Tuesday, December 31, 2013

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: 


 Heartwood: A Novel by Belva Plain
Published as: Heartwood in February 2011
Publisher: Delacorte Press



Birth Name: Belva Offenberg
Born: 9 October 1915 in New York City, New York
Died: 12 October 2010 in Short Hills, New Jersey

Canonical Name: Belva Plain
Pseudonyms: None

Heartwood: A Novel by Belva Plain was the one hundred and eighteenth book that I read in 2013. I have had this book on my TBR shelf since November 21, 2013 and it took me two days to read. I sent this book off to another good home on October 1, 2015.

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Will Overby - The Island: A Novel of Terror

119. The Island: A Novel of Terror by Will Overby (2013)
Length: 245 pages 
Genre: Horror
Started: 30 December 2013
Finished: 31 December 2013
Where did it come from? From Amazon
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 14 October 2013
Why do I have it? Mareena downloaded this book for free from Amazon as a 'just because' gift for me, because she knows how much I enjoy horror and Will Overby is a new author for me.

The tranquil island of St. Celine boasts secluded pink-sand beaches and sparkling turquoise waters. Just an hour's ferry ride from Nassau, it's the perfect spot for tourists to 'get away from it all' - to rest, recharge, and de-stress from the harshness of life. In the wake of a personal tragedy, Sarah and her best friend Amy - professors of anthropology at a local college - arrive for a week of sun, margaritas, and maybe a little romance with some of the locals. 

But Sarah's obsession with a pair of honeymooners who recently disappeared from this paradise, leads to the discovery of a bizarre video posted online by the couple just hours before they vanished - images of a purported voudou zombie ritual from somewhere on the island. 

As Sarah and Amy attempt to verify the authenticity of the video and perhaps learn the fate of who made it, they uncover St. Celine's tragic and horrifying past - and the myriad secrets the island's inhabitants will protect at all costs. 

This book is definitely A! material - I really enjoyed reading it, and would certainly be interested in reading more from Will Overby in the future. The story was fast-paced and thrilling; although perhaps slightly more rushed than I was expecting - at least towards the end. Actually, Mareena told me that what first drew her eye to this book was the cover, and then the subtitle. She didn't even need to read the entire synopsis; before she thought she'd download it for me.

A! - (90-95%)

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Monday, December 30, 2013

Belva Plain - Heartwood: A Novel

118. Heartwood: A Novel by Belva Plain (2011)
The Werner Family Saga Book 5
Length: 311 pages
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Started: 28 December 2013
Finished: 30 December 2013
Where did it come from? From a Library Book Sale
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 21 November 2013
Why do I have it? I like contemporary fiction and have read and enjoyed several books by this author in the past.

Iris Stern considers herself to be a thoroughly modern woman, although she still holds steadfast to her old-fashioned sensibilities. She has a successful career in academia and a happy marriage. But as the mother of four adult children, each with their own lives to live and burdens to bear, Iris often finds her sensibilities called into question when confronted with the choices her children have made.

For Iris' daughter, Laura, the choice is a fresh start in New York City - and a last chance to save her troubled marriage. While Laura and Robbie cope with their impending separation and its effect on Iris' young granddaughter, Iris herself must come to terms with the discovery of a long-held family secret. However, it's an emotional parting of another kind that looms most prominently on Iris' horizon - as neither her beloved husband, nor the solidity of her own marriage, is immune to the ravages of time.

Through the inevitable separations and reunions, the changes one cannot avoid and the love that sustains, Iris will weather whatever lies ahead with a faith that cannot be shaken. With an inner strength like that of a tree that abides through the generations, she will be as strong as heartwood.

I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. I was completely drawn into the story and engrossed in it until the very end. I had also read Harvest - the fourth book in the Werner Family Saga - back in July of 2011. I've probably said this before, but in my opinion Belva Plain is a truly gifted storyteller. Heartwood: A Novel was her last published novel and I give it an A!

A! - (90-95%)

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Barbara Delinsky - The Summer I Dared: A Novel

117. The Summer I Dared: A Novel by Barbara Delinsky (2004)
The Canaan Trilogy Book 1
Length: 605 pages
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Started: 25 December 2013
Finished: 28 December 2013
Where did it come from? From a Library Book Sale
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 22 August 2013
Why do I have it? I like contemporary fiction and have read and enjoyed several books by this author in the past.

What happens after the moment when your life is forever changed? This is the question that haunts Julia, Noah, and Kim - the only survivors of a devastating boating accident off the coast of Maine, that claimed the lives of nine other people. What follows is an emotionally intricate story of three lives irrevocably changed by a single tragic accident.

Julia, a forty-year-old wife and mother, has always taken the path of least resistance. Careful to never shake up the status quo, she has always done exactly what others expected of her. Characterized by her controlling family and increasingly distant husband as "loyal" and "obedient"; in the aftermath of her brush with death, Julia suddenly realizes that there is more to her - and to the world around her - than she ever imagined.

Feeling strangely connected to Noah, the brooding, divorced lobsterman who helped save her life, and to Kim, a twenty-one-year-old whose role in the accident and subsequent muteness are a mystery, Julia begins to explore the unique possibilities offered by the quiet island of Big Sawyer, Maine. Suddenly, the things that once seemed so critical lose significance, and things that seemed inconsequential, now take on a whole new meaning and importance. With each passing moment, each fresh discovery, Julia grows ever more sure that - after coming face-to-face with death - she deserves more from life.

