Sunday, August 30, 2009
4 out of 5
As Elizabeth Edwards said herself in this book, she is not here to discuss the most recent escapades of Johns', she is here to discuss how she has gotten through each obstacle that has been placed in her path. But still I didn't get that out of this book. I didn't see how she actually pulled herself up.
I have never lost a child and I have no idea how a mother maneuvers through that, but this book shows me that it is a life long journey. Three quarters of this book is about the sudden and tragic loss of her son, how each and every decision thereafter included him in it. How one day she may deal differently with her cancer, her husbands infidelity, the media, the - fill in the next blank, but right here and right now she will always be incomplete because of one simple accident that took her son and changed her life forever.
Mrs. Edwards does touch on the other road blocks in her life, but nothing fully in depth, no juicy gossip, no preaching about how you should do it. Just a woman's story about how to put one foot in front of the other and taking a deep breath one day at a time.
What I liked about this book was it's lack of the typical "oh, poor me" that runs rampant in most memoirs, how she truly feels blessed with everything good in their lives. But what I did feel hit the "enough already" wall was the constant talk of her deceased son. As I said before, I've never lost a child, maybe it's normal to base every decision on what could have been, but at some point you have to move on.
Saturday, August 29, 2009
4 out of 5
I usually don't like books like this, but once I got into this story and learned more about the strength of Helen an expert quilt and family matriarch; Helen's daughter Nancy, who has had quite the uphill battle to overcome her simple country roots; and Tessa, Nancy's daughter who has lost a daughter and is determined to keep the drunk driver behind bars. the more of this book I read, the more I adored the women that I have met and the message that they tell.
Helen is now getting to the age where it's harder for her to take care of her home and her farm and when Nancy and Tessa go out for a visit they are shocked at what has become of Helen. Indomitable Helen just isn't able to do it all anymore, and when they arrive to discuss leaving her mountain home they are shocked at the mess the place is in. Helen has turned into a hoarder. Remember, she came from a time when you didn't throw anything away, you never know when you might need it again. Now there are just so many piles and such clutter that the home isn't safe anymore. While gathering up and throwing away Tessa finds the old quilts that her grandmother has made and with each quilt a little bit more of her grandmothers and in turn her mothers stories come out.
These three women deeply love each other, but with any family ties there are moments that you could just as easily walk away. But walking away isn't what these women are about and when they are face to face with that truth, you see them fight amongst themselves and those that love them to, come out better strong women in the end.
Family isn't easy but when you combine it was aging, failing marriages and the loss of a child what doesn't tear you apart will in time make stronger bonds that are what help woman who love each other accomplish anything.
First book in the Shenandoah Valley Series
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Ghouls Just Haunt To Have Fun
4 out of 5
Finally Laurie broke away from that whole Scooby Doo feel that these book have had in the past.
With business down, Gilley Gillespie decides to a add a bit of revenue by signing M.J. Holliday up as a psychic on the new Haunted Possessions show, filmed in a haunted hotel in San Francisco. All she has to do touch a family heirloom an tell a little something about the object. Easier said then done when a mysterious knife suddenly appears at the table and literally all hell breaks loose. Now not only the friendly spirits of the old hotel are coming to visit, but the very dark and very dangerous ones are making themselves known.
This book seems to be a bit darker then her previous ones, the actual murders and assaults are more descriptive and without the usual humor to off set them the feel is a bit heavier. Not to say that this book doesn't have humor. The interaction between M.J. and Gilley is and always has been very funny. I do hope that Heath, her co-psychic on the show, will make future appearances in this series, he is a very good balance to M.J.'s character without the whole sexual tension thing that writers seem to dwell on.
Ghouls Just Haunt to Have Fun is the third book in the Ghost Hunter Mystery Series. Very much in the psychic meets the TV series Ghost Hunters vein, which is a very interesting combination. Very different from her Psychic Eye books, but still just as good. If you are looking for a little bit more bite to you cozy mystery reading, check out this series.
Friday, August 21, 2009
Diva Runs Out of Thyme
4 out of 5
Sophie Winson and Natasha Smith have been rivals since high school and now, somewhere in their 40’s, with Natasha stealing Sophie’s husband, their lives are once again thrown together with a local Stupendous Stuffing Contest - the winner receiving the Golden Turkey Award. Ohh, Ahh, but really, the winner also gets a cooking special on the local channel.
Both being accomplished cooks with Natasha taking on the more dominate Martha Stewart role, Sophie sets off to do her home style type of simple cooking which sets off Natasha even more. With the support of friends and family, Sophie’s life is good, that is until on her way out of a supermarket Sophie stumbles across the body of a man who was previously trying to pawn off a kitten her. Who also just happens to have a picture with her name in his truck Well, that’s curious.
One body is bad enough, but the day of the actually competition the head judge is found murdered and Sophie just is in the wrong place at the wrong time. What’s a domestic diva to do, well, you treat your house guests to a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner, solve two crimes and get the lead detective to realize that life would be pretty boring without you around. For a Diva, that’s as simple at pumpkin pie.
This is a very funny light mystery with a wonderful cast of characters, who each seem to have their own stories to tell, that will have the reader following for a long time to come.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
The Cereal Murders
Diane Mott Davidson
3 out of 5
Unfortunately, some of these books are better then others.
