Saturday, June 30, 2012

June'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. June's Book of the Month is: 

   The Book Club by Mary Alice Monroe
Published as: The Book Club in August 1999
Publisher: Mira

Birth Name: Mary Alice Kruesi
Born: 25 May in Evanston, Illinois

Canonical Name: Mary Alice Monroe
Pseudonyms: Mary Alice Kruesi 

The Book Club by Mary Alice Monroe was the forty-seventh book that I read in 2012. I had had this book on my TBR bookshelf since April 1, 2009 although I didn't actually read it until June of 2012. It took me two days to read this book and it is a definite keeper for me.

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Danielle Steel - Sunset in St. Tropez

53. Sunset in St. Tropez by Danielle Steel (2002)
Length: 240 pages
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Started: 26 June 2012
Finished: 27 June 2012
Where did it come from? From Bookmooch
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 21 June 2012
Why do I have it? I like Danielle Steel as an author and have read and enjoyed several books by this author in the past.

As Diana Morrison laid the table for six at her elegant Central Park apartment that New Year's Eve, she had no idea of what was to come in the coming year. New Year's Eve dinner together was a sacred tradition for Diana, her husband of 32 years, Eric, and their best friends, Pascale and John Donnally and Anne and Robert Smith. The future looked rosy for the six friends as they sipped champagne and discussed their plans to rent a villa together in the south of France for that summer. But life had other plans...

Just two weeks after New Year's, tragedy strikes their close-knit little circle when Robert Smith suffers a sudden and unexpected loss. Without hesitation, Diana and Eric and John and Pascale rally to his side, united in their support, love and grief. In an effort to ease Eric's pain, and as a change of scenery for themselves, they urge Robert to join them on the Riviera in August. The ramshackle old mansion that they rented in St. Tropez - sight unseen - is nothing like the exquisite villa and sun-drenched gardens touted in the brochure. Cobwebs hang from the ceiling, beds collapse beneath them and the would-be housekeeper sashays around the house in a leopard-print bikini, six-inch stilettos, with a trio of yapping poodles at her heels.

What is really surprising though, is the woman who Robert brings along as his guest. A lovely, much-younger film actress with a million-dollar smile and mile-long legs. Diana and Pascale instantly hate her, but Eric and John are dazzled. Amid the crumbling furniture and glorious sunsets, the strained relationships and acts of forgiveness, more surprises are in store for the villa's occupants. With the last days of summer fast approaching, the couples find themselves changing in unexpected ways. Old wounds are healed, new love is discovered and miracles unfold beneath the dazzling sun of St. Tropez.

I really enjoyed this book. It was a light and fun read; not that particularly strong on plot, I suppose, but still very sweet and engaging. I give it an A!

A! - (90-95%)

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Joanna Trollope - The Rector's Wife

52. The Rector's Wife by Joanna Trollope (1991)
Length: 285 pages
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Started: 23 June 2012
Finished: 26 June 2012
Where did it come from? From Bookmooch
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 21 June 2012
Why do I have it? I like Joanna Trollope as an author and I read and enjoyed The Best of Friends by the same author.

For the past two decades, the Bouveries have served God and their parish in a myriad of ways. As minister of his congregation, Peter Bouverie has always written such powerful sermons, preached to the faithful, and counselled so many troubled couples. Everyone in the tiny parish of Loxford also knows of the rector's wife Anna - she is so dutiful, organized, prayerful, and self-possessed. In fact, Anna Bouverie is nothing if not absolutely perfect for the position - she is the quintessential minister's wife.

Over the past twenty years, Anna has become a mother figure to so many people. She has made sure suppers were organized at the deanery; baked cakes for the Brownies' annual 'Easter Cake Bake'; delivered parish magazines; washed and ironed her husband's surplices for every Sunday service - although perhaps not as neatly as she should - or so some of Peter's more ardently faithful parishioners like to whisper. Anna has always been frugal with the family's funds: she has grown her own vegetables and clothed herself and her three children in left-over items bought from various jumble sales. She has always done these duties without complaint or indeed, any expectation of praise from others.