Overall, I found this book to be quite good. The story was somewhat predictable - and I may have learned much more than I actually ever wanted to know about certain subjects - but other than that, I liked it. I give this book an A! and hope to read more from Barbara Delinsky in the future.

A! - (90-95%)

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

May You All Have the Most Blessed of Christmases!

MySpace background: CoolSpaceTricks.com
MySpace background: CoolSpaceTricks.com

Hello everyone! :) I hope that you all have a wonderful and much blessed Christmas filled with as much friendly and family togetherness as you could wish for. :) Both Mareena and I are feeling much better this year (last year we both had horrible bouts of flu), but this year we're feeling just fine! Looking forward to Christmas as much as ever.

The kitties are really getting into the Christmas spirit - Ruby lies as close to our little fiberoptic Christmas tree as she can get; Leila has become a little less combative in honor of the Season; and Lollipop is licking everyone and everything in sight - including her own reflection! :) Not too much of a change for Lady Lolli's personality, I suppose, but she did knock over our little Christmas tree about three days ago.

It wasn't plugged in at the time, and nothing was broken, but I think that Lollipop was experiencing a rush of over-excitement at the time. She's now trying to make up for her little slip, and desperately hoping that 'Santa Paws' will forgive her! :)

MySpace stuff: CoolSpaceTricks.com

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Michael Connelly - City of Bones

116. City of Bones by Michael Connelly (2002)
The Harry Bosch Series Book 8
Length: 393 pages
Genre: Contemporary Mystery
Started: 23 December 2013
Finished: 25 December 2013
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 Michael Connelly is a new author for me.

On New Year's Day, Detective Harry Bosch receives a phone call that a dog has found a bone - a bone that the dog's owner, a doctor, is convinced is human. During the subsequent investigation, that discovery leads Harry to a shallow grave in the Hollywood Hills, evidence of a murder committed more than twenty years earlier. It's a cold case, but it stirs up the detective's deeply buried memories of his own childhood as an orphan in the city. Especially when the bones are identified to be those of a child - a twelve-year-old boy.

Harry can not let this case go. He's absolutely determined that the child will not be forgotten. Unearthing hidden stories, Harry eventually discovers the child's true identity and begins to slowly reconstruct the boy's fractured life. 

At the same time, a burgeoning love affair with a female rookie cop begins to blossom for Harry - until a devastatingly botched mission leaves him in more trouble than ever before in his turbulent career. As the investigation races toward its unexpected conclusion, Harry is left on the brink of an unimaginable decision...

I thought that reading this book was quite intriguing. In my opinion, the writing was very clear and easy to follow. This actually was the first book by Michael Connelly that I've ever read, and the eighth book in this particular series. 

Despite that, the mystery wasn't too difficult for me to understand. Although I will say that, at least for me, the ending was slightly anticlimactic - leaving me with a couple of unanswered questions. Overall though, City of Bones by Michael Connelly earned a definite A! and I look forward to reading more from this author in the future.

A! - (90-95%)
  
Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Thomas H. Cook - Evidence of Blood

115. Evidence of Blood by Thomas H. Cook (1991)
Length: 384 pages
Genre: Contemporary Mystery
Started: 17 December 2013
Finished: 22 December 2013
Where did it come from? From a Library Book Sale
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 15 December 2000
Why do I have it? I like contemporary mysteries and Thomas H. Cook is a new author for me.

True crime writer Jackson Kinley is coming home to Sequoyah, Georgia to grieve for an old friend. Jackson's boyhood friend, Ray Tindall, was the sheriff of Sequoyah at the time of his sudden death. Now with his passing, Jackson has returned and subsequently finds himself being drawn into an investigation of the town's most enduring legend: a thirty-seven-year-old unsolved murder.

In the summer of 1954, sixteen-year-old Ellie Dinker disappeared on a winding mountain road, leaving behind a bloody green dress swaying in the breeze. Charles Overton was sentenced to die for the murder of young Ellie, even though her body was never found. But the prosecution had all the ammunition it needed: that blood-stained dress and a jury out for vengeance...

Sheriff Tindall's death has left many questions: Why had he suddenly reopened the Overton case...and then, without explanation, shut it down? What was he looking for? And what did he find that he couldn't bear to reveal?

Determined to discover the truth of that long-ago mystery, Jackson Kinley embarks on a chilling odyssey that will send him hurtling back into the lost, terrifying canyons of his own buried childhood...as he unearths evidence of an unspeakable crime - and the shocking blood secret somebody killed to keep.

I may have several books by this author on my bookshelf already, although to my knowledge Evidence of Blood is the first one that I've actually read. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book - overall, it was well-written and compelling - although I did find the story a little slow to get into in the beginning. The plot also was slightly more convoluted than I was expecting; it took me some time to work out and to fully understand the solution to the mystery.

However, that could be just be my personal experience while reading this book. Occasionally, I find that using 'armchair detection' doesn't come easily to me! Anyway, I give this book a definite A! and am looking forward to reading more from Thomas H. Cook in the future.

A! - (90-95%)
   
Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Monday, December 16, 2013

Maryann McFadden - The Richest Season

114. The Richest Season by Maryann McFadden (2008)
Length: 326 pages
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Started: 14 December 2013
Finished: 16 December 2013
Where did it come from? From Bookmooch
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 14 December 2013
Why do I have it? I like contemporary fiction and have read and enjoyed So Happy Together by the same author in the past.

Sometimes you have to leave your life behind in order to finally find yourself. So it is for Joanna Harrison: perfect wife and mother of twenty-five years. Joanna finds herself at a crossroads in her life - after more than a dozen moves over the span of a twenty-five year marriage, she is lonely, bored, and tired of playing the role of a corporate wife.

