Saturday, March 31, 2012

We Give Books - You Are a Lion

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: You Are a Lion and Other Fun Yoga Poses
Author and Illustrator: Taeeun Yoo
Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books (March 15, 2012)
Format: eBook
Genre: Childrens
Source: We Give Books
Ages: 4 - 7

Parents are constantly being bombarded with the fact that most children do not get enough exercise.

The story begins when children gather Namaste (a customary greeting when individuals meet) to each other in the morning sun. This word will throw a couple children, but a nice way to introduce Indian culture.

As children stretch their bodies, they also stretch their minds and make both the poses and sounds of the wild jungle animals.

A fun interactive book for those days that you just cannot get you little ones to sit still and read a book.

The simple instructions are easy for both you and your child to assume the yoga positions and guess what animal you are trying to be. Overall, the illustrations are not going to hold the attention for most children over multiple readings. I would only pull out this book occasionally for those overactive days when you want to spend some stretching and talking time with your child.

About the Author

Taeeun Yoo

Taeeun Yoo ( received her MFA from the School of Visual Arts. She has illustrated several picture books, including Only a Witch Can Fly (by Alison McGhee) - a New York Times Book Review Best Illustrated Book of the Year. She lives in New York City.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Review - Quiet

Title: Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking
Authors: Susan Cain
Publisher: Crown (January 24, 2012)
Format: Book and Audio
Genre: Neuroscience
Source: Library

Holey Moley, this book should be a college course complete with PowerPoint presentations. High reactive, Low reactive, nature, nurture, gene percentages, this theory, that theory, this high-level media personality, this quiet reserved business genius, personality versus temperament. Pseudo-extraverts. Self-monitoring. By the middle of the book, I was brain fried.

…Free will can take us far, but it cannot carry us infinitely beyond our genetic limits….

Susan Cain has done her research masterfully. The amount of time and effort that she has put forth should be commended and hopefully will garner the attention that this fascinating subject demands.

I have so many sticky notes sticking out of this book that it is beginning to be embarrassing to be seen in public – which I am beginning to think just might be an introvert thing. I wish I could directly quote all the light bulb moments that I have found in this book, but that would border on plagiarism. You just have to track down this book for yourself to see how this subject talks to you.

…Psychologists often discuss the differences between “temperament” and "personality.” Temperament refers to inborn, biologically based behavioral and emotional patterns that are observable in infancy and early childhood; personality is the complex brew that emerges after cultural influences and personal experience are thrown into the mix…..

What initially drew me to this book is the diversity that I find myself in on a daily basis. 5 days a week, 8 hours a day, 40 hours a week I work with highly educated introverted engineers in cubicle world where interpersonal communication can be a challenge and individualized working time is cherished. Add to that the remainder of my time is with a teenaged extravert. Her boundless energy and involvement with education, clubs, organizations, sports and friends has her running from place to place with very little down time and she thrives on this interaction.

Occasional sections talk about the parent child dynamic and I had found myself wishing that this had been expanded. I do not know if Susan Cain ever considered this book to be a parenting manual, but I have gained some great insight in my parenting role. Maybe that could be volume two. Examples, stories and interviews are included throughout the book allowing the reader to place the people that they interact with into each scenario to better understand the individuals around them.

Susan Cain has put a vast amount of time and research into this book. It is not a book to be read quickly and more along the lines of a long slow savor. Each section, each paragraph has something to offer the reader. Take your time with this book, it deserves an initial and a secondary reading to absorb the thinking and contribution that introverts can make. As Susan said, just because a person is loud, does not mean that they have anything to offer. Sit back and listen to what the quiet people have to say.

…Figure out what you are meant to contribute to the world and make sure you contribute it….

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Review - Children of the Fog

Title: Children of the Fog
Authors: Cheryl Kaye Tardif
Publisher: Imajin Books (February 26, 2011)
Format: eBook
Genre: Paranormal Suspense
Source: Amazon Digital

About halfway through the book I wanted to give up, a seemingly repetitious story, been there done that, even think I saw a movie with the same storyline.

Philip is the kind of husband and father that wants the world to see his perfect family and to think of him as the perfect man, but when his son goes missing the fa├žade quickly comes down.

