Wednesday, February 29, 2012

February'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. February's Book of the Month is: 


   
Now You Know by Kitty Dukakis and Jane Scovell
Published as: Now You Know in August 1990
Publisher: Simon & Schuster


Birth Name: Katharine Dickson
Born: 26 December 1936 in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Canonical Name: Kitty Dukakis
Pseudonyms: None

Now You Know by Kitty Dukakis and Jane Scovell was the nineteenth book that I read in 2012. I have had this book on my TBR bookshelf since June 1, 2009 although I didn't actually read it until February of 2012. It took me two days to read this book and it is currently on several book swapping sites waiting to go to another good home.  

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Kitty Dukakis and Jane Scovell - Now You Know

19. Now You Know by Kitty Dukakis and Jane Scovell (1990)
Length: 313 pages
Genre: Non-Fiction
Started: 27 February 2012
Finished: 29 February 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 autobiographies and biographies and was always curious about Kitty Dukakis' life. 

In Now You Know, Kitty Dukakis speaks her mind with the same uncompromising honesty and candor that characterized her appearances during the 1988 presidential campaign. Kitty Dukakis became a household name thanks to her husband Michael Dukakis' 1988 presidential campaign. She writes unflinchingly about her mother's coldness during her childhood and the harsh realities of political life. She also reveals her ongoing struggle to overcome clinical depression and her twenty year long addiction to diet pills and alcohol - an addiction which nearly sent her spiraling out of control, and very nearly destroyed her life in the process. 

Kitty was a feisty and unconventional political wife, who spent many years as such. Now, she takes the reader behind the scenes and shows us what it is really like to be running on the national campaign trail - the emotional strains of such a campaign, with all its lack of privacy; which made Kitty absolutely petrified at the prospect of victory rather than defeat. She reveals the pressures imposed on the opponents from one of the most offensive "dirty tricks"- style campaigns in recent political history and in public memory. 

I must say that I found Now You Know by Kitty Dukakis and Jane Scovell to be incredibly honest. This autobiography held absolutely nothing back about Kitty's life; both public and private; and revealed everything that she - and those around her - went through while she was in the midst of her addiction. I really felt for Kitty Dukakis, and sympathized with her struggle to overcome her addiction. I rejoiced with her on her recovery, but I know that it will be a lifelong quest for Kitty to remain sober. I would certainly give Now You Know by Kitty Dukakis and Jane Scovell an A+! 

A+! - (96-100%)  

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Monday, February 27, 2012

Catherine Cookson - My Beloved Son

18. My Beloved Son by Catherine Cookson (1991)
Length: 384 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
Started: 24 February 2012
Finished: 27 February 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 historical fiction and Catherine Cookson as an author. I have also read and enjoyed two other books by this author in the past.


Joseph Jabeau was fatherless by the age of five; he grew up to defend himself and his country against the evilness and madness of Hitler by fighting in World War II. He returned home to face his selfish, overbearing mother and to battle against her ruthlessness and the many hidden secrets of the past.


I really did enjoy this book even though I have found that some of Catherine Cookson's books that I've read in the past do become somewhat repetitive in their themes. I would say that as I began reading Catherine Cookson as a young adult (maybe college age or so), I really thought of her as one of my favorite authors. As I've grown older and continued reading Catherine Cookson throughout the years, she's become a little boring in her writing. However, I truly did enjoy this book and give it an A!


A! - (90-95%)

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Friday, February 24, 2012

Charlotte Vale Allen - Claudia's Shadow

17. Claudia's Shadow by Charlotte Vale Allen (1996)
Length: 298 pages
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Started: 21 February 2012
Finished: 24 February 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 Charlotte Vale Allen is a new author for me.


After her younger sister Claudia commits suicide, Rowena Graham leaves behind her own life to handle her sister's affairs. She moves into her sister's house - her parents' old house - and struggles to manage her sister's restaurant. Rowena finds it very hard to believe that her little sister ever committed suicide - there was no suicide letter and the suicide verdict just feels all wrong to Rowena. As a result, Rowena decides to begin investigating the truth behind her sister's death. 