Anna Bouverie considers herself to be the most unassuming of women, and is quite content in her role as the wife of the parish's rector. However, she has no idea just how much or how quickly that role will change - or how much one specific incident will provide the impetus for Anna to change her life. After Peter fails to receive a promotion to archdeacon of Loxford, he retreats into a shell of isolated bitterness. As a result of his perceived personal humiliation, Peter soon begins to take the anger and frustration he feels out on those around him.

Although she initially does her best to understand his plight and to offer her husband a sympathetic ear whenever he needs one the most, Anna finds herself becoming more and more frustrated by Peter's increasingly dismissive treatment of her. When she learns that her younger daughter has recently become the target of some serious and extensive bullying at the local school, Anna discovers that she has reached her own personal breaking point. It soon becomes clear to her that she has allowed an inordinate amount of complacency and dutifulness to replace living her own life...Anna suddenly rebels. Taking a job in the local supermarket Anna soon begins earning some extra money; a better sense of her own worth; the shocked disapproval of the parish; as well as the ice-cold and sustained fury of her husband.

As Anna is beginning to find her own way in life, she is observed with a certain amount of passionate interest by three significant men. Each of these men will play his own specific role in the part-tragic, part-triumphant blossoming of Anna's life. Their individual stories will eventually become intertwined for a time with Anna's own personal journey through her life.

I must say that I enjoyed this book very much and it is the second book by Joanna Trollope that I've had the pleasure of reading. Although I haven't read that many books by this author before, she seems to be exactly the kind of writer that I prefer. I would definitely give this book an A+! and look forward to the next Joanna Trollope book that I read.

A+! - (96-100%)

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Dick Kliener - Hollywood's Greatest Love Stories

51. Hollywood's Greatest Love Stories by Dick Kliener (1976)
Length: 277 pages
Genre: Non-Fiction
Started: 16 June 2012
Finished: 23 June 2012
Where did it come from? From a Library Book Sale
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 20 November 2009
Why do I have it? I like nonfiction and Dick Kliener is a new author for me.

This is a book of twelve legendary romances that occurred in real life. They lived and loved in the public eye. Their courtships, their scandals, their stormy displays of temper made headlines throughout the world. On screen they may be acting, but in the reality it's true love.

I enjoyed this book very much and I wasn't quite sure that I would as it was about a subject that I usually have less interest in as I don't usually follow too much about the actors and actresses of Hollywood. I give this book an A+!

A+! - (96-100%)

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Friday, June 15, 2012

Bernard F. Conners - The Hampton Sisters

50. The Hampton Sisters by Bernard F. Conners (1987)
Length: 285 pages
Genre: Horror
Started: 14 June 2012
Finished: 15 June 2012
Where did it come from? From a Library Book Sale
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 20 November 2009
Why do I have it? I like horror and Bernard F. Conners is a new author for me.

An old Hampton address borders the mysterious Sanctuary; but who exactly lives at number 12 Forsythia Lane? Lydia is blonde and beautiful, however she is also secretive and reclusive. The birds that she loves and writes about are drawn to the sylvan delights of the Sanctuary, but is Lydia safe from the dark forces that lurk in its depths? Emily is dark, glamorous and unpredictable. She mingles freely with New York's elite - a member of the most exclusive country club in the Hamptons. She knows all the secrets of the wealthy and powerful...and is about to reveal them to the world. But does she understand the unspeakable truth of the Sanctuary?

Two beautiful sisters; as different as night and day. One loving and giving, the other dazzling and seductive. Does anyone know the truth about the Hampton Sisters?

I did enjoy this book although there wasn't as much horror to the storyline as I had expected. I give this book an A! I was surprised to learn that Bernard F. Conners actually lives in the same town that I do. I don't actually know him personally, but I found it interesting that he lives in Albany, New York! :)

A! - (90-95%)

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Caroline Crane - Wife Found Slain

49. Wife Found Slain by Caroline Crane (1981)
Length: 202 pages
Genre: Contemporary Mystery
Started: 10 June 2012
Finished: 12 June 2012
Where did it come from? From a Library Book Sale
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 20 November 2009
Why do I have it? I like contemporary mysteries and I had read and enjoyed Woman Vanishes by the same author two years ago. 