Her children are grown and gone, her husband is more married to his job than he is to her, and now they're about to pack up once more. Joanna just can't take any more. Panicked at the thought of having to start all over again, she commits the first irresponsible act of her life. She runs away to Pawleys Island, South Carolina, a place she has been to just once.

She finds a job as a live-in companion to Grace Finelli, a widow who has come to the island to fulfill a girlhood dream. Together the two women embark on the most difficult journey of their lives: Joanna struggling for independence, roots, and a future of her own, while her family tugs at her from afar; and Grace, choosing to live the remainder of her life for herself alone, knowing she may never see her children again.

Entwined is Paul Harrison's story as he loses his wife, his job, and in effect, everything that defines him as a man. He takes off on his own journey out west, searching for the answers to all that has gone wrong in his life. One thing remains constant: he wants his wife back. Joanna, however, is moving further away from her old life as she joins a group dedicated to rescuing endangered loggerhead turtles, led by a charismatic fisherman unlike anyone she's ever met.

This is Ms. McFadden's debut novel - a stunning story of three very different people, each changing their lives at a time when such transformations are usually long over. In my opinion, this book was delightful. I found myself quickly engrossed in the lives and various predicaments of the characters, rooting for them all to come through their own difficulties relatively unscathed. I give this book an A+! and look forward to reading Ms. McFadden's next book sometime in the future.

A+! - (96-100%)

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Thursday, December 12, 2013

I'm in the Midst of a Weeklong Puzzle Blitz...or Should I Say a Puzzle Binge!

Hello everyone! I hope that you're all just fine this morning - I certainly am! :) Anyway, I wanted to give you an update on my week, since I haven't posted a book review in just over a week or so. Since Friday, December 6th - or maybe Saturday, December 7th - I've been doing puzzles! :) Mainly jigsaw puzzles - although I'm alternating between jigsaws, sudoku, and crosswords as well.

I've done three of the jigsaw puzzles that we bought from the Library Book Sale that Mareena and I went to on November 21st. The rest were already part of my collection, and have been for years. I'm currently about a third of the way through doing my sixth jigsaw puzzle. The majority of the puzzles have been 1000 pieces - although a couple may have been 500 pieces - I'm not sure.

I'm not actually reading anything at the moment, although I do have two books waiting for me in the wings - Deadly Grace by Taylor Smith, and Dracula in Love by Karen Essex. I may start reading Dracula in Love by Karen Essex next, once the puzzle phase passes. That is one of Mareena's books, but she has let me borrow it to read.

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Maryann McFadden - So Happy Together

113. So Happy Together by Maryann McFadden (2009)
Length: 381 pages
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Started: 2 December 2013
Finished: 4 December 2013
Where did it come from? From a Library Book Sale
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 20 April 2013
Why do I have it? I like contemporary fiction and Maryann McFadden is a new author for me.

Claire Noble is a single mother and a respected history teacher, who has also been caring for her aging parents. Everyone may need a dream, but Claire gave up on hers a long time ago. But her dreams apparently never gave up on her - and now, Claire finally has a chance to experience something that she has always wanted. 

She has fallen in love with Rick Saunders, who is offering her both security and the opportunity to travel. Before their planned fall wedding, Claire will be leaving to spend the summer on Cape Cod, where the fabled light has been luring artists for a century; for the chance of a lifetime to study with one of the most noted photographers in the country. 

But just as Claire is about to step forward into her new life, the previous one begins to change dramatically. Her estranged daughter suddenly shows up with a backpack full of problems. Claire's father reveals a fifty-year-old secret that threatens to unravel their family. Her mother confides that at seventy-eight years old, she's still waiting for the love of her life. And a chance encounter with an environmental writer results in an intriguing new relationship, threatening Claire's certainty that she's found the man with whom she hopes to spend the rest of her life. 

In the midst of all this turbulence, Claire begins to question everything she thought she wanted. And surprisingly, so do her mother and her daughter. Set in the lush, rolling hills of northern New Jersey and the romantic, windswept dunes of Cape Cod, So Happy Together by Maryann McFadden is the story of three generations of women who find their lives, and dreams, suddenly transformed in ways they never would have imagined. However, ultimately, it is the heartbreaking and joyful journey of one woman who comes to realize that, when you're a mother, and a daughter, you are never truly free.

In my opinion, this was quite a book. The plot and story were very believable, and the family dynamics were just the type that I enjoy reading about. This was actually the first book that I've ever read by Maryann McFadden, and it was a book that Mareena chose for me when we went to our local library's perpetual book sale back in April of this year. I think that Mareena chose wisely - I give this book an A+! and will definitely put Ms. McFadden's two other books - The Richest Season and The Book Lover - on my Wish List.

A+! - (96-100%)

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Joe Hill - Heart-Shaped Box: A Novel

112. Heart-Shaped Box: A Novel by Joe Hill (2007)
Length: 376 pages
Genre: Horror
Started: 29 November 2013
Finished: 1 December 2013
Where did it come from? From a Library Book Sale
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 20 April 2013
Why do I have it? I like horror and Joe Hill is a new author for me.

Judas Coyne is a collector of the macabre: from Disney sketches drawn by John Wayne Gacy, to a hangman's noose used at the turn of the nineteenth century in England - and everything in between. As an aging death-metal rock god, his varied taste for the unnatural is widely known to his legions of fans as the notorious excesses of his youth. But nothing he possesses can possibly rival his latest discovery - an item for sale on the Internet - something so terribly strange, Jude can't help but reach for his wallet.

