Tuesday, July 31, 2012

July'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. July's Book of the Month is: 




   Summer of the Red Wolf by Morris L. West
Published as: Summer of the Red Wolf  in June 1971
Publisher: William Morrow and Company



Birth Name: Morris Langlo West
Born: 26 April 1916 in St. Kilda, Victoria, Australia
Died: 9 October 1999 in Clareville, New South Wales, Australia

Canonical Name: Morris L. West
Pseudonyms: Michael East and Julian Morris

Summer of the Red Wolf by Morris L. West was the fifty-fourth 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 July of 2012. It took me four 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

Lisa Gardner - Live to Tell

62. Live to Tell by Lisa Gardner (2010)
The Detective D. D. Warren Series Book 4
Length: 385 pages
Genre: Contemporary Mystery
Started: 28 July 2012
Finished: 31 July 2012
Where did it come from? From a Library Book Sale
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 20 July 2012
Why do I have it? I like contemporary mysteries and Lisa Gardner is a new author for me.

On a warm summer night in a working-class Boston neighborhood, an unthinkable crime has been committed: Four members of a family have been brutally murdered. The father - also a possible suspect - lies clinging to life in the Intensive Care Unit. Was it murder-suicide? Or something worse? Veteran police detective D. D. Warren is certain of one thing: There's more to this case than meets the eye.

Danielle Burton is a survivor, a dedicated nurse whose passion is helping the children of a locked-down pediatric psych ward. But she remains haunted by the memories of a family tragedy that shattered her life twenty-five years ago. The dark anniversary is approaching, and when Detective D. D. Warren and her partner show up at the facility, Danielle immediately realizes: it's begun again.

A devoted mother, Victoria Oliver has a hard time remembering what normalcy is like. She will do anything to ensure that her troubled son has some semblance of a childhood. She will love him no matter what. Nurture him. Keep him safe. Protect him. Even when the threat comes from within her own house.

I really enjoyed this book. I liked the treatment of the issue of mental illness and how it affects children and their families. I give this book an A+! and look forward to reading Lisa Gardner's next book.

A+! - (96-100%)

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Saturday, July 28, 2012

P. C. Doherty - The Devil's Hunt

61. The Devil's Hunt by P. C. Doherty (1996)
Hugh Corbett Medieval Mysteries Book 10
Length: 249 pages
Genre: Historical Mystery
Started: 24 July 2012
Finished: 28 July 2012
Where did it come from? From a Library Book Sale
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 20 July 2012
Why do I have it? I like historical mysteries and P. C. Doherty is a new author for me.

In the summer of 1303, murder has made itself known in the King's university city of Oxford. The illustrious Regent of Sparrow Hall, John Copsale, is found dead in his bed. Some claim he died in his sleep, while still others whisper that Regent Copsale was murdered by the mysterious "Bell Man" - who posts treasonous notes on the doors of the churches.

Then the college librarian and archivist, Robert Ascham is discovered inside the college library with a crossbow bolt in his chest. Definitely an act of cold-blooded murder, but who could have done it? After all, the library was sealed, the doors and windows securely locked. And just what was Ascham trying to write on the piece of manuscript found lying beside him?

Are the Regent's death and Ascham's murder the result of a terrible curse of ghosts who still walk the earth, seeking vengeance? Or are the deaths somehow related to the ritualistic murders of beggars, the severed heads of whom are found tied by their hair to the trees in the forest. King Edward hears of the seething unrest in Oxford and arrives unannounced at the Leighton estate of Sir Hugh Corbett - Keeper of the King's Seal and clerk of the King's Bench. The King charges Sir Hugh to travel to Oxford to resolve the murderous mysteries that threaten to plunge the city and university into chaos.

I did enjoy this book, although it was slightly hard to follow. I was definitely interested to discover who the murderer was, though. I give this book an A!

A! - (90-95%)

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Rosamunde Pilcher - The Carousel

60. The Carousel by Rosamunde Pilcher (1982)
Length: 243 pages
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Started/Finished: 24 July 2012
Where did it come from? From a Library Book Sale
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 20 July 2012
Why do I have it? I like Rosamunde Pilcher as an author and have read and enjoyed several books by this author in the past.