Elk Park School does everything it can to help their students enter the collegiate world. After one student prep breakfast, Goldie Bear, caterer extraordinaire, stumbles across the body of a student in the snow. This is not just any student, the is the class valedictorian, the one that everyone knows will be accepted to the college of his choice.
The rich are different and when it comes to getting a child into a top school, there are no longer any rules and what should be a happy time in their child’s life is suddenly turned into an all out competition with no hold barred.
Goldie finds herself in the middle of the murder investigation, of course Tom Shultz is there too since he is trying to get closer to Goldie. But the investigation takes a personal turn when Arch is home alone and a rock comes flying through the front window and later someone blocks the chimney filling the house with smoke. And when that isn’t enough to warn off nosey intruders, a second body is found.
I’ll continue on with this series in hopes that they get better, but this one just couldn’t hold my interest. Hopefully, they will spark up soon.
Saturday, August 15, 2009
5 out of 5
Having never read a book from the Nina Reilly series before I was a bit apprehensive when I picked up this 12th book. But the writing team of O’Shaughnessy made it easy for me, this is really a prequel to the whole series. You meet Nina as a young 20-something mom of 4 year old Bob who is working as a paralegal by day and attending law school at night. But she is no superhero, she is just a woman trying to do what is best for her family.
When Nina’s mother Ginny is disfigured by a rather shady acupuncturist Nina knows that someone should pay, and working in a law firm, she knows just who to call. But then things get even more complicated when ex-lover Richard Filsen appears and claims to be Bob’s father, then Nina finds herself in the middle of a couple murder investigations and she suddenly finds her life in a tailspin.
Nina can’t do this alone and with the help of some very interesting cohorts she is determined to do right by her son, and most importantly her mother; who has always been there for her and her brother. Who put her own pain and struggle on the back burner to give her children the best that she could; and in Ginny’s last steps of independence - to leave them all with something- may have cost Nina more then she ever realized.
I really enjoyed this book and now look forward to going back to the beginning of this series to see where the lives of these characters lead. Nina is a solidly drawn character that I hope will entertain me for years to come.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
5 out of 5
The ending is what makes this book unforgettable. Some have billed this as a children’s/YA book, I think that this book is anything but. Told through the eyes of 9 year old Bruno the son of a Nazi Commandant, we see his burgeoning friendship with another child a Polish Jew. The only thing that separates them is a fence.
Bruno’s naivety is quite startling when you, the adult reader, can see what is around the corner. Bruno is just a kid, thinking kid thought, living in a kids world that has always kept him sheltered. But one day, reality will hit and with it a lesson is learned - an no one will ever be the same.
I highly recommend this book to any adult and even to a middle schooler who is studying the Holocaust. This book gives quite a startling look at this time in history from a child’s perspective. Though criticized for factual inaccuracies, that is not the point the book is trying to make. Whether it was Auschwitz or Bergen Belsen, it really doesn’t matter. This is a story told though the eyes of little boys living in a grown up world.
Saturday, August 8, 2009
Sherry Moore is the type of characters that grabs you from the first book and stays with you through all the future installments. In this 4th outing, Sherry, who was found on the steps of a hospital at the age of 5 and suffers from cortical blindness, is called in to “see” the last 18 seconds of life of a person who has died from a possible virus outbreak in New Mexico; while undergoing this simple task she is exposed to radioactive cesium 137.
While in the hospital for treatment for the radiation and the subsequent migraines, she once again touches the hand of a dead man, a man that has spent the last 50 years in an asylum in a comatose state. When the choppy visions appears to Sherry she is unsure of what exactly it is that she is seeing, until the final moments when she comes out of her trance, but this time it’s different, this time she can see. Literally see, for the first time in over thirty years.
Sherry has to get used to a whole new world. A world where bright shinny objects and bright shinny people can distract her from the world that she has always known.
Not everyone is thrilled with Sherry’s abilities and the world throws her a curve once again. The hand of the dead man, the one from the asylum, was not just any old guy. He held secrets, secrets that very important people don‘t want the rest of the world to know; and if Sherry is in the way, well, that’s just the cost of doing business.
In this very enticing game of cat and mouse, Sherry must lean on her friend Admiral Garland Brigham and his breakfast club to bring a very powerful man and his organization down.
Overall, I love the Sherry Moore books, the last one, Lost Girls, was a bit of a disappointment, but Shuman kicked it back up to his usual high standards with this one and I, for one, look forward to many more.
Saturday, August 1, 2009
4 out of 5
After Connie Goodwin is advanced to candidacy for her PhD in American Colonial history at Harvard, she must now come up with original source material to base her thesis on. Harvard professors don’t make this task easy but on top of the usual pressures, Connie is called on my her slightly left of center mother who need her to clean out her grandmothers house in Marblehead, Massachusetts.
Now of course there has to be a mystery with an old abandoned house with no electricity, no telephone and mushrooms coming out of the floorboards. While cleaning out the bookshelves, Connie comes across an old Bible with an old key inside . Another discovery leads to the name Deliverance Dane, and the mystery is afoot as to who this person was and why mysterious things are happening to and around Connie.
Bouncing back and forth between modern day and the Salem Witch Trials you see history from a new vantage point. What if, the Witch Trials really did round up a witch, what if the legacy and recipe book were hidden for just the right person to find it.
This is quite an entertaining read. Whether the modern day story of tracking down an unknown piece of history or the diabolical undertones of the Witch Trials, the two stories meld together in quite a fascinating way.