Each year The Fog, an Edmonton serial abductor, steals into town and kidnaps one little boy and one little girl. Sadie is concerned, but not terrified since she is a good mother and prides herself in the care and attention that she dotes on her only child. After two miscarriages and a bout of alcoholism, Sadie finally has the child that she has always dreamed of and could not conceive of the idea that someone could break into their perfect world.

The evening of their son’s 6th birthday party, something is not quite right, when Sadie checks on her little boy she is confronted by an intruder. Caught between begging for her son’s life and offering her own, Sadie makes a deal with the devil. She will never reveal what she knows and what she has seen least harm would come to her son.

There are many jumbled parts of this story. Unimportant fragments are thrown in – who puts their house up on the market when their child is missing? Little tidbits that at the time make no sense and have the reader wondering if the author was making it up as she went, then there is a shift. The momentum changes and maybe Sadie is not crazy, maybe there are ghost children trying to guide her to their bodies and to her son.

From reading the prologue, you assume you know how the story is going to end, but you will be wrong, do not be turned off from that small introduction into the world of Sadie and Sam. There is more to their story. I am not saying that what the author leaves you with is good, the storyline is too convoluted for most readers and if you are going to add in a supernatural aspect to a story, at least make it semi-believable.

I would not recommend this book, some parts would need some boiling down and other sections would need a little more explain before the reader would feel comfortable with the flow and direction that this book takes.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday - The Prophet

Hosted by Breaking the Spine

Title: The Prophet
Author: Amanda Stevens
Publisher: Mira (April 24, 2012)
Format: Hardcover
Genre: Suspense
Series: The Graveyard Queen #3

Book Description:

My name is Amelia Gray. I am the graveyard queen, a cemetery restorer who sees ghosts. My father passed down four rules to keep me safe and I’ve broken every last one. A door has opened and now evil wants me back.

In order to protect myself, I’ve vowed to return to those rules. But the ghost of a murdered cop needs my help to find his killer. The clues lead me to the dark side of Charleston—where witchcraft, root doctors and black magic still flourish—and back to John Devlin, a haunted police detective I should only love from afar.

Now I’m faced with a terrible choice: follow the rules or follow my heart.

Chapter One

Something had been following me for days. Whether it was human, ghost or an in between—like me—I had no idea. I’d never caught more than a glimpse out of the corner of my eye. No more than a flicker of light or a fleeting shadow. But it was there even now, in my periphery. A darkness that kept pace. Turning when I turned. Slowing when I slowed.

I steadied my gait even as my heart raced and I berated myself for having strayed too far from hallowed ground. I’d lingered too long at my favorite market, and now it was nearing on twilight, that dangerous time when the veil thinned, allowing those greedy, grasping entities to drift through into our world, seeking what they could never have again.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

First Chapter First Paragraph - Children of the Fog

Title: Children of the Fog
Author: Cheryl Kaye Tardif
Publisher: Imajin Books (February 26, 2011) Pgs 280
Format: eBook
Genre: Suspense

Hosted by Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea


May 14th, 2006

She was ready to die.

She sat at the kitchen table--a nearly empty bottle of Philip’s precious red wine in one hand, a loaded gun in the other. Staring at the foreign chunk of metal, she willed it to vanish. But it didn’t.

Sadie checked the gun and noted the single bullet.

“One’s all you need.”

If she did it right.


Let A Kidnapper Take Your Child, Or Watch Your Son Die.

Sadie O'Connell is a bestselling author and a proud mother. But her life is about to spiral out of control. After her six-year-old son Sam is kidnapped by a serial abductor, she nearly goes insane. But it isn't just the fear and grief that is ripping her apart. It's the guilt. Sadie is the only person who knows what the kidnapper looks like. And she can't tell a soul. For if she does, her son will be sent back to her in "little bloody pieces".

When Sadie's unfaithful husband stumbles across her drawing of the kidnapper, he sets into play a series of horrific events that sends her hurtling over the edge. Sadie's descent into alcoholism leads to strange apparitions and a face-to-face encounter with the monster who abducted her son--a man known only as...The Fog.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Mailbox Monday - Mean Spirit

Currently on a Blog Tour with a New Host Each Month

Title: Mean Spirit
Author: Will Kingdom - A pseudonym used by Phil Rickman
Publisher: Transworld Publishers (July 1, 2002)
Format: Hardcover; Pgs 572
Genre: Fiction
Series: Grayle Underhill and Bobby Maiden #2

The lines are open......but the messages are sounding bleak for Seffi Callard - cool, charismatic, beautiful and now the world's best-known spiritualist medium. Suddenly a victim of her own remarkable gifts, she's been forced to back away from the glamour and the glow of public adulation, becoming a paranoid recluse at her father's home in the Cotswolds. Maybe the only person who can understand Seffi's crisis is her old schoolteacher Marcus Bacton, who was the first to identify her skills. Marcus, now editor of an obscure journal of the paranormal, sends his assistant, American journalist Grayle Underhill, to Seffi's rural hideaway...and into a nightmare. Who is stalking Seffi Callard - and from which side of the grave? The search for an answer will involve disillusioned police detective Bobby Maiden and the eccentric entertainer Cindy Mars-Lewis - himself facing vilification by his public after a series of bizarre tragedies linked to the national obsession with getting rich quick. At a Victorian neo-Gothic castle in the Malvern Hills, they discover that, for one psychopathic killer, getting rich is less important than never getting dead.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday - The Cove

Hosted by Breaking the Spine

Title: The Cove
Author: Ron Rash
Publisher: Ecco (April 10, 2012)
Format: Hardcover
Genre: Suspense

Book Description:

Laurel Shelton and her brother Hank are living out on farmland the locals say is cursed. And maybe it is. Laurel is born with a large birthmark that neighbors take as a sign of witchery. Hank loses an arm while serving overseas in WW I. When Hank falls in love with a woman who refuses to live there, Hank secretly plans to leave his sister behind.

But Laurel’s fate is forever altered when she comes upon a stranger in the woods one day, a stranger she saves from a near-fatal accident. With only a simple haversack of worldly belongings, including his treasured flute and note explaining that he is mute and bound for New York, the stranger slowly insinuates himself into life in the Cove, helping Hank on the farm, playing his ethereal music in the long twilit evenings, and, eventually, bringing Laurel the only real happiness she has ever known.

But where Laurel stumbles onto his real identity, she realizes the profound danger they are in, not only from an army recruiter determined to show his mettle by stoking fear and outrage over all things German (harassing an aging language professor at the nearby college, purging the library of any suspect foreign material), but also from her own brother, Hank, whose rage at the enemy who maimed him is barely contained beneath his placid surface.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

First Chapter First Paragraph - Quiet The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking

Title: Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking
Author: Susan Cain
Publisher: Crown (January 24, 2012) Pgs 352
Format: Hardcover
Genre: Non Fiction

Hosted by Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea

Usually, I quote the book flap and the first chapter of a book. Both are very uninteresting and do not give a good understanding of what this book is about, so I went to the publishers website and found a more interesting synopis of what this book entails.

Excerpt From the Website

Today we make room for a remarkably narrow range of personality styles. We’re told that to be great is to be bold, to be happy is to be sociable. We see ourselves as a nation of extroverts—which means that we’ve lost sight of who we really are. Depending on which study you consult, one third to one half of Americans are introverts—in other words, one out of every two or three people you know. (Given that the United States is among the most extroverted of nations, the number must be at least as high in other parts of the world.) If you’re not an introvert yourself, you are surely raising, managing, married to, or coupled with one.

If these statistics surprise you, that’s probably because so many people pretend to be extroverts. Closet introverts pass undetected on playgrounds, in high school locker rooms, and in the corridors of corporate America. Some fool even themselves, until some life event—a layoff, an empty nest, an inheritance that frees them to spend time as they like— jolts them into taking stock of their true natures. You have only to raise the subject of this book with your friends and acquaintances to find that the most unlikely people consider themselves introverts.

It makes sense that so many introverts hide even from themselves. We live with a value system that I call the Extrovert Ideal—the omnipresent belief that the ideal self is gregarious, alpha, and comfortable in the spotlight. The archetypal extrovert prefers action to contemplation, risk- taking to heed-taking, certainty to doubt. He favors quick decisions, even at the risk of being wrong. She works well in teams and socializes in groups. We like to think that we value individuality, but all too often we admire one type of individual—the kind who’s comfortable “putting himself out there.” Sure, we allow technologically gifted loners who launch companies in garages to have any personality they please, but they are the exceptions, not the rule, and our tolerance extends mainly to those who get fabulously wealthy or hold the promise of doing so.

Introversion—along with its cousins sensitivity, seriousness, and shyness—is now a second- class personality trait, somewhere between a disappointment and a pathology. Introverts living under the Extrovert Ideal are like women in a man’s world, discounted because of a trait that goes to the core of who they are. Extroversion is an enormously appealing personality style, but we’ve turned it into an oppressive standard to which most of us feel we must conform.

The Extrovert Ideal has been documented in many studies, though this research has never been grouped under a single name. Talkative people, for example, are rated as smarter, better- looking, more interesting, and more desirable as friends. Velocity of speech counts as well as volume: we rank fast talkers as more competent and likable than slow ones. The same dynamics apply in groups, where research shows that the voluble are considered smarter than the reticent—even though there’s zero correlation between the gift of gab and good ideas. Even the word introvert is stigmatized—one informal study, by psychologist Laurie Helgoe, found that introverts described their own physical appearance in vivid language ( “green- blue eyes,” “exotic,” “high cheekbones”), but when asked to describe generic introverts they drew a bland and distasteful picture (“ungainly,” “neutral colors,” “skin problems”).

But we make a grave mistake to embrace the Extrovert Ideal so unthinkingly. Some of our greatest ideas, art, and inventions—from the theory of evolution to van Gogh’s sunflowers to the personal computer— came from quiet and cerebral people who knew how to tune in to their inner worlds and the treasures to be found there.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Mailbox Monday - Heft and An Irish Country Girl

Currently on a Blog Tour with a New Host Each Month

Title: Heft
Author: Liz Moore
Publisher: W. W. Norton (January 2012)
Format: Hardcover; Pgs 352
Genre: Fiction

A heartwarming novel about larger-than-life characters and second chances.

Former academic Arthur Opp weighs 550 pounds and hasn't left his rambling Brooklyn home in a decade. Twenty miles away, in Yonkers, seventeen-year-old Kel Keller navigates life as the poor kid in a rich school and pins his hopes on what seems like a promising baseball career—if he can untangle himself from his family drama. The link between this unlikely pair is Kel’s mother, Charlene, a former student of Arthur’s. After nearly two decades of silence, it is Charlene’s unexpected phone call to Arthur—a plea for help—that jostles them into action. Through Arthur and Kel’s own quirky and lovable voices, Heft tells the winning story of two improbable heroes whose sudden connection transforms both their lives. Like Elizabeth McCracken’s The Giant’s House, Heft is a novel about love and family found in the most unexpected places.

Title: An Irish Country Girl
Author: Patrick Taylor
Publisher: Forge Books (January 5, 2010)
Format: Hardcover; Pgs 320
Genre: Fiction
Series: Irish Country #4

Readers of Patrick Taylor’s books know Mrs. Kinky Kincaid as the unflappable housekeeper who looks after two frequently frazzled town doctors in the colourful Irish village of Ballybucklebo. A trusted fixture in the lives of those around her, it often seems as though Kinky has always been there.

Nothing could be farther from the truth.

Some forty-odd years before and many miles to the south, the girl who would someday be Kinky Kincaid was Maureen O’Hanlon, a farmer’s daughter growing up in the emerald hills and glens of County Cork. A precocious girl on the cusp of womanhood, Maureen has a head full of dreams, a heart open to romance, and something more: a gift for seeing beyond the ordinary into the mystic realm of fairies, spirits, and even the dreaded Banshee, whose terrifying wail she first hears on a snowy night in 1922. . . .

As she grows into a young woman, Maureen finds herself torn between love and her fondest aspirations, for the future is a mystery even for one blessed with the sight. Encountering both joy and sorrow, Maureen at last finds herself on the road to Ballybucklebo—and the strong and compassionate woman she was always destined to become.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

We Give - Sir Scallywag and the Golden Underpants

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: Sir Scallywag and the Golden Underpants
Author and Illustrator: Giles Andreae and Korky Paul
Publisher: Puffin Books (January 19th 2012)
Format: eBook
Genre: Childrens
Source: We Give Books
Ages: 4 - 7

I had to giggle at the title. Only can children’s books get away with such a curious title grabber. Then you begin to read the book and realize that King Colin is over the top, not just a little bit, but waaaay over the top and the title does not seem so out of place at all.

The characters are engaging - picture Russell Brand with golden underpants. Now I know that sounds too much for 4 – 7 year olds, but they will not know who Brand is and you the reader will get an extra chuckle. If you or your child is easily offended, then this is not the book for you, but if you like to laugh aloud with your young ones and point out all of the fun illustrations, then continue with this book.

After a mighty giant has stolen the golden underpants, the king has sent for his bravest knight of all, six year old Sir Scallywag. His mission, find the underpants of gold, before the royal bottom gets cold. Second thought, maybe this is not a book to read to your classroom, but do continue for yourself.

As the bully, I mean giant, comes to town to do battle with the golden underpants upon his head, Sir Scallywag and his horse Doofus devise a plan to get back the golden underpants to save the royal bottom.

“So boys and girls remember this,
Although you might be small
Have courage and you too can be


Thursday, March 15, 2012

Review - Best Friends, Occasional Enemies: The Lighter Side of Life as a Mother and Daughter

Title: Best Friends, Occasional Enemies: The Lighter Side of Life as a Mother and Daughter
Authors: Lisa Scottoline and Francesca Serritella
Publisher: St. Martin's Press (November 22, 2011)
Format: Hardcover and Audio
Genre: Mother Daughter Relationships
Source: Library

Everyone knows Lisa's courtroom thrillers but she is also an essayist and writes for the Philadelphia Enquirer. Once a year, she and her daughter Francesca publish a book of their essays and every year I wait patiently for the next installment. They are real life stories of mother and daughter and I cannot help but to laugh my way through them.

Growing up is not easy, whether you are the mother or daughter, but the combinations of parent/child, mother/daughter, granddaughter/grandmother, each have their insights and pitfalls. Lisa appears to be the meat that holds these sandwiches together and her humorous insight is bother endearing and laugh aloud funny.

I love checking in with this mother daughter team to relive what I have already been through or to prepare for the future challenges that I know I will face with an adult child. I would not say that Francesca is dependent on her mother, more along the lines that Lisa is dependent on her mature responsible child to help her through the normal tasks that come up – like reading boxes and ingredients or when to call the vet or tree trimming company.

This book takes on serious issues too, but in a humorous way. Life is challenging and if you are lucky enough to have a loving family that accepts your foibles, then you are all the better off because of it.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday - The Kingdom

Hosted by Breaking the Spine

Title: The Kingdom
Author: Amanda Stevens
Publisher: Mira (March 27, 2012)
Format: Hardcover
Genre: Suspense
Series: The Graveyard Queen #2

Book Description:

My name is Amelia Gray. They call me the Graveyard Queen. I've been commissioned to restore an old cemetery in Asher Falls, South Carolina, but I'm coming to think I have another purpose here.

Why is there a cemetery at the bottom of Bell Lake? Why am I drawn time and again to a hidden grave I've discovered in the woods? Something is eating away at the soul of this town--this withering kingdom--and it will only be restored if I can uncover the truth.

Chapter 1

The breeze off the water carried a slight chill even though the sun had barely begun its western slide. It was still hours until twilight. Hours until the veil between our world and the next would thin, but already I could feel the ripple of goose bumps at the back of my neck, a sensation that almost always signaled an unnatural presence.

I resisted the temptation to glance over my shoulder. Years of living with ghosts had instilled in me an aberrant discipline. I knew better than to react to those greedy, grasping entities so I leaned against the deck rail and stared intently into the greenish depths of the lake. But from my periphery, I tracked the other passengers on the ferry.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

First Chapter First Paragraph - Best Friends and Occasional Enemies

Title: Best Friends, Occasional Enemies: The Lighter Side of Life as a Mother and Daughter
Author: Lisa Scottoline and Francesca Serritella
Publisher: St. Martin's Press (November 22, 2011) ), Pgs 288
Format: Hardcover and Audio
Genre: Mother Daughter Relationships

Hosted by Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea


Here is what I have learned in life, Motherhood has no expiration date.

This means that even though Daughter Francesca has grown up and moved out of the house, I am still busy being her mother.

And happily her best friend.

Part One: The Occasional Enemies Part

Daughter Francesca and I are very close, but that doesn’t mean we don’t fight.

On the contrary, it means we do.

So if you are currently fighting with your daughter or merely fussing from time to time, you have come to the right place.

About the Authors:

New York Times bestselling author Lisa Scottoline and her daughter Francesca Serritella are the best of friends—99.9% of the time. They're number one on each other's speed dial and they tell each other everything—well, almost everything. They share shoes and clothes—except one very special green jacket, which almost caused a catfight.

In other words, they're just like every mother and daughter in the world. Best friends and occasional enemies. Now they're dishing about it all—their lives, their relationship, and their carb count.

Inspired by their weekly column, “Chick Wit” for The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Mailbox Monday - Back Home Again

Currently on a Blog Tour with a New Host Each Month

Title: Back Home Again
Author: Melody Carlson
Publisher: Ideals Publications (October 15, 2006)
Format: Paperback; Pgs 308
Genre: Christian Fiction
Source: Paperback Swap
Series:Tale From Grace Chapel Inn #1

This inaugural title in Tales from Grace Chapel Inn sets the tone for a series that embraces family and friends, good neighbors and good will, and an enduring faith in God. The Howard sisters live their faith by example and bring a sense of community to Acorn Hill as they go about their days.

in Back Home Again, sleepy little Acorn Hill is in for a big surprise when the three sisters reunite after the death of their father, a beloved minister. Each has inherited a share of his worn-down Victorian house, and they decide to turn their family home into a bed-and-breakfast. But the women are as different as sisters can be, and they encounter many obstacles along the way. By learning to work together, accepting a little help from their friends, and trusting in God, the three sisters are finally able to see Grace Chapel Inn open its doors.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Review - Defending Jacob

Title: Defending Jacob
Author: William Landay
Publisher: Delacorte Press (January 31, 2012), Pgs 432
Format: Hardcover
Genre: Legal Thriller
Source: Library

Fourteen year old Jacob Barber stands accused of killing his nemesis, there is no real proof, no eyewitness just hearsay, a thumbprint and a headstrong assistant district attorney that is looking to make his bones in not only taking down this boy, but to also putting his father, Andy Barber a fellow assistant district attorney in his place. What turns into a battle between two grown men soon takes a family beyond its emotional bounds and introduces their community and the courtroom to the “murder gene”.

Near the very end, there is a very subtle change, but one that had me rereading a particular sentence. A sentence where an idolized wife was dismissed or demoted and I wondered if this was the intended purpose. Where do a man’s loyalties belong? Where does blame and responsibility belong?

This book has stayed with me longer than I thought it would have, after the mid book ramblings with a particular character that I still do not feel added enough insight to have had so much devoted to her, I keep going back to the end of the story. To say that I did not see it coming would be an understatement. Can I understand what happened? Yes, as much as I can understand the actions of others. Yes, as much as I can explain two trains running straight at each other and no one seems to be able to stop it.

William Landay has included every part of a parent’s human nature in this book. How far would we go to protect our child? Our community? What truths, but more importantly, what lies are we willing to live with just so we can close our eyes at night.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Review - Doc

Title: Doc
Author: Mary Doria Russell
Publisher: Random House, Pgs 416
Publication Date: May 3, 2011
Format: Hardcover / Audio
Genre: Fiction
Source: Library

When you pick up Doc, if you are looking for a rehashing of the dramatized gunfight at the OK Corral then you will be disappointed. If you are looking for an interesting tale of the man behind the legend then Doc will be a pleasant surprise. Ms. Russell takes the reader behind the scenes, back to the young man that loved music and literature. A man that was on the quiet side, but was never completely unarmed. A man that could not abide a bully and cared for those that had less than he did and held friendships and honesty above all else.

John Henry “Doc” Holliday began dying before he did too much living. By the age of twenty-two tuberculosis was slowly killing him and no matter where he went or what he did, it was there as a constant reminder that life was short and he had better get to the good parts soon.

Leaving Georgia for both his health and the chance to start up a much needed dentistry practice, Doc lands in the Kansas frontier where his chance meeting with the Earp Brothers is what apparent legends are made of.

John Henry surrounds himself with a cadre of interesting people. From Jesuits to whores to politicians to stable hands, Holliday values his friends more than life itself so when he is called into action, he steps up, even if that means death will not be too far behind.

Many will not like where this book ended. Most people like their stories to end where legend and folklore have taken them before. That is not going to happen in this book, this is not a story of a gunfight, it is a story of a man trying to live his life the best way he can. Born and raised a southern gentleman, forced to live a hardened life with illness and debt, Doc was a man that did the best he could with what was given.

Slated to be made into an HBO series, I like what Ms. Russell did with the story, bringing a fictionalized legend into the mainstream by showing the man behind the hype. I will never know what parts are facts and what parts are fiction, but I liked the overall picture that was drawn for me.

Per the authors website, she is currently writing "The Cure for Anger," a sequel to "Doc." Wonder if this will take up where Doc ends and Big Nose Kate left off.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday - The Gilly Salt Sisters

Hosted by Breaking the Spine

Title: The Gilly Salt Sisters
Author: Tiffany Baker
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (March 14, 2012)
Format: Hardcover
Genre: Fiction

Book Description:

In the isolated Cape Cod village of Prospect, the Gilly sisters are as different as can be. Jo, a fierce and quiet loner, is devoted to the mysteries of her family's salt farm, while Claire is popular, pretty, and yearns to flee the salt at any cost. But the Gilly land hides a dark legacy that proves impossible to escape. Although the community half-suspects the Gilly sisters might be witches, it doesn't stop Whit Turner, the town's wealthiest bachelor, from forcing his way into their lives. It's Jo who first steals Whit's heart, but it is Claire--heartbroken over her high school sweetheart--who marries him.

Years later, estranged from her family, Claire finds herself thrust back onto the farm with the last person she would have chosen: her husband's pregnant mistress. Suddenly, alliances change, old loves return, and new battle lines are drawn. What the Gilly sisters learn about each other, the land around them, and the power of the salt, will not only change each of their lives forever, it will also alter Gilly history for good.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

First Chapter, First Paragraph - Pandemonium

Title: Pandemonium
Author: Lauren Oliver
Publisher: HarperCollins (February 28, 2012), Pgs 384
Format: Hardcover
Genre: YA
Series: Delirium #2

Hosted by Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea

First Paragraph: Now

Alex and I are lying together on a blanket in the backyard of 37 Brooks. The trees look larger and darker than usual. The leaves are almost black, knitted so tightly together they blot out the sky.

First Paragraph: Then

In the beginning, there is fire.

Fire in my legs and lungs; fire stearing through every nerve and cell in my body. That's how I am born again, in pain; I emerge from the suffocating heat and the darkness. I force my way through a black, wet space of strange noices and smells.

Website Notes:

Told in a Now and Then style, Lauren Oliver delivers an electrifying follow-up to her acclaimed New York Times bestseller, Delirium. This riveting, brilliant novel crackles with the fire of fierce defiance, forbidden romance, and the sparks of a revolution about to ignite

Monday, March 5, 2012

Mailbox Monday - Pleating for Murder and The Paris Wife

Currently on a Blog Tour with a New Host Each Month

Title: Pleating for Mercy
Author: Melissa Bourbon
Publisher: Signet (August 2, 2011)
Format: Paperback; Pgs 320
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Source: Paperback Swap
Series: A Magical Dressmaking Mystery #1

All the Cassidy women possess special gifts. Harlow Jane Cassidy's is creating beautiful dresses. But she's about to discover secrets in her own family and another gift-one that can reach beyond the grave....

When her great-grandmother passes away, Harlow leaves her job as a Manhattan fashion designer and moves back to Bliss, Texas. But soon after she opens Buttons & Bows, a custom dressmaking boutique in the old farmhouse she inherited, Harlow begins to feel an inexplicable presence....

One of her first clients is her old friend Josie, who needs a gown for her upcoming wedding. But when Josie's boss turns up dead, it starts to look as if the bride-to-be may be wearing handcuffs instead of a veil. Suddenly, Josie needs a lot more from Harlow than the perfect dress. Can Harlow find the real killer-with a little help from beyond?

Title: The Paris Wife
Author: Paula McLain
Publisher: Ballantine (February 22, 2011)
Format: Hardback; Pgs 314
Genre: Fiction
Source: Friends of the Library Sale

A deeply evocative story of ambition and betrayal, The Paris Wife captures a remarkable period of time and a love affair between two unforgettable people: Ernest Hemingway and his wife Hadley.

Chicago, 1920: Hadley Richardson is a quiet twenty-eight-year-old who has all but given up on love and happiness—until she meets Ernest Hemingway and her life changes forever. Following a whirlwind courtship and wedding, the pair set sail for Paris, where they become the golden couple in a lively and volatile group—the fabled “Lost Generation”—that includes Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, and F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald.

Though deeply in love, the Hemingways are ill-prepared for the hard-drinking and fast-living life of Jazz Age Paris, which hardly values traditional notions of family and monogamy. Surrounded by beautiful women and competing egos, Ernest struggles to find the voice that will earn him a place in history, pouring all the richness and intensity of his life with Hadley and their circle of friends into the novel that will become The Sun Also Rises. Hadley, meanwhile, strives to hold on to her sense of self as the demands of life with Ernest grow costly and her roles as wife, friend, and muse become more challenging. Despite their extraordinary bond, they eventually find themselves facing the ultimate crisis of their marriage—a deception that will lead to the unraveling of everything they’ve fought so hard for.

A heartbreaking portrayal of love and torn loyalty, The Paris Wife is all the more poignant because we know that, in the end, Hemingway wrote that he would rather have died than fallen in love with anyone but Hadley.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Happy Birthday Theodor Geisel

On this day in 1904, Theodor Geisel, better known to the world as Dr. Seuss, the author and illustrator of such beloved children's books as "The Cat in the Hat" and "Green Eggs and Ham," is born in Springfield, Massachusetts. Geisel, who used his middle name (which was also his mother's maiden name) as his pen name, wrote 48 books--including some for adults--that have sold well over 200 million copies and been translated into multiple languages. Dr. Seuss books are known for their whimsical rhymes and quirky characters, which have names like the Lorax and the Sneetches and live in places like Hooterville.

Geisel graduated from Dartmouth College, where he was editor of the school's humor magazine, and studied at Oxford University. There he met Helen Palmer, his first wife and the person who encouraged him to become a professional illustrator. Back in America, Geisel worked as a cartoonist for a variety of magazines and in advertising.

The first children's book that Geisel wrote and illustrated, "And to Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street," was rejected by over two dozen publishers before making it into print in 1937. Geisel's first bestseller, "The Cat in the Hat," was published in 1957. The story of a mischievous cat in a tall striped hat came about after his publisher asked him to produce a book using 220 new-reader vocabulary words that could serve as an entertaining alternative to the school reading primers children found boring.

Other Dr. Seuss classics include "Yertle the Turtle," "If I Ran the Circus," "Fox in Socks" and "One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish."

Some Dr. Seuss books tackled serious themes. "The Butter Battle Book" (1984) was about the arms buildup and nuclear war threat during Ronald Reagan’s presidency. "Lorax" (1971) dealt with the environment.

Many Dr. Seuss books have been adapted for television and film, including "How the Grinch Stole Christmas!" and "Horton Hears a Who!" In 1990, Geisel published a book for adults titled "Oh, the Places You'll Go" that became a hugely popular graduation gift for high school and college students.

Geisel, who lived and worked in an old observatory in La Jolla, California, known as "The Tower," died September 24, 1991, at age 87.