Prue is intelligent, artistic, independent - and bored. Pressurized by her mother to make a conventional and dull marriage, she escapes London and goes to her aunt's house in Cornwall. Surrounded by the peacefulness of nature, Prue begins to de-stress and find herself again.

Walking along the beach one day, she meets a young, attractive artist. She determines not to rest until she discovers what is troubling him. I truly enjoy Rosamunde Pilcher as an author and I did enjoy this book, however, if I had one complaint about The Carousel, it would be that all the ends were tied up a little too neatly for my liking. I ended up giving this book a B+!

B+! - (89-85%)

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Jill Ireland - Life Wish

59. Life Wish by Jill Ireland (1987)
Length: 294 pages
Genre: Non-Fiction
Started: 21 July 2012
Finished: 24 July 2012
Where did it come from? From a Library Book Sale
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 1 March 2009
Why do I have it? I like autobiographies and I truly admired Jill Ireland. I read Life Lines back in 2010 and this is actually a reread for me after several years.

Three years before this book was written, Jill Ireland had everything going for her - a thrilling movie career, seven adoring children, a lavish house in Bel Air, a rambling horse farm in Vermont and she was happily married to fellow actor Charles Bronson. Then she went to visit her doctor for an annual visit; what should have been a routine checkup revealed that Jill Ireland had breast cancer and cancer of the lymph nodes.

Determined to take responsibility for her own recovery, Jill underwent a radical mastectomy and the months of chemotherapy that her doctors prescribed. She also turned to more unconventional forms of treatment - holistic healing, homeopathic medicine, a trained counselor, a new diet, meditation, even astrology. Jill did everything that she could to get well.

Jill Ireland writes about her childhood growing up in postwar England, her early career on the stage as a dancer, her movie career in Hollywood and her children and family. She enjoyed a lively childhood, surrounded by her horses and much love. Jill Ireland merges her past and present with a vibrancy and wit that could not and would not be extinguished.

I really enjoyed this book and am happy to report that Jill Ireland did in fact, beat this bout with cancer. She was in remission for a while, but unfortunately, the cancer came back and eventually claimed her life. Jill Ireland's fighting personality reminds me so much of a close family member's personality who is currently fighting breast cancer herself. I give this book an A!

A! - (90-95%)

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Vickie L. Bane and Lorenzo Benet - The Lives of Danielle Steel: The Unauthorized Biography of America's #1 Best-Selling Author

58. The Lives of Danielle Steel: The Unauthorized Biography of America's #1 Best-Selling Author by Vickie L. Bane and Lorenzo Benet (1995)
Length: 432 pages
Genre: Non-Fiction
Started: 17 July 2012
Finished: 21 July 2012
Where did it come from? From Paperback Swap
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 14 July 2012
Why do I have it? I like autobiographies and biographies and I have always been curious about Danielle Steel's life.

Dressed to the nines and draped in jewels, Danielle Steel has become America's favorite romance author. She has written 44 best-selling novels and has a total of 800 million books still in print. This stunning, uncensored biography reveals how closely Danielle Steel's fiction mirrors her real life. The rich men, the dangerous men, the heartbreak, the struggles, the triumphs and the secrets too dark to tell.

Her cruel and lonely childhood which became the basis for her novel Loving, her long-hidden marriage to a convicted rapist, the scandalous true story readers will recognize from her novel Now and Forever, her third husband, a handsome heroin addict, who, like the protagonist in Remembrance, broke her heart and nearly ruined her life. From her opulent lifestyle to her lavish spending in a beautiful San Francisco mansion to the tragic death of her 19-year-old son, Nick, Danielle Steel has lived a life that most people might consider somewhat excessive, but is entirely true.

I truly enjoyed this book as I like many unauthorized biographies or autobiographies. I have always considered Danielle Steel to be a great writer and think of her as my "guilty pleasure" author. I had never thought that the majority of Danielle Steel's plots for her novels were based on events that happened to her in her own life. Since this book was written, Danielle Steel has been married and divorced twice more (her fifth marriage ended in 2002).

I felt incredibly sad for Danielle Steel and everything that she's been through - she has loved deeply and sometimes rashly, but in my opinion, there was absolutely nothing that she couldn't or wouldn't do to help the people that she loved. I give this book an A+!

