Saturday, December 31, 2011

We Give - Blue Chicken and Little Owl's Night



We Give Books was started by Penguin Group and the Pearson Foundation to "support literacy through programs that engage entire communities through literacy and awareness programs". The We Give Books program is an initiative that allows anyone with Internet access to give books to children in need. When you sign up you can choose from one of five charities. Then you can select from one of 151 digital picture books (both fiction and non fiction) to read online.

This is all completely free for the reader! Simply choose the charity you want to read for and then select the books you want to read. For each book you read online, a book is donated to a leading literacy group on your behalf. So please sign up and support literacy.

Title: Blue Chicken
Author and Illustrator: Deborah Freedman
Publisher: Viking Juvenile (September 15, 2011)
Format: eBook
Genre: Childrens
Source: We Give Books
Ages: 4 - 7

Poor chicken, all he wanted to do was help watercolor illustrator Deborah Freeman paint the barn, but in his enthusiasm the blue paint is toppled over and now the farm and all the animals have turned blue.

But, he has an idea. Maybe, just maybe his idea will work to set everything right.

In this very simple book, your child, with your help, will be able to point out colors and animals. The very simple text will be easy for both of you to enjoy and the illustrations are beautiful and relaxing.

By the end, you can both ponder which barn needed to be painted.

Very cute indeed.


Title: Little Owl's Night
Author and Illustrator: Divya Srinivasan
Publisher: Viking Juvenile (September 1, 2011)
Format: eBook
Genre: Childrens
Source: We Give Books
Ages: 4 - 7

I did not like this book for a child. The story seems to begin in the middle with Little Owl ending his evening of watching his friends in the forest gather their food and talking to one another. As Little Owl arrives home, he asks him mama what daytime is like and as she is describing it, Little Owl falls to sleep without being able to see it for himself.

Granted, it takes place mostly at night, but I think it is too dark for a child, there was very little that held my attention so I am sure a child would become bored very quickly. One other thing to consider, a parent might have to explain what the term “Fade to ghosts” means and that might not appeal to many families.

This book is a pass.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Breaking Point


Title: Breaking Point
Author: Dana Haynes
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Publication Date: November 8, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Genre: Thriller
Source: Library

Who are the good guys, who are the bad guys, is the tall blonde bad or the solidly muscled woman with the spiky hair good? Breaking Point by Dana Haynes throws so many characters at you that you find yourself taking inventory from time to time wondering if you have everyone straight and you just know, that by the end of the book, you might just change your opinion of some very interesting people.

“We’ve got false federal agents, a wingless airliner flying under a balloon, air tankers barnstorming us every five minutes, a missing crasher, and a forest fire at the back door. Absolutely nothing could surprise me today.”

When Patriots meet up with science and technology, the lines are a blurred as to what is best for the country. When certain weaponry has been banned for the good of mankind, renegade corporations set out to test the boundaries and when a change of heart comes over them, someone must die and if that someone is on an airplane with other Americans, well that is just the cost of doing business.

Kiki Duvall, Tommy Tomzak and Isaiah Grey are traveling on a midsized aircraft when it plummets from the sky. Being trained Crashers (the NTSB team that goes in after an airliner goes down) they are well equipped to handle the initial parts of the investigation, that is until apparent survivors show curious injuries during their autopsies.

I enjoy this series, the subject is terrifying in its reality and Dana Haynes has a way of describing people and situations to the point that you are right there with them. Start with Crasher and then continue with this book. The intensity will keep you tuned in and the humor will have you wondering if you should be laughing, but to be honest, sometimes humor is what gets you through tough situations.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Gabby


Title: Gabby: A Story of Courage and Hope
Author: Gabrielle Giffords (Author), Mark Kelly (Author), Jeffrey Zaslow (Contributor)
Publisher: Scribner
Publication Date: November 15, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Genre: Memoir
Source: Library

I finally understand why I took so long to finish this book – HOPE. Something that is in short supply of during these times and I found that Gabrielle Gifford’s most challenging moment offers hope to the rest of us. The gunshot wound that she received to her head would have killed most people, but she fought, her husband fought, her parents fought and every one of her loved ones fought. This is a person that is loved and because of that love, we saw a miracle happen.

On January 8, 2011, while in Tucson at a Congress on Your Corner event Gabrielle Gifford’s was shot at point blank range. The book does not give much time, less than a paragraph more along the lines of three sentences, to the person who pulled the trigger. The effort of this book does not dwell on the evil, it concentrates on the positive. That with determination and patience – and top-notch medical care – a devastating brain injury did not end the life of a promising and beloved woman.

We may not all know the story of her husband, the astronaut Mark Kelly and Gabby, but through this book we get to see the man and woman that they are. His humor, his fight, his frustration – but most of all, we see the love he has for his wife. More importantly, through these pages, we see a determined woman, a young girl wanting to right wrongs and a politician that does not take the powers given to her for granted.

I know that the main point of this book was to introduce me to Gabrielle Gifford’s, but I think my take away was more about neuroscience. Mark Kelly does a remarkable job in explaining some of the intricacies of the human brain and how they translate into future abilities and disabilities.

Now I do not know if it was right to laugh during the experiences that were related in this story, but there is humor. Laugh out loud funny accounts of how the brain can fixate on a word and how when you can’t come up with the exact right term a substitute word can be funny , maybe not appropriate, but none the less funny.

Inspiring is a good word for this book. To see a good outcome from a horrible situation. I do not know if it would be realistic to think that Ms. Gifford’s will return to politics, but every life-challenging situation needs an advocate. Spinal injury had Christopher Reeves and traumatic brain injury now has Gabrielle Gifford’s. I just hope that she picks up this sword and fights for all – civilian and service personnel – that have had to battle the bureaucracy to get the care and treatment that they and their loved ones need and deserve.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday - Ghoul Interrupted



Hosted by Breaking the Spine



Title: Ghoul Interrupted
Author: Victoria Laurie
Publisher: Obsidian
Publication Date: December 27, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition, Pg 352 (paperback version)
Genre: Mystery
Series: Ghost Hunter Series #6

Book Description:

M.J. Holliday and her crew interrupt the frantic schedule of their reality TV show, Ghoul Getters, and hotfoot it to New Mexico, where a dreadful demon is waging tribal warfare. Same Whitefeather- M.J.'s spirit guide-urgently needs her help to stop this evil spirit from wiping out the descendants of his tribe. It doesn't take a psychic to predict that M.J.'s going to have a devil of a time making New Mexico a demon-free zone.

Chapter 1

I've always believed in ghosts. Actually, I had no choice in the matter. My childhood was full of encounters with disembodied voices, strange blue flashes, flickering shadows at the edge of my peripheral vision, and odd-looking orbs appearing right over my head.

And then, of course, my mother died and her ghost came to see me.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

First Chapter, First Paragraph - 10th Anniversary

Title: 10th Anniversary (The Women's Murder Club)
Author: James Patterson, Maxine Paetro
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publication Date: May 2, 2011
Format: Audio
Genre: Thriller
Source: Library


Hosted by Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea






Chapter 1

A TEENAGE GIRL wearing a neon green plastic poncho, naked underneath, stumbled along a dark road. She was scared out of her mind and in pain, the cramps coming like repeated blows to her gut and getting worse. Blood had started coming out of her a while ago, and now it was running fast and hot down her legs.

What had she done?

People always told her she was a smart kid, but—and this was a fact—she'd made a horrible mistake, and if she didn't get help soon, she was going to die.

But where was she?

Summary

For every secret

Detective Lindsay Boxer's long-awaited wedding celebration becomes a distant memory when she is called to investigate a horrendous crime: a badly injured teenage girl is left for dead, and her newborn baby is nowhere to be found. Lindsay discovers that not only is there no trace of the criminals—but that the victim may be keeping secrets as well.

For every lie

At the same time, Assistant District Attorney Yuki Castellano is prosecuting the biggest case of her life—a woman who has been accused of murdering her husband in front of her two young children. Yuki's career rests on a guilty verdict, so when Lindsay finds evidence that could save the defendant, she is forced to choose. Should she trust her best friend or follow her instinct?

There's a different way to die

Lindsay's every move is watched by her new boss, Lieutenant Jackson Brady, and when the pressure to find the baby begins interfering with her new marriage to Joe, she wonders if she'll ever be able to start a family.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Mailbox Monday - Original Sin and Loving Frank



Currently on a Blog Tour with a New Host Each Month


Title: Original Sin: A Sally Sin Adventure
Author: Beth McMullen
Publisher: Hyperior
Publication Date: June 15, 1995
Format: Paperback; Pgs 291
Genre: Spy-Mom Thriller
Source: Paperback Swap
Series: Sally Sin #1

After falling in love and making a quick exit from her nine-year career in the USAWMD (United States Agency for Weapons of Mass Destruction), ex-spy Sally Sin does her best to become Lucy Hamilton, a stay-at-home mom in San Francisco. No one, not even her adoring husband Will, knows about her secret agent escapades--chasing no-good masterminds through perilous jungles, escaping evil assassins, and playing dangerous games of cat and mouse with her old nemesis, Ian Blackford, a notorious and dashing illegal arms dealer.

In her new life as Lucy Hamilton, she squeezes inside forts crafted from couch cushions by her three-year-old son Theo, makes organic applesauce, and frequents the zoo. But sometimes her well-honed spy reflexes refuse to lay low. She can't help breaking into her own house to check on the babysitter or stop herself from tossing the yoga instructor who gets on her nerves. And when Ian Blackford, who is supposed to be dead, once again starts causing trouble for the USAWMD, the agency becomes desperate to get Sally back on the job.

How can Sally or Lucy or whatever her name is save the planet while at the same time keeping her own family's world from spinning out of control?

Every bit as much fun as a spy-mom thriller ought to be, Original Sin is a fast-paced adventure story for mothers and spies, and anyone who has ever dreamed about being either.