Claudia was always difficult and unpredictable, but Rowena is convinced that her lovely younger sister would never take her own life. Rowena's unexpected discovery of a trove of documents and photographs unearths a host of secrets kept not just by Claudia but by every member of the family. Her continued investigation also uncovers the tangled web of her own family's dynamics. This may lead Rowena to find the cause of Claudia's death and ultimately set Rowena free from the secrets of the past.


I really enjoyed this book. I have several of Charlotte Vale Allen's books, but I think that this is the first one that I've read. I give this book an A+!


A+! - (96-100%)

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Monica Dickens - Dear Doctor Lily

16. Dear Doctor Lily by Monica Dickens (1988)
Length: 448 pages
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Started: 16 February 2012
Finished: 21 February 2012
Where did it come from? From Paperback Swap
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 18 November 2009
Why do I have it? I like Monica Dickens as an author and have read and enjoyed two of her other books.


Two young women, Lily and Ida, meet on a flight to America and embark on a friendship that will see them through two very different marriages, and will bring them much comfort and distress, joy and heartache throughout the years as their friendship unfolds. I have to say that I really loved this book. It was extremely nostalgic for me to read. I give this book an A+!


A+! - (96-100%)


Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Danielle Steel - Malice

15. Malice by Danielle Steel (1996)
Length: 352 pages
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Started: 13 February 2012
Finished: 15 February 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 Danielle Steel as an author and have read and enjoyed several books by this author in the past.


Grace Adams is a woman with a past full of deep, dark, hurtful secrets. A stunning beauty, daughter of an influential lawyer, she has spent the last years nursing her dying mother through her final battle with cancer. On the night of her mother's funeral, she is brutally raped by her father and, after years of such repeated abuse, she snaps and kills him. 


Only 17 years old, she faces the death penalty in a town that is only too willing to believe in and continually perpetrate the supposedly perfect reputation of her father, even if it means prison for Grace. After her release two years later, she tries to pick up the pieces of her life. Eventually, she falls in love with and marries Charles Mackenzie, an up-and-coming politician and they start a family together.


During an important campaign, a tabloid releases the sordid story of Grace's past as well as several explicit photos of Grace taken while she was drugged. This leaves their family reeling; with Charles's campaign in shambles and Grace's life crumbling around her. I really enjoyed this book. It was a departure from Danielle Steel's other work and I give it an A+!


A+! - (96-100%)


Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Monday, February 13, 2012

Jack Kneece - Family Treason: The Walker Spy Case

14. Family Treason: The Walker Spy Case by Jack Kneece (1986)
Length: 240 pages
Genre: True Crime
Started: 11 February 2012
Finished: 13 February 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 true crime and Jack Kneece is a new author for me.


This book chronicles the life of John Walker, a former Navy warrant officer who was the mastermind behind a family spy ring that included his son and brother. He and his family was directly responsible for jeopardizing American security throughout the 17 years that they were actively spying for the Russians. I really enjoyed this book even though I don't usually like books about espionage. I found that it got extremely technical towards the end of the book and I have to say that I was shocked by the outcome of the Walker case. I give this book an A+!


A+! - (96-100%)


Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Friday, February 10, 2012

Louis L'Amour - The Haunted Mesa

13. The Haunted Mesa by Louis L'Amour (1987)
Length: 368 pages
Genre: Horror
Started: 8 February 2012
Finished: 10 February 2012
Where did it come from? From a Library Book Sale
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 15 December 2007
Why do I have it? Mareena had bought this book for me as an early Christmas present in 2009, not knowing that I had a second copy hidden away which I bought two years before. :)


The Navajo called them the Anasazi, an enigmatic tribe of southwestern cliff dwellers that disappeared many centuries ago. Their sudden disappearance baffled historians. Summoned to a dark, desolate desert plateau by a letter from an old friend, renowned investigator Mike Raglan is drawn in to a world of mystery, violence and mysticism. He will eventually learn the astonishing legacy of the Anasazi, but not without a high cost to himself and his friends. 