A woman wakes in hospital after a near-fatal accident. With her jaw wired shut, she can't scream when a masked intruder creeps into her room. She doesn't know who he is; she doesn't even know who she is. The masked man flees, but he will be back - this much her shattered mind knows. She's a marked woman.

Gradually her memory returns: she remembers a teenage Lyn Garrity applying for a job and falling for her married boss. Owen's marriage was on the rocks and he returned her love. She remembers the glamorous dates, the night drives under city lights, the secret trysts in an elegant apartment overlooking Central Park. Racked with guilt over their illicit romance, Lyn ended the affair, but she could not forget Owen. Then tragedy rocks Owen's family, bringing horror in its wake, and finally happiness.

Lyn remembers everything now - or does she? Leaving the hospital, she returns to her husband and children. But something is wrong. Things are not what they seem, or what they should be. And the man who tried to kill Lyn is still watching and waiting. He will return; it's just a matter of time.

This was the first time that I read Wife Found Slain, although I had read and enjoyed Woman Vanishes by Caroline Crane about two years ago. I give this book an A+! and certainly do recommend it to others. It was gripping and incredibly fast-paced for me.

A+! - (96-100%)

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Luanne Rice and Joseph Monninger - The Letters

48. The Letters by Luanne Rice and Joseph Monninger (2008)
Length: 199 pages
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Started: 8 June 2012
Finished: 9 June 2012
Where did it come from? From a Library Book Sale
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 1 June 2009
Why do I have it? I like contemporary fiction and books about family dynamics.

Sam and Hadley West are a couple just trying to survive the soul-shattering loss of their only son in Alaska. They each decide to do this in their own ways: For Sam, a sports journalist, acceptance of his son's death means undertaking an arduous trek by dogsled across the beautiful but forbidding Alaskan landscape to find the spot where Paul died. For Hadley, it means renting a benignly haunted, salt-soaked cottage off the coast of Maine where she can paint and begin to grieve in peace.

Now, at opposite ends of the country, waiting for their divorce to be finalized, they begin to exchange letters through the post - missives filled with longing and truths they have never before voiced. They recall their marriage - its magic moments and its challenges - and begin to rediscover the reasons why they fell in love in the first place.

As Sam risks his life to reach the remote crash site, Hadley begins an equally hazardous inner journey to rendezvous with the mad grief of a mother's heart. At the place where all else is lost, they will meet again.

This is the first time that I read this book, although I did read, and enjoy, The Perfect Summer by Luanne Rice sometime last year. I always enjoy books about family dynamics and give this book an A+! I would definitely recommend it to others.

A+! - (96-100%)

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Mary Alice Monroe - The Book Club

47. The Book Club by Mary Alice Monroe (1999)
Length: 368 pages
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Started: 5 June 2012
Finished: 7 June 2012
Where did it come from? From a Library Book Sale
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 1 April 2009
Why do I have it? I like contemporary fiction and Mary Alice Monroe is a new author for me.

On the surface, it is a monthly book club. But for five women, it is something infinitely more precious: a lifeline to hang on to and a chance to share their hopes, fears and triumphs. There is Eve, whose husband's sudden death has turned her safe little world upside down; cheating her out of every security that she had assumed was hers. Annie is a brilliant attorney who at 43 decides to have a baby, but all the determination in the world cannot change the cold reality of nature.

Doris, forced to acknowledge her dying marriage, will find the ultimate freedom through her husband's betrayal. Gabriella, the "perfect" wife, mother and friend, is afraid to ask for support for herself even as she offers such support to those around her. Finally, there is Midge - an artist who has always lived her life against the grain - but she suddenly feels like a stranger to the very people who should know her the best. These five women are women in transition and as they embrace the challenge of change, they will hold fast to the true magic of their book club - friendship.

Mareena was the one who found this book for me at our local library's book sale. I was intrigued by the book's plot because I love books that delve into people's relationships and the intricacies of women's friendships. This is the first time that I read The Book Club by Mary Alice Monroe and I am delighted to discover that she has written more books. I give this book an A+! and am immediately going to put Mary Alice Monroe on my TBR pile.

A+! - (96-100%)

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Robin Maugham - The Servant

46. The Servant by Robin Maugham (1948)
Length: 75 pages
Genre: Short Story
Started: 4 June 2012
Finished: 5 June 2012
Where did it come from? From Paperback Swap
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 4 January 2010
Why do I have it? I had read The Link several years ago by the same author and as a matter of fact, I saw the film adaptation of The Servant with my sister Margaret in 1963 when it first came out.

Set in London just after World War II, Richard Merton tells the story of Tony, a close friend and fellow Army officer, who - breaking ties with old friends and habits - steadily falls under the influence of his sinister new butler, Barrett. Concerned for his friend, Richard slowly uncovers a strange affair which shatters both class and sexual barriers and turns the servant into the master, and the master into the servant. I really did enjoy this book and give it an A+!

This is the first time that I have actually read The Servant although I did see the movie when it came out in the 1960's. I enjoyed the movie and the book independently of each other and found that the movie was completely different from the book. In my opinion, the movie did not follow the book at all, but still was very good! :)

A+! - (96-100%)

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Elizabeth Ergas - Devil's Gate

45. Devil's Gate by Elizabeth Ergas (1991)
Length: 352 pages
Genre: Horror
Started: 30 May 2012
Finished: 3 June 2012
Where did it come from? From a Library Book Sale
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 1 April 2009
Why do I have it? I like horror and Elizabeth Ergas is a new author for me.

Alison Crandall knew the tale which had been passed down through the generations: Nearly two centuries ago her tiny New Hampshire town had made a desperate bargain with a mysterious stranger on the night of a terrifying flood. The town was magically saved...but in the cemetery a hideous wrought iron gate suddenly appeared and terrified screams echoed from behind its bars as the demonic stranger began exacting his bloody price that very night. In modern-day Draconia, New Hampshire, these stories of a deal with the devil were thought to be nothing but trumped up stories told to frighten or entice the tourists.

That was before Adrian Blaise showed up in Draconia with a million dollar real estate project. Ghastly apparitions suddenly began to terrorize the town and certain women were deliciously seduced by the all too charming Adrian - just before their frightened screams betrayed the devil's old asking price and their lifeless bodies were found. Alison knew that time was running out. Unless she could find a way to break the bargain, she too would be doomed to the ghoulish horror that existed beyond the Devil's Gate.

This was actually a reread for me. I had read this book for the first time several years ago and truly enjoyed it. However, if I had one dislike of the book, it would be that the sexual situations depicted in the book were slightly more graphic than I remember them to be during my initial reading of Devil's Gate. That being said, I still give Devil's Gate an A! and I have obtained a copy of Rage by Elizabeth Ergas.

A! - (90-95%)

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Friday, June 1, 2012

Reading Wrap-up for May 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 May with 627 unread books lying around the house and ended the month with 618 books unread. All the books that I acquired this month came from an author.

Let me try to break down the influx for you:

Changes to the TBR pile

Read from my TBR pile (Yes! I am a reading machine :))
- Looking For Peyton Place by Barbara Delinsky
- The Saints and Sinners of Okay County by Dayna Dunbar
- A Sight For Sore Eyes by Ruth Rendell
- The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
- The White Voyage by John Christopher
- Sally: Unconventional Success by Sally Jessy Raphael and Pam Proctor
- Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger
- Anima by Marie Buchanan
- Lullaby and Good Night by Vincent Bugliosi and William Stadiem

Added to my TBR pile (oh well, you win some and you lose some! Not too bad though, I suppose:))
- Evil Stalks the Night by Kathryn Meyer Griffith 
- The Calling by Kathryn Meyer Griffith
- The Ice Bridge by Kathryn Meyer Griffith

Taken off my TBR pile and sent to a new home (Yay! Happy Dance! :))
- Crooked House by Agatha Christie
- False Witness by Dorothy Uhnak
- The Story of Winston Churchill by Alida Sims Malkus
- The Prodigal Daughter by Jeffrey Archer
- The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
- The Ugly Duckling by Iris Johansen

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: 2,980
Grade Range: A+! to B+!

So, there you go! The reading month that was May. 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