A+! - (96-100%)

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Friday, July 20, 2012

Our Library Visit For July

Hello Everyone! How are you on this fine Friday? I'm doing just fine. :) So, for the first time this year Mareena and I went to our local library and bought books at the library book sale. :) I think we both went slightly nuts! :) We wound up buying three boxes of books and had to have them wheeled out to our friend's car on a hand truck! :)

Neither of us had been to the library in seven months because we had instituted a voluntary book buying ban on ourselves in an effort to whittle our separate TBR piles to more manageable levels. It was working out very well for both of us until today. :) We went to the library at 12:00 P. M. and spent an hour and a half there. We loved it! :)

We bought 51 hardcovers and 39 paperbacks between us and spent $70 altogether. Now the only problem is that I want to finish the book that I'm currently reading (which is very good) in order to start one of my newly bought books! :)

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Monday, July 16, 2012

Rosamunde Pilcher - Winter Solstice

57. Winter Solstice by Rosamunde Pilcher (2000)
Length: 454 pages
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Started: 13 July 2012
Finished: 16 July 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 Rosamunde Pilcher as an author and have read and enjoyed several books by this author in the past.

Elfrida Phipps, once a famous actress on the London stage, retires at age 62 and moves to the sleepy Hampshire village of Dibton. She never anticipates going off with a man. But after a devastating tragedy, her first friend from when she arrived in Dibton, Oscar Blundell - the church organist - asks her for companionship. So, with her brown-and-white dog in tow, Elfrida begins her journey.

What she doesn't realize is that also joining her and Oscar in the rundown Victorian mansion in Scotland, will be Carrie, a young woman with a broken heart recently returned from Australia after ending her affair with a married man. Joining her will be her young teenage cousin Lucy, who Carrie has agreed to look after, when she discovers that her mother and aunt are constantly squabbling. Sam Howard is an American whose wife leaves him for another man. He is a man without a home and without roots, so when his job sends him to Scotland, he jumps at the chance to go.

He falls in love with the lush, craggy landscape and sets his sights on a house. These five very different people - Sam, Carrie, Lucy, Elfrida and Oscar - will form firm friendships that will change all their lives forever. I really enjoyed this book. It was a first time read for me - the writing was beautiful and it flowed along nicely for me. I give it an A+!

A+! - (96-100%)

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Cathy Lee Crosby - Let the Magic Begin: Opening the Door to a Whole New World of Possibility

56. Let the Magic Begin: Opening the Door to a Whole New World of Possibility by Cathy Lee Crosby (1997)
Length: 363 pages
Genre: Non-Fiction
Started: 5 July 2012
Finished: 12 July 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 autobiographies and I was curious about Cathy Lee Crosby's life.

Cathy Lee Crosby is an internationally known and multi-talented actress, writer, producer and philanthropist. She was a seventh-ranked professional tennis player who went on to star in 60 feature films, three off-Broadway plays and was co-host of the television series That's Incredible! during the 1980s and early 1990s.

In 1995, four major life events occurring in quick succession - the death of her grandmother, contracting Epstein-Barr Syndrome, her divorce from football star Joe Thiesman and declaring bankruptcy when Joe sued her for half of all her assets - led Cathy Lee Crosby into a realm of darkness and despair. This book follows her struggle back to what she calls "The Bliss Zone" - the place of inner peace, contentment and the pure "magic" of life.

I must say that this was the first time that I had actually read this book, after having it on my downstairs bookcase for about three years. I normally love autobiographies, and while this particular book started out very strongly, about halfway through it became bogged down (at least in my opinion) with Cathy Lee's metaphysical and 'New Age' practices. I believe in the miraculous, and in the little coincidences of life - please don't misinterpret my thinking on that score - I just don't believe that everything is ultimately a 'sign from the cosmos' to be dissected and studied down to the last minutest detail.

I did enjoy parts of this book, however I found that at certain points in this book Cathy Lee Crosby became somewhat of a name dropper and that ultimately lessened my enjoyment of the book. I give this book a strong B+! and look forward to potentially passing it on to another interested reader of non-fiction.