I did enjoy this book because it definitely started out very mysteriously and strange. However, as I read through it, it began to rely more and more on science fictional elements that I didn't really like all that much. Mareena said that she bought this book for me for Christmas because she thought I might like the mystery and ghostly horror of it. I had never read Louis L'Amour before and I'm certainly glad that I read this book but I generally thought of him more as an author of Westerns. I think that he has a wonderful writing style though. I give this book a strong A!


A! - (90-95%)


Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Donna VanLiere - The Angels of Morgan Hill

12. The Angels of Morgan Hill by Donna VanLiere (2006)
Length: 320 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
Started: 4 February 2012
Finished: 7 February 2012
Where did it come from? From Walmart
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 12 January 2009
Why do I have it? I like historical fiction and Donna VanLiere is a new author for me. Mareena bought this book for me as a present.

It's 1947. Nine-year-old Jane Gable first lays eyes on Milo Turner the day her alcoholic and abusive father is laid to rest. The Turner family is the first black family to live in Morgan Hill and Jane can't understand why people are so bitter. For Jane and her brother John, Milo is just a new friend and playmate.

Then tragedy strikes the Turner family and the Gables are asked to make a decision that could rip their family apart. One path may open up a whole new world for them and bring them closer together, the other may bring them trouble and heartache. As Jane struggles to make sense of the many changes that have come to her community, she will discover that she is surrounded by many angels who are ready to help her in the most ordinary and extraordinary ways.

I really liked this book and thought that it was a very easy read. I enjoyed this book so much because everything comes right. This is the second time that I've read this book and I give it an A+!

A+! - (96-100%)

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Saturday, February 4, 2012

June Spence - Change Baby

11. Change Baby by June Spence (2004)
Length: 240 pages
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Started: 1 February 2012
Finished: 4 February 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 fiction and June Spence is a new author for me.

Avie Goss is a 'change baby', a baby born to her mother late in life. She has been born almost a generation after her two siblings and truly cannot find her own place in her family. When her mother almost dies in a house fire, Avie returns home to the peaceful Southern lifestyle that she strove to leave behind forever after college. As she cares for her ailing mother, Avie begins to unravel the story of who she is and to discover the secrets of a disappearing picture of life as it used to be. Slowly, as she uncovers her family's legacy, she begins to build a new life for herself in a landscape with which she must come to terms.

I enjoyed this book and as I said, June Spence is a new author for me. I had started this story a few years ago and put it aside after reading a couple of pages. Don't let that scare you though, I really enjoyed this book and give it an A+!

A+! - (96-100%)

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Reading Wrap-up for January 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 January with 650 unread books lying around the house and ended the month with 640 books unread. All of the books that I acquired this month came from Bookmooch and Paperback Swap.

Let me try to break down the influx for you:

Re-reads
- A Father's Story by Lionel Dahmer
- The Copper Beech by Maeve Binchy


Changes to the TBR pile 


Read from my TBR pile (Yes! I am a reading machine :))
- To the Devil a Daughter by Dennis Wheatley
- Winter Harvest by Norah Lofts
- The Loving Spirit by Daphne du Maurier
- The Murderer's Daughters by Randy Susan Meyers
- Trust by Kate Veitch
- Hill Towns by Anne Rivers Siddons
- Crossroads by Belva Plain
- Fortune's Hand by Belva Plain

Added to my TBR pile (oh well, you win some and you lose some! :))
- Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood
Legacy of Silence by Belva Plain
Daybreak by Belva Plain


Taken off my TBR pile and sent to a new home (Yay! Happy Dance! :))
- The Defense Never Rests by F. Lee Bailey
- The Spanish Bridegroom by Jean Plaidy
- Insomnia by Stephen King
- To the Devil a Daughter by Dennis Wheatley
- The Murderer's Daughters by Randy Susan Meyers
- Easy Peasy by Lesley Glaister
- Beach Roses by Jean Stone
Madman in the Mirror by A. J. Gallant

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

Books Read: 10
Pages Read: 3,587
Grade Range: A+! to B+!

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