"I will 'sell' my stepfather's ghost to the highest bidder..." begins the email, and right from that line Jude is intrigued. For a thousand dollars, he will become the proud owner of a dead man's suit, said to be haunted by a restless spirit. He isn't afraid. He has spent a lifetime coping with ghosts - of an abusive father, of the lovers he callously abandoned, of the band-mates he betrayed. So, what's one more?

But what UPS delivers to his doorstep in a black heart-shaped box is completely unexpected. This is no imaginary or metaphysical ghost, no benign conversation piece. It's the real thing.

Suddenly the suit's previous owner is everywhere: behind the bedroom door...seated in Jude's restored vintage Mustang...standing outside his window...staring out from his widescreen TV. Waiting - with a gleaming razor blade on a chain dangling from one bony hand. And, Judas Coyne is about to learn that sooner or later the dead catch up...

Joe Hill is actually Stephen King's son - something that I didn't realize until Mareena told me when I bought this book back in April. Anyway, although Joe Hill has written many short story collections, I believe that this is his debut novel - and what a debut it is! 

I absolutely loved this book. I found the story to be fast-paced and action-packed, not letting up for an instant. Heart-Shaped Box: A Novel by Joe Hill was compulsively readable for me, and I finished it at a gulp. I give this book an A+! Definitely a winner in a family of winners, and I'm putting Joe Hill's other books - 20th Century GhostsHorns and NOS4A2 - on my Wish List.

A+! - (96-100%)
       
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 811 unread books lying around the house and ended the month with 801 books unread. All the books that I acquired this month came from Amazon, lent to me by Mareena, from Netgalley, lent to me by friends, and a Library Book Sale that we went to on the 21st.

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 :))
- Cemetery Girl by David Bell
- Falling Angels by Barbara Gowdy
- The Strange Ones by Warren Smith
- Miami, It's Murder by Edna Buchanan
- The Right Hand of Evil by John Saul
- Upstairs, Downstairs III: The Years of Change by Mollie Hardwick
- Circle of Friends by Maeve Binchy
- Every Last One: A Novel by Anna Quindlen
- Heat by Arthur Herzog
- Green Calder Grass by Janet Dailey

Added to my TBR pile (oh well, you win some and you lose some! Not too bad though, I suppose:))
- The Mummifier's Daughter: A Novel in Ancient Egypt by Nathaniel Burns
- Morehouse Farm Critter Knits: 20 Easy Patterns and Designs for Animal Scarves, Hats and Mittens by Margrit Lohrer
- The Angry Woman Suite by Lee Fulbright
- Hidden Lives by Douglas Adamson
- A Light in Dark Places by Jennifer Graves and Emily Clawson
The Descent: Book 3 of the Taker Trilogy by Alma Katsu 
- True Hollywood Noir: Filmland Mysteries and Murders by Dina Di Mambro
- Who Knew? The Best of Volumes 1 and 2 by Bruce Lubin and Jeanne Bossolina Lubin
- Who Knew? Volume 3 by Bruce Lubin and Jeanne Bossolina Lubin
- The Meaning of Children by Beverly Akerman
- Cedar Hollow by Tracey Smith
- The Woman in the Photograph by Mani Feniger
- Once More From the Top by Nan Reinhardt
- 204 Rosewood Lane by Debbie Macomber
- The Affair: A Novel by Alicia Clifford
- All the Colors of Darkness by Peter Robinson
- Alma Rose by Edith Forbes
- The Amateur Marriage: A Novel by Anne Tyler
- Another City, Not my Own: A Novel in the Form of a Memoir by Dominick Dunne
- Are You Afraid of the Dark? by Sidney Sheldon
- At First Sight by Nicholas Sparks
- Barefoot in the Sun by Roxanne St. Claire
- Best Friends by Martha Moody
- A Bigamist's Daughter by Alice McDermott
- The Bonesetter's Daughter by Amy Tan
- Burnt Mountain: A Novel by Anne Rivers Siddons
- Charlotte Markham and the House of Darkling by Michael Boccacino
- Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton
- Daughters of Britannia: The Lives and Times of Diplomatic Wives by Katie Hickman
- The Decline and Fall of the House of Windsor by Donald Spoto
- The Doomsday Conspiracy by Sidney Sheldon
- Evenfall by Liz Michalski
- Family Pictures by Sue Miller
- Fergie Confidential: The Real Story by Chris Hutchins and Peter Thompson
- Fire on Ice: The Exclusive Inside Story of Tonya Harding by J. E. Vader and Abby Haight
- For a Few Demons More by Kim Harrison
- Friends in High Places by Donna Leon
- Genie: A Scientific Tragedy by Russ Rymer
- Headhunters by Jo Nesbo
- Heartwood: A Novel by Belva Plain
- The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler
- Little Bee by Chris Cleave
- A Matter of Justice by Charles Todd
- The Memory Collector by Meg Gardiner
- The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards
- My Name is Mary Sutter: A Novel by Robin Oliveira
- My Sergei: A Love Story by Ekaterina Gordeeva and E. M. Swift
- Neighborhood Watch by Cammie McGovern
- Nightwoods by Charles Frazier
- Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult
- Nobody Believes Me by Molly Katz
- The Office of Desire by Martha Moody
- Once in a Blue Moon by Eileen Goudge
- The Other Side of the Rainbow: Behind the Scenes on the Judy Garland Television Series by Mel Torme
- Pearl by Mary Gordon
- The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
- A Ride Into Morning: The Story of Tempe Wick by Ann Rinaldi
- The Rope Walk by Carrie Brown
- The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
- Shooting at Loons by Margaret Maron
- Sing You Home by Jodi Picoult
- Sister by Rosamund Lupton
- Still Alice by Lisa Genova
- The Summer we Fell Apart by Robin Antalek
- Sweetgrass by Mary Alice Monroe
- The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
- To Trust a Stranger by Karen Robards
- The Touch by Colleen McCullough
- True Evil: A Novel by Greg Iles
- Truth and Consequence by Angela Britnell
- Twenty Wishes by Debbie Macomber
- What Matters Most: A Novel by Luanne Rice
- White Doves at Morning by James Lee Burke
- White Widow by Jim Lehrer
- The World Below by Sue Miller
- The Year of Jubilo: A Novel of the Civil War by Howard Bahr
- Pride and Honour: The Battle For Saxony by Nathaniel Burns
Four Letters of Love: The Profundity of Love by Vivek Sharma
The Ultimate Mystery Thriller Horror Box Set by Taylor Lee, J. Thorn, Cathy Perkins, Nolan Radke, Richter Watkins, Thomas Morrisey and David Weisman
- So What! Stories or Whatever! by G. J. Griffiths
- Siren on the Square by Augustine Tagaste
- Memory Scents: A Psychological Thriller by Gayle Eileen Curtis
- The Turtle Boy by Kealan Patrick Burke
- A First-Name Basis by Patricia Traxler
- Even More Ketchup than Salsa: The Final Dollop by Joe Cawley
- Roaring Mountain: A True Story by Shirley Gray
The Bracelet: A Novel of Life, Sorrow, and Love by C. A. Deslauries
Broken Wing by Anna Klay
Quail Crossings by Jennifer McMurrain
That Kind of Girl by Christy Ogilvie
Therapy For Ghosts by Eric Praschan
Chasing the Demons by Eamon Moroney
Edgewise by Jan Stites