B+! - (89-85%)

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Stephen White - Privileged Information

55. Privileged Information by Stephen White (1991)
The Alan Gregory Series Book 1
Length: 384 pages
Genre: Contemporary Mystery
Started: 2 July 2012
Finished: 5 July 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 mysteries and Stephen White is a new author for me.

Clinical psychologist Dr. Alan Gregory faces professional and personal disgrace when several of his attractive female patients are found dead. When the first murder victim is found with a diary detailing her bizarre sexual infatuation for Dr. Gregory, he becomes the prime suspect in the investigation. As more of his patients are murdered, Alan faces a dilemma, the evidence that will clear his name is privileged information that he can't reveal at the risk of breaching his professional ethics. But in order to save his life, Dr. Gregory must discover which of his patients is a potential killer.

I have had this book on my bookshelf for about three years and have only just sat down to read it. I'm so glad that I did as it was truly an engrossing read that I almost didn't want to end. I give this book an A+! and look forward to tracking down more of Stephen White's books to read. There are now about nineteen or twenty books in the Alan Gregory Series, and I can't wait to read more from Stephen White.

A+! - (96-100%)

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Morris L. West - Summer of the Red Wolf



54. Summer of the Red Wolf by Morris L. West (1971)
Length: 308 pages
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Started: 28 June 2012
Finished: 1 July 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 Morris L. West is a new author for me.

A writer, accustomed to writing about the troubled spots of the world and living in the hustle and bustle of the cities, decides to take time off in order to recharge his spirit and find a certain peace of mind. He travels to the Western Outer Isles of Scotland, known as the Outer Hebrides, and settles in and around the islands of Lewis and Harris. His arrival to the area and his friendships with two young men, as well as his love for one young woman, Kathleen, provide the spark that ignites a drama of madness and terror that forever changes all their lives.

I really enjoyed this book, the first of Morris L. West's works that I've ever actually read although I may have some of his other books on my bookshelves downstairs. They are so well-hidden that I haven't actually investigated very well. I give this book an A+! and look forward to finding out whether I actually do have any more of Morris L. West's books around. He is an Australian author whose earlier life sort of mirrors my late husband's - as my husband spent roughly five years studying to become a priest, but left before he took his final vows.

A+! - (96-100%)

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Reading Wrap-up for June 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 June with 621 unread books lying around the house and ended the month with 612 books unread. All the books that I acquired this month came from Paperback Swap and Bookmooch.

Let me try to break down the influx for you:

Rereads
- Devil's Gate by Elizabeth Ergas

Changes to the TBR pile

Read from my TBR pile (Yes! I am a reading machine :))
- The Servant by Robin Maugham
- The Book Club by Mary Alice Monroe
- The Letters by Luanne Rice and Joseph Monninger
- Wife Found Slain by Caroline Crane
- The Hampton Sisters by Bernard F. Conners
- Hollywood's Greatest Love Stories by Dick Kliener
- The Rector's Wife by Joanna Trollope
- Sunset in St. Tropez by Danielle Steel

Added to my TBR pile (oh well, you win some and you lose some! Not too bad though, I suppose:))
- Rage by Elizabeth Ergas
- The Bait by Dorothy Uhnak
- Chill of Summer by Carol Brennan
- A Child's Garden of Death by Richard Forrest
- Skyward by Mary Alice Monroe
- Rise and Shine by Anna Quindlen
- The Uncanny by Andrew Klavan
- Girl in the Mirror by Mary Alice Monroe
- Almost Golden: Jessica Savitch and the Selling of Television News by Gwenda Blair

Taken off my TBR pile and sent to a new home (Yay! Happy Dance! :))
- Mystic River by Dennis Lehane
- Walking Shadow by Robert B. Parker
- The First Victim by Ridley Pearson
- Legion by William Peter Blatty
- Dead Run by Erica Spindler
- Thornyhold by Mary Stewart
- The Servant by Robert Maugham
- Darkness Falls by Joyce Anne Schneider
- Just Tell me What You Want by Jay Presson Allen
- The Haunted Mesa by Louis L'Amour
- A Sight For Sore Eyes by Ruth Rendell
- Endless Night by Agatha Christie
- All Heads Turn as the Hunt Goes By by John Farris
-The Great Fire by Monica Dickens

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: 2,366
Grade Range: A+! to A!

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