Thursday, September 27, 2012

Review - The Vineyard

Title: The Vineyard
Author: Barbara Delinsky
Publisher: Simon & Schuster (June 6, 2000)
Format: Audio; Hardcover; Pgs 368
Genre: Fiction / Light Romance
Source: Library

I have to admit that if it were not for the fact that I had been listening to this book on CD while driving to and from work, I would have tossed it midway. I understand that it was meant to be a slow meandering journey through the life of Natalie Seebring, interweaving the lives of her children and Olivia Jones who was hired as her personal assistant and biographer. Let us face it; this was so monotonous that it allowed my mind to wander without feeling that I missed a thing.

In the past, I loved Lake News and An Accidental Woman and have been in a never-ending search for a Delinsky book that lives up to those two – I just have not found it.

Olivia Jones dreams of a family that she could be a part of. As a photo restorer, she visualizes herself in the lives of those that she looks at every day; imagining what it would be like to have a family that is happy to be together. A family that share their lives together. Being a single parent of a difficult dyslexic ten year old is not easy, but this is the life that she has been dealt and will make the best of, but that does not stop her from dreaming.

Natalie Seabring is about to drop a bombshell on her family. Recently widowed after fifty-eight years of marriage, Natalie has announced her upcoming plans to wed Carl Burke, vineyard employee. Her children only know him as a man that helped their beloved father build the Asquonset Vineyard in Rhode Island. What could Carl be up to; they do not trust him and begin to question their mother’s devotion to their father.

Responding to an inquiry for a biographer, Olivia applies and when offered the job, she and her daughter Tess set out for the adventure that they need to change their lives. A summer away on a beautiful vineyard with the ocean in their backyard and a hope for a fresh start for both mother and daughter is what both desperately need.

As the memoir unfolds, lives on Asquonset will be forever c hanged. Dreams are shattered and hopes are realized as layers are revealed. Natalie’s life was not as charmed as her children had always thought. The woman that they felt had always been distant now explains to them the sacrifices that she was willing to make for the love of family. Now it is her turn, she is going to pursue her dreams and her children had better get onboard.

Though a generation separates Natalie and Olivia, each woman has something to share and learn from the other. Both are seeking what is missing in their lives and both appreciate that reality can be so much more than the fantasy that they had idealized.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday - Miss Dreamsville and the Collier County Women's Literary Society

Hosted by Breaking the Spine

Title: Miss Dreamsville and the Collier County Women's Literary Society
Author: Amy Hill Hearth
Publisher: Atria Books; Original edition (October 2, 2012)
Format: Trade Paperback; Pgs 272
Genre: Fiction


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

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

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

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

First Chapter First Paragraph - Faceless Killers

Title: Faceless Killer
Author: Henning Mankell
Publisher: New Press, The (March 1, 1997)
Format: Paperback; Pgs 279
Genre: Suspense
Series: Kurt Wallander #1

Hosted by Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea

Chapter 1

He has forgotten something, he knows that for sure when he wakes up. Something he dreamt during the night. Something he ought to remember. He tries to remember. But sleep is like a black hole. A well that reveals nothing of its contents.

At least I didn’t dream about the bulls, he thinks. Then I would have been hot and sweaty, as if I had suffered through a fever during the night. This time the bulls left me in peace.


It was a senselessly violent crime: on a cold night in a remote Swedish farmhouse an elderly farmer is bludgeoned to death, and his wife is left to die with a noose around her neck. And as if this didn’t present enough problems for the Ystad police Inspector Kurt Wallander, the dying woman’s last word is foreign, leaving the police the one tangible clue they have–and in the process, the match that could inflame Sweden’s already smoldering anti-immigrant sentiments.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Mailbox Monday - The House of Velvet and Glass

Currently on a Blog Tour with a New Host Each Month

Title: The House of Velvet and Glass
Author: Katherine Howe
Publisher: Voice (April 10, 2012)
Format: Hardcover, Pgs 432
Genre: Historical Fiction


Still reeling from the deaths of her mother and sister on the Titanic, Sibyl Allston is living a life of quiet desperation with her taciturn father and scandal-plagued brother in an elegant town house in Boston’s Back Bay. Trapped in a world over which she has no control, Sibyl flees for solace to the parlor of a table-turning medium.