Title: Loving Frank
Author: Nancy Horan
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Publication Date: April 8, 2008
Format: Paperback; Pgs 400
Genre: Fiction
Source: Purchase


A fictionalization of the life of Mamah Borthwick Cheney, best known as the woman who wrecked Frank Lloyd Wright's first marriage. Despite the title, this is not a romance, but a portrayal of an independent, educated woman at odds with the restrictions of the early 20th century. Frank and Mamah, both married and with children, met when Mamah's husband, Edwin, commissioned Frank to design a house. Their affair became the stuff of headlines when they left their families to live and travel together, going first to Germany, where Mamah found rewarding work doing scholarly translations of Swedish feminist Ellen Key's books. Frank and Mamah eventually settled in Wisconsin, where they were hounded by a scandal-hungry press, with tragic repercussions. Horan puts considerable effort into recreating Frank's vibrant, overwhelming personality, but her primary interest is in Mamah, who pursued her intellectual interests and love for Frank at great personal cost. As is often the case when a life story is novelized, historical fact inconveniently intrudes: Mamah's life is cut short in the most unexpected and violent of ways, leaving the narrative to crawl toward a startlingly quiet conclusion. Nevertheless, this spirited novel brings Mamah the attention she deserves as an intellectual and feminist.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Seizure


Title: Seizure
Author: Robin Cook
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: October 5, 2004
Format: Audio
Genre: Medical Suspense
Source: Library

I think that my brain checked out somewhere in the middle of this book. The beginning concept of the book, embryonic transplant cells to cure or alleviate Parkinson’s disease, is in itself an interesting concept. That is where the good part of the story ended. Why Dr. Cook needed to throw in the Mafia and a religious angle made no sense. Neither of them was fully explained and neither of them added to the overall storyline.

In what is purported to be a collision of power, religion and bioscience Dr. Cook takes the reader down the road with Dr. Daniel Lowell who is trying to develop the HTSR technique that involves replacing damaged DNA with replacement healthy cells. Where and how they get these cells might make a reader angry, but that is what biomedical controversies are built on. When Dr. Lowell runs into a roadblock by the name of Senator Ashley Butler, he thinks that his medical advancements are doomed. That is until Senator Butler covertly asks to be his human guinea pig.

Somewhere in this long drawn out book is an interesting plot. Unfortunately, Dr. Cook throws too much in and dilutes all the interesting parts. I suggest that you pass on this particular book and check out some of his others. He seems to run hot and cold in his reviews, but there are good ones out there.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Hunger Games


Title: The Hunger Games
Author: Suzanne Collins
Publisher: Scholastic
Publication Date: July 3, 2008
Format: Trade Paperback
Genre: YA - Fiction
Source: Purchase
Series: The Hunger Games #1

I will be the first to admit that I am hard on books, especially when they have high ratings and the main topic of conversation amongst my friends is how much I will love it. For the first hundred and fifty pages I was bored senseless and even put the book down a couple of times only to hear my daughter go on and on about how much she loved it.

Ok, except for mushy-gushy girl books, we usually agree so once again I picked up the book and plodded on.

Well heck, this book got good very quickly. Once the Hunger Games themselves started, the storyline and the characters mesmerized me to the point that I finished the last 200 pages in one sitting.

Katniss Everdeen has not had it any harder than the others children from her area, but when her younger sister is called during the reaping, she know that she must step in and take her place. She does not think that she can win the games, but she knows for sure that she does not want her sister to die. With Peeta, a boy from her area, they take on the Hunger Games.

Throughout the book, Katniss has to keep reminding herself that there can only be one winner in these games. Games that take place in an area that was once known as North American and is now split up in districts that send young teens to a battle ground to fight to the death to bring honor back to their people and their district. All the while being broadcast in full gory detail back to the audience that is betting on who will win.

"He is luring you in to make you easy prey. The more likable he is the more deadly he is."

The rules of the game state that there can only be one winner. From the first salvos to the last cannon shot, the combatants must form allies and know that at the end all but one of them will die. That is until there is a game changing moment and you wonder if the rules of the heart and the rules of the game can coincide.

This is only the first in a trilogy and I hope that they next book can keep up the lightning pace and note that this one ended on.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Waiting On Wednesday - The Anatomist's Apprentice


Hosted by Breaking the Spine



Title: The Anatomist's Apprentice
Author: Tessa Harris
Publisher: Kensington Books
Publication Date: December 27, 1011
Format: Trade Paperback, Pg 304
Genre: Mystery
Series:Dr. Thomas Silkstone Mysteries #1

Book Description:

A new mystery series set in eighteenth-century England, Tessa Harris introduces Dr. Thomas Silkstone, anatomist and pioneering forensic detective…

The death of Sir Edward Crick has unleashed a torrent of gossip through the seedy taverns and elegant ballrooms of Oxfordshire. Few mourn the dissolute young man—except his sister, the beautiful Lady Lydia Farrell. When her husband comes under suspicion of murder, she seeks expert help from Dr. Thomas Silkstone, a young anatomist from Philadelphia.

Thomas arrived in England to study under its foremost surgeon, where his unconventional methods only add to his outsider status. Against his better judgment he agrees to examine Sir Edward’s corpse. But it is not only the dead, but also the living, to whom he must apply the keen blade of his intellect. And the deeper the doctor’s investigations go, the greater the risk that he will be consigned to the ranks of the corpses he studies…

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

First Chapter First Paragraph - Kill Switch

Title: Kill Switch
Author: Neal Baer and Jonathan Greene
Publisher: Kensington Books
Publication Date: December 13, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Genre: Thriller
Source: Library


Hosted by Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea




Chapter 1

Present Day


On any given day, the ten separate jails that make up New York City’s Rikers Island correctional facility hold between fifteen and eighteen thousand inmates, making it the world’s largest penal colony. Of those inmates, some three thousand are classified as mentally ill. That whopping number makes Rikers one of the largest mental institutions in the United States and the best place for a budding forensic psychiatrist like Claire Waters to study the criminal mind.

