Thursday, June 23, 2011

Sworn By Silence

Hi Readers: As I said I was going to try and read Sworn By Silence mainely because of the Amish setting. I could not even get past the 1st paragraph and had to put the book away. --- There are too many books that are so beautifully write on waste my time on graphic violence. Without even reading this I am giving the book an F.

I am on to the Russian Winter by Daphne Kalotay which has been on my TBR pile for a long time.

Happy Reading

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Wherever Grace Is Needed by Elizabeth Bass


When Grace Oliver leaves Portland for Austin, Texas, to help her father, Lou, recuperate from a car accident, she expects to stay just a few weeks. Since her mother's divorce thirty years ago, Grace has hovered on the periphery of the Oliver family. But now she sees a chance to get closer to her half-brothers and the home she's never forgotten.

But the Olivers are facing a crisis. Tests reveal that Lou, a retired college professor whose sharp tongue and tenderness Grace adores, is in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease. Grace delays her departure to care for him, and is soon entwined in the complicated lives of her siblings-all squabbling over Lou's future-and of the family next door…
Ray West and his three children are reeling from a recent tragedy, particularly sixteen-year-old Jordan, whose grief is heightened by guilt and anger. Amid the turmoil, Grace not only gives solace and support, but learns to receive it. And though she came to Austin to reconnect with her past, she is drawn by degrees into surprising new connections .... from Reading Group Choice

My Thoughts:
I really enjoyed how this story was more about characters than plot. I thought Elizabeth Bass did a great job in developing the personalities of each of the characters. Grace is such a believable character. Can't you picture yourself thinking that you are going to help out a parent for a short time, and finds more and more reasons to stay longer? I can !!!! My heart really when out to the West family. Each of them trying to deal with the loss of 2 family members (mother/wife)and (sister/daughter), killed in a horrible car accident. Jordan full of grief and guilt and putting this wall up so that she doesn't have to feel the pain. Grace finds herself entwined in their lives. As it turns out in a very positive way.

I felt that I was emotionally invested through this whole novel. The most emotional part for me was when Grace finally faced the fact that her dad has early stages of Alzheimer and that there would come a day when he would not know her.

This is the first novel of Elizabeth Bass that I have read. I intend to read more of her work. I am giving this charming book a B+, and would highly recommend this for any Book Club.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Sworn By Silence

A little bit of fun on a Friday, this weekly meme is hosted by A Few More Pages.
I'll share the first line (or two) of the book I'm currently reading (including the title and author) and let you know what my first impressions are - good or bad!

She hadn’t believed in monsters since she was six years old, back when her mom would check the closet and look beneath her bed at night. But at the age of twenty-one, bound and brutalized and lying naked on a concrete floor that was as cold as lake ice, she believed.

This is my next read. This is the first in a series by Linda Castillo. Am so looking forward to reading about my favorite Amish Culture and a good mystery. It may be a little graphic but I will do my best to get past that.

Happy Reading Everyone


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Peach Keeper

Summary (From book flap):

It's the dubious distinction of thirty-year-old Willa Jackson to hail from a fine old Southern family of means that met with financial ruin generations ago. The Blue Ridge Madam -- built by Willa's great-great-grandfather during Walls of Water's heyday, and once the town's grandest home -- has stood for years as a lonely monument to misfortune and scandal. And Willa herself has long strived to build a life beyond the brooding Jackson family shadow. No easy task in a town shaped by years of tradition and the well-marked boundaries between the haves and the have-nots.

But Willa has lately learned that an old classmate -- socialite do-gooder Paxton Osgood, of the very prominent Osgood family -- has restored the Blue Ridge Madam to her former glory, with plans to open a top-flight inn. Maybe, at last, the troubled past can be laid to rest while something new and wonderful rises from its ashes. But what rises instead is a skeleton, found buried beneath the property's lone peach tree, and certain to drag up dire consequences along with it. For the bones -- those of charismatic traveling salesman Tucker Devlin, who worked his dark charms on Walls of Water seventy-five years ago -- are not all that lay hidden out of sight and mind. Long-kept secrets surrounding the troubling remains have also come to light, seemingly heralded by a spate of sudden strange occurrences throughout the town.

Now, thrust together in an unlikely friendship, united by a full-blooded mystery, Willa and Paxton must confront the dangerous passions and tragic betrayals that once bound their families -- and uncover truths of the long-dead that have transcended time and defied the grave to touch the hearts and souls of the living.

My Review:

This is the first book by Sarah Addison-Allen. I chose this book for the Authors A-Z Challenge and the Southern Literature Challenge. I thought the story was ok. I actually like the ending more than the beginning. I think my lack of interest was more my mood than the story or the author’s writing. I don’t think that I can really give this story the respect that is due at this time. I am storing this book away on my Kindle for another time. Also, I am putting this author on my TBR list.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Challenge Change-Up

After looking at all my books on my Kindle and all the Challenges out there on my favorite blogs, I decided to do a little Change Up.  I have started reading books by Author A-Z.  I will also be able to keep up with all the challenges I am involved.    I have started with Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen.  Peach Keeper has been on my TBR pile for awhile, and will also be listed on My Southern Literature Challenge I am involved in.  I wonder how may cross-challenges I can do now.

How many of my friends have done Change Ups?

Happy Reading

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

Author:  Jamie Ford
Hardbound:  290 pages
Date Published:  January 27, 2009
Publisher:  Ballantine Books (div of Random House)
ISBN:  9780345505330
Ford vacillates between a front story dominated by nostalgia and a backstory dominated by fear. The front story struggles to support the weight of the backstory, and the complexity Ford brings to the latter is the strength of this debut novel, which considers a Chinese American man’s relationship with a Japanese American woman in the 1940s and his son in the 1980s. Although Ford does not have anything especially novel to say about a familiar subject (the interplay between race and family), he writes earnestly and cares for his characters, who consistently defy stereotype. Ford posits great meaning in objects—a button reading “I am Chinese” and a jazz record, in particular—but the most striking moments come from the characters’ readings of each other: “Henry couldn’t picture bathing with his parents the way some Japanese families did. He couldn’t picture himself doing a lot of things with his parents. . . . He felt his stomach turn a little. His heart raced when he thought about Keiko, but his gut tightened just the same.” --Kevin Clouther
About the Author:

Ford’s interest in his father’s “I Am Chinese” button inspired him to write a short story of the same name, which eventually became a chapter in Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet.

My Review:
Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet takes place in the wake of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and this act of Japanese military aggression on American soil determines many of the central events in the novel.  The historical components were just enough and held my interest throughout the book.  Set in the Asian American community in Seattle during World War II, and narrated alternately by a young and impressionable Chinese American boy and the middle-aged man he grows up to be.  Sometimes the jumping back and forth between eras was disconcerting, but it did not take away lovely story-line. I really felt the heartwarming friendship between Henry Lee and Keiko and the childhood love they had for one another.  

While searching through the items in the Panama Hotel for vestiges of Keiko and her family, including an extremely rare jazz record of the performer Oscar Holden, aided by his son, Marty, and Marty’s fiancée, Samantha, Henry finds himself revisiting his childhood: his intractable conflicts with his father, a Chinese nationalist who refused to accept the innocence of Japanese Americans in his neighborhood; his own struggle to accept his identity as a Chinese American; and the choices he made years ago that prevented him from fulfilling his promises to Keiko.

The title of the novel is perfect. The story is full of the bitter and the sweet, bitter for the American prejudices held not only for the Japanese, but for anyone of Asian descent, and sweet for the innocence of first love, the ability of children to find hope and joy.  Isn’t that the way life is today.  Most children don’t see prejudice and are so accepting of others

When I finished the story last night, I closed my Kindle and smiled.  I really must have been in the mood for a happy ending,

This story is definitely an 8/10 for me.  This story would create a lively discussion and would recommend for any literature class and book clubs.  

Friday, May 13, 2011

Book Beginnings Friday 5/13

A little bit of fun on a Friday, this weekly meme is hosted by A Few More Pages.
I'll share the first line (or two) of the book I'm currently reading (including the title and author) and let you know what my first impressions are - good or bad!

The funeral is over. The ashes, in matching urns are on the mantelpiece

My next read is Leeway Cottage by Beth Gutcheon.  This is for the 1st In A Series Challenge.  I could not resist since the setting of the book is in Maine, my home State.  Really looking forward to this story. 

Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Unexpected Son by Shobhan Bantwal
From Booklist
Vinita’s life is upended when an anonymous letter informs her that her son in India has cancer. As a young woman, Vinita became pregnant out of wedlock and was told by her family that the child died at birth. She now lives in the U.S., and her husband and grown daughter are unaware of her past. Vinita is compelled to travel to India to try to help her son, but the man she meets is angry, believing that she willingly abandoned him. Trouble also arises when his adopted father, a political leader, finds out that his son’s biological father is his hated rival. It’s a shame that the novel’s tension is undermined by an all-too-convenient happy ending, because Bantwal, author of The Sari Shop Widow (2009), once again paints a convincing portrait of a woman facing the repercussions of old-fashioned and oppressive social mores. --Aleksandra Walker

About the Author
Shobhan Bantwal was born and raised in a large, conservative Hindu family in a small town called Belgaum in Southwestern India. An arranged marriage to a man who happened to live in the U.S. brought her to New Jersey. She wrote, directed and acted in a humorous play at an Indian-American Konkani convention in Chicago in July 2000 in addition to recounting a few comical stories to the audience. She then decided to become a freelance writer and started contributing to a variety of Indian and Indian-American publications. She tried her hand at short fiction. That, too, was a success, with a first-place award encouraged her to write full-length novels and embark on the grueling quest for a literary agent. The ideas for her books are generally are inspired by her interest in women's social issues, especially South Asian women.

