Sunday, March 31, 2013

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

Audition: A Memoir by Barbara Walters
Published as: Audition: A Memoir in May 2008
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf

Birth Name: Barbara Jill Walters
Born: 25 September 1929 in Boston, Massachusetts

Canonical Name: Barbara Walters
Pseudonyms: None

Audition: A Memoir by Barbara Walters was the twenty-first book that I read in 2013. I have had this book on my TBR shelf since June 30, 2010 although I didn't actually read it until March of 2013. This book took me ten days to read and was sent off to another good home on April 15, 2013.

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Jodi Picoult - House Rules: A Novel

24. House Rule: A Novel by Jodi Picoult (2010)
Length: 532 pages
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Started: 19 March 2013
Finished: 26 March 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 have read and enjoyed several books by this author in the past.

Jacob Hunt is a teenager with Asperger's Syndrome. He is hopeless at reading social cues or expressing himself well to others, although he is brilliant in many ways. Like many children with Asperger's, Jacob has also developed a special focus for a specific subject - in his case, forensic analysis. He is constantly showing up at crime scenes, thanks to the police scanner that he keeps in his room, and telling the police what they need to do...and he's usually right. 

But when Jacob's small town is rocked by a terrible murder, for a change, the police come to Jacob with questions. All the hallmarks of Asperger's - not looking someone in the eye, unexplained tics and twitches, flat affect - can look so much like guilt to law enforcement. Suddenly, Jacob and his family, who only want to fit in, feel the spotlight shining directly on them.

For Jacob's mother, Emma, it's a brutal reminder of the intolerance and misunderstanding that always threatens her family. For his brother, Theo, it's another indication of why nothing is normal because of Jacob. And over this small family the soul-searing question looms: Did Jacob commit murder? 

I enjoyed this book immensely! House Rules is the third book by Jodi Picoult that I've read, and I must say that, in my opinion, each of the books that I've read have been entirely different. The characters have all been fully realized, the plots have been well-written and extremely thought-provoking, and Jodi Picoult is quickly becoming an author who I appreciate reading. I give House Rules by Jodi Picoult an A+! and look forward to reading her next book very soon.

A+! - (96-100%)

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Abigail Van Buren - The Best of Dear Abby

23. The Best of Dear Abby by Abigail Van Buren (1981)
Length: 252 pages
Genre: Non-Fiction
Started: 19 March 2013
Finished: 20 March 2013
Where did it come from? From Paperback Swap
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 31 January 2013
Why do I have it? I like non-fiction and Abigail Van Buren is a new author for me.

Pauline Esther Phillips - also known as Abigail Van Buren - was an advice columnist and radio show host who began writing her 'Dear Abby' advice column in 1956. During her decades writing the column, it became the most widely-syndicated newspaper column in the world, syndicated in 1,400 newspapers around the world with 110 millions readers. Pauline's twin sister, Esther Pauline Lederer - who took over writing the 'Ask Ann Landers' advice column after the death of Ruth Crowley, the first 'Ann Landers' in 1955 - became estranged from Pauline for a long time, after Pauline introduced 'Dear Abby' a few months after Esther began writing 'Ask Ann Landers'. 

Although the sisters publicly reconciled in 1964, acrimony still existed between them until just before Esther's death from blood cancer in June of 2002. The Best of Dear Abby by Abigail Van Buren was actually one of six books written by the popular advice columnist throughout her lifetime. This book is a compilation of the most provocative questions and the wisest and wittiest answers to appear in 'Dear Abby's 33 years of syndication. I give this book an A+!

Abigail Van Buren passed away on January 16, 2013 at the age of 94. She had been battling Alzheimer's Disease for many years. Although her daughter, Jeanne Phillips, had been co-writing the column with Pauline from 1987, Jeanne assumed all writing responsibilities of 'Dear Abby' in 2002 after Pauline was diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease. 

A+! - (96-100%)   

 Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Rosamunde Pilcher - The Day of the Storm

Re-read. The Day of the Storm by Rosamunde Pilcher (1975)
Length: 264 pages
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Originally Read: 23 July 2010
Re-read Finished: 19 March 2013
Where did it come from? Originally from Bookmooch, although I never realized that my friend Noelene had also given me a copy in April of 2010 in a box of about 25-30 books before her wedding.

 I hadn't read this book in over two years, so I decided that a reread was definitely in order. This book came to me from my friend Noelene, who was going to be getting married on March 17, 2011, and she had to downsize in order to move in with her new husband. This book was one of about 25 or 30 books that Noelene gave me. She is happily married to her husband Dave now for two years! :)

I must say that this was a fast and easy read for me - a sweet story that took me a day to reread. I can now post this book and send it off to someone else to enjoy.

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Monday, March 18, 2013

Barbara Walters - Audition: A Memoir

21. Audition: A Memoir by Barbara Walters (2008)
Length: 579 pages
Genre: Non-Fiction
Started: 8 March 2013
Finished: 18 March 2013
Where did it come from? From Bookmooch
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 30 June 2010
Why do I have it? I like autobiographies and biographies and have always been curious about Barbara Walters's life. I've wanted to read this book ever since it came out.

After more than 40 years interviewing heads of state, world leaders, movie stars, criminals and murderers, inspirational figures and celebrities of all kinds, the most influential woman in the history of television journalism finally writes her memoir. Barbara Walters's perception of the world was formed from a very early age. Her father, Lou Walters, was the owner and creative mind behind the legendary Latin Quarter nightclub, and it was his risk-taking lifestyle that gave Barbara her first taste of glamour. It also made her aware of the ups and downs, the insecurities, and even the tragedies that can occur when someone is willing to take such great risks, for Lou Walters not only made several fortunes - he also lost them. 

Barbara learned early about the damage that such an existence can do to relationships - between husband and wife as well as between parent and child. Throughout her roller-coaster ride of a childhood, Barbara had a constant companion, her mentally-challenged sister, Jackie. True, Jackie taught her younger sister much about patience and compassion, however Barbara also writes honestly about the resentment she often felt having a sister who was so "different" and the guilt that still haunts her.

All of this - the financial responsibility for her family, the fear, the love - played a large part in the choices Barbara made as she grew up: the friendships she developed, the relationships she had, the marriages she tried to make work. Ultimately, thanks to her drive, as well as a decent amount of luck, she began a career in television. And what a career it has been! Against incredible odds, Barbara has made it to the top of a male-dominated industry. She is a true trail-blazer within the industry, becoming the most trusted television journalist of all time. She has not only interviewed the world's most fascinating figures, she has become a part of their world.     

I really enjoyed this book! After having it on my bookshelf unread for almost three years, I finally took the plunge and read it. At 579 pages, I was somewhat daunted to begin reading, despite really wanting to read this book almost from the moment it was published! Overall, it was an incredibly interesting and engaging book for me to read, even though there were one or two chapters that were slow reading. I must say that Barbara Walters has lived an incredibly exciting life and has done much to be admired for by her peers. Ultimately, I give Audition: A Memoir by Barbara Walters an A+!

A+! - (96-100%)   

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Sunday, March 17, 2013

May You All Have a Wonderful St. Patrick's Day!

Little Jig image

I hope that everyone; old and new friends, online and offline friends, and family from all over, have a wonderful and much blessed St. Patrick's Day. I am truly honored and blessed to have you all in my life! :)

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Friday, March 8, 2013

Anne Morrow Lindbergh - Gift From the Sea

20. Gift From the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh (1955)
Length: 138 pages
Genre: Non-Fiction
Started: 7 March 2013
Finished: 8 March 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 non-fiction and Anne Morrow Lindbergh is a new author for me.

In this memoir, Anne Morrow Lindbergh reflects on the lives of Americans, particularly the lives of American women, in the mid-twentieth-century. She shares her meditations on youth and age; love and marriage; peace, solitude and contentment with life using the beach, the sea and the descriptions of several seashells that she discovered washed up on the sand as a backdrop. Written during a two-week vacation to Florida's Captiva Island in the early 1950s, Anne seeks to answer life's deeper questions and find inner tranquility. 

I actually tried to read this book for the first time sometime in 2003 or so, but was only able to finish the first chapter, I think. I had set the book aside because it was just not catching my attention at the time. Anyway, I was looking to read something short after finishing Quinn by Iris Johansen and decided to give Gift From the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh a second chance. 

While I am certainly glad that I eventually read this book, I found it to be slightly abstract and I ended up not enjoying it as much as I thought I would. This book was one that I acquired from a library book sale that Mareena and I went to on September 11, 2001, and was one of several books that I found stashed in my closet last night. I give Gift From the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh a B+!

B+! - (89-85%)

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Iris Johansen - Quinn

19. Quinn by Iris Johansen (2011)
Eve, Quinn and Bonnie Series Book 2
Length: 374 pages
Genre: Contemporary Mystery
Started: 5 March 2013
Finished: 6 March 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 mysteries and despite my having several books by this author on my bookshelf, Iris Johansen is a new author for me.

As a former Navy SEAL turned cop, Joe Quinn has seen the face of evil and knows just how dark the shadows of the soul can turn. But when he met Eve Duncan a decade ago, he never expected to fall in love with a woman whose torment has ultimately fueled her twin desires to bring her missing daughter home and reveal the truth of her disappearance, no matter how devastating it may be. Eve's fateful first love, John Gallo, seems to hold the key to the mystery of young Bonnie's fate. With Joe's life hanging in the balance at the hands of John, justice may never be served - unless CIA agent Catherine Ling, who owes her own child's life to Eve and Joe, can outsmart him at his own game.

I found this book to be very exciting and suspenseful in its own right, full of strong characters and well-written, but the book was not really my cup of tea. This is the second book in a trilogy, and I must say that because I hadn't read the first book it took me a while to realize what was going on. I give Quinn by Iris Johansen an A! 

A! - (90-95%)

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Monday, March 4, 2013

Anne Rivers Siddons - Heartbreak Hotel

18. Heartbreak Hotel by Anne Rivers Siddons (1976)
Length: 309 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
Started: 28 February 2013
Finished: 4 March 2013
Where did it come from? From Bookmooch
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 29 November 2012
Why do I have it? I like historical fiction and have read and enjoyed several books by this author in the past.

Albama, 1956: While Elvis Presley was singing about love, one young woman was learning all about life. Everyone loves Maggie Deloach, one of the most popular girls on campus with everything going for her: an impeccable lineage; picture-perfect looks; the best sorority, and the handsomest fraternity boy's pin on her sweater. The ultimate Southern belle, Maggie knows what the rules are and is willing to play by them. No surprises are waiting in her future - but neither are any disappointments.

Then, amid the stifling heat of a single Alabama summer, everything changes. There are rumors of a racial revolution brewing, one that surely should not touch Maggie's protected world...yet somehow does. There is growing sexual awareness that she knows should shock her...yet does not. There is a single act of defiance and courage that will forever alter the way others think of her...and how Maggie thinks of herself.

I must say, that while Heartbreak Hotel by Anne Rivers Siddons picked up slightly towards the end of the book, it wasn't the best book by one of my favorite authors - Anne Rivers Siddons - that I've ever read. Maybe it has something to do with this being her debut novel, but I found Heartbreak Hotel to be somewhat over-written and over-worked, full of adjectives and convoluted sentences that ultimately made reading this book rather difficult for me. To me, this book was somewhat disappointing, as I know what this author is capable of.

I will certainly read more from Anne Rivers Siddons in the future, as she appears to have really hit her stride as an author with her later books, however I had to give this debut novel a B+! 

B+! - (89-85%) 

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Friday, March 1, 2013

Reading Wrap-up For February 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 February with 637 unread books lying around the house and ended the month with 629 books unread. All the books that I acquired this month came from a Library Book Sale that Mareena and I went to on February 2nd, Amazon and Loyal Books.

Let me try to break down the influx for you:

- Nethergate by Norah Lofts

Changes to the TBR pile

Read from my TBR pile (Yes! I am a reading machine :))
- As Max Saw It by Louis Begley
- The Woman in Black: A Ghost Story by Susan Hill
- Change of Heart by Jodi Picoult
- The Naked Face by Sidney Sheldon
- The Gathering by Anne Enright
- "They Always Call us Ladies": Stories From Prison by Jean Harris
- My Sister's Keeper: A Novel by Jodi Picoult

Added to my TBR pile (oh well, you win some and you lose some! Not too bad though, I suppose:))
- The Accomplice by Elizabeth Ironside
- The Beach House by James Patterson
- Beauty Beyond the Ashes: Choosing Hope After Crisis by Cheryl McGuinness
- The Broken Cord by Michael Dorris
- Child of my Heart by Alice McDermott
- Dracula in Love by Karen Essex
- Earthquake at Dawn by Kristiana Gregory
- The Edge of the Sky by Drusilla Campbell
- Garden of Lies by Eileen Goudge
- Green Calder Grass by Janet Dailey
- Handle With Care: A Novel by Jodi Picoult
- Here on Earth by Alice Hoffman
- House Rules: A Novel by Jodi Picoult
- Husband and Wife: A Novel by Leah Stewart
- I See You Everywhere by Julia Glass
- The Ladies' Lending Library: A Novel by Janice Kulyk Keefer
- The Lincoln Lawyer by Michael Connelly
- A Little Death by Laura Wilson
- Midwives by Chris Bohjalian
- More Than Words Can Say: A Novel by Robert Barclay
- Night Whispers by Judith McNaught
- Presumption of Death by Perri O'Shaughnessy
- Prince of Darkness by P. C. Doherty
- Quinn by Iris Johansen
- The Rule of Four by Ian Caldwell 
- See Jane Die: A Novel by Erica Spindler
- Sights Unseen by Kaye Gibbons
- Solomon's Oak: A Novel by Jo-Ann Mapson
- Somebody Else's Daughter by Elizabeth Brundage
- Winter's Child by Margaret Maron
- You Don't Love This Man: A Novel by Dan Deweese
- A Family Affair by Mary Campisi
- From the Shadows + Snapped by C. J. Johnson
- The Lost World by Arthur Conan Doyle
- Identity by Ted Dekker
- Beneath by Kit Tinsley

Taken off my TBR pile and sent to a new home (Yay! Happy Dance! :))
- The First Deadly Sin by Lawrence Sanders
- Temporary Sanity: A Crime Novel by Rose Connors
- Mila 18 by Leon Uris
- Manhattan by Neal Travis
- Lines and Shadows by Joseph Wambaugh
- Survivor by Christina Crawford
- What Your Birthday Reveals About You 366 Days of Astonishingly Accurate Revelations About Your Future Your Secrets and Your Strengths by Phyllis Vega

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

Books Read: 8
Pages Read: 2,184
Grade Range: A+! to B+!

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