Saturday, December 31, 2011

December's Book of the Month

Hello Everyone! I chose the picture posted above because it reminds me of reading to my daughter Mareena when she was little. Every afternoon until she was about eight or nine years old, we would take one of her books that she wanted to read or that she was reading and we would curl up together on my big bed. 

We would spend an hour or so reading a chapter of her book, and then take a nap together. Her absolutely favorite author at that time was an English author named Enid Blyton. Ahh, nice memories...

My picks for 'Books of the Month' will be decidedly more adult these days, but they will be from almost any genre. December's Book of the Month is: 




Published as: Evil Twins: Chilling True Stories of Twins, Killing and Insanity in May 1999
Publisher: St. Martin's True Crime




Birth Name: John Glatt
Born: in London, England

Canonical Name: John Glatt
Pseudonyms: None

Evil Twins: Chilling True Stories of Twins, Killing and Insanity by John Glatt was the sixty-eighth book that I read in 2011. I have had this book on my TBR shelf since December 16, 2011 and it took me two days to read. This book is definitely a keeper for me!

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Danielle Steel - Full Circle

71. Full Circle by Danielle Steel (1984)
Length: 323 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
Started: 28 December 2011
Finished: 31 December 2011
Where did it come from? From a Library Book Sale
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 11 February 2011
Why do I have it? I like historical fiction and have read and enjoyed several books by this author in the past.


Tana Roberts comes of age during the turbulent times of the '60s. She begins a journey which will lead her from New York to the South during the height of racial tensions. A thoroughly modern young woman, Tana desires everything that life has to offer. Most of all, she wants a career and is willing to sacrifice anything to get it. It's not until much later in her life that Tana discovers she can have it all - love, career and peace of mind as life for her comes full circle.


I did enjoy this book but like many of Danielle Steel's books that I've read lately, I found that the story line was a little far-fetched at times. The highest of highs and the lowest of lows for the characters. I give this story a B+!


B+! - (89-85%)


Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Norah Lofts - Gad's Hall: A Novel of the Supernatural

70. Gad's Hall: A Novel of the Supernatural by Norah Lofts (1977)
The Gad's Hall Series Book 1
Length: 282 pages
Genre: Horror
Started: 24 December 2011
Finished: 28 December 2011
Where did it come from? From Paperback Swap
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 22 December 2011
Why do I have it? I like Norah Lofts as an author and have read and enjoyed several books by this author in the past.

When the Spender family - Bob, his wife Jill, and their three children - are first offered the chance to move into Gad's Hall; they are absolutely thrilled. The previous owner of this ancient, beautifully kept Tudor-style house is a kind-hearted elderly gentleman who simply wants someone to protect the family homestead. He is actually looking for a family that is capable of caring for the mansion, and of bringing Gad's Hall back to life; and he is willing to give the Spenders his home for practically a song.

The Spender family views Gad's Hall as an incredible bargain - a truly amazing godsend - and they are beyond thankful for this gentleman's astonishingly selfless act of generosity. They are delighted to accept such a thoughtful gift. The happy couple and their young family soon move in and make themselves comfortable in their new home.

However, what the Spender family does not realize is that Gad's Hall is haunted. Oh, nobody heard terrified screams in the night, no objects went flying through the air, and no one heard murderous, disembodied voices - yet Gad's Hall is haunted just the same. Gad's Hall has absolutely been brought back to life.

In fact, the house is actually alive! Yes, a door to the past has been opened by the arrival of the Spender family. And soon Jill Spender - a strong-willed, sensible woman - will be overtaken by irrational feelings she can not possibly control. All because of the unspeakable secret kept by the women who had lived at Gad's Hall more than a century ago...

I must say that I absolutely loved reading this book. In my opinion, Norah Lofts was a truly excellent author. She was an intelligent writer, able to write intriguing and intricately-woven plots that are thoroughly enjoyable. I think Gad's Hall: A Novel of the Supernatural is another absolute gem written by Norah Lofts and I give this book an A+!

A+! - (96-100%)


Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Saturday, December 24, 2011

J. D. Christilian - Scarlet Women

69. Scarlet Women by J. D. Christilian (1996)
Length: 304 pages
Genre: Historical Mystery
Started: 19 December 2011
Finished: 24 December 2011
Where did it come from? From a Library Book Sale
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 11 February 2011
Why do I have it? I enjoy historical mysteries and J. D. Christilian is a new author for me.


When the young wife of a prominent attorney goes missing in 19th-century New York, he hires the police's best investigator Harp to find her. Found in a warehouse sometime later dressed in the missing woman's velvet ball gown is a prostitute who has had her throat cut. Harp must discover who the prostitute is, why she is dressed in a ball gown and where the attorney's wife has gone. Along the way, Harp must talk to the demi-monde of society, criminals and must deal with the police themselves who don't want the case solved.


I really enjoyed this book. It had a very good plot and I give it an A! 


A! - (90-95%)


Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Monday, December 19, 2011

John Glatt - Evil Twins: Chilling True Stories of Twins, Killing and Insanity

68. Evil Twins: Chilling True Stories of Twins, Killing and Insanity by John Glatt (1999)
Length: 288 pages
Genre: True Crime
Started: 17 December 2011
Finished: 19 December 2011
Where did it come from? From Paperback Swap
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 16 December 2011
Why do I have it? I like true crime but had never heard of any of these cases before.


There are many studies involving the separation of twins at birth where they grow up to live astonishingly different lives. However there are true cases where, if one twin turns out "bad", the other will follow them down the same destructive path. This book is a compilation of twins committing evil acts against others or each other as jealousy and anger spark seemingly from the womb. I have to say that I enjoyed this book as I had never heard of any of these cases, so I give the book A+!

A+! - (96-100%)

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Saturday, December 17, 2011

A. J. Gallant - Madman in the Mirror

67. Madman in the Mirror by A. J. Gallant (2001)
Length: 230 pages
Genre: Horror
Started: 16 December 2011
Finished: 17 December 2011
Where did it come from? Many thanks to A. J. for sending me a copy of this book to read.
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 11 December 2011
Why do I have it? I like horror and A. J. Gallant is a new author for me.


What do you do when a serial killer raises you from birth to be just like him? Henry has lived all his life in his father's shadow of terror and serial murder with the tacit understanding that he was being groomed to continue the "family business". Having witnessed his first murder as a toddler and actively participating in his father's murder sprees as an adult, Henry tries in vain to battle his inner demons and break free to go out on his own.

As an adult, Henry is struggling with the knowledge that his father's actions as well as his own have driven him literally insane - hearing voices and seeing images of horrific crimes in mirrors. Even when Henry eventually kills his father, he can not escape the anger and vengeance that he creates in one of his earlier victims; as the spirit of the dead man reaches out from beyond the grave to exact his own brand of revenge.

I have to say that this book was strange, extremely strange, and of course, being concerned with the life and actions of a serial killer, very, very violent. That being said, I did enjoy it even if truth be told, I probably wouldn't have chosen to read this book for myself. It certainly was different and not like any book I'd ever read before. It held me spellbound and at attention all through the story and I give it a solid B+!

B+! - (89-85%)

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Friday, December 16, 2011

Robert B. Parker - Thin Air

66. Thin Air by Robert B. Parker (1995)
The Spenser Mysteries Series Book 22
Length: 293 pages
Genre: Contemporary Mystery
Started: 13 December 2011
Finished: 16 December 2011
Where did it come from? From a Library Book Sale
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 11 February 2011
Why do I have it? I do like contemporary mysteries and have to say that I went on a bit of a Robert B. Parker buying spree at the Library Book Sale. (Total spent? About $10 (ten hardcovers) of a $35 splurge!:))

When a Boston police detective's adored new bride suddenly goes missing he comes to Spenser to help find her. Sleuthing from a New England college campus to the slick and sporty nightclub scene of Los Angeles, Spenser discovers all about beautiful Lisa St. Claire's secret past - her prostitution, her substance abuse and her numerous destructive past love affairs. Spenser begins to suspect that Lisa has been kidnapped, and is being held prisoner by her sociopathic Latino ex-boyfriend in a burned-out tenement in a Massachusetts mill town's barrio.

Accompanied by a wise-cracking Chicano shooter with an iron-clad attitude and an unflinching sense of honor, Spenser sets in motion a complex plan to rescue Lisa. Along the way, as he deals with broken down cops and messianic local warlords, Spenser questions his knowledge of truth, justice, passion and manhood.

Having read and enjoyed many of Robert B. Parker's previous Spenser books - for the most part - I found that this one wasn't really my type of book. I still thought that it was well-written and funny in parts, however it just wasn't my favorite book. I think I still will read Robert B. Parker's books as I have quite a number of them still to go through, but I have to give Thin Air an A!

A! - (90-95%)

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

John Glatt - The Doctor's Wife: A True Story of Marriage, Deception and Two Gruesome Deaths

65. The Doctor's Wife: A True Story of Marriage, Deception and Two Gruesome Deaths by John Glatt (2007)
Length: 256 pages
Genre: True Crime
Started: 10 December 2011
Finished: 13 December 2011
Where did it come from? From Paperback Swap
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 13 June 2009
Why do I have it? I like true crime and had heard of the Bart Corbin murder case at the time that it happened.

For months, the young son of Bart and Jennifer Corbin had told anyone who would listen that he was afraid of the violence that went on behind the closed doors of his elegant Georgia home. Then on the morning of December 4, 2004, 7-year-old Dalton ran to a neighbor's house, sobbing. What was uncovered was almost unbelievable to the Corbins' neighbors: Jennifer Corbin was engaged in a secret cyber-sex lesbian affair and successful dentist Bart Corbin had a bizarre and frightening past.

Jennifer Corbin's death looked like suicide. But that didn't fool young Dalton, and in the coming weeks the police uncovered an even more horrifying story: Dr. Corbin had been left by a woman before, and he may have gotten away with murder once but justice would make sure that he stood trial this time.

I have to say that I really enjoyed this book. I actually turned on the television last night and saw that a television movie of the case was being broadcast. I didn't watch it, but I certainly give this book an A!

A! - (90-95%)

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Mary Stewart - Thornyhold

64. Thornyhold by Mary Stewart (1988)
Length: 289 pages
Genre: Contemporary Mystery
Started: 9 December 2011
Finished: 10 December 2011
Where did it come from? From a Library Book Sale
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 18 April 2011
Why do I have it? I do like the Gothic type of mystery and Mary Stewart is well known for this.


There was one thing in Gilly Ramsey's lonely childhood that she enjoyed; the visits from her Godmother, Geillis, an extraordinary woman with unusual powers. When Geillis suddenly died, the adult Gilly inherited her charming little cottage, Thornyhold, and went to live there in the English countryside. 


Once she arrived, Gilly encountered many strange occurrences; sinister neighbors, messages from beyond the grave and even the whisper of love. Just as Gilly grew closer to an attractive stranger and began to return his love, the inexplicable aura of suspense and witchcraft surrounding Thornyhold turned all too real and dangerous.

I have read a couple of Mary Stewart's books and have enjoyed some very much and others not so much. This book was very good except the plot was somewhat too easy to follow. I give this book a B+!

B+! - (89-85%)


Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Friday, December 9, 2011

Jean Stone - Beach Roses

63. Beach Roses by Jean Stone (2003)
Length: 336 pages
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Started: 8 December 2011
Finished: 9 December 2011
Where did it come from? From a Library Book Sale
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 15 July 2011
Why do I have it? I usually enjoy books with touching plots and Jean Stone is a new author for me.

The women began as strangers: Rita has a past that can't stay hidden for long, Katie the rock star has to choose between saving her own life or the life of her unborn child, Hannah, a selfless housewife, finds herself abandoned by her friends just when she needs them most and Faye, a wealthy businesswoman, thinks she has already fought the battle of her life. Before the summer is over, these four women will form a lasting bond - one that will see old hurts finally healed, love rekindled and new life created.

I really enjoyed this book. I do like stories that involve women's friendships with each other. I give this book an A+! 

A+! - (96-100%)

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Danielle Steel - Lightning

62. Lightning by Danielle Steel (1995)
Length: 453 pages
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Started: 6 December 2011
Finished: 8 December 2011
Where did it come from? From a Library Book Sale
How long was it on my TBR pile? Since 15 July 2011
Why do I have it? I do like some of Danielle Steel's books and have read and enjoyed several books by this author in the past.

As a partner in a prestigious New York law firm, a doting mother to a rambunctious and beautiful three-year-old girl and a loving and supportive wife to a man who is a star venture capitalist, Alex Parker believed that she had it all. Sure the work was hard; the hours long - juggling a marriage, career and raising a child was exhausting. for Alex. Her life was difficult but rewarding until a routine mammogram shatters her stable little world.

Now, Alex and her formerly loving husband, Sam are struggling to keep their marriage together in the midst of a bombshell diagnosis of breast cancer and honestly, failing to pull together. Alex and Sam become strangers to each other virtually overnight. When Sam's successful career suddenly explodes in disaster and he is left questioning his very identity, Alex must decide whether her life - as well as their future as a couple - is worth saving.

I have to say that contrary to Mareena's belief that I don't like Danielle Steel at all; I do. I found this book very fast and easy reading with a relatively good plot. I will say that I give my first reading experience of it - a few years ago a definite A+! However, I found that - and I don't mean this in a bad way at all - the plot was rather "smaltzy" towards the end.

Sam and Alex is the quintessential New York power couple - "Ken and Barbie" type fantastic lives together, dream careers and an adorable little girl that they've wanted for years. "Happy, happy, joy, joy, until the world implodes!" :) Then it's a slow, torturous crawl back to greatness for both of them; somewhat like a soap opera plot, I thought.

Not that it was a bad storyline at all, it was just slightly over dramatic in my opinion. :) All in all, I enjoyed my second reading of Lightning very much and I would certainly recommend this and other books by Danielle Steel to other readers, however this is the final time I will be reading this book. I can now pass this book along to another person without any remorse. Overall, I give my second reading of Lightning an A!

A! - (90-95%)

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Monday, December 5, 2011

Jane Smiley - Ordinary Love and Good Will

61. Ordinary Love and Good Will by Jane Smiley (1989)
Length: 208 pages
Genre: Short Story
Started: 2 December 2011
Finished: 5 December 2011
Where did it come from? From a Library Book Sale
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 15 July 2011
Why do I have it? I had read A Thousand Acres by the same author several years ago and really enjoyed it.

This book is actually two novellas based around the difficult choices that people make that change the dynamics of their families forever. In Ordinary Love Ms. Smiley focuses on a woman's infidelity and the lasting, indelible mark that that affair has on her children years after their mother leaves the family.

In Good Will, a father slowly realizes the affect that his choices in lifestyle has on his son. The results of the man's choices end up having heartbreaking consequences. I think that of both stories I preferred Good Will and I give the entire book a B+!

B+! - (89-85%)

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Friday, December 2, 2011

Diane Fanning - Mommy's Little Girl: Casey Anthony and Her Daughter Caylee's Tragic Fate

60. Mommy's Little Girl: Casey Anthony and Her Daughter Caylee's Tragic Fate by Diane Fanning (2009)
Length: 337 pages
Genre: True Crime
Started: 1 December 2011
Finished: 2 December 2011
Where did it come from: From Paperback Swap
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 25 November 2011
Why do I have it? I have to say that I followed the trial up to the verdict and am curious about the aftermath and its affect on the rest of the family.

I suppose almost everyone in America knows about this case but here is a synopsis anyway: A little girl named Caylee goes missing in June 2008 and her mother inexplicably waits for about a month to report her little daughter missing. This book delves into the dynamic of the Anthony Family - especially George and his interactions with the rest of the family. It explores the beginnings of the case against Casey and although it was written before the 'Not Guilty' verdict, it does some investigation of the pathology of Casey Anthony as well.

I have to say that I truly believe that Casey had something to do with her daughter's murder, whether it was accidentally or out of spite towards her parents, I just can't decide. I suppose that we will never really know the truth of Caylee's death but I certainly will never forget little Caylee or all the other missing children out there. I give the book an A+!


A+! - (96-100%)


Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Monica Dickens - The Great Fire

59. The Great Fire by Monica Dickens (1973)
Length: 64 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
Started/Finished: 1 December 2011
Where did it come from? From Paperback Swap
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 3 December 2009
Why do I have it? I have read and enjoyed One Pair of Feet by the same author and, well, I sort of went on a Monica Dickens reading jag after I read it, getting as many of her books as I possibly could find online.

Orphaned due to the Great Plague of 1665, 12-year-old Peter has somehow built a new life for himself. It is tough, but he is living a relatively good life until the Great Fire of London strikes. Will Peter survive, or will he lose everything to the devastation of the fire?

I have to say that when I first received this book, I didn't realize that it was a children's book. I have nothing against reading children's books, as a matter of fact, I sometimes prefer an author's treatment of history in a children's book rather than an adult history book. It feels too much like work to me to read some historical fiction for adults. Some books are almost too well researched, if that makes sense to you.

Anyway, I found this book rather simple. As it should be, I suppose for a children's book and actually the story was "cute" - strange word to use I know for the time period that the book depicts. I suppose that I mean the plot was too easily wrapped up, in my opinion. I did enjoy parts of the story but at the end, I had to give The Great Fire by Monica Dickens a B+!

B+! - (89-85%).


Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Reading Wrap-up for November at Moonshine and Rosefire



Hello everyone out there and I hope that you all had a terrific reading month for yourselves. I am known as Rosefire around the Internet and this is my new personal reading blog. I originally posted my reviews over at my daughter's blog, Emeraldfire's Bookmark but am now in the process of transferring them all over to my own blog. My daughter makes blogging look like so much fun that I thought that I would try it out for myself! :)

Anyway, I started out November with 651 unread books lying around the house and ended the month with 642 books unread. All of the books that I acquired this month came from Bookmooch and Paperback Swap; I have bought no new books this month.

Let me try to break down the influx for you:

Re-reads
- Whispers by Belva Plain
Light a Penny Candle by Maeve Binchy
The Return Journey by Maeve Binchy
Bright River Trilogy by Annie Greene

Changes to the TBR pile 


Read from my TBR pile (Yes! I am a reading machine :))
Sweetheart, Sweetheart by Bernard Taylor
Aches and Pains by Maeve Binchy
Where or When by Anita Shreve
Legion by William Peter Blatty
- The Spanish Bridegroom by Jean Plaidy

Added to my TBR pile (oh well, you win some and you lose some! :))
- Mommy's Little Girl: The True Story of Casey Anthony and Her Daughter Caylee's Tragic Fate by Diane Fanning
- The Killing Game by Iris Johansen

Taken off my TBR pile and sent to a new home (Yay! Happy Dance! :))
- Harvest Home by Thomas Tryon
- The Sweet Taste of Burning: A Tale of the Occult by Paul Andreota
- Sweetheart, Sweetheart by Bernard Taylor
- Preacher's Girl: The Life and Crimes of Blanche Taylor Moore by Jim Schutze
- The Tarnished Eye: A Novel of Suspense by Judith Guest
- Aches and Pains by Maeve Binchy

Well, there it is...the breakdown! All in all, a very good reading month for me. Here's a further breakdown:

Books Read: 9
Pages Read: 2,822
Grade Range: A+! to C!

So, there you go! The reading month that was November. I hope that you all had an equally good reading month; if not a little better. :) See you all next month! :)


Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight