Saturday, March 30, 2013

Review - Not Your Typical Dragon

Title: Not Your Typical Dragon
Author: Dan Bar-el
Illustrator: Tim Bowers
Publisher: Viking Juvenile (February 7, 2013)
Format: Hardcover; Pgs 40
Genre: Children’s
Source: Library
Ages: 3 to 5

All the pressure is on Crispin Blaze. His 7th birthday is coming and this is a very important day. When dragon’s reach this milestone they are able to breath fire. As Crispin’s family and loved ones wait anxiously for the little dragon to light his own birthday candles something strange happens. Whipped cream comes out.

Well this is odd, so his father takes him off to the doctor “to be fixed”. That did not work either; all that came out was Band-Aids. That was ok since the office was running low on them.

Sad little Crispin decides that he has disappointed his family so he wanders off to finds a cave to hide out in. Of course, this is the time that a skinny unsure knight appears and challenges Crispin to “do his worst”. Well, as we know, Crispin’s worst is not what people expect.

An interesting story in giving people what they need and not necessarily, what they assume. Or the more important lesson of not jumping to conclusions about others.

Cute story and adorable illustrations.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Review - Love Anthony

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

I can understand why people did not like this book the way that they loved her previous novels. There is no humor in this book – ok, maybe short snippets here and there, but no sections where you know that you should not be laughing but you are.

This book hits on serious subjects. The loss of a child, broken marriages, anger at what was and what could have been.

Beth is dealing with the loss of a marriage. A card arrives in the mail telling her that her husband is having an affair.

Olivia is grieving the loss of her son Anthony, a boy with autism who suddenly dies at the age of eight. A marriage that could not handle the strain and a life that could not be fixed.

We have pills for headaches.
We have antidepressants for sadness.
We have God for believers.
We have nothing for autism.

As the two women try to put their lives in order they have to deal with what life is now throwing at them. Olivia the death of her son and the end of her marriage. Beth the shock of her husband's adulterous affair and the rebuilding of a life for both her and her daughters.

Olivia has given up her belief in God when there were no answers for Anthony, but now on Nantucket Island she finds herself in constant dialogue with Him. Asking her questions and waiting for answers. Her self-imposed sabbatical on the island was her way to disconnect, a way for her to seek answers that she seeks.

For Beth, Jimmy is now trying to walk right back into the family that he so easily walked out on. A card ended their marriage, now a card handed to her should change everything back. What does she owe to herself and to her daughters? In trying to regain herself, she begins writing again. Slowly and unsure at first, but then suddenly a bud appears. She remembers a moment from her past, about a little boy, and now that memory is speaking to her.

Being on a small island makes it inevitable that the two women will bump into each other. How was Olivia to know that Beth held her answers? The answers that only Anthony could give to her.

There are intensely sad moments in this book – when Olivia is talking with the priest and in a way getting the answers that she seeks.

Marriage is about mutual power and mutual trust—you’re always at the mercy of the people that you are in a relationship with.
In a way, there is a happily ever after feel to this book. The coincidence seems a bit farfetched, but I have to admit that I was not fully vested in this book until the end. I was looking for humor, but what I found was heartbreak. Not that that is a bad thing, the storyline of Beth and Olivia’s personal challenges rang true - how the book found its way into existence was a bit of a hiccup for me.

Maybe others will see it differently, but one thing is for sure, Lisa Genova's books this will stay with me for a long time.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Review - Miles to Go

Title: Miles to Go
Author: Richard Paul Evans
Publisher: Simon & Schuster (April 5, 2011)
Format: Hardcover; Pgs 336
Genre: Spiritual
Source: Library
Series: The Walk Series #2

Miles to Go continues where The Walk left off. Alan Christoffersen is continuing his journey on foot from Seattle to Key West Florida in a way to come to terms with the recent death of his wife McKale, the betrayal of a business partner and the loss of his home.

Alan wakes up in a hospital after suffering a near fatal knife attack. Angel, a woman that he met at the end of book one is sitting there since her business card was the only thing on Alan and the authorities were hopeful that she could help sort out his story.

After his discharge, he goes home with this stranger, yet Angel seems to be more damaged than Alan is. Since winter has set in dampening Alan’s plans to continue his walk, the two spend the next couple of months platonically healing each other.

Turns out Angel’s real name is Nicole and she has promised herself that she will end her life once she has finished viewing the 100 greatest movies on the American Film Institute’s list. Alan has his responsibilities laid out in front of himself and is determined to help her understand that what happened to her son was not her fault. With her gut wrenching story revealed, they create a pseudo family, which also includes her landlord Bill, and gives her hope for the future.