From Kensington Books

Meet Claire Waters, a young, dedicated forensic psychiatrist with unnervingly personal insights into the criminal mind. Haunted by a disturbing childhood incident—and driven by her demons—Claire has always been drawn to those rare "untreatable" patients who seem to have no conscience or fear. But one shocking case could make or break her career...and it's waiting for her in the psychiatric wing of New York City’s Rikers Island.

His name is Quimby. A deranged inmate whose boyish good looks hide a sordid history of dysfunction and abuse, Quimby triggers something in Claire she'd rather not face. As she tries to unlock Quimby’s past, she unwittingly reveals her own painful secrets—leaving herself dangerously vulnerable. When the case propels her into the mind of another killer—a homocidal maniac who's watching her every move—it could only end in madness, murder, or both...
Brilliantly constructed and breathtakingly suspenseful, Kill Switch is a masterful combination of murder, mystery, and modern forensics that will keep you turning the pages to the final shocking conclusion.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Mailbox Monday - Mrs. Piggle Wiggle Treasury and Die Buying



Currently on a Blog Tour with a New Host Each Month


Title: The Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle Treasurey
Author: Betty MacDonald
Illustrator: Hilary Knight
Publisher: Harper Collins
Publication Date: June 15, 1995
Format: Paperback; Pgs 392
Genre: Children
Source: Paperback Swap

Summary

This treasury contains the first three books in the Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle series.

Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle

From her upside-down house, the eccentric Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle issues to parents her marvelous cures for such common children's diseases as Won't-Put-Away-Toys-itis, Answerbackism, and Fighter-Quarrelitis.

Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle's Magic

It's impossible to upset Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle. Whatever happens, she takes it in stride, and usually laughs about it, too. If you give her a gift, she will treasure it. If you break something, she'll show you how to fix it. If you tell her what you dreamed last night, she'll listen — and even help you tell the parts you forget.

Hello, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle

The incomparable Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle loves children good or bad and never scolds but has positive cures for Answer-Backers, Never-Want-to-Go-to-Bedders, and other boys and girls with strange habits.



Title: Die Buying
Author: Laura Disilverio
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime
Publication Date: August 2, 2011
Format: Paperback; Pgs 276
Genre: Cozy Myster
Source: Paperback Swap
Series:A Mall Cop Mystery #1


OVERVIEW:
Emma-Joy “EJ” Ferris, a security officer with the Fernglen Galleria, likes mall cop work, although it’s usually more humdrum than the military policing she did until an IED left her with a bum knee and a medical retirement at thirty-one. Relocated to Vernonville, Virginia, 50 miles from Washington D.C., EJ deals with shoplifting teens, vandals spray-painting Christian graffiti on cars, and a boss who acts like the halls of Fernglen are the mean streets of Newark. She also copes with her 83-year-old Grandpa Atherton, a long-retired CIA operative who likes to “keep his hand in” by purchasing all the latest techno-gadgets and spying on mall customers and shopkeepers. EJ’s boredom vanishes the week someone “liberates” all the reptiles, including a 15-ft python, from The Herpetology Hut (known to mall denizens as Herpes Hut) and a body turns up, posed as a mannequin, in the window of Diamant√©, an upscale boutique. With the help of her mall “family”–her friend Kyra who runs the magic store; Joel, her fellow mall cop who hero worships her; and the attractive and mysterious Jay Callahan who recently bought the cookie franchise—and her Grandpa Atherton, EJ must quickly catch the killer since fear of another murder is emptying the mall faster than you can say, “All sales final.”

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Sunday at the Movies - Home by Christmas



Linda Hamilton ... Julie Bedford
Rob Stewart ... Michael
Brenda Crichlow ... Selma
Garwin Sanford ... George Bedford
Brittney Wilson ... Andie Bedford

Why is it that a woman is expected to suspend reality and become completely brain dead to watch a romance movie? Maybe I just answered my own question when I added in the term romance movie.

Linda Hamilton plays Julie a woman who has just realized that her husband is seeing a much younger woman. Now this is where the viewer is expected to become dumb. Julie lives in an upper income community and only accepts $25,000 as her half equity in the home and asks for no alimony. Moves into a questionable neighborhood, gets behind on her bills (where is the money). Gets mugged, goes to the hospital and has no medical insurance, loses her checkbook and credit cards, is evicted from her apartment for being one week late with the rent, bank takes an unprecedented amount of time in refunding the stolen funds. Sleeps in a car. Squats in an unoccupied open house. Orthopedic surgeon rides in and saves the day. The End.

Really?

Who believes this stuff and feels good after a movie like this? Now look around, whom do you know that has had their life fall out from underneath them and a knight rides in and saves the day?

This is why I cannot watch movies like this. I guess I need a bit more reality and a lot less fluff to set the example that a woman can pick herself up by her proverbial bootstraps and make it on her own.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

We Give Books


Thanks to An Abundance of Books for leading me to this site.