Taken off my TBR pile and sent to a new home (Yay! Happy Dance! :))  
- The Doctor's Wife by Brian Moore
- Falling Angels by Barbara Gowdy
- The Strange Ones by Warren Smith
- Moths: A Novel by Rosalind Ashe
- The Hanging Tree: A Novella by Michael Phillip Cash
- The People From the Sea by Velda Johnston
- Summer House: A Novel by Nancy Thayer
- Inventing Memory: A Novel of Mothers and Daughters by Erica Jong
- Expensive People by Joyce Carol Oates
- Echoes by Maeve Binchy
- The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark
- Cemetery Girl by David Bell

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: 3,205
Grade Range: A+! to B+!

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

Saturday, November 30, 2013

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


 Every Last One: A Novel by Anna Quindlen
Published as: Every Last One in April 2010
Publisher: Random House




Birth Name: Anna Marie Quindlen
Born: 8 July 1952 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Canonical Name: Anna Quindlen
Pseudonyms: None

Every Last One: A Novel by Anna Quindlen was the one hundred and ninth book that I read in 2013. I have had this book on my TBR shelf since November 21, 2013 and it took me two days to read. This book is a definite keeper for me!

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Friday, November 29, 2013

Janet Dailey - Green Calder Grass

111. Green Calder Grass by Janet Dailey (2002)
The Calder Saga Book 6
Length: 345 pages
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Started: 27 November 2013
Finished: 29 November 2013
Where did it come from? From a Library Book Sale
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 2 February 2013
Why do I have it? I like contemporary fiction and Janet Dailey is a new author for me.

Headstrong and proud, with her roots planted deep in Calder soil, Jessy Niles Calder isn't the sort of woman to lead a man or be led by him. She has always known that Ty Calder was the man for her, even if she had to wait for him to leave behind his loveless marriage to glamorous, poor little rich girl, Tara. Now, as Ty's wife, Jessy finally has everything she's ever wanted - the strong bonds of family, a thriving ranch, and the long-awaited promise of a new life growing within her...proof of her love for Ty.

And then Tara returns. As manipulative as she is beautiful, Tara has never brought anything with her but trouble, so Jessy can only wonder what her agenda is this time. But when Tara's powerful father dies, she seems genuinely grief-stricken and relies on Ty and his sister, Cat, for comfort and strength. Soon, Tara's back on the land and involved in their lives, and nothing is the same.

As days give way to months, Tara's very presence there divides the ranch, replacing long-held bonds of trust between employer and employees, friends and relatives, husband and wife - with seeds of suspicion and simmering jealousies that endanger Jessy's happiness and the Calders' claim on their land.

With everything at stake - from the ranch she loves to the name she proudly calls her own - Jessy Calder is in for the fight of her life. And when the Calders fight for what they love, they fight to win. But with Tara's return, a deep-seated desire for revenge has been stirred from an old danger...a secret link to the past that will test the fabric of the Calder clan, threatening their very lives - and culminating in a loss more heartbreaking than any of them could possibly imagine.

To my knowledge, I have never read anything by Janet Dailey before, although I may have several of her books hidden away somewhere on my bookshelves downstairs. Anyway, I absolutely loved reading this book! It was extremely well-written and the plot captured and held my attention strongly until the very end. This is the sixth book in the Calder Saga, but for all intents and purposes, it can be read on its own - which is something that I very much appreciated. I give this book an A+! and am looking forward to reading more from Janet Dailey in the future.

A+! - (96-100%)

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Giving Thanks For All Our Blessings This Thanksgiving!