But when her brother is suddenly kicked out of Harvard under mysterious circumstances and falls under the sway of a strange young woman, Sibyl turns for help to psychology professor Benton Derby, despite the unspoken tensions of their shared past. As Benton and Sibyl work together to solve a harrowing mystery, their long-simmering spark flares to life, and they realize that there may be something even more magical between them than a medium’s scrying glass.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Review - Bub or The Very Best Thing

Title: Bub or the Very Best Thing
Author and illustrator: Natalie Babbitt
Publisher: HarperCollins (March 6, 1994)
Genre: Children's Book
Source: Library
Ages: Ages 4 and up

There is something very magical about the illustration in this book. Natalie Babbit has blended a tapestry of medieval landscape with a very modern day twist of faces encompassing people that could have leapt out of your very own photo album.

Like parents of today, the King and Queen are trying desperately to find what the “very best thing” is for their son the Prince. Their arguments have not been able to sort it out, so as the King looks through books for the answer, the Queen and her son journey through the kingdom in their own search.

From vegetables to sleep, to sunshine, to songs, to talking, each person they come across has a different idea of what “the very best thing” could be. Having run out of reputable sources, the royal family comes upon the Cook’s daughter. When she replies, “have you asked him”, they family is shocked. What could this girl know?

“The one and only very best thing is bub”, the parents are at a complete loss. What does that mean, so off they go again trying to find the answer, when in fact, it was there the whole time, they just needed to ask and understand what their young son was telling them.

I loved the Ahhh moment at the end of the book, where the explanation was so simple that I had to sit back and wonder how many times I had missed the obvious when I was raising my children.

Read this book; take your time with the illustrations and the lesson that is being taught.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday - The Casual Vacancy

Hosted by Breaking the Spine

Title: The Casual Vacancy
Author: J.K. Rowling
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company (September 27, 2012)
Format: Hardcover; Pgs 480
Genre: Fiction


When Barry Fairbrother dies unexpectedly in his early forties, the little town of Pagford is left in shock. Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty façade is a town at war. Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils…. Pagford is not what it first seems. And the empty seat left by Barry on the town’s council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity and unexpected revelations? Blackly comic, thought-provoking and constantly surprising

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

First Chapter First Paragraph - Stranger in the Room

Title: Stranger in the Room
Author: Amanda Kyle Williams
Publisher: Bantam (August 21, 2012)
Format: Hardcover; Pgs 320
Genre: Suspense
Series: Keye Street #2

Hosted by Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea

Chapter 1

It was ten-thirty when I answered the phone, the Thursday night before Independence Day. Atlanta’s tree-lined neighborhoods flew flags in anticipation from front porches and garden stakes. Red, white, and blue ribbons decorated mailboxes. In town, the city’s diverse population celebrated July’s holiday weekend with food and art and music festivals, rooftop bars and ground-shaking fireworks displays.

“I need to see you,” my cousin, Miki, told me.

Overview :

That bullet was meant for you.

Summer is smoldering through Atlanta on Fourth of July weekend, as fireworks crack through the air and steam rises from the pavement on Peachtree. Private investigator and ex–FBI profiler Keye Street wants nothing more than a couple of quiet days alone with her boyfriend, Aaron—but, as usual, murder gets in the way.

I will find her.

A.P.D. Lieutenant Aaron Rauser is called to the disturbing scene of the strangling death of a thirteen-year-old boy. Meanwhile, Keye must deal with not one but two of her own investigations: In the hills of Creeklaw County, there’s a curious case involving chicken feed and a crematorium, and in Atlanta, Keye’s emotionally fragile cousin Miki is convinced she is being stalked. Given Miki’s history of drug abuse and mental problems, Keye is reluctant to accept her cousin’s tale of a threatening man inside her house late one night. But as a recovering alcoholic herself, Keye can’t exactly begrudge a woman her addictions—especially since Miki drives Keye to near-relapses at every turn. And yet, Miki is family, and Keye must help her—even if it means tempting her own demons.

I always find her.

All hell breaks loose when another murder—the apparent hanging of an elderly man—hits disturbingly close to home for Keye. And though the two victims have almost nothing in common, there are bizarre similarities between this case and that of Aaron’s strangled teen. Is there a single faceless predator, a calculating murderer targeting his prey at random? Only a skilled profiler like Keye Street can help the A.P.D. find him. With the threat of more deaths to come, Keye works on pure instinct alone—and soon realizes that a killer is circling ever closer to the people she loves the most.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Mailbox Monday - What Alice Forgot

Currently on a Blog Tour with a New Host Each Month

Title: What Alice Forgot
Author: Liane Moriarty
Publisher: Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam (June 2, 2011)
Format: Hardcover; Genre: Fiction


Alice is twenty-nine. She is whimsical, optimistic and adores sleep, chocolate, her ramshackle new house and her wonderful husband Nick. What's more, she's looking forward to the birth of the 'Sultana' - her first baby.

But now Alice has slipped and hit her head in her step-aerobics class and everyone's telling her she's misplaced the last ten years of her life.

In fact, it would seem that Alice is actually thirty-nine and now she loves schedules, expensive lingerie, caffeine and manicures. She has three children and the honeymoon is well and truly over for her and Nick. In fact, he looks at her like she's his worst enemy. What's more, her beloved sister Elisabeth isn't speaking to her either. And who is this 'Gina'everyone is so carefully trying not to mention?

Alice isn't sure that she likes life ten years on. Every photo is another memory she doesn't have and nothing makes sense. Just how much can happen in a decade? Has she really lost her lovely husband for ever?

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Review - A Brew to a Kill

Title: A Brew to a Kill
Author: Cleo Coyle
Publisher: Berkley (August 7, 2012)
Format: Hardcover; Pgs 384
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Source: Library
Series: Coffee House Mystery #11

The coffeehouse mysteries are one of my favorite series. Other than the fact that I think they are in cahoots with my local coffeehouse – since I drink an absurd amount of coffee while reading them – I look forward to each new release

Remember what I said about this being one of my favorite series, which does not mean that every book is an instant hit. From time to time, the writing team of Cleo Coyle misses the mark with me. For instance, two-thirds of the way into this book, the plotline veers off in a completely different direction. It was as if they mashed up two different books - starting with one and ending with another without a proper explanation of the first.

Clare is ticked; Kaylie Crimini, the Kupcake Kween has parked her very loud and very obnoxious food truck in front of the Village Blend hawking her gourmet cupcakes. This does not sit well with the employees of the Blend since their loyal clients are walking out to purchase their bakery goods from a competitor. Being of sound business mind, Clare with the help of Lilly Beth, a nutritionist, has decided to branch into the food truck business – but with a catch, mixing Village Blend Coffee and healthy treats that taste as good as the competition.

When her friend and new business partner Lilly is severely injured in what first appears to be an accident, Clare cannot let it rest. Something is not adding up and when she discovers the past professional relationship between her friend and a doctor that was less than professional, Clare’s wheels start turning.

Matt is not so sure that Clare is on the right track with the reason for the accident since he himself has a little bit to share with his ex-wife. It appears that Matt’s last coffee buying expedition involved unsavory characters. Was Clare the intended victim? As simultaneous investigations take place, “Mad Max” Buckman is introduced thus keeping Clare on her toes, she cannot figure this man out. Is he the street hardened man that he appears to be or the gentle giant that is sitting next to Lilly’s bed?

With a tour through the neighborhoods of New York City, political rivalry, raids and the not too subtle hints of a drug lord, Clare is in way over her head and with the latest news from Mike, her boyfriend, Clare’s future might not be what she had planned.

If you have made it this far and have read the book, can you please explain to me what happened to Kaylie Crimini, one minute she was the center attraction and two-thirds of the way through the book, she was gone. What happened to her? Unless I missed something, Cleo Coyle either got bored with her storyline or forgot about her. Either way, it was strange.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday - Panorama City

Hosted by Breaking the Spine

Title: Panorama City
Author: Antoine Wilson
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (September 25, 2012)
Format: Hardcover; Pgs 304
Genre: Fiction


Oppen Porter, a self-described “slow absorber,” thinks he’s dying. He’s not, but from his hospital bed, he unspools into a cassette recorder a tale of self-determination, from village idiot to man of the world, for the benefit of his unborn son. 

Written in an astonishingly charming and wise voice, Panorama City traces forty days and nights navigating the fast food joints, storefront churches, and home-office psychologists of the San Fernando Valley. Ping-ponging between his watchful and sharp-tongued aunt and an outlaw philosopher with the face "of a newly hatched crocodile," Oppen finds himself constantly in the sights of people who believe that their way is the only way for him. 

Open-hearted, bicycle-riding, binocular-toting Oppen Porter is "an American original" (Stewart O'Nan) for whom finding one's own way is both a delightful art and a painstaking science. Disarmingly funny and surreptitiously moving, Panorama City makes us see the world, and our place in it, with new eyes.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

First Chapter First Paragraph - The Vineyard

Title: The Vineyard
Author: Barbara Delinsky
Publisher: Simon & Schuster (June 6, 2000)
Format: Hardcover; Pgs 368
Genre: Fiction / Light Romance
Source: My Bookshelf (it has been here so long I can not remember where it came from)

Hosted by Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea

Chapter 1

On what had begun as just another June day in Manhattan, Susanne Seebring Malloy returned to her Upper East Side brownstone after lunch with friends to find a saffron yellow envelope in the mail. She knew it was from her mother, even without the vineyard logo in the upper left corner or her mother's elegant script in the address. Between the Asquonset, Rhode Island, postmark and the scent of Natalie's trademark freesia, there was no doubt at all.

Susanne stepped out of her Ferragamos and curled her toes in dismay. A letter from her mother was the last thing she needed. She would look at it later. She was feeling hollow enough as it was.

And whose fault was that? she asked herself, irrationally annoyed. It was Natalie's fault. Natalie had lived her life by the book, doing everything just so. She had been the most dutiful wife Susanne had ever seen -- and she had been Susanne's role model. So Susanne had become a dutiful wife herself. By the time the women's movement had taken hold, she was so busy catering to Mark and the kids that she didn't have time for a career. Now the children were grown and resented her intrusion, and Mark had staff to do the small things she used to do. She still traveled with him sometimes, but though he claimed to love having her along, he didn't truly need her there. She was window dressing. Nothing more.


When Natalie Seebring announces plans to marry within months of the death of her husband of fifty-eight years, her son and daughter are stunned. In the face of their disapproval, Natalie decides it's time to talk about the past and reveal the secrets she has kept for decades. She hires Olivia Jones to help write her memoir and invites her to spend the summer at the family vineyard. As summer deepens and the vineyard's crop ripens, Natalie's story unfolds and startles one family member after another, while Olivia's fantasy of finding a welcoming family remains as tenuous as the success of the season's crop.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Mailbox Monday - Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging

Currently on a Blog Tour with a New Host Each Month

Title: Angus, thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging
Author: Louise Rennison
Publisher: HarperTeen (April 10, 2001
Format: Paperback; Pgs 247
Genre: YA
Source: Thrift Store
Series: Confessions of Georgia Nicolson #1


There are six things very wrong with my life:

1. I have one of those under-the-skin spots that will never come to a head but lurk in a red way for the next two years.

2. It is on my nose

3. I have a three-year-old sister who may have peed somewhere in my room.

4. In fourteen days the summer hols will be over and then it will be back to Stalag 14 and Oberfuhrer Frau Simpson and her bunch of sadistic teachers.

5. I am very ugly and need to go into an ugly home.

6. I went to a party dressed as a stuffed olive.

In this wildly funny journal of a year in the life of Georgia Nicolson, British author Louise Rennison has perfectly captured the soaring joys and bottomless angst of being a teenager. In the spirit of Bridget Jones's Diary, this fresh, irreverent, and simply hilarious book will leave you laughing out loud. As Georgia would say, it's "Fabbity fab fab!"

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Review - Zoe Gets Ready

Title: Zoe Gets Ready
Author and Illustrator: Bethanie Denney Murguia
Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books (May 1, 2012)
Format: Board Book; Pgs 40
Genre: Children’s
Source: Amazon Vine Program
Ages: 3 and up

I fell in love with this book just by the cover alone. You cannot tell by a picture on a computer screen, but the true cover is all sparkly and embossed. It sets the stage for the many facets of little Zoe. A little girl whose weekday outfits are picked by others, but on Saturdays, glorious Saturdays, Zoe gets to do the picking.

Here in lies the dilemma, is this Saturday going to be a pocket day where you need to bring home treasures or a cartwheel day where your toes can touch the sky. Or a blend in day where you can hide in a tree and your little sister cannot find you.

I adore Zoe and her zany way of handling her situation. Why not, it is only clothing and the imagination of a young child is a wondrous thing.

Bethanie Denney Murguia is a talented storywriter and illustrator and I look forward to seeing more of Zoe’s wonderful solutions to everyday quandaries.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Review - The Friday Harbor Murders

Title: The Friday Harbor Murders
Author: Dolores Weeks
Publisher: Dodd, Mead & Company; 1st edition (September 1988)
Format: Hardcover; Pgs 168
Genre: Mild Suspense
Source: Library
Series: Book #2, but I am not sure of the series name

I love reading slightly older books. This particular book was written back in the day, 1988 to be precise, when the Raiders football team was still in Los Angeles and writers were not hung up on politically correct terminology, or putting a “tape” into the player for a quiet evening home was not unheard of. A time where the plot and not some tomfoolery was what kept you flipping through the pages. Now I am sure that people from the 80’s could say that about books written in the 50’s, but for now, this foray into an older “suspense” book is a fun.

Dr. Scott Eason, a Seattle surgeon, has come back to his vacation home in the San Juan Islands. A little peace and quiet to unwind and figure out where his relationship with Erin is going. Out of the blue, Senator Spencer Manning, an old friend from their younger island days has invited himself to stay with Scott. This is not going to be an easy meeting for either since the senator has voted to reduce the catch totals for the local commercial fishermen and now, one by one, the anglers are showing up dead.

Upon arriving on the island, this is anything but a safe refuge for Senator Manning. The Senator is the newest victim of these brutal assaults. The obvious suspect turns into a victim himself, therefore, leaving the reader to reevaluate who is behind the murder attempts. Who has the ability to build bombs under the nose of a security team?

The real question is who is the true perpetrator – the angry fishermen or someone much closer to home? When the final body is found, fingers are pointed in many directions, but there is only one person who hated the man enough to do this.

This is a small book, only one hundred and sixty eight pages, but the writing and descriptions just drew me in. Since the book has been out of publication for a while, it might be hard to come across, but if you are fortunate enough to have a library copy available, check it out.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Review - Counting on You

Title: Counting on You
Author: Lisa Bork
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Format: ebook; approximately 272 pages
Genre: Soft Mystery
Source: Amazon

To be honest, when I first started this book, I was not optimistic. The writing did not grab me, but I decided to plod on. As the story continued, I became more interested, but still there was something missing. This book falls into the soft-boiled mystery genre. There is no thrilling chase or high suspense. A book that you can easily pick up and put down when needed. A beach read if you will. Traveling to the Marshall Islands to see a canister of cremains of the man that she believes is her birthfather shot into space, Julia Locke, a professional storyteller, must also use this time to seek out the man that she is certain is her half-brother.

Julia is not really looking for her long lost family per say, she is in desperate need of a kidney transplant and Matt is her last hope. With a rare blood type and no other family member’s that will match, this is a make it or break it time for Julia.

What she did not anticipate was finding the body of a man in the hotel room next door and being lead on a wild chase to save her brother and his mother from being tried for his murder. Throw in the island police, the military police, a Hollywood actor with a brain tumor, a starlet that is dead but everyone is still seeing on the island, an innocent village boy that is just trying to collect laundry for his sister to wash so they can save enough money to travel to Arizona to be with their mother and you have a tragic situation on your hands.

There is one section near the end that I had to reread to get how everyone was related. I do not know if it was the writing or my attention span, but it took a visual forest of family trees for me to keep everyone straight. Why did she have to throw in something so complicated? It did do some explaining and answered a nagging question that had popped up, but still, when your mind has been slowly meandering through a simple story, to throw in a “thinking” part was surprising to say the least.

This book definitely fits into the vacation read category. No heavy thinking throughout the book only to be grabbed with an ending that has the reader wondering “how did we get here, did she just make it at the end”. If you are leading a reader down a particular path, leave some breadcrumbs from time to time so the ending makes more sense.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Review - The Last Policeman

Title: The Last Policeman
Author: Ben H. Winter
Publisher: Quirk Books (July 10, 2012)
Format: Trade Paperback, Pgs 288
Genre: Pre-Apocalyptic
Source: Library
Series: The Last Policeman #1 (proposed trilogy)

Have you ever loved a book so much that when it came time to writing the review, you were at a loss for words? The Last Policeman has left me that way. This is a huge shock because I am usually very good at using the wrong words with incomplete thought patterns and sentence structure and yet still diligent at using poor grammar when trying to juxtapose a review.

I finished this book weeks ago and have been telling anyone that will listen about Hank Palace, a pre-apocalyptic twenty something police detective that has been on the job a grand total of 32 seconds and was only promoted from street cop to this position because everyone else that should have been entitled to the job has left. Walked away from their responsibilities because a meteor, of astronomical proportion, is on a collision course with earth. They know the exact date, October 3rd, and place that the meteor will hit. That gives the United States five months to fall into complete anarchy.

Some take the opportunity to live out their bucket list, but a few, the naïve as some would say, stay and do their jobs. The city that Palace is responsible for once called Concord, New Hampshire, is now referred to as Hang Town. Each region is known for their specific types of suicide, the most common choice of death as the end nears. When Hank is called out to a McDonald’s he sees yet another body, the late Peter Zell. There is something different about this hanger. The feel is wrong. Something draws this young detective into this man’s story.

When you know that the end is near, do you curl up and die along with everyone else or do you try to take your last grasp at fortune? Do you put it all on the line and bank on the possibility that others have it wrong? Try to create a possible “new future” for yourself?

This story has its twists. While you are trying to figure out the “who-done-it”, remember this is a crime novel - characters that you have fluffed off become all too relevant in the end. A rollercoaster ride that had me riveted to the end and leaving me with the possibility that I had chucked off the rantings of a lunatic when I should have been paying closer attention.

This is book one of a planned trilogy and I sure hope that Mr. Winter’s can deliver as much of a punch with book two as I had received at the end of this installment.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday - Love Anthony

Hosted by Breaking the Spine

Title: Love Anthony
Author: Lisa Genova
Publisher: Gallery Books (September 25, 2012)
Format: Hardcover; Pgs 320
Genre: Fiction


I’m always hearing about how my brain doesn’t work right. . . . But it doesn’t feel broken to me.

Olivia Donatelli’s dream of a “normal” life shattered when her son, Anthony, was diagnosed with autism at age three. Understanding the world from his perspective felt bewildering, nearly impossible. He didn’t speak. He hated to be touched. He almost never made eye contact. And just as Olivia was starting to realize that happiness and autism could coexist, Anthony died.

Now she’s alone in a cottage on Nantucket, separated from her husband, desperate to understand the meaning of her son’s short life, when a chance encounter with another woman facing her own loss brings Anthony alive again for Olivia in a most unexpected way.

Beth Ellis’s entire life changed with a simple note: “I’m sleeping with Jimmy.” Fourteen years of marriage. Three beautiful daughters. Yet even before her husband’s affair, she had never felt so alone. Heartbroken, she finds the pieces of the vivacious, creative person she used to be packed away in a box in her attic. For the first time in years, she uncaps her pen, takes a deep breath, and begins to write. The young but exuberant voice that emerges onto the page is a balm to the turmoil within her, a new beginning, and an astonishing bridge back to herself.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

First Chapter First Paragraph - The Painted Bridge

Title: The Painted Bridge
Author: Wendy Wallace
Publisher: Scribner (July 17, 2012)
Format: Hardcover and eBook, Pgs 304
Genre: Fiction

Hosted by Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea

Chapter 1

Lizzie Button was upside-down. The crown of her head rested on the floor; her feet, in black laced boots, floated above her. Lucas St. Clair leaned his eye closer to the ground glass and brought her face into sharper focus, moving the brass knob back and forth to sharpen the grain of her skin, the strands of cropped hair that lay across her forehead. Her expression was wary. Lucas had trained himself to read eyes that signaled from below mouths, frowns that mimicked smiles. He ducked out from underneath the cloth, replaced the lens cap and looked at her in the flesh, right way up.