We Give Books was started by Penguin Group and the Pearson Foundation to "support literacy through programs that engage entire communities through literacy and awareness programs". The We Give Books program is an initiative that allows anyone with Internet access to give books to children in need. When you sign up you can choose from one of five charities. Then you can select from one of 151 digital picture books (both fiction and non fiction) to read online.

This is all completely free for the reader! Simply choose the charity you want to read for and then select the books you want to read. For each book you read online, a book is donated to a leading literacy group on your behalf. So please sign up and support literacy.

Title: Big Red Lollipop
Author: Rukhsana Khan
Illustrator: Sophie Blackall
Publisher: Viking Juvenile (March 4, 2010)
Format: eBook
Genre: Childrens
Source: We Give Books

How embarrassing for Rubina she has been invited to a birthday party and is suddenly embarrassed at the thought of having to bring her little sister with her. Her mother, Ami, does not quite understand the American tradition of not bringing your sister to a party and informs Rubina that if Sana cannot go, neither can she.

In a “what comes around, goes around” theme, Sana is invited to a party and she must take her younger sister. How will this unfold and what lessons will be learned by both Rubina and Sana?

Designed for Reading level: Ages 4 and up, the overall theme of sibling rivalry is well covered, but there will still need to be some discussion on sharing and respect for others and their things, and how best to handle situations that benefit all involved.



Title: Corduroy Lost and Found
Author: B. G. Hennessy
Contributor: Don Freeman
Illustrator: Jody Wheeler
Publisher: Viking Juvenile (September 14, 2006)
Format: eBook
Genre: Childrens
Source: We Give Books

Corduroy is back, ok he was back five years ago, but I just came across this book today.

All Corduroy wants is to give his best friend in the world Lisa a gift for her birthday, but in his misadventure he becomes lost and only being found again does he find the meaning of gift giving and friendship.

Reading level is for ages 3 and up, but Corduroy will always be cherished and you can start reading to your young one as soon as you add this one to their nursery bookshelf.



Title: The Night Before First Grade
Author: Natasha Wing
Illustrator: Deborah Zemke
Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap (July 21, 2005)
Format: eBook
Genre: Chilrens
Source: We Give Books

Oh, what an adorable story. Told in a rhyming fashion, with a couple of miscues and using a couple of the same lines from T’was a Night Before Christmas, Jenny is preparing for first grade and is excited for her new adventure. Unfortunately, this excitement turns to anxiety as she learns that her best friend will be in a different classroom. Being the brave first graders that they are, they go their own separate ways only to discover that after making new friends first grade will be twice as fun.

For ages 4 and up, this will be a good book to read together before the beginning of a new school year to help alleviate the anxiety of going into a big kid class.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Agatha Raisin and the Haunted House

Title: Agatha Raisin and the Haunted House
Author: MC Beaton
Publisher: St. Martin's
Publication Date: March 1, 2005
Format: Audio
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Source: Library
Series:Agatha Raisin #14

As I have said before, the Agatha Raisin books are no longer about the dead body in the other room; they are about the interactions between the recurring cast of characters and the maturing of Agatha. As she comes to realize that she is important and that people do care about her - even if she tries to stare them down with her bear like eyes and doesn’t understand that when she spout off at the mouth there is a living breathing human being at the pointy end of her jabs – they just have to be willing to get beyond the wall that she has built.

What could be more tempting than a report of a haunted house? Agatha, with the help of her new neighbor Paul Chatterton, head out to do a little detecting and spend the night doing their own Ghost Hunters type of investigating. But when Agatha gets a little more than what she was expecting and the nasty Mrs. Witherspoon is soon found dead, Agatha once again finds herself knee deep in an investigation and Bill Wong must come to the rescue.

A new day has dawned for Agatha. No longer is she languishing away because a man is not paying attention to her. She is now seeing them as a distraction and she has a new direction in life.

By the way, when did Agatha get sexy? I remember the previous books discussing her in a frumpy sort of way. Now she is turning heads and the ladies of Carsley are a bit on the jealous side. This is a new turn and I hope that it will add yet another dimension to a wonderfully curious woman.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Waiting On Wednesday - 1222


Hosted by Breaking the Spine



Title: 1222: A Hanne Wilhelmsen Novel
Author: Annne Holt
Publisher: Scribner
Publication Date: December 27, 1011
Format: Hardcover, Pg336
Genre: Thriller

Book Description:

A TRAIN ON ITS WAY to the northern reaches of Norway derails during a massive blizzard, 1,222 meters above sea level. The passengers abandon the train for a nearby hotel, centuries-old and practically empty, except for the staff. With plenty of food and shelter from the storm, the passengers think they are safe, until one of them is found dead the next morning.

With no sign of rescue, and the storm continuing to rage, retired police inspector Hanne Wilhelmsen is asked to investigate. Paralysed by a bullet lodged in her spine, Hanne has no desire to get involved. But she is slowly coaxed back into her old habits as her curiosity and natural talent for observation force her to take an interest in the passengers and their secrets. When another body turns up, Hanne realizes that time is running out, and she must act fast before panic takes over. Complicating things is the presence of a mysterious guest, who had travelled in a private rail car at the end of the train and was evacuated first to the top floor of the hotel. No one knows who the guest is, or why armed guards are needed, but it is making everyone uneasy. Hanne has her suspicions, but she keeps them to herself.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

First Chapter First Paragraph - Breaking Point

Title: Breaking Point
Author: Dana Haynes
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Publication Date: November 8, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Genre: Thriller
Source: Library

Hosted by Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea




Prologue: The Crash

Dr. Leonard Tomzak was a modern American male. He knew it was considered inappropriate to stare openly at a pretty girl with long legs as she approached. Expecially in public.

Book Description:

Three NTSB experts - people brought in to help investigate whenever a plane goes down - find themselves victims and witnesses rather than investigators when the plane they are on crashes.

En route to a conference, three NTSB experts -- known to insiders as "Crashers" -- Tommy Tomzak, a pathologist from Texas; Kiki Duvall, a sound engineer and former naval officer; and Isaiah Grey, investigator and former FBI agent – are aboard a twin turbo prop plane when, just outside of Helena, Montana, the plane crashes into a thickly forested moutainside. But the crash isn’t an accident - it was brought down on purpose - and the "Crashers" weren't the target. The plane was brought down by mercenaries, led by an enigmatic, shadowy self-described patriot known only as Calendar, using weapons technology banned by international treaty. The targets - three men who planned to blow the whistle on the weapons technology and the power brokers behind its development.

In a twisty, compelling thriller that goes from the streets of Spain, to the mountains of the western United States, to the heart of the dark, hidden corridors of power where there are dangerous secrets that few suspect and fewer know, the “Crashers” are literally dropped in the middle of a case that neither starts, nor ends, with a plane crash with some of their own on-board. A new team of Crashers fights time, as a fire rages ever closer to the wreckage, conflicting and confusing evidence, and unpredictable outside forces trying to prevent them from uncovering the truth. With alllies - unseen and even unknown - working behind the scenes to help them, the team is trapped in the midst of a high-stakes game of cat-and-mouse with the deadliest of consquences, a game that not all of them will survive...

Monday, December 12, 2011

Mailbox Monday - Sheetcake Named Desire




Currently on a Blog Tour with a New Host Each Month


Title: A Sheetcake Named Desire
Author: Jacklyn Brady
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime
Publication Date: August 2, 2011
Format: Paperback; Pgs 304
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Source: Paperback Swap
Series: A Piece of Cake Mystery

Summary

Sweet Success can be a motive for murder.

There aren’t many things pastry chef Rita Lucero hates more than losing. But two years after her marriage to fellow baker Philippe Renier fell apart, she’s still trying to get him to sign the divorce papers. Exasperated, Rita visits Philippe’s high-end New Orleans shop, Zydeco Cakes, to get his signature—and discovers that her marriage is already over when she finds Philippe dead with a chef’s knife in his chest.

Rita is shocked to discover the body, and overwhelmed to learn that since the divorce wasn’t final, she now inherits part ownership in Zydeco Cakes. But it’s a mixed blessing: the gorgeous shop is actually in financial trouble, and Rita’s windfall sets her up as a prime suspect in Philippe’s murder. Her former mother-in-law demands that Rita find out who killed her son, and his former employees don’t know whether to trust her. The feeling is mutual—especially since the real culprit is still out there, and Rita may be the next victim served.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Sunday at the Movies - Moneyball





Brad Pitt ... Billy Beane
Jonah Hill ... Peter Brand
Philip Seymour Hoffman ... Art Howe


When they say that this is Brad Pitt’s best movie to date, you know I had to be there. Add to it that it was a sports themed movies and I knew that this movie was for me.

But here is my dilemma, it wasn’t Brad’s best movie to date, Meet Joe Black is still his best movie with Legends of the Fall being a close second, but I do think that it was Jonah Hills’ best movie to date. For me, Jonah stole this movie; his straight man one-liners were what carried the movie from so-so to watch again status.

Billy Beane (Brad Pitt) is the manager of the 2002 Oakland A’s. He knows that he does not have the finances to put together a team like the Yankee’s, but that does not mean that there is not underrated talent out there. With the help of Peter Brand (Jonah Hill), a computer-generated analysis of players is created with a team salary cap of only $41 million. With the help of Sabermetrics (a specialized analysis of baseball through objective and empirical evidence), they put together a team that on paper looks good, but on the field, well, that leaves people scratching their heads.

You have to appreciate the underdog feel throughout this movie and even though the true events took place over nine years ago, you find yourself sitting in the audience cheering on this team.

I love sports movies, the feeling of hope and the love of the game. Take the time to watch this feel good movie and spend sometime laughing at all the very funny lines:

Matt Keough: And he's got an ugly girlfriend
Scout Barry: What does that mean?
Matt Keough: Ugly girlfriend means no confidence.

Billy Beane: When your enemy's making mistakes, don't interrupt him.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

We Give Books


Thanks to An Abundance of Books for leading me to this site.

We Give Books was started by Penguin Group and the Pearson Foundation to "support literacy through programs that engage entire communities through literacy and awareness programs". The We Give Books program is an initiative that allows anyone with Internet access to give books to children in need. When you sign up you can choose from one of five charities. Then you can select from one of 151 digital picture books (both fiction and non fiction) to read online.

This is all completely free for the reader! Simply choose the charity you want to read for and then select the books you want to read. For each book you read online, a book is donated to a leading literacy group on your behalf. So please sign up and support literacy.


Title: Trixie and Jinx
Author: Dean Koontz
Illustrator:Janet Cleland
Publisher: Putnum Juvenile
Publication Date: September 16, 2010
Format: eBook
Genre: Childrens 5+
Source: We Give Books

Quite a schizophrenic tale. Half the story is in rhyme and the other half is using words that I think might be over a young child’s head leaving the reading partner to explain what some of the words mean and losing the overall flow of the story.

Trixie and his dog companion Jinx have to spend a week apart and poor old Trixie is struggling to find a new friend. This tale does emphasis the special place a good friend holds in our lives, so from that standpoint, this could be a good conversation starter.

Dean Koontz is an adult horror writer, so when I saw his name associated with a children’s book, I was curious. Not a good match. He needs to bring his craft down a notch or two to speak more clearly to his young audience.


Title: Llama Llama Mad at Mamma
Author and Illustrator: Anna Dewdney
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
Publication Date: September 6, 2007
Format: eBook
Genre: Childrens 3+
Source: We Give Books

Poor Llama is not having a good day. Mamma wants to do a little shopping and poor Llama just wants to stay home and play with his toys. Little Llama has no say, so off to Shop-o-Rama they go, with its long lines, itchy clothes and boring stuff, but what is a Llama to do? Well, apparently it is time for Llama drama.

It’s not just Llama who learns a lesson today.

Cute story that puts the complete shopping experience with a child into perspective.


Title: The Hat
Author and Illustrator: Jan Brett
Publisher: Putnum Juvenile
Publication Date: September 29, 1997
Format: eBook
Genre: Childrens 4+
Source: We Give Books

Beautiful illustrations.

Hedgie learns the lesson of making the best of a bad situation when he comes across a sock and after getting his head stuck in it, decides that instead of telling his barnyard friends of his misfortune, he was going to pretend how cool clothing can be.

An adorable story that you will enjoy reading over and over.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Invisible

Title: Invisible
Author: Lorena McCourtney
Publisher: Fleming H. Revell
Publication Date: August 1, 2004
Format: eBook
Genre: Christian Mystery
Source: Amazon Digital Services
Series: Ivy Malone Mystery #1

When I read a book jacket I get an idea stuck in my head on what a book will be about and I decide if it will appeal to me or not. Yes, it is a form of judging a book by its cover and yes, I do plead guilty to that. When I read the basic description of Invisible by Lorena McCourtney, I got into my mind that she was literally “invisible”. I was thinking along the lines of the Bailey Ruth Series by Carolyn Hart. A series that I enjoyed but unfortunately, that is not the kind of invisible that Ivy is.

Ivy Malone is a middle aged woman (even though I have no idea what that really means since she seems to be rather fit when outrunning a junk yard dog) that has gotten to the stage in her life where she is no longer noticed by other people. With this newfound realization, she has decided it would be a perfect opportunity to investigate the death of a local woman.

There are multiple storylines going on here from cemetery vandalism, to business fraud to young love to Ivy being alone with a man, and somehow, most of them come together at the end. The story is long and drawn out in an overly simplistic and boring way that still has me wondering how I managed to finish this book.

I missed that this was a Christian fiction book before I began reading and the constant Bible references were a bit too much for my enjoyment. The characters were too boring, the plots were unrealistic and Ivy herself was not a convincing or engaging character. Guess I need more bite and less preaching in my mysteries

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Waiting On Wednesday - Barnheart


Hosted by Breaking the Spine



Title: Barnheart: The Incurable Longing for a Farm of One's Own
Author: Jenna Woginrich
Publisher: Storey Publishing
Publication Date: November 16, 2011
Format: Trade Paperback
Genre: Memoir

Book Description:

Whether they’re about raising chickens or herding sheep, the tales of Jenna Woginrich have caught the imagination of thousands of young homesteaders. As she learns traditional farming skills by trial and error, Woginrich records her offbeat observations and poignant moments with honesty, humility, and humor.

In BarnHeart, she lands at a small rented farm and struggles to find her place in a reserved rural community filled with working farmers who are scraping by and wealthy vacation-home owners with fancy barns that never house livestock. Although her barnheart — a term Woginrich coins to describe her state of longing for a farm of her own — never subsides, she makes do on her rented farmstead, caring for her sheep, chickens, geese, ducks, rabbits, a goat, and a turkey, until relationships sour and she’s abruptly forced to leave. Where will she and her animals go? Will she finally be able to afford the farm she’s always dreamed of?

Even when dealing with cranky neighbors, small-town politics, and the loneliness that comes with running a farm on her own, Woginrich never loses her sense of humor. Readers will recognize themselves and find inspiration in this appealing story of longing and striving for a more authentic life.

I enjoyed her previous book Made From Scratch and I look forward to reading this one as well.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

First Chapter, First Paragraph - Seizure

Title: Seizure
Author: Robin Cook
Narrator:George Guidall
Publisher: Putnam / Recorded Books
Publication Date: 2003
Format: Audio
Genre: Medical Thriller
Source: Library

Hosted by Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea




First Paragraph:

6:30PM, Wednesday, February 20, 2002
One Year Later

It seemed to Daniel Lowell that the taxi had senselessly pulled to a stop mid-block in the center of M Street in Georgetown, Washington D.D., a busy four-lane thoroughfare. Daniel had never liked riding in taxis. It seemed the height of ridiculousness to trust one’s life to a total stranger who more often than not hailed from a distant Third World country and frequently was more interested in talking on his cell phone than paying attention to driving. Sitting in the middle of M Street in the darkness with rush-hour taffic whizzing by on both sides and the driver carrying on emotionally in an unknown language was a case in point. Daniel glanced over at Stephanie. She appeared relaxed and smiled at him in the half-light. She gripped his hand affectionately.

Book Description:

What could bring the enigmatic Shroud of Turin, a notorious southern senator, and a gifted, vigorously entrepreneurial researcher together? Religion, politics, and bioscience collide in the latest medical thriller from the master in the field.

Senator Ashley Butler is a quintessential southern demagogue, whose support of traditional American values includes a knee-jerk reaction against virtually all biotechnologies remotely associated with human reproduction. As the chairman of a subcommittee on health policy, he introduces legislation to ban a new cloning procedure that would take stem cell research to the next level. Dr. Daniel Lowell, the inventor of the technique, sees the proposed ban as a blow to his biotech startup, and to people poised to benefit from its promised therapies.

The two formidable egos clash during the Senate hearing, but the men have a common desire. Butler's hunger for political power far outstrips his purported concern for the unborn, while Lowell's craving for personal wealth and celebrity overrides ethical considerations for patients' well-being. Further complicating the situation is the confidential news that Senator Butler has developed a progressive form of Parkinson's disease, which threatens his political future and leads the senator and the researcher into a Faustian pact. After a perilous attempt to prematurely harness Lowell's new technology, the senator is left with the horrifying effects of temporal lobe epilepsy—seizures of the most bizarre order.

With a plot torn from today's headlines, Seizure is a cautionary tale for a time when politics clashes with biotechnology, when we are pulled into a promising yet frightening new world.


Monday, December 5, 2011

Mailbox Monday - Town in a Lobster Stew



Currently on a Blog Tour with a New Host Each Month


Title: Town in a Lobster Stew
Author: B. B. Haywood
Publisher:
Berkley Prime Crime
Publication Date: February 1, 2011
Format: Paperback; Pgs 365
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Source: Paperback Swap
Series: Candy Holliday Mystery #2

Summary

Things start to boil over at the annual Lobster Stew Cook-Off when an award-winning recipe is stolen and a seven-time contest champion mysteriously disappears—leaving Candy no choice but to find out who in Cape Willington, Maine, would get steamed enough to break the law.

First book in the Candy Holliday Murder Mystery series was:

Town In a Blueberry Jam
In the seaside village of Cape Willington, Maine, Candy Holliday has an idyllic life tending to the Blueberry Acres farm she runs with her father. But, when an aging playboy and the newly crowned Blueberry Queen are killed, Candy investigates to clear the name of a local handyman. And as she sorts through the town’s juicy secrets, things start to get sticky indeed...

B. B. Haywood is a pseudonym of writing team Beth Feeman and Robert Feeman. They conceived the idea for the Candy Holliday mysteries while driving around the Maine countryside, stopping at different small towns throughout the state.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

We Give Books


Thanks to An Abundance of Books for leading me to this site.

We Give Books was started by Penguin Group and the Pearson Foundation to "support literacy through programs that engage entire communities through literacy and awareness programs". The We Give Books program is an initiative that allows anyone with Internet access to give books to children in need. When you sign up you can choose from one of five charities. Then you can select from one of 151 digital picture books (both fiction and non fiction) to read online.

This is all completely free for the reader! Simply choose the charity you want to read for and then select the books you want to read. For each book you read online, a book is donated to a leading literacy group on your behalf. So please sign up and support literacy.


Title: Goodnight iPad: a Parody for the next generation
Author: Ann Droyd
Publisher: Blue Rider Press
Publication Date: Ocober 27, 2011
Format: eBook
Genre: Childrens (4 – 7)
Source: We Give Books

It is so much fun to go back and read children’s books. The simplicity and beauty of the story and illustrations are a joy.

Goodnight iPad is a parody of the much beloved Goodnight Moon book. Those of us who have had to battle teens over shutting down their electronics and just reading a book will find the humor not only in the words, but also in the illustration. And if you look close, even the daddy is a bit troubled by having to give it all up for the evening.

A sweet fun book that you will not mind reading over and over to your young ones.


Title: The Snowy Day
Author: Ezra Jack Keats
Publisher: Viking
Publication Date: 1962
Format: eBook
Genre: Childrens 5+
Source: We Give Books

This book has been around for 50 years and still holds the magic of the first snowstorm of the season.

In its day, this was ground-breaking work in that for the first time showed a young African American child putting on his snowsuit and having a glorious adventure in the first snow of the season.

A sweet story that is as much fun now as it was when my children were young.


Title: Why Lion Roarrrs!
Author: Tiger Aspect
Publisher: Puffin
Publication Date: May 2011
Format: eBook
Genre: Childrens 5+
Source: We Give Books

Wow, this story has a tale to tell. Poor lion does not feel very big and when crocodile takes over the watering hole and starts to bully the other animals, tiny flea has to help lion discover his voice so he can help all of his friends. Beautiful illustrations and a good starting point to discuss bullying with your children.