Prosperity image

I hope that all my blog readers in the United States have a very happy Thanksgiving! May your Thanksgiving be filled with great food, wonderful friendship and all the family ties that you may wish for. :) I have to say that Mareena and I will not be having the usual Thanksgiving turkey today - it will be smoked ham for us all the way. After that, we will kick up our feet and read books for the entire day! :)

May all of you have a wonderfully safe and blessed Thanksgiving. Be sure to find some quiet time for yourselves and count your blessings today when and if you can. I know that I'm incredibly thankful for my continued health and happiness, my daughter's continued health and happiness, that we are both comfortable and love each other as much as we do, and that our family is as well as they are. We are also incredibly thankful for our three kitties - Ruby, Leila and Lollipop.

I also hope that everyone who is away from their families at this time, will know that they are sorely missed, truly loved and deeply appreciated by all! God bless all of you, may you have a very happy and wonderful Thanksgiving! :)

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Arthur Herzog - Heat

110. Heat by Arthur Herzog (1977)
Length: 277 pages
Genre: Horror
Started: 24 November 2013
Finished: 27 November 2013
Where did it come from? From a Library Book Sale
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 5 April 2001
Why do I have it? I like horror and Arthur Herzog is a new author for me.

Somewhere in a secret underground laboratory, Lawrence Pick - an engineer who predicted and analyzed large-scale calamities that might affect the national security of the United States - gathers startling evidence that the world's weather may be rapidly changing, as a prelude to a fundamental alteration in global climate. They call him an alarmist - a gloomy, anxious pessimist. Lawrence resented the label, but for himself and a team of equally skilled scientists, the evidence is irrefutable.

When the evidence of a carbon dioxide buildup was first brought to his attention, the idea seemed ludicrous, too far-fetched. Until nature itself breathed life into the theory. Now, as freakish weather conditions prevail: extraordinary tornadoes and hurricanes, droughts, violent hailstorms and windstorms, as well as savage waterspouts - Lawrence's various 'over-reactive' weather predictions become a stunning reality.

"Condition Green" is no longer a theory as destruction runs rampant, but still neither the government of the United States nor the people will listen. Too late, the results of man's indifference is everywhere...with only one hope for survival.

I must say that while I ultimately ended up enjoying this book, I found reading it was a bit of a slog for me in certain places. In my opinion, the writing was too technically involved - the author used a little too much scientific jargon - and as a result, reading the story was slightly beyond me at times.

It was still a very good book, but for me, the thing that saved Heat by Arthur Herzog being rated a B+! or even a B! was that the action picked up appreciably towards the end. I give this story an A! This is certainly a book that makes you think - and worry!

A! - (90-95%)

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Anna Quindlen - Every Last One: A Novel

109. Every Last One: A Novel by Anna Quindlen (2010)
Length: 299 pages
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Started: 22 November 2013
Finished: 24 November 2013
Where did it come from? From a Library Book Sale
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 21 November 2013
Why do I have it? I like contemporary fiction and have read and enjoyed several books by this author in the past.

For Mary Beth Latham, the loving mother of three children and wife of a very successful eye doctor, nothing is more important to her than her family and their well-being. She is first and foremost a mother to three teenaged children - daughter Ruby, and fraternal twin boys, Alex and Max. Her own career as a gardener and landscaper, and to a certain extent, even her marriage to her husband, Glen, tends to take a backseat to her role as a mother for Mary Beth.

Caring for her family and preserving their day-to-day happiness in life is paramount. So, when one of her sons, Max, becomes severely depressed, Mary Beth focuses on getting him the help he needs - so much so, that she is completely blindsided by a shocking act of violence - the explosive consequences of what seem to be inconsequential actions.

What follows afterwards is a testament to the power of a woman's love and determination, and to the invisible line of hope and healing that connects every human being, one to another. Ultimately, Every Last One: A Novel by Anna Quinlen, is about facing every last one of our deepest fears, about finding a way to navigate roads we never intended to travel, and to live a life we never dreamed we'd have to live but must be brave enough to try.

I've read only three books by Anna Quindlen in the past, but am quickly beginning to think of her as one of my favorite authors. I must say that I absolutely loved Every Last One: A Novel. The plot was enthralling - capturing my attention from page one with likeable characters and heart-stopping drama. The story was also incredibly poignant for me. In my opinion, Anna Quindlen is a terrific author, and I'm looking forward to reading more from this author in the future.

I give Every Last One: A Novel by Anna Quindlen an A+! This book is a definite keeper for me, and is perhaps my favorite book of the month.

A+! - (96-100%)

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Friday, November 22, 2013

Maeve Binchy - Circle of Friends

108. Circle of Friends by Maeve Binchy (1990)  
Length: 596 pages
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Started: 18 November 2013
Finished: 22 November 2013
Where did it come from? From a Library Book Sale
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 23 January 2001
Why do I have it? I love Maeve Binchy as an author and have read and enjoyed several books by this author in the past.

The circle began with Benny Hogan and Eve Malone, growing up, inseparable, in the tiny village of Knockglen. Benny - the only child, yearning to break free from her adoring parents. Eve - the orphaned offspring of a convent handyman and a rebellious blueblood, abandoned by her mother's wealthy family to be raised by the nuns. Eve and Benny - they knew the sins and secrets behind every villager's lace curtains...except their own.

The circle blossomed in Dublin, to the university where Benny and Eve met beautiful Nan Mahon and Jack Foley, the handsome son of a doctor. But heartbreak and betrayal would eventually bring the sheltered world of Knockglen and Dublin together in an explosive collision. Long-hidden lies would surface to test the meaning of love and to try the strength of bonds created within the fragile gold bands of a Circle of Friends...