The holidays are a magical time for them, but as spring appears and Bill’s generosity to Nicole guarantees her a life she had hoped for, Alan is back on the road. This time he rescues a runaway and with her wry humor, their journey does not seem as long and with Nicole’s help, this victim of the foster care system will also have her dreams realized.

Of course, this book ends in quite a dangler. Who is the woman that has been looking for Alan, and why is he not quite putting the face and the picture all together?

I love the constant character of Falene. Without realizing it, they are the perfect team. No matter who or what Alan encounters, she is there. She does not judge, she supports and when Alan is unsure, she seems to have the words that he needs to hear.

There is no escaping that this is a spiritual book. Alan is on a journey seeking redemption. Seeking hope. Seeking all things through understanding. I would not say that this is a preachy book, God is not mentioned in every paragraph, but his spirit is felt. There are great snippets to reread and ponder on.

With humor and patience, both the reader and Alan Christoffersen will reach their destination.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday - Starting Now

Hosted by Breaking the Spine

Title: Starting Now
Author: Debbie Macomber
Publisher: Ballantine Books (April 2, 2013)
Format: Hardcover; Pgs 352
Genre: Fiction
Series: Blossom Street #11


For years Libby Morgan dreamed only of making partner in her competitive, high-pressure law firm. She sacrificed everything for her career—her friends, her marriage, her chance at creating a family. When her boss calls Libby into his office, she assumes it will finally be good news, but nothing can prepare her for the shocking reality: She’s been let go and must rebuild her entire life . . . starting now.

With no job prospects in sight, Libby reaches out to old friends and spends her afternoons at A Good Yarn, the local knitting store. There she forms a close bond with Lydia, the sweet-natured shop owner; Lydia’s spirited teenage daughter, Casey; and Casey’s best friend, Ava, a shy yet troubled girl who will shape Libby’s future in surprising and profound ways.

As A Good Yarn becomes a second home—and the women a new kind of family—Libby relishes the different person she’s become. She even finds time for romance with a charming and handsome doctor who seems to be her perfect match. But just as everything is coming together, Libby must make a choice that could forever change the life she holds so dear.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

First Chapter First Paragraph - French Twist

Title: French Twist: An American Mom's Experiment in Parisian Parenting
Author: Catherine Crawford
Publisher: Ballantine Books (March 12, 2013)
Format: Trade paperback; Pgs 256
Genre: Humor / Parenting
Source: Library

Hosted by Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea

Chapter 1

Voici la Situation or The Mess We’re In

As a mother with two young daughters in a trendy urban neighborhood, hedged in by hordes of other trendy urban families, I often feel a keen sense of bafflement at what I see going on with the procreators in my midst. So, at the risk of being a traitor to my generation, I have to say: I don’t know when or how it happened, but it’s clear to me that, even as we have tried harder than any of our ancestors to mentor, please, and encourage our kids, we have completely lost control of them, and in the process we’ve lost control of our own lives as well. And it isn’t pretty. How ugly is it? Three words: baby yoga pants.

I live in Park Slope, Brooklyn, quite possibly the world headquarters of helicopter parents, but I’ve seen similar abdication in Manhattan, San Francisco, Seattle, Los Angeles, and Portland, Oregon. These are just the cities I visit regularly; I have a pretty good hunch it’s happening in nearly every middle-class neighborhood nationwide, urban or otherwise. How can I be so sure? Here are a couple of the many ways: I’d be willing to wager that you know—all too well?—parents who lives in fear of their toddler, or that you’re aware that a Bugaboo is not merely a synonym for “hobgoblin.” I have absolute certainty that, thirty-some-odd years ago, my mother didn’t pick me up from school laden with four snack choices to ensure my satisfaction (and avoid a meltdown) and that she didn’t put in a lot of time worrying that she wasn’t being the best mom she could possibly be.


Adventures in Franco-inspired American parenting—a winning mix of witty cross-cultural observation, hilariously blunt French wisdom, and one American mom’s journey to create her own hybrid parenting approach.

“If there is no blood, don’t get up.” This single nugget of parenting gold, offered by a French friend at the end of a long dinner party, changed everything for writer Catherine Crawford, her husband, and, especially, the couple’s two young daughters. Crawford immediately began to see that while the United States had become the land of too-involved parents forever wanting to talk through their kids’ feelings about, well, everything, France employed a far more laissez-faire attitude toward raising les enfants. Learning to sleep through the night? A few tears never hurt anyone. Food? Let them eat cake, sure, but only after they’ve sampled lamb chops, broccoli rabe, and the stinkiest of cheeses.

Short of shipping her daughters off to Paris for these—and many other—invaluable early-life lessons, Crawford did the next best thing: She brought Old World–style parenting to Brooklyn. In the process, she discovered that her kids could actually hold a thought silently for two minutes without interrupting adult conversation, and that she didn’t, in fact, need to buy out half the toy store to make their birthdays special. She even found out how much her kids like lamb chops! While combining the best attributes of the approach français with what she saw as American qualities worth preserving, Crawford found a way to save her household and her sanity. Hilarious and insightful, French Twist reveals how Crawford and her family survived le grand experiment—and why they aren’t ever going back to the way things were.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Mailbox Monday - The Priest

Currently on a Blog Tour with a New Host Each Month

Title: The Priest
Author: Gerard O’Donovan
Publisher: Scribner (March 1, 2011)
Format: Hardcover; Pgs 323
Genre: Suspense
Series: #1 DI Mike Mulcahy


Struggling to find his feet back in Ireland after a lengthy posting with Europol in Madrid, drugs specialist DI Mike Mulcahy finds himself in unfamiliar territory when he’s pulled in on the investigation into a horrific sex attack on a Spanish student. Mulcahy becomes convinced there is a more to it than a random sexual assault but his know-it-all colleagues and politically motivated bosses, eager for a quick, uncontroversial result, ignore his growing belief that the attack had religious rather than sexual motivations. Overruled, Mulcahy sets out on his own parallel investigation but he is frustrated at every turn until reporter Siobhan Fallon turns up asking awkward questions. As more young women are attacked, and assault turns to murder, Mulcahy and Fallon are drawn ever deeper into an uneasy alliance, each step they take hurtling them closer to a blood-drenched showdown with the monstrous killer known as “the Priest”

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Review - Me with You

Title: Me with You
Author: Kristy Dempsey
Illustrator: Christopher Denise
Publisher: Philomel (May 14, 2009)
Format: Hardcover; Pgs 32
Genre: Children’s
Source: Library
Ages: 3 and up

Oh, how sweet.

Little bear is growing up with the guidance of her grandfather.

Told in rhyme, little bear learns that she is she and he is he and together they are a pair.
“We’re a pair beyond compare, a rare and special two, in all the ways that I am me and you’re completely you.“
Beautiful days, grumpy days, or those days in-between, your special someone is there to guide you and to make you feel as important as they are to you.

If only every child could be as fortunate to have a loving grandparent in their lives, what a special pair they would be.

“And though I’ll find new ways of being me my whole life through, my favorite me will always be when I am me with you”.
This is a perfect gift for your child to give to their special grandparent.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Review - Murder Most Maine

Title: Murder Most Maine
Author: Karen MacInerney
Publisher: Midnight Ink (November 8, 2008)
Format: Trade Paperback; Pgs 277
Genre: Mystery
Source: Bookshelf / Purchase
Series: Gray Whale Inn Mysteries #3

Business is slow and Natalie Barnes decides that bringing in a weight loss group for a weeklong retreat would be a good idea. Little did she know what she was getting into when trainer Dirk De Leon and his business partner Vanessa Black show-up.

Apparently, this is not Vanessa’s first trip to Cranberry Island and the last time she left, there were a couple of broken hearts left in her wake, including Natalie’s boyfriend John. When the well-toned body of Dirk is discovered along a trail, there are a couple of key suspects. Dirk had a bit of nasty business in his past, so there is no telling what secrets will be revealed.

As a subplot, a skeleton has been discovered during the renovation of the Cranberry Island Lighthouse. The islanders come to find out that once upon a very long time ago, the lighthouse was a stop on the Underground Railroad. No one is quite sure if the skeleton was that of the lighthouse keeper, a runaway or the man that was sent to bring them back. That is until the town historian does a little digging and quite possibly an answer is discovered.