First 2 sentences in this story
There was something odd about it, despite its plain and inconsequential appearance. Vinita gazed at the mystery envelope for a long moment, weighted it in the palm of her hand. Her instincts were prickling. It went beyond mere feminine intuition.

Vinita, an average-looking college student falls for the charms of Som Koria wealthy playboy. After a summer affair, Vintia is pregnant and Som wants nothing to do with her or the baby.

When Vinita goes against her parent’s advice to have an abortion, she is sent to Bombay to live with her brother until her delivery date. Desperately ill, Vinita’s baby must be delivered by Caesarean. Vinita is told that her baby did not survive. Vinita is devastated...Vinita eventually marries a divorced Indian engineer, Gerish P who holds a good job in America. Over the next twenty-five years, Vinita bore a daughter and grew to love her husband very much. Vinita’s life is turned upside down when she receives a mysterious letter. Vinita’s son is alive, living in India, and is dying of leukemia. Vinita decides she must return to India to meet her son and see if she can be a bone marrow donor for him.
Vintia meets her son Rohit, who is very hostile and does not want her or her bone marrow. Bantwal includes an interesting subplot involving Som Kori and Rohit’s adoptive father, who are on opposite sides of the territorial conflict that descends into violence.

My Review:
The Unexpected Son offers an interesting look into the workings of an Indian-American family. This is an interesting look into the conservative culture of an Indian middle-class family. Vinita is a product of her culture, spends most of the book yielding to everyone else.

This is the first book I have read by Shobhan Bantwal and am now a HUGE fan. Shobhan writes with eloquent detail. Shobhan’s writing had me sitting in the coffee shop when Vintia and Som would secretly meet, in the living room when Vinita had to tell her parents and brother of her pregnancy, in Bombay when Vintia first met Girish, and then later when Vinita lays eyes on her son for the first time.
I enjoyed the ending, not the fairy-tale ending you might expect, but more true to life. The only thing I wish was the author of the mysterious letter was revealed. It left me thinking it could have been a number of people. This book was a definite "A" for me and have put Shobhan Bantwal on the list of my favorite authors and her other books, The Forbidden Daugher, The Dowry Bride, and the Sari Shop on my TBR list.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

A little bit of fun on a Friday, this weekly meme is hosted by A Few More Pages.

The Panama Hotel (1986)

Old Henry Lee stood transfixed by all the commotion at the Panama Hotel. What had started as a crowd of curious onlookers eyeballing a television news crew had now swollen into a polite mob of shoppers, tourists, and a few punk-looking street kids, all wondering what the big deal was. In the middle of the crowd stood Henry, shopping bags hanging at his side. He felt as if he were waking from a long forgotten dream. A dream he’d once had as a little boy.

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford is my next read for the Historical Tapestry Challenge.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Prophecy - The Fulfullment by Deborah Jaegar

Review from Goodreads:

Prophecy the Fulfillment by Deborah A. Jaeger (Goodreads Author)
A typical teenager, Jillian Macomb, is looking forward to senior high. Or at least she was. Having just broken up with her boyfriend, she receives the stunning and unexpected news that she's pregnant. As if that isn't enough, she must also convince her parents and her doctor that she is still a virgin. Her father's protégé, Stephen Jacobs, and she, form an unlikely allianc...moreA typical teenager, Jillian Macomb, is looking forward to senior high. Or at least she was. Having just broken up with her boyfriend, she receives the stunning and unexpected news that she's pregnant. As if that isn't enough, she must also convince her parents and her doctor that she is still a virgin. Her father's protégé, Stephen Jacobs, and she, form an unlikely alliance as each realize that their nighttime apparitions are more than simple dreams, making it clear to them that the child she carries is no ordinary child. Then the miracles begin. When a geneticist discovers that Jillian's pregnancy holds the key to sudden, inexplicable healings, he will stop at nothing to claim the magnificent discovery as his own. Meanwhile, government officials and representatives from the Catholic Church arrive to investigate the astonishing events, realizing that whoever controls the source of the miracles will become the ultimate world power. Face to face with evil, Stephen and Jillian realize that time is running out to save her child, and they are driven to escape the forces that covet control of the miraculous life she carries. In the ultimate test of faith, they must decide who they can trust, and whether or not to believe the compelling and terrifying message of the prophecy

My Thoughts:
From the very beginning I was hooked on this story. This novel is full of action and is non-stop and totally believable. The premise of a modern day immaculate conception gave me alot to think about while reading. ****Could This Really Happen****. I would highly recommend this book to those who enjoy suspense and intelligent literature.

I would definitely read another Deborah Jaegar novel. - Giving this book a C+

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Unexpected Son by Shobban Bantwal

I am still behind, but "The Unexpected Son" by Shobhan Bantwal is my next read.

There was something odd about it, despite its plain and inconsequential appearance. Vinita gazed at the mystery envelope for a long moment, weighed it in the palm of her hand.

I look forward to seeing my fellow readers. - Have a great week.


Sunday, April 10, 2011

Linen Queen by Patricia Falvey

From Booklist Abandoned by her father and neglected by her self-absorbed mother, Sheila McGee longs to escape from her small Irish village, where her destiny seems already to be written: forever consigned to working at the mill, forced to hand over her paycheck to her mother. When she gets the opportunity to compete for the title of 1941 Linen Queen, she finally sees a way out, for the prize money will fund her dream of escaping to England. But WWII intervenes, bringing with it travel restrictions and a base set up for American soldiers. She intends to snag American officer Joel Solomon, much to the distress of her childhood friend, Gavin O�Rourke. Joel turns out to be a Jewish soldier of conscience and schools her in the deeper meaning of the fight against Hitler. Falvey well captures the frustrations of a small-town girl with big ambitions, making rueful comedy out of Sheila�s rivalries with her fellow millworkers. She also smoothly traces Sheila�s transformation from self-interested party girl to concerned citizen. A lively read for fans of historical fiction. --Joanne Wilkinson

My Thoughts:
In the beginning I thought this was another fluff chick book. Boy was I wrong. I absolutely enjoyed how Patricia Falvey took the main character, Sheila McGee from a self-absorbed teenager into a wonderful caring women. This is actually a love-story, with some historical fiction, and how priorities change. The story starts out in Northern Ireland, during the 1940's. Sheila, a spinner for a linen factory can only dream about the day when she can escape Northern Ireland and get out from under the linen factory and her dysfunctional family. She sets her sights on winning a beauty pageant. She knew that if she could win it would be her ticket out. Sheila does win, but her dreams of leaving Northern Ireland are put on hold due to the brewing war ahead. During the next 4 years the author developed Sheila into the most caring person. Aside from her shallow friends from the factory, Sheila takes Granine Mallory, an evacuee from Belfast, under her wing. When Sheila finds her friend Patsy pregnant and unmarried, it is Sheila who tries to help her. These feeling of protectiveness are strange to Sheila. The country of Ireland is now in the midst of war. Soldiers are stationed nearby. It is during this period when Sheila meets a Jewish-American soldier, Joel Solomon. Sheila's desire to leave Ireland is again heightened. She is going to use this man to get her to England. Sheila did not realize that after spending time with Joel, she would develope true feeling for him. Joel was probably the one person who made the biggest impact on Sheila. In the author's words (thru Rabbi Hurwitz)"Joes wanted you to know yourself, to see yourself as special, he was a messenger. He was never meant to stay in your world" There is also another man in Sheila's life. Gavin O'Rourke has been her childhood friend. Throught the story, Sheila is torn between her feelings for these two men. This was really the best part of the story for me. I loved how the author intertwined the lives of these 3 characters. I was really taken with the end of the novel, when Sheila realizes that the only thing she wanted to escape from was her situation and not actually the country. Patricia Falvey gave the ending real feeling. This is the first novel I have read by this author, but am anxious to read others. I am giving this novel a B+

Friday, April 8, 2011

The Prophecy- The Fulfillment

I am a little behind this week. I am finishing up "The Linen Queen" by Patricia Falvey, but I wanted to post on the "The Beginnings" so I picked the book that I will be reading next. Prophecy-the Fulfillment by Deborah A Jaeger.

From the moment they entered the woods, the dense forest swallowed them as they had never walked

I must confess, I have read about 5 chapters in this book before finishing The Linen Queen, and I am intrigued. I should be able to start Prophecy by Monday. I can't wait.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Saturday Snapshot

I don't usually post family pictures, but I just got this today from my daughter-in-law. This picture was taken during one of our visits to my son, daughter-in-law and my wonderful Granddaughter. She really puts a smile on my face.

Friday, April 1, 2011

The Linen Queen by Patricia Falvey

"From Monday to Thursday we sang to break the monotony, on Friday we sang to celebrate"

This is just the beginning of a young girl from Northern Ireland working in a Linen Factory, and her dreams of her future in England. I am hooked. To me the characters are alive and vivid. I can't wait to see the challenges she will face.

We'd love to hear what's the first line - or paragraph - of your current read. Feel free to share it with us in the comments! Are you liking the book so far? Was the first few lines enough to grip your attention? We're looking forward to hearing from you! :-)

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Immigration Challenge - "Brooklyn" by Colm Toibin Review Amazon Best of the Month, May 2009: Committed to a quiet life in little Enniscorthy, Ireland, the industrious young Eilis Lacey reluctantly finds herself swept up in an unplanned adventure to America, engineered by the family priest and her glamorous, "ready for life" sister, Rose. Eilis's determination to embrace the spirit of the journey despite her trepidation--especially on behalf of Rose, who has sacrificed her own chance of leaving--makes a bittersweet center for Brooklyn. Colm Tóibín's spare portrayal of this contemplative girl is achingly lovely, and every sentence rings with truth. Readers will find themselves swept across the Atlantic with Eilis to a boarding house in Brooklyn where she painstakingly adapts to a new life, reinventing herself and her surroundings in the letters she writes home. Just as she begins to settle in with the help of a new love, tragedy calls her home to Enniscorthy, and her separate lives suddenly and painfully merge into one. Tóibín's haunted heroine glows on the page, unforgettably and lovingly rendered, and her story reflects the lives of so many others exiled from home. --Daphne Durham

My Thoughts
"Brooklyn" is set in the early 1950's in Ennescorthy, Ireland. Eilis Lacey is planning to immigrate to America orchestrated by her older sister Rose and Father Flood, a friend of the Lacey family. We watch (or read) as Eilis struggles with sea-sickness as she travels across the Atlantic, how she overcomes homesickness. Eilis struggles to adapt to living in an all Irish-girl's room & board, her job at Bartocci & Company (a department store), while making friends in Brooklyn. Eilis is starting to fall in love with a young Italian boy, Tony, when she is called back to Ireland due to a death in the family. Up to this point in the story, I could not get attached to the story line or the characters. With that said, I could not put my kindle down. I was hoping the story would pick up, and was determined to finish. While she is back in Ireland, Eilis is faced with the choice of her homeland or the new life she had built in America. I can't say that I was disappointed with the ending. I really felt the anquish that Eilis must have felt. I think it is always interesting reading a novel written by a male and narrated in the third-person of a female. Colm Toibin did a great job with this.

I am giving this story a C+ because of the ending and I will probably read another Troibin novel.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Brooklyn by Colm Toibin

Eilis Lacey sitting at the window of the upstairs living room in the house on Friary Street, noticed her sister walking briskly from work

This is the introduction to "Brooklyn" Unfortunately it is taking some time for me to get into this book. I am past the 25%, so I will continue to the end.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Words We All Should Live By

Treat others the way you would like to be treated. It really doesn't need to be any more complicated than that.

I just saw this on another blog and I could not resist posting on mine. I remember my mom telling me this often when I was a little girl.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

2011 Amish Reading Challenge - Secrets of Harmony Grove

Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers; Original edition (October 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0736926259
ISBN-13: 978-0736926256Editorial Reviews

Product Description
From the bestselling author of Shadows of Lancaster County comes an exciting new romantic mystery set in Amish country. Sienna Collins, owner of the Harmony Grove Bed & Breakfast in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, learns that she is under investigation by the federal government for crimes she knows nothing about. A few hours later she finds her ex-boyfriend, Troy, dead, and her life and livelihood begin to spin wildly out of control. She begins to doubt everyone around her, even the handsome detective assigned to the case. As Sienna tries to clear her name, she is forced to depend on her faith, the wisdom of the Amish, and the insight of the man she has recently begun dating. She’ll need all the help she can get, because the secrets she uncovers in Harmony Grove end up threatening not just her bed-and-breakfast, but also her credibility, her believes, and ultimately her life.

My thoughts on Secrets of Harmony Grove by Mindy Starns Clark

1st Sentence: A large yellow Post-It-Note clung to my office door, its message scrawled out in letters big enough to read from several feet away Sienna, Ric and Jon need to see you in Ric’s office the minute you get in.

This was just the beginning of trouble for Sienna, a successful marketing executive, who thought she was on top of the world until she finds out that she is being investigated by the Attorney General. Her life is totaling spinning out of control at this point.

I have always had a fascination with the Amish and their culture. I have read other Amish novels such as Plain Truth by Jody Picoult and Amish Grace by Donald B Kraybill and Steven M Nolt. I have never been interested in Nancy Drew mysteries, which Secrets of Harmony Grove is everything but. When prompted to read Secrets of Harmony Grove for an on-line reading group, my interest was piqued again. This is the 1st novel by Mindy Starns Clark that I have read, and will definitely read more.

I really enjoy a novel where the characters come to life for me. I felt that the author did a good job of developing Sienna throughout the book. First when Sienna was sitting in a prestigious office in Philly being told she was under investigation by the Attorney General, her recount of the violent attack put upon her 10 years prior, to her better understanding of what was important to her at the end of the novel. The other characters such as Floyd (whom I did not like very much at all, Liesal, Jonah, Mike Weissbaum (town detective)Emory(Abe's 1st born, and mentally challenged son)Burl Newton (whom I disliked more than Floyd, and Heath were all believable characters to me.

In my opinion, the title of the book was very fitting to the plot of the story. There are many secrets that Sienna discovers. Mindy Starns Clark gave us a murder, money laundering, cock-fighting, and gambling, and the search for diamonds hidden in this Bed and Breakfast in Lancaster County. Sienna is faced with not only discovering the illegal activities going on behind her back at the B & B, but secrets surrounding her grandfather Amos (an Amish man turned soldier and the original owner of the B & B), his 1st wife’s (German Jewish women) telling of what happened during the Holocaust, through her journals left behind. This passage in the book was a somber remembrance of our family visit to the Holocaust Museum in Washington DC, which left an indelible insight as what Daphne must have endured.

There was only one part in the book that was a little far fetched and unbelievable for me and that was the "Cassowary". If you get the chance to read this book, you can decide.

Because of the action packed plot to this novel and the life lessons from the Amish we all need to consider at times, I am giving this novel an A-. I would recommend this book to anyone who really enjoys a GREAT mystery.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Book Beginnings

I will be participating in Book Beginning thanks to Becky at Page Turners. I think this could be alot of fun. I am just finishing up Secrets at Harmony Grove by Mindy Starns Clark. I haven't decided what I will be reading yet. There are so many books on my TBR list

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Jane and the Unpleasantness at Scaargrave Manor

Original Language: English
Publisher: Bantam Books
Country: USA
Publication Date: 1996
ISBN: 055310196X
Page Count: 289 For everyone who loves Jane Austen...a marvelously entertaining new series that turns the incomparable author into an extraordinary sleuth!

From the Inside Cover: On a visit to the estate of her friend, the young and beautiful Isobel Payne, Countess of Scargrave, Jane bears witness to a tragedy. Isobel's husband--a gentleman of mature years--is felled by a mysterious and agonizing ailment. The Earl's death seems a cruel blow of fate for the newly married Isobel. Yet the bereaved widow soon finds that it's only the beginning of her she receives a sinister missive accusing her and the Earl's nephew of adultery--and murder. Desperately afraid that the letter will expose her to the worst sort of scandal, Isobel begs Jane for help. And Jane finds herself embroiled in a perilous investigation that will soon have her following a trail of clues that leads all the way to Newgate Prison and the House of Lords--a trail that may well place Jane's own person in the gravest jeopardy.

Quote: "There is something so INEVITABLE about seven-and-twenty; it is decidedly on the wrong side of the decade for a lady, particularly an unmarried one."
— Stephanie Barron (Jane and the Unpleasantness at Scargrave ManorT

My Review: This is the first in the series of Jane Austen Mysteries, and done with Jane as the narrator. Jane visits her friend Isobel Payne in Hertfordshire after Jane's broken engagement to Mr Bigg-Wither. Jane is unaware that a murder will take place and she will be asked to help Isobel clear her name.

Unfortunately this was not one of my favorite books. I love a good mystery and historical fiction, but this story did not flow smoothly for me. I found myself going back and forth trying to keep the characters straight in my mind, and bogged down with some of the verbiage in this novel. The one thing I liked were the footnotes. They really helped with the clarity.

Because I love the Jane Austen era I think I may change this challenge and read more of the modern day Jane Austen such as Austerland, Mr Darcy Takes A Wife and Mr. & Mrs. Darcy. I am giving this book a C-

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Saffron Dreams by Shaila Abudullah

Hardcover: 248 pages
Publisher: Modern History Press; 1st edition (January 12, 2009)
Language: English

Another lovely novel. I really enjoy stories that I know are fiction but the author leaves you with something to think about when the story ends. This is how the story started out for me. This story is from the perspective of an ordinary muslim women affected by the 9/11 tragedy.

This story starts out with young women(Arissa) from Pakistan in the process of an arranged marriage. Arissa is a planner and thought she had her life all planned out until one tragic day. She is faced with her husband being killed in the 9-11 tragedy. She is now a widow faced with emotional survival; a muslim victim. She is also faced with what her faith really means to her. All Arissa wants besides her loving husband, is to be accepted in a society where society blames her. Added to all that, she is pregnant with a Special Needs child and will have to raise this child alone.

I enjoyed how Shaila Abudullah uses fashbacks of Arissa's childhood, giving us the opportunity to see how her childhood and her relationship with her husband Faizan prior to the attack, and not only her relationship with her own mother, but with her husbands parents will affect her survival and her forgiveness. The author, Shaila Abudullah shows us how strong of a mom (person) Arissa becomes while dealing with all the challenges she faces with her son faces with special needs, which was very heartfelt to me. I found myself really routing for Arissa and just wanting the best for her.

After doing some research, I found that the author was inspired to write this novel by a real-life family. I included the link for anyone who is interested. This article written by Rekha Baslu actually brought tears to my eyes,

I am giving this novel an B. I enjoyed this author that I am adding her previous novel "Beyond The Cayenne Wall" to my TBR pile.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Elizabeth Strout

Elizabeth Strout
My TBR Pile is full for the month of March starting with

Shaila Abudallah Saffron Dreams ................FINISHED
Stephanie Baron Jane and the Unpleasantness at Scar
Mindy Starns Clark Secrets of Harmony Grove
Prue Leith Choral Society
Katherine Rasmin If You Knew Susie
Kathryn Stockett Help
Edward Rutherford New York
FLAVORS by Emily Sue Harvey(just added 3/3/11)

Here's hoping I can read, enjoy and review all of the above by the end of March


Friday, February 25, 2011

Galileo's Daughter

Well as I said, I was going to give this book the 50 page rule (25%-Kindle). I read to 25% and the story still did not pick up for me. Before giving up on this book, I read some reviews to see if I was missing something. The reviews that I read all stated that this was actually about Galileo's life and not alot (except for letters his daughter wrote) about his daughters. I have never really enjoyed Science or Astronomy. There are just so many other books out there and other challenges I am involved with, that it was time to say "Not Now" I still have this book saved on my Kindle, so that maybe later I will go back to "Galileo's Daughter. This is not to say that I wouldn't read another Dava Sobel book.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Alice I Have Been

Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: Delacorte Press; First Edition edition (January 12, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0385344139
ISBN-13: 978-0385344135

From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Benjamin draws on one of the most enduring relationships in children's literature in her excellent debut, spinning out the heartbreaking story of Alice from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Her research into the lives of Charles Dodgson (aka Lewis Carroll) and the family of Alice Liddell is apparent as she takes circumstances shrouded in mystery and colors in the spaces to reveal a vibrant and passionate Alice. Born into a Victorian family of privilege, free-spirited Alice catches the attention of family friend Dodgson and serves as the muse for both his photography and writing. Their bond, however, is misunderstood by Alice's family, and though she is forced to sever their friendship, she is forever haunted by their connection as her life becomes something of a chain of heartbreaks. As an adult, Alice tries to escape her past, but it is only when she finally embraces it that she truly finds the happiness that eluded her. Focusing on three eras in Alice's life, Benjamin offers a finely wrought portrait of Alice that seamlessly blends fact with fiction. This is book club gold. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved

This is my review of ALICE I HAVE BEEN

Not only did I choose this book for a group read but also because I really enjoy a Victorian Atmosphere. This story is set in Oxford London in the 1800's when Alice Lindell was 7 years old. I thought Melanie Benjamin did a great job of describing the area. I could picture the beautiful grounds, the lakes, and even the house (Dreanery) that Alice and her family lived.

At first the story was a little unsettling. The way the author described the relationship between Alice and Mr. Dedgdon left me wondering --was this child abuse or just fantasy in the minds of both Alice and Mr Dodgdon????? As Ms Benjamin wrote this story is of " A man who fancies himself and a child who thought she was a women turned to each other on a hot summer day, mindful of nothing and no one, but each other " best describes the Alice of 7 years old.

Alice viewed her life as divided into 2 different parts of lands before and after. Sounds like Alice has past regrets. While reading this novel, I kept wondering what happens to Alice when she grows up. My Polly Anna ignorance told me that she would find true love and live happily ever after --- my belief came true but after much tragedy.

The novel takes us through Alice's relationships with not only with family, Mr Dodgdon, but also her love affair with Prince Leopold, the love of her life and her marriage to Reginald Hargreaves. She becomes a mother of 3 sons, at this point her life seems fulfilled with being a mother, wife and homemake, as she continues to put her past behind her.

At this point in the novel, I could not put the book down. I could not wait to see how this charming story was going to end. Even with my Polly Anna ignorance, I was not dissappointed, just the opposite.

I would definitely recommend this book to any who enjoys a little historical history, love affairs

Thursday, February 17, 2011

1st In A Series Challenge

Guidelines for the 1st in a Series Challenge 2011

1. Anyone can join. You don't need a blog to participate. If you're not a blogger, leave your information in the comments.

2. There are four levels for this challenge:

Series Novice: Read 3 books that are the first in any series.
Series Lover: Read 6 books that are the first in any series.
Series Expert: Read 12 books that are the first in any series.
Series Fanatic: Read 20 books that are the first in any series.
You can list your books in advance or just put them in a wrap up post. If you list them, feel free to change them as the mood takes you. Any genre counts.

3. The challenge runs from January 1 through December 31, 2011.

4. You can join anytime between now and December 31, 2011.

5. If you're a blogger, write up a sign-up post that includes the URL to this post so that others can join in. Feel free to use the button above. When you sign up in the Linky, put the direct link to your 1st in a Series Challenge sign-up post.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Fictional Tapestry Challenge 2011

I am now starting The Apothecary's Daughter by Julie Klassen - My second book in the Fictional Tapestry Challenge 2011

Fictional Tapestry Challenge 2011

Fictional Tapestry Challenge

Galileo's Daughter by David Sobel
The Apothecary's Daughter by Julie Klassen
Madame Tussaud - by Michelle Moran
New York -by Edward Rutherford
Orchard Affair by Lauren Willig
Pale Rose of England by Sandra Worth
Rebekah's Journey by Ann Bell
Secret's of the Tudor Court by Ray Decree
Queen Hereafter by Susan Frazer King
Vanishing Point by Mary Shaffett
Winter Sea by Suzanna Keally

Jane Austen Mystery

My Choices for the Jane Austen Mystery Challenge 2011

√ Jane and the Unpleasantness at Scargrave Manor (1996)
Jane and the Man of the Cloth (1997)
Jane and the Wandering Eye (1998)
Jane and the Genius of the Place (1999)
Jane and the Stillroom Maid (2000)
Jane and the Prisoner of the Wool House (2001)
Jane and the Ghosts of Netley (2003)
Jane and His Lordship’s Legacy (2005)
Jane and the Barque of Frailty (2006)
Jane and the Madness of Lord Byron (2010)
Jane and the Canterbury Tale (2011)
Challenge Details
Time-line: The Being a Jane Austen Mystery Challenge runs January 1, through December 31, 2011.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Galileo's Daughter - First Impression

I am finding it a little difficult to get into this book. Too much technical discription of astrology. If I was into astrology, this would probably be interesting. I am going to give this the 50 page rule, except that I am reading on a Kindle, so I will give this book to 25% to pick up.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Galileo's Daughter

Publishers Weekly
Despite its title, this impressive book proves to be less the story of Galileo's elder daughter, the oldest of his three illegitimate children, and more the story of Galileo himself and his trial before the Inquisition for arguing that Earth moves around the Sun. That familiar tale is given a new slant by Sobel's translation for the first time into English of the 124 surviving letters to Galileo by his daughter, Suor Maria Celeste, a Clarisse nun who died at age 33....It's a wholly involving tale, a worthy follow-up (after four years) to Sobel's surprise bestseller, Longitude.

Kirkus Reviews
Sobel, author of the bestselling Longitude (1995), has elegantly translated the letters Galileo's eldest child, Virginia, wrote to him and uses them as a leitmotif to illuminate their deep mutual love, religious faith, and dedication to science. .... Sobel provides a few correctives to tradition and fills out the cast of personae who were Galileo's chief defenders and enemies. But it's the deft apposition of the devoted and pious letters of Suor Maria Celeste that add not only verisimilitude, but depth to the character of the writer and her father--- revealed as a man of great intellect as well as religious faith and loving kindness. Alas, his letters to her are lost.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

My Choices for the Historical Tapestry Challenge

This is the first Challenge I have entered. I hope I can pull it off. Here goes.!!!

Galileo's Daughter by David Sobel
The Apothecary's Daughter by Julie Klassen
Madame Tussaud - by Michelle Moran
New York -by Edward Rutherford
Orchard Affair by Lauren Willig
Pale Rose of England by Sandra Worth
Rebekah's Journey by Ann Bell
Secret's of the Tudor Court by Ray Decree
Queen Hereafter by Susan Frazer King
Vanishing Point by Mary Shaffett
Winter Sea by Suzanna Kearsley