“Are you comfortable, Mrs. Button?” he said, inserting the plate into the back of the camera. “Warm enough? Will you be able to keep still?”

“Yes, Doctor,” she said, her lips barely moving. “Go on. Make my picture.”

“Let us begin.”

Tugging out the dark slide, he removed the lens cap with a flourish and began to count out the exposure.

“… Two. Three. Four.”

He could feel the familiar excitement rising in him. The hope that the picture would succeed even beyond his expectations and reveal Mrs. Button’s mind. “Eight, nine, ten.” That it would offer up the secrets of the world inside her head. “Sixteen. Seventeen.” Illuminate the mental landscape, the population of unseen persecutors and innocents with whom Mrs. Button conversed. “Twenty-three. Twenty …”


Just outside London behind a tall stone wall stands Lake House, a private asylum for genteel women of a delicate nature. In the winter of 1859, recently-married Anna Palmer becomes its newest arrival, tricked by her husband into leaving her home, incarcerated against her will and declared hysterical. With no doubts as to her sanity, Anna is convinced that she will be released as soon as she can tell her story.

But Anna quickly learns that liberty will not come easily. And the longer she remains at Lake House, the more she realises that — like the ethereal bridge over the asylum’s lake — nothing is as it appears. Locked alone in her room, she begins to experience strange visions and memories that may lead her to the truth about her past, herself, and to freedom – or lead her so far into the recesses of her mind that she may never escape…

Set in Victorian England, as superstitions collide with a new psychological understanding, this elegant, emotionally suspenseful debut novel is a tale of self-discovery, secrets, and search for the truth in a world where the line between madness and sanity seems perilously fine.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Mailbox Monday - An Appetite for Murder

Currently on a Blog Tour with a New Host Each Month

Title: An Appetite for Murder
Author: Lucy Burdette (also writes under the name of Roberta Isleib)
Publisher: Signet(January 3, 2012)
Format: Paperback; Pgs 320
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Series: A Key West Food Critic Mystery #1


Hayley Snow’s life always revolved around food. But when she applies to be a food critic for a Key West style magazine, she discovers that her new boss would be Kristen Faulkner—the woman Hayley caught in bed with her boyfriend! Hayley thinks things are as bad as they can get—until the police pull her in as a suspect in Kristen’s murder. Kristen was killed by a poisoned key lime pie. Now Hayley must find out who used meringue to murder before she takes all the blame.

Chapter 1

Lots of people think they’d love to eat for a living. Me? I’d kill for it.

Which makes sense, coming from my family. FTD told my mother to say it with flowers, but she said it with food. Lost a pet? Your job? Your mind? Life always felt better with a serving of Mom’s braised short ribs or red velvet cake in your belly. In my family, we ate when happy or sad but especially, we ate when we were worried.

The brand new Key Zest magazine in Key West, Florida announced a month ago that they were hiring a food critic for their style section. Since my idea of heaven was eating at restaurants and talking about food, I’d do whatever it took to land the job. Whatever. But three review samples and a paragraph on my proposed style as their new food critic were due on Monday. Six days and counting. So far I had produced nothing. The big goose egg. Call me Hayley Catherine “Procrastination” Snow.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Reading Challenge Addict Update

This challenge will begin on January 1, 2011 and end on December 31, 2011.

Track all of your challenge accomplishments.

I have completed 62% of my Challenges

Reading From My Shelves (15/25)
First in a Series (14/15)
Library Challenge (12/12)- COMPLETED (April)
Audio Challenge (12/12) - COMPLETED (May)
Mystery and Suspense (11/12)
Serial Killer (3/10)
New Author (10/10) - COMPLETED (March)
What’s in a Name (6/6) - COMPLETED (August)
Finishing the Series (12/17) (18/24 books)
Cozy Mystery (15/15) - COMPLETED (July)
eBook (10/10) - COMPLETED (June)
Eclectic Reader (12/12) - COMPLETED (August)
An Illustrated Year: 2012 Picture Book Reading Challenge (24/24) - COMPLETED (June)