This is not my favorite series, but I do tend to keep the books on my shelf for those times that I am looking for something simple that I can pick up and put down as something else comes along.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Review - A Spoonful of Poison

Title: A Spoonful of Poison
Author: MC Beaton
Publisher: Minotaur Books (September 30, 2008)
Format: Hardcover; Pgs 288
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Source: Library
Series: Agatha Raisin #19

Since Agatha Raisin is a Public Relations expert, the vicar of Saint Odo the Severe is requesting her services for promoting a village fete. Agatha does not want anything to do with it until she realizes that she will be working with the handsome widower George Selby. Well of course, that changes everything and all of Agatha’s common sense leaves her body and she is left to come up with something to jumpstart this event.

All appears to be going well until someone spiked the jam. It appears that LSD has been added and now two women are dead. It is obvious to Agatha that a local has to be responsible. The suspects are varied, but Agatha is sure she knows who did it.

As young investigator Toni Gilmour and Agatha begin to investigate, one person begins to standout. Unfortunately, this person is beyond reproach but that does not stop Agatha. With her bearlike eyes and a cigarette between her fingers, she is determined to ferret out the murderer.

Even though there was a great deal going on in this little book, I found myself easily distracted. Little things like a crook in Agatha’s own detective agency or Toni’s love life left very little interest. The redundancy of plots in all her books allows me to mentally wander off and by the end of the book, I am not sure if I specifically remember this plotline or my mind threw in something from a previous book and they are now all the same book in my head.

Nineteen books into a series is a lot. MC Beaton is trying to add a little spark here and there, but so far I am not been re-inspired by her latest efforts.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The First Day of Spring

Today is the First Day of Spring

Waiting on Wednesday - Ice Cold Kill

Hosted by Breaking the Spine

Title: Ice Cold Kill
Author: Dana Haynes
Publisher: Minotaur Books (March 26, 2013)
Format: Hardcove; Pgs 352
Genre: Suspense
Series: Not sure. Daria Gibron is a character that is mentioned in Dana Haynes previous two books


Daria Gibron is a woman with a deadly past and an uncertain future. A former Shin-Bet agent now in exile in the U.S. and under the protection of the F.B.I., she works primarily as an interpreter. But Daria is a thrill junkie who can't resist the occasional freelance job as an operative—a habit that has left her with a trail of corpses behind her, and a few still living, very dangerous, high-powered enemies who would stop at nothing to get revenge.

En route to an impromptu meeting with an old contact from her days in the Israeli Secret Service, Daria gets an unexpected and anonymous tipoff that she's about to walk into an ambush. Unsure who is after her, or why, she slips away from her followers and soon learns that she's been set up—and set up good. Someone has linked her to a much sought-after terrorist, and now all the resources of the U.S. intelligence community are being marshaled against her.

As she tries to escape the ever-tightening snare laid out for her, someone else is using the operation against her as a distraction to hijack a very dangerous, highly guarded shipment. Now the only person who can keep this shipment from falling into terrorist hands is the one person they chose to set up as a diversion. Daria Gibron is many things—trigger-happy, resourceful, focused, and extremely dangerous —but the one thing she isn't is anybody's fool.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

First Chapter First Paragraph - Miles to Go

Title: Miles to Go: The Second Journal of the Walk Series
Author: Richard Paul Evans
Publisher: Simon & Schuster (April 5, 2011)
Format: Hardcover; Pgs 336
Genre: Fiction
Source: Library
Series: #2 of The Walk Series

Hosted by Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea

Chapter 1

We plan our lives in long, unbroken stretches that intersect our dreams the way highways connect the city dots on a road map. But in the end we learn that life is lived in the side roads, alleys, and detours.

Alan Christoffersen’s diary

My name is Alan Christoffersen and this is the second journal of my walk. I’m writing from a hospital room in Spokane, Washington. I’m not sure how you came to be holding my book—truthfully, I don’t even know if you are—but if you’re reading my story, welcome to my journey.

You don’t know much about me. I’m a thirty-two-year-old former advertising executive, and sixteen days ago I walked away from my home in Bridle Trails, Seattle, leaving everything behind, which, frankly, wasn’t much by the time I started my trek. I’m walking to Key West, Florida—that’s about 3,500 miles, give or take a few steps.


Alan Christoffersen, a once-successful advertising executive, wakes one morning to find himself injured, alone, and confined to a hospital bed in Spokane, Washington. Sixteen days earlier, reeling from the sudden loss of his wife, his home, and his business, Alan set off on an extraordinary cross-country journey in an effort to soothe his mind and heart. Carrying only a backpack, he planned to walk to Key West, the farthest destination on his map. But a vicious roadside stabbing has interrupted Alan’s trek and robbed him of his one source of solace: the ability to walk.

Homeless and facing months of difficult recovery, Alan has nowhere to turn—until a mysterious woman enters his life and invites him into her home. Generous and kind, Angel seems almost too good to be true, but all is not as it appears. Alan soon realizes that before he can return to his own journey, he must first help Angel with hers.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Mailbox Monday - The Crow Trap

Currently on a Blog Tour with a New Host Each Month

Title: The Crow Trap
Author: Ann Cleeves
Publisher: Pan Books; TV tie-in ed edition (2011)
Format: Trade Paperback; Pgs 352
Genre: Mystery
Series: Vera Stanhope #1


At the isolated Baikie's Cottage on the North Pennines, three very different women come together to complete an environmental survey. Three women who, in some way or another, know the meaning of betrayal...

For team leader Rachael Lambert the project is the perfect opportunity to rebuild her confidence after a double-betrayal by her lover and boss, Peter Kemp. Botanist Anne Preece, on the other hand, sees it as a chance to indulge in a little deception of her own. And then there is Grace Fulwell, a strange, uncommunicative young woman with plenty of her own secrets to hide...

When Rachael arrives at the cottage, however, she is horrified to discover the body of her friend Bella Furness. Bella, it appears, has committed suicide - a verdict Rachael finds impossible to accept.

Only when the next death occurs does a fourth woman enter the picture - the unconventional Detective Inspector Vera Stanhope, who must piece together the truth from these women's tangled lives...

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Review - Wherever You Are

Title: Wherever You Are: My Love Will Find You
Author and Illustrator: Nanct Tillman
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends (September 14, 2010)
Format: Hardcover; Pgs 32
Genre: Children’s
Source: Library
Ages: 4 and up

Do not read this book in public, if you are like me, you will turn into a weepy mess. For some unexplained reason now that my youngest is heading off to college, I am drawn to children’s books and the memories that we shared in reading them.

The beautiful cover of Wherever You Are drew me in – it is magical as are all the illustrations. I had no idea that the book was a poem from a parent to a child on how much they are loved and the dreams that we have for them as they venture into the world.

Very reminiscent of Robert Munsch and Sheila McGraw’s Love You Forever, this book brought up some many wonderful memories for me.

This book is a shelf keeper. You will find yourself reading it and weeping over it for years to come.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Review - Loopy Coop Hens

Title: Loopy Coop Hens
Author and Illustrator: Janet Morgan Stoeke
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile (March 17, 2011)
Format: Hardcover; Pgs 32
Genre: Children’s
Source: Library
Ages: 3 and up

Midge, Dot and Pip are smitten with Rooster Sam. They are convinced that Sam can fly. Now the hens are not sure how he does it, but they do know that Sam is tall and snowy white and even his toes are golden yellow. Yep, these girls have quite the crush on ol’ Sam.

They try to fly, not a success, they cannot figure it out - even moths can fly, so why are they having such a difficulty.

One morning the girls are up early, they are going to watch Sam and copy his every move.

Huh! Sam has a secret.

That does not matter to these loopy girls, they L-O-V-E Sam.

This is a cute farm orientated story. The hens are adorable and the illustrations are simple and straightforward. A good beginning reader series for your young ones.

Title: Loopy Coop Hens Letting Go
Author and Illustrator: Janet Morgan Stoeke
Publisher: Dial (February 7, 2013)
Format: Hardcover; Pgs 32
Genre: Children’s
Source: Library
Ages: 3 and up

Those silly girls are at it again. While sitting under an apple tree on a hot day, suddenly the apples begin to hit the ground around them. They are convinced that something is throwing them and begin jumping to wild conclusions. They enlist the help of Sam the Rooster.

Let us just say that he is no help at all and it is up to Dot to figure out this mystery. Up the ladder she goes, and what she soon discovers is so appealing that she urges her friends to come see.

Getting down from the tree has its issues so why not act like an apple and take the easy way.

Hens are not the smartest animals on the farm, but they sure do know how to have fun.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Review - Dead Suite

Title: Dead Suite
Author: Wendy Roberts
Publisher: InterMix (February 19, 2013)
Format: e-Book; 610 KB; Pgs 248
Genre: Mystery
Source: Amazon
Series: A Ghost Duster Mystery #4

I am disappointed. This book came across as a rush job with no final re-read to make sure that the little things such as extra words in a sentence or the repetition of a paragraph were removed, than a finished product that has taken 4 years to come to the market.

I know that I am being harsh, but I had enjoyed the first three books in this series and I was very dissatisfied.

In the previous books, I remember Sadie being a very strong independent woman. The Sadie in this book sounds more like an angst ridden teen who has been dumped by her boyfriend just before prom. For goodness sakes Sadie, you are a grown adult, you do not leave begging and pleading messages on your ex-boyfriends phone.

Back to the plotline. Apparently, there is a downturn in the trauma clean up business so when a string of prostitutes are murdered in hotel rooms, Sadie is glad for the business. What she is not so glad for is the undead reaching out for her help or a serial killer leaving her appendages in hopes that she will help in the cleansing of the streets.

Throw in a haunted house, an interesting male distraction, a séance that almost gets Sadie dragged off to hades and a crying baby with an awful name and pretty much you have a week in the life of Sadie Novak Scene-2-Clean trauma clean up specialist.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday - Reconstructing Amelia

Hosted by Breaking the Spine

Title: Reconstructing Amelia
Author: Kimberly McCreight
Publisher: Harper (April 2, 2013)
Format: Paperback; Pgs 400
Genre: Suspense


Litigation lawyer and harried single mother Kate Baron is stunned when her daughter’s exclusive private school in Park Slope, Brooklyn, calls with disturbing information: her intelligent, high-achieving fifteen-year-old daughter, Amelia, has been caught cheating.

Kate can’t believe that Amelia, an ambitious, levelheaded girl who loved school and has never been in trouble, would risk college and her future with a suspension. But when Kate arrives at St. Grace’s she’s unprepared for far more devastating news. Amelia is dead. Seemingly unable to cope with what she’d done, a despondent Amelia jumped from the school’s roof in an act of “spontaneous” suicide.

At least that’s the story St. Grace and the police tell Kate. Overwhelmed by her own guilt and shattered by grief, it is the story Kate believes . . . until she gets the anonymous text. She didn’t jump. Now, Kate is going to find the truth about her daughter, no matter where it leads or what it takes.

Sifting through Amelia’s emails, text messages, social media postings, and cell phone logs, Kate will begin to reconstruct the pieces of Amelia’s life, and the people in it, to uncover why she was on St. Grace’s roof that day-and why she died. Told in alternating voices, Reconstructing Amelia is a story of secrets and lies, of love and betrayal, of trusted friends and vicious enemies-of how much a parent really knows a child and how far a mother will go to vindicate the memory of a daughter whose life she could not save.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

First Chapter First Paragraph - Love Anthony

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

Hosted by Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea

Chapter 1

Beth is alone in her house, listening to the storm, wondering what to do next. To be fair, she’s not really alone. Jimmy is upstairs sleeping. But she feels alone. It’s ten in the morning, and the girls are at school, and Jimmy will sleep until at least noon. She’s curled up on the couch, sipping hot cocoa from her favorite blue mug, watching the fire in the fireplace, and listening.

Rain and sand spray against the windows like an enemy attacking. Wind chimes gong repetitive, raving-mad music, riding gusts from some distant neighbor’s yard. The wind howls like a desperately mournful animal. A desperately mournful wild animal. Winter storms on Nantucket are wild. Wild and violent. They used to scare her, but that was years ago when she was new to this place.

The radiator hisses. Jimmy snores.


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.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Review - If Kisses Were Colors

Title: If Kisses Were Colors
Author: Janet lawler
Illustrator: Alison Jay
Publisher: Dial (March 31, 2003)
Format: Hardcover; Pgs 32
Genre: Children’s
Source: Library
Ages: 3 and up

Beautiful folk art illustrations by Alison Jay are used to tell the story of how important and wondrous kisses can be. Whether kisses are pebbles on the beach or flowers in a garden or even acorns that grown into beautiful oak trees, they represent a tangible thing that have lasting impact.

Read this wonderful book to your young one and tell them that as Janet Lawler said:

If kisses were blankets
You’d always be warm
Wrapped up from the cold
During winter’s worst storm

Friday, March 8, 2013

Review - Meet Me At Emotional Baggage Claim

Title: Meet me at Emotional Baggage Claim
Author: Lisa Scottoline and Francesca Serritella
Publisher: Macmillan Audio; Unabridged edition (November 13, 2012)
Format: Unabridged Audio
Genre: Non Fiction
Source: Library
Series: Chick Wit Column #4

I enjoy listening to the audio versions of Lisa and Francesca's Chick Wit column. There are so many times that I can relate moments of their lives to the interactions that my daughter and I have had. I no longer have a Mother Mary in my life and never did have a Brother Frank, but I too can remember the exchanges between my mother and me and wonder how either of us had survived.

I was playing the audio version during a college tour trip with my daughter and from time to time, I could see a little smirk out of her and wondered exactly what “lesson” I was supposed to learn. Other times, there would be no reactions and I wondered if she was really listening.

After we returned home, she walked by and there was a distinct aroma coming from her, I gave her the mother look and her response was “do you see a boy in the room”? At which point we had a very long laugh. You may have to listen to the audio or read the book to understand what I am referring to, but your first impression is probably right. She was listening to what was coming through the speakers. This is my proof that even when she appears to not be listening, she hears everything.

So, thank you, Lisa and Francesca for a great mother daughter memory.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Review - A Dying Fall

Title: A Dying Fall
Author: Elly Griffiths
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (March 5, 2013)
Format: ARC Trade Paperback Pgs 390
Genre: Mystery / Suspense
Source: Amazon Vine
Series: Ruth Galloway #5

When I read a Ruth Galloway book, I have to keep reminding myself that this is more of a character study and a history lesson and that the murder and those responsible are secondary. The people are what drive Elly Griffiths’ books and what keep bringing me back.

Ruth is feeling restless again, so when a letter arrives posthumously from an old college friend, Ruth’s curiosity is piqued especially when a cryptic message leads Ruth to believe that an archaeological discovery could be the Raven King another name for King Arthur. Since Dan’s death has been declared a homicide, Ruth cannot help herself from getting involved particularly when she starts reminiscing about the good old days.

Having been asked to examine the recently discovered bones, Ruth, Kate and Cathbad head to Lancashire. She is not prepared for what she must face. Her life is in danger when an extremist group does not want her to reveal what she had discovered regarding the bones, but that does not stop Ruth, after all, she is the Head of Forensic Archaeology at the University of North Norfolk and preserving the past must come first.

Everyone in this story has a secret. DCI Nelson is there trying to keep Kate’s parentage a secret from his mother, Cathbad is trying to keep his feeling for two women a secret, a college campus is trying to keep the membership of a radical sect, the White Hand, a secret. What were Pendragon’s secrets that caused him to do what he did?

This was a very meandering story until chapter 32 when Cathbad calls Ruth. I swear I did not take a breath until that chapter and the next were over. Holy heck was that some intense writing.

By the end, when you see the true dysfunctionality of this group of professors and associates, you begin to wonder how any educating went on in this small college in the middle of nowhere. Suffice it to say, there are some major shenanigans going on in this place.

There are many characters introduced, so I suggest that you take your time and get familiar with each so when they pop up again in unlikely places you will not be like me shuffling back and forth trying to remember how each fit into the finale.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday - Don't Go

Hosted by Breaking the Spine

Title: Don’t Go
Author: Lisa Scottoline
Publisher: St. Martin's Press (April 9, 2013)
Format: Hardcover; Pgs 388
Genre: Fiction


When Dr. Mike Scanlon is called to serve as an army doctor in Afghanistan, he’s acutely aware of the dangers he’ll face and the hardships it will cause his wife Chloe and newborn baby. And deep inside, he doesn’t think of himself as a warrior, but a healer.

However, in an ironic turn of events, as Mike operates on a wounded soldier in a war-torn country, Chloe dies at home in the suburbs, in an apparent household accident. Devastated, he returns home to bury her, only to discover that the life he left behind has fallen apart. His medical practice is in jeopardy, and he is a complete stranger to the only family he has left - his precious baby girl. Worse, he learns a shocking secret that sends him into a downward spiral.

Ultimately, Mike realizes that the most important battle of his life faces him on the home front and he’ll have to put it all on the line to save what’s dearest to him – his family.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

First Chapter First Paragraph - A Spoonful of Poison

Title: A Spoonful of Poison
Author: MC Beaton
Publisher: Minotaur Books (September 30, 2008)
Format: Hardcover; Pgs 288
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Source: Library
Series: Agatha Raisin #19

Hosted by Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea

Chapter 1

MRS. BLOXBY, WIFE OF THE VICAR of Carsely, looked nervously at her visitor. “Yes, Mrs. Raisin is a friend of mine, a very dear friend, but she is now very busy running her detective agency and does not have spare time for—”

“But this is such a good cause,” interrupted Arthur Chance, vicar of Saint Odo The Severe in the village of Comfrey Magna. “The services of an expert public relations officer to bring the crowds to our annual fête would be most welcome. Proceeds will go to restore the church roof and to various charities.”