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book; as I have enjoyed so many of Maeve Binchy's books that I've read in the past. I originally thought that I read it about fifteen or twenty years ago, but I was mistaken. I don't believe that I've ever read this book before. However, I do remember watching the movie starring Chris O'Donnell and Minnie Driver, when it came on television about seven months ago. 

I loved both the book and the movie, but they were each so different that I was slightly confused over whether I had actually read the book before. I give Circle of Friends by Maeve Binchy an A+!  

A+! - (96-100%)
    
Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Our Library Visit For November

Hello Everyone! How are you on this fine Thursday? I'm doing just fine. :) Well, today being Thursday, this is the day that I usually run my errands. I still ran my errands, but before I did, Mareena and I went to our local library and raided the library book sale! :)

It was absolutely wonderful! We spent about an hour and a half - from 11:45 A. M. to 12:30 P. M. - at the library, and had agreed before hand that this was to be our Christmas visit. The books that we bought at the library book sale would be kept as Christmas gifts for us both - we'll see how long that promise lasts! LOL!! :)

Between us, we bought 36 hardcovers, 61 paperbacks as well as 4 jigsaw puzzles . We spent a whopping $65 for a total of 97 books. A pretty good haul, if I do say so, myself. :)

At the moment, I'm reading Circle of Friends by Maeve Binchy, which I started on Monday, November 18th!

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Mollie Hardwick - Upstairs, Downstairs III: The Years of Change

107. Upstairs, Downstairs III: The Years of Change by Mollie Hardwick (1974)
The Upstairs, Downstairs Series Book 3
Length: 239 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
Started: 14 November 2013
Finished: 17 November 2013
Where did it come from? From a Library Book Sale
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 25 July 2001
Why do I have it? I like historical fiction and Mollie Hardwick is a new author for me.

Shockwaves are felt at 165 Eaton Place as the aristocratic Bellamys' experience dangerous love, tragic loss, and shocking new liberties. From 1912 to 1914, the very foundations of the Bellamy family's splendid London mansion in Belgravia seemed to tremble when beautiful Lady Marjorie Bellamy embarked on a tragic ocean voyage...When dashing James Bellamy talked of marriage to a divorcee...When the distinguished Mr. Robert Bellamy was almost expelled from Parliament, and fell into the sensual clutches of a ravishing once-married woman...When an inexperienced servant witnessed the wrong gentleman emerging from a lady's bedchamber, and told the wrong person about it...

England was being swept along in the winds of change - and in the eye of such a perilous hurricane, the Bellamys must decide whether to move with the times, or try to preserve their sacred traditions.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. I used to watch 'Upstairs, Downstairs' faithfully when it was on television in the 1970's, and reading The Years of Change by Mollie Hardwick brought me right back into that time period again. It was a pleasure for me to revisit these characters. I give this book an A+!

A+! - (96-100%)   
  
Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Thursday, November 14, 2013

John Saul - The Right Hand of Evil

106. The Right Hand of Evil by John Saul (1999)
Length: 427 pages
Genre: Horror
Started: 9 November 2013
Finished: 14 November 2013
Where did it come from? From a Library Book Sale
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 21 November 2001
Why do I have it? I like horror and John Saul is a new author for me.

For the Conway family, moving into their ancestral home in Louisiana after the death of an estranged aunt promised a fresh start for them - a completely new beginning. Situated in the small town of St. Albans, the sprawling Victorian house seems to swallow up the sunlight. Surrounded by dense woods and a stifling sense of melancholy, the residence has sat abandoned for the last forty years. 

Deep within the cold cellar and etched into the very walls, is the long dark history of the Conway name - a grim bloodline tainted by suicide, strange disappearances, poisoned by voodoo rituals, and rumors of murders. Such a house has developed a life of its very own - an eeriness which is palpable, dwelling in the shadows and biding its time.

The Conway family knows nothing of the soul-shattering secrets that snake through generations of their past. They do not realize the terror that awaits them. For with each successive generation of Conways there ultimately comes a hellish day of reckoning...

I do have several books by John Saul on my bookshelf, but I believe that this is the first book by this author that I've read. I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. The book was extremely well-written, the plot captured my attention and held it all the way through the story. I will say that I found the story slightly repetitive at certain points - at least in my opinion. Overall, though, I give this book a definite A! and look forward to reading more from John Saul in the future.     

A! - (90-95%)
 
Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Edna Buchanan - Miami, It's Murder

105. Miami, It's Murder by Edna Buchanan (1994)
The Britt Montero Mysteries Book 2
Length: 244 pages
Genre: Contemporary Mystery
Started: 6 November 2013
Finished: 9 November 2013
Where did it come from? From a Library Book Sale
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 1 June 2001
Why do I have it? I like contemporary mysteries and Edna Buchanan as an author.

Miami is a city teeming with life and with a restless energy that is undeniable. A city where the skies are always blue and life and death are seldom simple. Miami is also the home of Britt Montero, a feisty, charismatic Cuban-American crime reporter.

In Miami, It's Murder, Britt is investigating a series of bizarre deaths involving sex, electrocution, and freshly poured concrete. With a retired, terminally ill detective as her friend and source, Britt probes the unsolved rape and murder of a little girl, which ultimately may implicate the rich and powerful front-runner in the governor's race. She also follows the trail of a terrifying serial rapist who ambushes career women in the bathrooms of the gleaming downtown skyscrapers that spear the Miami skyline.

This quest takes her from the sterile and antiseptic police crime lab with its forensic experts, into the dark heart of Santeria - a blood-fueled religion linked to spells, symbols, sacrifice, and the occult. Enraged by Britt's stories, the rapist escalates his violence and focuses his obsession on her. Stalked by the shadowy rapist, on the trail of a serial killer, Britt comes ever closer to learning the shocking truth as tensions mount and the stories intersect with edge-of-the-seat suspense and an astonishing conclusion.

This may be the second or third book that I've read by Edna Buchanan and I've enjoyed them all. In my opinion, this book was very well-written, with likable characters; and an action-packed, intricate plot that led in directions that I wasn't expecting. I give this book an A+! Edna Buchanan certainly knows her stuff as an author.

A+! - (96-100%)
 
Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Warren Smith - The Strange Ones

104. The Strange Ones by Warren Smith (1972)
Length: 190 pages
Genre: Horror
Started: 5 November 2013
Finished: 6 November 2013
Where did it come from? From a Library Book Sale
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 21 November 2001
Why do I have it? I like horror and Warren Smith is a new author for me.

This book is filled with various true accounts of personal brushes with the unexplained: incidents of parapsychology; the paranormal, unexplained disappearances at sea, anomalies of medicine and the occult. While I certainly enjoyed reading most of these stories, I must say that this book wasn't entirely riveting to me. I found that the stories, while interesting, just weren't as detailed as I would have preferred. I give this book a B+!

B+! - (89-85%)
 
Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Monday, November 4, 2013

Barbara Gowdy - Falling Angels

103. Falling Angels by Barbara Gowdy (1989)
Length: 199 pages
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Started: 1 November 2013
Finished: 4 November 2013
Where did it come from? From a Library Book Sale
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 11 September 2001
Why do I have it? I like contemporary fiction and Barbara Gowdy is a new author for me.

The year is 1969, and somewhere in an Ontario suburb, the Field family's fragile domestic peace is slowly coming to an end. The three Field sisters - Norma, Lou and Sandy - are each just trying to find their own place within their very eccentric, often miserable, sometimes hilarious family. However, the looming shadow over all of their lives is the tragically suspicious death of the family's first-born son - a secret which is never spoken of, but is nonetheless pervasive.

The Field household is ruled by Jim Field - a philandering, heavy-drinking used car salesman - who is keen on the militaristic discipline of his children, and on keeping up appearances for the neighbors. Despite his poor treatment of his wife, he is still oddly protective of her, insisting that his daughters watch her all the time.

His severely depressed wife Mary - a one-time dancer - has escaped into apathy and alcoholism a long time ago. Whenever her coffee cup is empty, her daughters rush to fill it with whiskey, for they realize she is living precariously in the wake of what happened to her baby son. 

Each of the teenage daughters has her own way of coping with her dysfunctional family. They try to make their own experiences while struggling with their family duties and concern for their mother. The eldest daughter Norma is the most responsible member of the family; quiet, subdued and selfless, she overburdens herself with domestic tasks and responsibilities, patiently putting up with her father's antics. She is also the only one intent on keeping the memory of her brother bright, determined to discover the secrets surrounding his death.

The middle daughter Lou is the polar opposite of Norma. Lou fights for her autonomy within the family. She is the tough-talking, rebellious wild child; standing up to her father and loving her mother, even as she despises Mary's weaknesses.

The youngest daughter Sandy is not as responsible as Norma, nor as rebellious as Lou. Sweet-looking Sandy devotes herself to becoming a perfect woman; with her own naive sense of femininity and sexuality. 

Each sister goes through her own rite of passage. They turn to drugs, sex, and schmaltzy fantasy - but repeatedly to one another. And, even after her death, the sisters still turn to their mother, and to the unusual love they discover their father still holds for her.

I must say that while this book dealt with some seriously dark issues, I found that there was a thread of humor running throughout the story that I could totally appreciate. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book - the story was well-written, easy to follow and the characters were sympathetically drawn. I give this book an A+! and look forward to perhaps reading more from Barbara Gowdy in the future.

A+! - (96-100%)         
    
Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Friday, November 1, 2013

David Bell - Cemetery Girl

102. Cemetery Girl by David Bell (2011)
Length: 389 pages
Genre: Contemporary Mystery
Started: 29 October 2013
Finished: 1 November 2013
Where did it come from? From Paperback Swap
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 28 October 2013
Why do I have it? I like contemporary mysteries and have read and enjoyed The Hiding Place by the same author in the past.

Tom and Abby Stuart thought they had everything: a perfect marriage, successful careers, and a sweet, beautiful twelve-year-old daughter named Caitlin. Then one day Caitlin vanished without a trace. For a while they grasped at every false hope and followed every empty lead, hoping that Caitlin would be found safe. But the tragedy ultimately ended up changing their lives, overwhelming them with guilt and dread, and shattering their marriage. 

Four years later, Caitlin is found alive - dirty and disheveled yet eerily calm. She won't discuss where she was or what happened. And she is fundamentally changed by the ordeal. 

When the police arrest a suspect connected to Caitlin's disappearance, she refuses to testify against him. So the Stuarts are faced with a devastating choice: Let the man who may be responsible for destroying their lives walk away, or take matters into their own hands. And when Tom decides to try to uncover the truth for himself, he finds that nothing that has happened can possibly prepare him for what he is about to discover. 

In my opinion, this book was absolutely excellent! The story was extremely intriguing and captured my attention right from the beginning. It was a poignant book for me to read as well - fast-paced and well-written, holding my attention throughout the entire book. I give David Bell's debut novel a definite A+! 

A+! - (96-100%)
 
Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight