba house with her nasty, babyish daughter and an attitude that's very hard to take. Christmas promises to be a miserable time.

More than a century earlier, Christmas is proving to be difficult for Beatrice, too, for she has shadows of her own. Some are cast by her circumstances. She sees the growing prejudice against people like her who are of mixed Cree and Scottish backgrounds. And like Cass, she has a stepmother. Her father's new wife is threatened by Beatrice and is driving a wedge into the family. Beatrice can only be sure of her beloved Cree grandmother, relegated to a room upstairs. When a way of escape presents itself to Beatrice by way of an eligible bachelor, she is torn by the choice it offers her. Should she settle for a man she doesn't love or address the problems at home? Through her journal, she explores the answer and, at the same time, inspires Cass to find the strength she needs to face her own situation. Margaret Buffie's great skill as a storyteller creates a splendid, engaging novel that offers readers a rich combination of fine history, suspenseful shifts in time, and unforgettable characters.

My Review:

This book shows that step families have been hard for a very long time. The parallel stories of Beatrice in the 1856 and Cass in the present both have a new step mother after their mothers have died and the relationship is not an easy one. I like this time travel/shadow travel/ ghost/spirit story? With a dash of romance. It is kind of hard to categorize. 

It is set in Manitoba in 1856 Beatrice is not happy to have come home after being away at school and found her father married to Ivy a sour woman and Aggatha, Beatrice’s Cree grandmother, is not being taken care of, this sets off a chain of events that makes a relationship between Beatrice & Ivy very tense to say the least. Cass’s mother has died and her father has re-married to an unhappy jealous woman named Jean who also has a daughter Daisy who seems to do her best to annoy Cass. Suddenly these two girls’ centuries apart are seeing flashes of each other’s lives and Beatrice’s diary appears to Cass and she reads about Beatrice’s life.

I enjoyed this book and think that a lot of young people will relate to it, because blended families are hard but what I loved about this book was the reveal of the new wives past and what made them react to these girls the way they did and how when they found a happy medium to their feelings, that was when healing starts.

The “romance” between Beatrice & Kilgour was sweet I liked the way she never realized how he felt about her and how she fought her feeling tooth & nail without even realizing what she was doing. I also liked how Daisy & Cass’s relationship grew, these two stories were very true to life about how hard a blended family can be.

I totally see why this book has won awards in Canada and since Winnipeg Manitoba is only a couple hours from where I live it made it even more special. I liked the history of the Cree in this area and how they blended with the new immigrants into a thriving community.

I highly recommend this book.

4 Stars

Full disclosure: I received this book from the Librarything Early Reviewers Program for a unbiased review.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Secret Keeper by, Kate Morton

The Secret Keeper by, Kate Morton

Synopsis:1960 England. Laurel Nicolson is sixteen years old, dreaming alone in her childhood tree house during a family celebration at their home, Green Acres Farm. She spies a stranger coming up the long road to the farm and then observes her mother, Dorothy, speaking to him. And then she witnesses a crime.

Fifty years later, Laurel is a successful and well-regarded actress, living in London. She returns to Green Acres for Dorothy’s ninetieth birthday and finds herself overwhelmed by memories and questions she has not thought about for decades. She decides to find out the truth about the events of that summer day and lay to rest her own feelings of guilt. One photograph, of her mother and a woman Laurel has never met, called Vivian, is her first clue.

The Secret Keeper explores longings and dreams, the lengths some people go to fulfill them, and the strange consequences they sometimes have. It is a story of lovers, friends, dreamers and schemers, play-acting and deception told against a backdrop of events that changed the world.

My Review:

Another great book from Kate Morton; she sure knows how to weave a story. This one is a story of secrets, family, murder and of learning the truth before its too late. When Laurel was a child she witnesses something very disturbing and now 50 years later her mother is dying and she sets out to find the truth behind what happened. But what she finds isn’t what she expects does she even know her mother at all. Her mom always said they were her second chance but from what or who?

As always Kate Morton blends the past and present story together with masterful ease, I had such a hard time turning this off (audio) I did not want to stop listening for a minute, this one grabbed me in the first 5 minutes and never let me go right up to the end. I started suspecting certain things **No Spoilers** and was glad when it confirmed I was right. I think the biggest lesson Laurel learned in this one was that the mother she knew and loved all her life was still that same woman even with all her secrets laid bare, it really didn’t change anything in her feelings towards her mother and I liked that.

The story of Dorothy’s past gave such a great feel of England during the blitz, how even with bombs dropping people tried to keep their chin up. I really felt the atmosphere of the time.

There was also a Doctor Who reference that made me love this author all the more!

If you can’t tell I love this author and will read whatever she writes and look forward to another book very soon!

4 ½ Stars

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Our teen library patrons Read Banned Books

Our teen readers chose books they were surprised had been banned and thought that banning books as a whole was a very silly idea! Proves there is hope for the future!
The books they chose were:
Ashley- The Hunger Games by, Suzanne Collins
Joanna-The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by,Mark Twain
Sandra- Snakehead by, Anthony Horowitz

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Eddy-New Rockford Library Reads Banned Books

Angelou, Maya. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.
Bantam. Challenged in the Manheim Township, Pa.
schools (2007) due to sexual references. The book was
retained in the ninth-grade English curriculum, but it was
decided to teach the book later in the school year, after a
public forum was held with parents to discuss that book
and the entire literary canon of the English department.
Challenged in the Coeur d'Alene, Idaho School District
(2007). Some parents say the book, along with five others,
should require parental permission for students to read

Thursday, September 27, 2012

We Read Banned Books!

It is Banned Books Week come in and check out a book from the table and have your picture taken reading a banned book!

Throughout the country, most children are starting a new academic year. Teachers are sending out their lists of required readings, and parents are beginning to gather books. In some cases, classics like "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn," "The Catcher in the Rye," and "To Kill a Mocking Bird," may not be included in curriculum or available in the school library due to challenges made by parents or administrators.

Since 1990, the American Library Association's (ALA) Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) has recorded more than 10,000 book challenges, including 513 in 2008. A challenge is a formal, written complaint requesting a book be removed from library shelves or school curriculum. About three out of four of all challenges are to material in schools or school libraries, and one in four are to material in public libraries. OIF estimates that less than one-quarter of challenges are reported and recorded.

It is thanks to the commitment of librarians, teachers, parents, and students that most challenges are unsuccessful and reading materials like "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings," " The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time," the Harry Potter” series, and “The Hunger Games” series, also a couple by, Jodi Picoult remain available.

The most challenged and/or restricted reading materials have been books for children.  However, challenges are not simply an expression of a point of view; on the contrary, they are an attempt to remove materials from public use, thereby restricting the access of others. Even if the motivation to ban or challenge a book is well intentioned, the outcome is detrimental. Censorship denies our freedom as individuals to choose and think for ourselves. For children, decisions about what books to read should be made by the people who know them best—their parents!

In support of the right to choose books freely for ourselves, the ALA and Eddy-New Rockford Library are sponsoring Banned Books Week Sept.24-Oct.1 an annual celebration of our right to access books without censorship. This year's observance commemorates the most basic freedom in a democratic society—the freedom to read freely—and encourages us not to take this freedom for granted.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The Cove by, Ron Rash

The Cove by, Ron Rash

This is a beautiful and heartbreaking book. Set in the Appalachians during WWI and hate towards Germans is running rampant with the help of one fervent recruiter Chauncey who is on a witch hunt for anything German. At the same time on a farm in the cove lives Laurel a young woman with a wine splotch birthmark that people in town say is a curse and call her a witch and the townspeople won’t let her go to school because she may harm their children. A superstitious lot they are, that makes for a lonely life for Laurel, she does have her brother Jack who is back from the war missing a hand but alive. When one day she hears the most beautiful flute music and sees a raggedy man a few days later she finds him covered in bee stings and brings him home. Walter recovers but seems to be a mute but that doesn’t stop sparks from flying between him and Laurel.

I cared so much about these characters that towards the end my stomach was knotted with worry and when events played out I was bawling . This book evokes the times and the place I felt like I was there. It is a love story but so much more it is about the human condition and how people can be so incredibly hurtful towards others. I loved Laurel and felt so bad for the way she was treated and even though I figured out certain things about Walter, it didn’t matter, he was one of the few people to show a kindness towards laurel and I think it was what they both needed.

As I said this novel is beautiful and heart wrenching all at the same time, this is my first book by this author and will not be my last! I think fans of southern fiction and historical fiction will like this one.

4 ½ Stars

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Yellow Crocus by Laila Ibrahim

Yellow Crocus by Laila Ibrahim

Synopsis from Goodreads:Mattie was never truly mine. That knowledge must have filled me as quickly and surely as the milk from her breasts. Although my family ‘owned’ her, although she occupied the center of my universe, her deepest affections lay elsewhere. So along with the comfort of her came the fear that I would lose her some day. This is our story...

So begins Lisbeth Wainwright’s compelling tale of coming-of-age in antebellum Virginia. Born to white plantation owners but raised by her enslaved black wet nurse, Mattie, Lisbeth’s childhood unfolds on the line between two very different worlds. Growing up under the tender care of Mattie, Lisbeth adopts her surrogate mother’s deep-seated faith in God, her love of music and black-eyed peas, and the tradition of hunting for yellow crocuses in the early days of spring. In time, Lisbeth realizes she has freedoms and opportunities that Mattie does not have, though she’s confined by the societal expectations placed on women born to privilege. As Lisbeth grows up, she struggles to reconcile her love for her caregiver with her parents’ expectations, a task made all the more difficult as she becomes increasingly aware of the ugly realities of the American slavery system. When Lisbeth bears witness to a shockingly brutal act, the final vestiges of her naiveté crumble around her. Lisbeth realizes she must make a choice, one that will require every ounce of the courage she learned from her beloved Mattie. This compelling historical novel is a richly evocative tale of love, loss, and redemption set during one of the most sinister chapters of American history.

 My Review:
This is a beautifully written book about a young white girl Lisbeth or Miss Elizabeth as her parents want her known as who grows up on Fair Oaks Plantation in the 1800’s. When Lisbeth is born she is handed from her mother to slave/wet-nurse Mattie who has been taken from the Quarters and her newborn son to the Big House and Elizabeth’s mother thinks she should be so grateful to be living in the lap of luxury. As time goes on Lisbeth learns to love and depend on Mattie much more than her own mother but Lisbeth is young and naïve and doesn’t realize there is much more to life on the plantation than she is seeing.

This is a coming of age story as we watch Lisbeth from the time she is born till she is a grown woman, we watch as innocence is replaced with knowledge and knowledge is not always a happy thing. This realization is a slow building and at times Lisbeth doesn’t want to see but when the time comes she has to make a choice- “ Decisions to make, she thought to herself. She was too tired to make any more decisions.”

These characters were so real to me I could hear their voices in my head; I could see what they saw. This author gave voice to these people in such a beautiful way I can’t even come close to finding the correct words to explain it. This is a debut novel and I am amazed by that and hope this author writes many. Many more books because I plan on reading them all!

Beautiful southern historical fiction I highly recommend!

5 Stars

I received this book from netgalley and have purchased the print version for the library

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Second Empress: A Novel of Napoleon's Court by, Michelle Moran

The Second Empress: A Novel of Napoleon's Court by, Michelle Moran

Synopsis From Goodreads: After the bloody French Revolution, Emperor Napoleon’s power is absolute. When Marie-Louise, the eighteen year old daughter of the King of Austria, is told that the Emperor has demanded her hand in marriage, her father presents her with a terrible choice: marry the cruel, capricious Napoleon, leaving the man she loves and her home forever, or say no, and plunge her country into war.

Marie-Louise knows what she must do, and she travels to France, determined to be a good wife despite Napoleon’s reputation. But lavish parties greet her in Paris, and at the extravagant French court, she finds many rivals for her husband’s affection, including Napoleon’s first wife, Joséphine, and his sister Pauline, the only woman as ambitious as the emperor himself. Beloved by some and infamous to many, Pauline is fiercely loyal to her brother. She is also convinced that Napoleon is destined to become the modern Pharaoh of Egypt. Indeed, her greatest hope is to rule alongside him as his queen—a brother-sister marriage just as the ancient Egyptian royals practiced. Determined to see this dream come to pass, Pauline embarks on a campaign to undermine the new empress and convince Napoleon to divorce Marie-Louise.

As Pauline's insightful Haitian servant, Paul, watches these two women clash, he is torn between his love for Pauline and his sympathy for Marie-Louise. But there are greater concerns than Pauline's jealousy plaguing the court of France. While Napoleon becomes increasingly desperate for an heir, the empire's peace looks increasingly unstable. When war once again sweeps the continent and bloodshed threatens Marie-Louise’s family in Austria, the second Empress is forced to make choices that will determine her place in history—and change the course of her life.

Based on primary resources from the time, The Second Empress takes readers back to Napoleon’s empire, where royals and servants alike live at the whim of one man, and two women vie to change their destinies.

My Review:

Before I started this one I knew nothing about Marie Louise or honestly that much about Napoleon (I thought he was still married to Josephine when he was exiled), I recently started reading more about French history including Michelle Moran’s last book Madame Tussaud and the confessions of Catherine de Medici plus one about the Hapsburgs (The Last Queen) by, CW Gortner. So I am slowly learning more about these two timelines & royalty. As with any Historical Fiction an author is going to take some liberties and I for one don’t mind this at all, I want to read a historical fiction that will make me want to research the facts for myself and this one did that.

I felt sorry for Marie as I’ve said before, these poor princesses just can’t catch a break, trotted off to marry an ogre who just wants you as birthing mare, but as Marie said the sooner she got pregnant the less she had to deal with Napoleon. I was glad Marie’s life turned out for the best; I think the best thing that ever happened to her was when Napoleon was overthrown and exiled.

I was a bit freaked out and disgusted with Napoleon’s sister Pauline she had a very unhealthy relationship with her brother and she seemed to be a nymphomaniac and was a very selfish, just not a nice person at all. But her story was fascinating as she flounced from man to man, and used old women as footstools but one has to wonder how many men she gave the clap to??

And Paul let us not forget poor put-upon chamberlain Paul, his love for Pauline was all he could think of even as she took lover after lover but I also loved his ending *no spoilers* all I could think was it’s about time!

I really like the authenticity added by the actual letters written by Napoleon & Josephine that showed they still cared very much for each other right to the end. Napoleon was a piece of work, talk about an egomaniac but you have to give it to him he came from the bottom of the barrel and made to Emperor so I suppose he had a right to be proud of himself but he took it way over the line with how he talked to people and what he thought was his “by right”.

I love Michelle Moran’s writing always takes you to a place and time where you can almost smell it and this book was no exception. Can’t wait for more books by this author!

4 ½ stars

I received this book from the Librarything Early Reviewers Program

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Queen's Vow: A Novel Of Isabella Of Castile by C.W. Gortner

I have read a lot of books about the Tudors and The Romanovs but have never delved into Spanish Royalty so this book was extra fascinating to me. This book was so well written I really enjoyed it and as I have said I love a historical fiction book that’s makes me want to do more research. I also plan on reading Gortner’s The Last Queen about Isabella’s daughter Juana.

I found this book so fascinating and I learned much about Spanish Royalty and how Spain was united. It was also fascinating to learn about Catherine of Aragon’s mother since I have read so much Tudor historical fiction. This was my first book by, C.W. Gortner and will not be my last I plan on reading everything he has written because his writing is fabulous he kept me interested from beginning to end, this book never got dull and held me rapt it was hard to put down.

I know this is Historical Fiction and Mr. Gortner has said he took a few liberties but I really want to think that Isabel didn’t want to enforce the Spanish Inquisition I liked her I thought she was an amazingly strong woman especially considering her mother was a little well, crazy, maybe today she would be manic or bi-polar and be on meds but at that time in history there was no such thing. I liked the fact that she chose her own husband (even though there were a few liberties taken with their story) I thought they made a great power couple their styles of rule complemented each other very well.

With the hints we got in this book about Juana’s personality I am going to go right into reading The Last Queen while this one is fresh in my mind.

4 ½ Stars

Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Homecoming of Samuel Lake: A Novel by Jenny Wingfield~~Review

The Homecoming of Samuel Lake: A Novel by Jenny Wingfield
Synopsis from Goodreads: Every first Sunday in June, members of the Moses clan gather for an annual reunion at a sprawling hundred-acre farm in Arkansas. And every year, Samuel Lake, a vibrant and committed young preacher, brings his beloved wife, Willadee Moses, and their three children back for the festivities. In the midst of it all, Samuel and Willadee’s outspoken eleven-year-old daughter, Swan, is a bright light. Her high spirits and fearlessness have alternately seduced and bedeviled three generations of the family. But just as the reunion is getting under way, tragedy strikes, jolting the family to their core and setting the stage for a summer of crisis and profound change.

With the clear-eyed wisdom that illuminates the most tragic—and triumphant—aspects of human nature, Jenny Wingfield has created an enduring work of fiction.

My Review:
What a beautiful family story! I fell completely and totally in love with the Moses-Lake family, through all their hard times and happiness this story touched my heart it made me feel every emotion. Yes I cried a few times but the way they handle the hardships will make you want to be part of this family and never leave them. I was sad when this book ended.

Swan Lake the young heroine of our story will grab your heart so fast you won’t be able to quit reading. I also loved that the Lake marriage was a strong one and they were a wonderfully loving family. Also little Blade Ballenger will have you wanting to rescue him too you will find yourself wanting to plan right along with the Lake children. Blade’s father Ras otherwise known as Satan’s Son is so despicable in the way he treats everyone and everything.

If you can’t tell already I absolutely loved this book and it will be on my best of 2012 list for sure. This book is Southern Fiction at its best.

Here are some of my favorite quotes:
“Moses Never Closes was something folks counted on. It was a certain place in an uncertain world. Folks wanted it to stay the way it was, because once you change one part of a thing, all the other parts begin to shift, and pretty soon, you just don’t know what’s what anymore.”

“And she knew Life well enough to know that if one person in a house gets really miserable for any length of time, the misery spreads like smallpox.”

That last quote is from grandma Calla who has been through so many hardships of her own but knows you have to put on foot in front of the other and go on living life. Uncle Toy was also a favorite character the way his character grows throughout this book is amazing.

Oh heck have I convinced you to read this yet?? This book is a must read! Go on you too will fall in love with this family!

5 Stars

Friday, June 22, 2012

A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty: A Novel by Joshilyn Jackson~~Review

A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty: A Novel by Joshilyn Jackson

Synopsis: A GROWN-UP KIND OF PRETTY is a powerful saga of three generations of women, plagued by hardships and torn by a devastating secret, yet inextricably joined by the bonds of family. Fifteen-year-old Mosey Slocumb-spirited, sassy, and on the cusp of womanhood-is shaken when a small grave is unearthed in the backyard, and determined to figure out why it's there. Liza, her stroke-ravaged mother, is haunted by choices she made as a teenager. But it is Jenny, Mosey's strong and big-hearted grandmother, whose maternal love braids together the strands of the women's shared past--and who will stop at nothing to defend their future

My Review:
This is my first book by Joshilyn Jackson and I will be remedying that ASAP. This was such a great book almost impossible to put down. What great characters I loved them all! This book is about family and what it means to be family. The 3 generations of women in this book will make you smile, cry and cheer.

Once the first bombshell is dropped in this book you will not be able to turn back or put this book down! Oh my, it would be so easy to give away too much in a review but I want you to know how much I loved this book! Big, Little & Mosey are all great women in their own right, I loved how each chapter was told from each woman’s perspective so you knew what each was thinking and hiding and revealing to the other and how the other reacts to it. As you may be able to tell I fell in love with this family of women and I just want to gush on and on. Maybe I better just stop here and say READ THIS BOOK!!

5 Stars

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Mr. Churchill’s Secretary by, Susan Elia MacNeal

Synopsis:London, 1940. Winston Churchill has just been sworn in, war rages across the Channel, and the threat of a Blitz looms larger by the day. But none of this deters Maggie Hope. She graduated at the top of her college class and possesses all the skills of the finest minds in British intelligence, but her gender qualifies her only to be the newest typist at No. 10 Downing Street. Her indefatigable spirit and remarkable gifts for codebreaking, though, rival those of even the highest men in government, and Maggie finds that working for the prime minister affords her a level of clearance she could never have imagined—and opportunities she will not let pass. In troubled, deadly times, with air-raid sirens sending multitudes underground, access to the War Rooms also exposes Maggie to the machinations of a menacing faction determined to do whatever it takes to change the course of history.

Ensnared in a web of spies, murder, and intrigue, Maggie must work quickly to balance her duty to King and Country with her chances for survival. And when she unravels a mystery that points toward her own family’s hidden secrets, she’ll discover that her quick wits are all that stand between an assassin’s murderous plan and Churchill himself.

In this daring debut, Susan Elia MacNeal blends meticulous research on the era, psychological insight into Winston Churchill, and the creation of a riveting main character,  Maggie Hope, into a spectacularly crafted novel

My Review:

This book was not what I was expecting; I didn’t expect it to be a spy/war/mystery/family secrets story all rolled into a really good book. The setting was fascinating; the beginning of WWII and with people like the US Ambassador Joseph Kennedy who lost his post for being a Nazi sympathizer and an anti-Semite which I looked up and was a bit shocked to find this all to be true. And of course Winston Churchill it was fun to hear about his pets running rough shod over 10 Downing (I looked that up too and found it to be true). So this book was well researched and made me want to look things up and as I’ve said before that’s what makes a good historical fiction novel.

I really liked Maggie she did remind me a little of Maisie Dobbs but that could just be the setting and the fact that she is a strong independent woman in a time that was a bit frowned upon. I also liked the fact that Maggie was raised an American but by the end of this book has been found to be a valuable asset for the England. There are at times a lot of characters to keep track of  and I did get confused a couple times as to who was who so I hope in the next book this will be tightened up a bit. I do look forward to reading more of Maggie.

I felt this book was kind of a Cozy Spy Thriller it had all the great elements of a good spy novel plus the best of a cozy mystery. I look forward to more by this author.

All in all a good start of what I’ve heard is a proposed series and I look forward to the next one!

4 stars

Saturday, May 12, 2012

A Place of Secrets by, Rachel Hore narrated by, Jilly Bond

A Place of Secrets by, Rachel Hore narrated by, Jilly Bond
Synopsis from Goodreads-Auction house appraiser Jude leaves London for her dream job at Starbrough Hall, an estate in the countryside, examining and pricing the manuscripts and instruments of an 18th-century astronomer. She is welcomed by Chantal Wickham, and Jude feels close to the old woman at once: they have both lost their husbands. Hard times have forced the Wickham family to sell the astronomer's work, their land, and with it, the timeworn tower that lies nearby. The tower was built as an observatory for astronomer Anthony Wickham and his daughter Esther, and it served as the setting for their most incredible discoveries. 

Though Jude is far away from her life in London, her arrival at Starbrough Hall brings a host of childhood memories. She meets Euan, a famed writer and naturalist who lives in the gamekeeper's cottage at the foot of the tower, where Jude's grandfather once lived. And a nightmare begins to haunt her six-year-old niece, the same nightmare Jude herself had years ago. Is it possible that the dreams are passed down from one generation to the next? What secrets does the tower hold? And will Jude unearth them before it's too late?

My Review: 
I received this book from Librarything Early Review Program and with so much going on in my life I’ve gotten behind on my ER’s so I picked this one up on audio and am very glad I did as Jilly Bond’s narration was really good, so this will be a review of the book and the narration.

 Recently widowed antique appraiser Jude is trying to get on with her life but she can’t stop thinking of her husband so she decides to take a working vacation to look at some old astronomy texts and equipment and this is when the coincidences start. The estate where these things are is where Jude’s Great Grandfather was groundskeeper and where her Grandmother grew up, but she doesn’t like to talk too much about that time of her life except that there was a gypsy girl. It is also close to her sister and niece who seem to be having the same dreams Jude had as a child. Is that possible? And what is her grandmother hiding? Also why does this place look like the dreams Jude had as a child?

I thought the author did a great job at weaving the past and present storylines together and the mystery of the dreams and what happened to Esther in the 1700’s. I enjoyed the mystery of Esther, this 18th century foundling adopted by rich amateur astronomer they are a happy father and daughter and he seems to love sharing his love of the stars with her, but her story isn’t always a happy one and when Jude finds her journals she starts to unlock the mystery of Esther’s life. This has a magical realism feel to it with the astrology and the dreams. It also has a touch of romance but it doesn’t over power the book. I enjoyed this new to me author’s writing style and will definitely read more by her.

If you are a fan of Kate Morton or Susanna Kearsley I think you will like this book it has the same kind of feel to it with the present story mixed in with the past.

Narrator Jilly Bond brought this story to life for me, her voices were well done and her male & female characters weren’t overdone. I was impressed with her work and will seek out other books narrated by her.

4 Stars

Monday, March 5, 2012

The Dressmaker by, Kate Alcott~~Review

The Dressmaker by, Kate Alcott
My Review:
I really liked this book even with the romance storyline; it made me want to do research on what happened after the sinking of the Titanic and to learn more about the survivors, which to me is what makes a good historical fiction book. We all know the story of the sinking of the Titanic but I for one knew almost nothing about the aftermath, the scandal of what happened on the lifeboats, and the senate hearings.

This book is about more than just the aftermath of the Titanic but that is the backdrop that makes it fascinating. A young lady named Tess is an aspiring dressmaker and is hoping to get a job on the Titanic to get passage to America however no jobs are to be found the day of sailing while on the dock wondering what to do but not willing to give up she overhears a conversation, famous designer Lady Duff Gordon’s maid isn’t going to make the trip and Tess jumps at the chance and talks the woman into hiring her. Tess is astounded by the opulence of the ship and is also enamored by Lady Duff Gordon. But as we all know the trip does not go as planned but it is what happens afterwards that makes this story. Tess and the Duff Gordon’s are in separate lifeboats and the rumors about what happened in the Duff Gordon’s boat are shocking and to Tess completely unbelievable, but what really happened, is her new boss what she thought or are the stories true?

There is also a bit of a chaste love triangle involving Tess which didn’t deter me from my enjoyment of this book it actually added nicely to the story and fleshed out the character of Tess. The other characters in this book were all well fleshed out and believable.

I really enjoyed this book and stayed up till 3 am finishing it because I just needed to know what was going to happen with Tess. I would actually love a second book to find out what happens to Tess next and if she ended up fulfilling her American dream.

I highly recommend this well written historical drama.

4 ½ Stars

I received this book from Librarything Early Reviewers Program

Friday, March 2, 2012

The Boy In The Suitcase by Lene Kaaberbøl, Agnete Friis ~~Review

The Boy In The Suitcase by Lene Kaaberbøl, Agnete Friis

Synopsis:Nina Borg, a Red Cross nurse, wife, and mother of two, is a compulsive do-gooder who can't say no when someone asks for help—even when she knows better. When her estranged friend Karin leaves her a key to a public locker in the Copenhagen train station, Nina gets suckered into her most dangerous project yet. Inside the locker is a suitcase, and inside the suitcase is a three-year-old boy: naked and drugged, but alive.

Is the boy a victim of child trafficking? Can he be turned over to authorities, or will they only return him to whoever sold him? When Karin is discovered brutally murdered, Nina realizes that her life and the boy's are in jeopardy, too. In an increasingly desperate trek across Denmark, Nina tries to figure out who the boy is, where he belongs, and who exactly is trying to hunt him down.

My Review:
This was a good thriller/mystery that kept me wanting to read more. The story is told by two women, Nina who finds the boy in the suitcase and Sigita the mother of the child trying to piece together exactly what happened and trying to find her son. These two women have both lived hard lives and have both done things they regret but unbeknownst to each other are both trying to save the boy.

As the story plays out you’re never sure the reason behind everything so you are compelled to keep going so you can have your answers and to see if all these characters will get their happily ever after. And when the reason is slowly brought to light it wasn’t what I expected at all.

This has been hyped up and compared to Girl with the Dragon Tattoo I for one was not a big fan of GWTDT so I am happy to report that I liked this book much better! I’d recommend this to anyone who likes thrillers/mysteries and likes strong female leads. I hear this is a first in the series and if there is more I would definitely read more by this author.

4 Stars

Monday, February 27, 2012

The Tiger's Wife by, Téa Obreht

Synopsis:Weaving a brilliant latticework of family legend, loss, and love, Téa Obreht, the youngest of The New Yorker's twenty best American fiction writers under forty, has spun a timeless novel that will establish her as one of the most vibrant, original authors of her generation.

In a Balkan country mending from years of conflict, Natalia, a young doctor, arrives on a mission of mercy at an orphanage by the sea. By the time she and her lifelong friend Zóra begin to inoculate the children there, she feels age-old superstitions and secrets gathering everywhere around her. Secrets her outwardly cheerful hosts have chosen not to tell her. Secrets involving the strange family digging for something in the surrounding vineyards. Secrets hidden in the landscape itself.

But Natalia is also confronting a private, hurtful mystery of her own: the inexplicable circumstances surrounding her beloved grandfather's recent death. After telling her grandmother that he was on his way to meet Natalia, he instead set off for a ramshackle settlement none of their family had ever heard of and died there alone. A famed physician, her grandfather must have known that he was too ill to travel. Why he left home becomes a riddle Natalia is compelled to unravel.

Grief struck and searching for clues to her grandfather's final state of mind, she turns to the stories he told her when she was a child. On their weeklytrips to the zoo he would read to her from a worn copy of Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book, which he carried with him everywhere; later, he told her stories of his own encounters over many years with "the deathless man," a vagabond who claimed to be immortal and appeared never to age. But the most extraordinary story of all is the one her grandfather never told her, the one Natalia must discover for herself. One winter during the Second World War, his childhood village was snowbound, cut off even from the encroaching German invaders but haunted by another, fierce presence: a tiger who comes ever closer under cover of darkness. "These stories," Natalia comes to understand, "run like secret rivers through all the other stories" of her grandfather's life. And it is ultimately within these rich, luminous narratives that she will find the answer she is looking for.

My Review:
It took awhile to get into this story I don’t think I really got into it until they gave Luka’s back story. I guess that was the story I liked the best. I’m not sure I liked this as well as some but didn’t hate it’s a very hard book to review because I did enjoy it but sometimes just when I was really getting into the story it would switch to a different viewpoint and I wanted the last story back. The story of the tiger’s wife was my favorite and the deathless man and his interactions with Natalia’s grandfather were interesting.
The writing is beautiful, sometimes too much so, the mythology/folktales were very interesting I guess I don’t know enough about The Balkans to know if these are actually stories told in that part of the world. I do think I enjoyed the folk stories better than the story of Natalia not sure I ever came to care much about her. Also I felt the ending was a bit of a letdown not satisfying at all.

I did enjoy parts of this book more than others and I do feel like the last half of the book was much better than the first which moved slowly. I guess I would have to say this book was good not great.

3 Stars

Friday, February 24, 2012

Beyond The Bougainvillea by Dolores Durando~~Review

Beyond The Bougainvillea by Dolores Durando
:She found her place in a turbulent era of deep passions, heartbreaking sacrifices, and grand dreams.
When scholarly, smart Mary Margaret is sixteen, her father marries her off to a drunken neighbor in return for a tract of land. The year is 1924, and Mary Margaret's motherless childhood has already been hard as a farm girl on the desolate prairies of North Dakota. Abused and helpless, the new Mrs. "Marge" Garrity seems destined for a tragic fate.

But Marge is determined to make her life count, no matter what. Her escape from her brutal marriage takes her to California, where she struggles to survive the Great Depression.
This vivid saga of one woman's life in the early decades of a turbulent century is told from the heart of a true storyteller in the grand tradition of women's sagas.

Author Dolores Durando knows Marge's world very well. She grew up ninety years ago on the plains of North Dakota.

My Review:
It is the early 1930’s and the Midwest has been hit with the drought and the great depression is starting. Marge’s young life in North Dakota is anything but happy but when things are at their worst she is rescued by some good people, the kind of people Marge never knew existed. With their help she goes off to California to start her new life. I enjoyed Marge discovering all the new things in the world outside of the North Dakota farm she grew up on, like pull chain toilets, bubble baths, and different ethnic groups.

I fell in love with Marge she is a strong woman yet so kind and loving towards everyone. Her life motto “What’s done is done, now get on with it.” It is how she lived her life no matter what life threw at her she picked herself up and dusted herself off and got on with it. The way she lived her life was inspirational I would love to have her as a friend and can only hope I could treat others with an ounce of the kindness and grace Marge showed to others.

The author of this book is a 90 year old woman and this is her first book and I hope that she writes more! Marge is a character that will stay with me for a long time and I am so sad to be leaving her now that the book is over. This book is at times sad and painful but so very inspirational and uplifting. I highly recommend this one it is a great story whose characters will stay with you long after you put this book down!

5 Stars

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The House I Loved by Tatiana de Rosnay~~Review

The House I Loved by Tatiana de Rosnay
Paris, France: 1860’s. Hundreds of houses are being razed, whole neighborhoods reduced to ashes. By order of Emperor Napoleon III, Baron Haussman has set into motion a series of large-scale renovations that will permanently alter the face of old Paris, moulding it into a “modern city.” The reforms will erase generations of history—but in the midst of the tumult, one woman will take a stand.
Rose Bazelet is determined to fight against the destruction of her family home until the very end; as others flee, she stakes her claim in the basement of the old house on rue Childebert, ignoring the sounds of change that come closer and closer each day. Attempting to overcome the loneliness of her daily life, she begins to write letters to Armand, her beloved late husband. And as she delves into the ritual of remembering, Rose is forced to come to terms with a secret that has been buried deep in her heart for thirty years. The House I Loved is both a poignant story of one woman’s indelible strength, and an ode to Paris, where houses harbor the joys and sorrows of their inhabitants, and secrets endure in the very walls...

My Review:
I love the way Tatiana de Rosnay writes, this was a great story of one woman’s life told by her in letters to her dead husband. It is 1865 and Rose’s house is being torn down to make room for the streets to be widened, she doesn’t want to give up her house but has no choice but she is not ready to leave she sends her belongings to her daughter and says she will be there soon but is really living in the basement of her home and re-living her life through memories she puts down in letters to her dead husband. Throughout these letters you sense there is a secret, something she needs to tell her husband. Plus what she really plans to do is kind of just hanging there the whole time. (no spoilers). The author also brings the times to life through the descriptions of the demolition of Paris to make way for new and improved Paris.

I found this a fascinating look at one woman’s life in time of such change I Paris. I thought this was very good story telling about well, simply about life. I went into this book expecting a good story and that is what I got , is it different from her other books, yes, why would you want an author to write the same book over and over. All of Tatiana’s books are different from each other and that’s what I like about her as an author you never know what the story will be but you know it will be written beautifully! I just really liked this one, the character of Rose telling her story it was so simple yet brilliant.

4 Stars

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Catch Me by, Lisa Gardner~~Review

Catch Me by, Lisa Gardner
Synopsis:In "New York Times" bestselling author Lisa Gardner's latest D.D. Warren thriller, the relentless Boston investigator must solve a coldly calculated murder--before it happens.

"In four days, someone is going to kill me . . . "

Detective D. D. Warren is hard to surprise. But a lone woman outside D.D.'s latest crime scene shocks her with a remarkable proposition: Charlene Rosalind Carter Grant believes she will be murdered in four days. And she wants Boston's top detective to handle the death investigation.

"It will be up close and personal. No evidence of forced entry, no sign of struggle."
Charlie tells a chilling story: Each year at 8:00 p.m. on January 21st, a woman has died. The victims have been childhood best friends from a small town in New Hampshire; the motive remains unknown. Now only one friend, Charlie, remains to count down her final hours.

But as D.D. quickly learns, Charlie Grant doesn't plan on going down without a fight. By her own admission, the girl can outshoot, outfight, and outrun anyone in Boston. Which begs the question, is Charlie the next victim, or the perfect perpetrator? As D.D. tracks a vigilante gunman who is killing pedophiles in Boston, she must also delve into the murders of Charlie's friends, racing to find answers before the next gruesome January 21 anniversary. Is Charlie truly in danger, or is she hiding a secret that may turn out to be the biggest threat of all?

"In four days, someone is going to kill me. But the son of a bitch has gotta catch me first. "

My Review
Lisa Gardner has done it again; another edge of your seat, stay up all night, can’t put it down, book!

If you have followed my reviews you know I have had a problem in the past with D.D. and that I was hoping that having a baby would humanize her a bit, well Lisa Gardner has done just that I really liked D.D. in this book!

This story had its twists and turns and kept you guessing all the way to the reveal, D.D. has 2 cases going on at once the first one is someone is killing pedophiles which brings a sex crimes detective called O onto the team and her and D.D. butt heads. There is also Charlie Grant who comes to D.D. to solve her murder, her 2 best friends were killed a year apart on Jan.21st and as that date approaches Charlie is convinced she is next and she wants D.D. to find the killer, but can D.D. do that before or after?

We also get a bonus of characters from other books that I for one have missed it was a great gift for longtime fans of Lisa’s books.

As for D.D. we get to see how she is handling being a mother and a cop and how great Alex is for her! We also meet D.D.’s parents and get insight into her childhood that explains a lot about her personality. It also made me care more about D.D. than I have before but it is because of the entire series to really see how she has grown and changed with each book.

If you are a fan of Lisa Gardner this is a must read and if you’ve never read Lisa’s books before what are you waiting for these are some of the best mysteries out there!

I received and advance copy of this book from netgalley .

5 Stars