“Yes, but—”


Agatha Raisin’s detective agency has become so successful that now all she wants is some R&R. But as soon as she cuts back her hours, Agatha remembers that when she has too much quality time, she doesn’t know what to do with it. So it doesn’t take much for the vicar of a nearby village to persuade her to help publicize the church fête—especially when the fair’s organizer, George Selby, happens to be a gorgeous widower. Problem is: Several of the offerings in the jam-tasting booth turn out to be poisoned…and the festive family event soon becomes a murder scene. Now Agatha must uncover the truth behind the jam tampering and expose the nasty secrets lurking in the seemingly innocent village—all while falling for handsome George, who may just have some secrets of his own.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Mailbox Monday - 1222

Currently on a Blog Tour with a New Host Each Month

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. Paralyzed 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.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Review - My Father is Taller than a Tree

Title: My Father is Taller than a Tree
Author: Joseph Bruchac
Illustrator: Wendy Anderson Halperin
Publisher: Dial Books+ (March 31, 2010)
Format: Hardcover; Pgs 28
Genre: Children’s
Source: Library
Ages: 3 and up

A father and son relationship can be a marvelous thing. As Joseph Bruchac and Wendy Anderson Halperin point out – fathers and sons come in all shapes and sizes and with each other’s help, their relationship can become deeper and more meaningful just by spending time together.

Not all children are as fortunate as the little boys in this book are, so the reader may have to pre-read this story to make sure that it is appropriate for the little one that they are reading with. If it is appropriate, it would make a great book for Father’s day and then follow it up with a craft project or card for their fathers.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Review - My Mother Is So Smart!

Title: My Mother is so Smart!
Author and Illustrator: Tomie DePaola
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile (March 23, 2010)
Format: Hardcover; Pgs 32
Genre: Children
Source: Library
Ages: Ages 3 and up

If only we parents could be as smart as this little boy believes his mother is. She is perfect, she knows when she needs to take care of his needs. How to teach his friends to draw their initial in the air with sparklers on the 4th of July. She even how to dress up like a movie star when she is going out for the evening.

This young boy has a very special mom and he seems to appreciate everything that she does for him.

Obviously, this is a children’s book – but I do wish that Tomie DePaola would write a teen version. Wouldn’t it be refreshing to have our teens believe that we really do know a thing or two?

That is a lovely book that mother and child will enjoy reading together. I just advise that you get started on it early so you have a running start on teaching them how awe-inspiring we moms can be.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Review - Dead and Gone

Title: Dead and Gone
Author: Charlaine Harris
Publisher: Ace Hardcover (May 5, 2009)
Format: Hardcover; Pgs 312
Genre: Paranormal
Source: Library
Series: Sookie Stackhouse #9

I have always said that I liked the books that talk about the Fairies, but dang, after reading this book, I am not so sure. They can be nasty little things.

There is a lot going on in this book, the shape-shifters have decided that it is their time to come out and join the vampires in announcing their existence. When this occurs, in Merlot’s, Sookie picks up on some not so very nice thoughts of those around her. People have a tendency to surprise her and when the body of a pregnant were-panther is found nailed to a cross behind the bar, and Sookie’s brother Jason is accused, she has to go into overdrive to find the real culprits. And that leads to a stunner.

Eric and Sookie have stepped up their relationship big time leaving Quinn and Bill pretty much in the dust. That is ok, I never liked Bill. Claiming Sookie has created a potential problem and I am wondering if Eric has realized that not all of his thoughts are his own.

Sookie’s grandfather has let all heck break loose and killer fairies (I know, that made me giggle too) are now after Sookie. Books 8 and 9 really should be read back to back to get the whole fairy story, and to answer the questions surrounding the death of Sookie’s parents.

I was hoping that there would be more to the Hunter storyline, but he is only slightly mentioned, and as I have said before, I really do hope that there is more with his story.

This book is much more violent and darker than the previous books. Brutal deaths, torture and even a little bit of Eric’s backstory were a bit surprising.

I liked the turn that this book took. It appears that Sookie’s eyes are opening a bit wider and when the FBI knocks on your door wondering what your exact telepathic powers are you know that you are not just in Bon Temp anymore. People are noticing and you had better start flying under the radar.

If Niall kept his word, which I am not too sure that I believe him, he and the fairies will not be part of Sookie’s world anymore and I think I just might miss them.