Wednesday, July 31, 2013

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: 


A Friend of the Family: A Novel by Lauren Grodstein
Published as: A Friend of the Family in November 2009
Publisher: Algonquin Books



Birth Name: Lauren Grodstein
Born: 19 November 1975 in Brooklyn, New York

Canonical Name: Lauren Grodstein
Pseudonyms: Jessie Elliot

A Friend of the Family by Lauren Grodstein was the sixty-seventh book that I read in 2013. I have had this book on my TBR shelf since June 1, 2013 and it took me two days to read. It is definitely a keeper for me.

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Steve Thayer - The Wheat Field

72. The Wheat Field by Steve Thayer (2002)
Pliny Pennington Series Book 1
Length: 349 pages
Genre: Historical Mystery 
Started: 30 July 2013
Finished: 31 July 2013
Where did it come from? From a Library Book Sale
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 10 October 2007
Why do I have it? I like historical mysteries and Steve Thayer is a new author for me.

There are hardly ever any murders in Kickapoo Falls, Wisconsin - bucolic vacation retreat in the Wisconsin Dells, and home of the politically powerful Kickapoo Gunn Club. In 1960 however, the naked bodies of a married couple - Michael and Maggie Butler - are found in a wheat field; viciously shot to death. It falls to Deputy P. A. Pennington, the trusted number-two man in the Kickapoo Falls Sheriff's Department, to find the killer.

Pliny had been in love with Maggie Butler ever since childhood, admiring her from afar for years, and watching as she eventually married another man. However, he has a hard time holding on to his fantasy of her, as he begins to discover what she was mixed up with in reality.

The oddness of the murder scene - both bodies are found within a perfect circle of crushed wheat, with absolutely no footprints or tire tracks to be found at the scene - combined with the fact that the couple's clothes are missing, and Maggie is wearing only her wedding ring but not her class ring as well; strikes Pliny as incredibly strange. The only clues that he has to work with are a Lucky Strike cigarette butt found lying near the bodies and three perfect holes in the flattened wheat.

The motive appears to Pliny to be sexual in nature; a belief which is corroborated when Trooper Russ Hoffmeyer, one of the investigators at the scene, admits to taking part in a menage a trois with Michael and Maggie Butler in the past. Their entire sexual encounter had been filmed and, according to Trooper Hoffmeyer, that film was now missing.

Pliny finds that the closer he gets to the truth, the tighter that the town's ruling elite closes ranks against him. Almost as if following some shadowy master plan, the sheriff, his one-time mentor, begins to turn against him and Pliny becomes the main murder suspect; in danger of being arrested for the double homicide. He is convinced that the answer lies hidden in the wheat field, and in a missing reel of movie film - that will ultimately shut the door on a murder investigation, but immediately open another one onto a deadly election night conspiracy.

I really enjoyed reading this book. In my opinion, the plot was thoroughly intriguing and moved along very quickly. I avidly wanted to learn the murderer's identity, and was enmeshed in the the story until I finally understood their motive. I give this book a definite A+!

A+! - (96-100%)

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Wanda Canada - Island Murders

71. Island Murders by Wanda Canada (2001)
Carroll Davenport Mysteries Book 1
Length: 327 pages
Genre: Contemporary Mystery
Started: 28 July 2013
Finished: 30 July 2013
Where did it come from? From Bookmooch
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 4 June 2010
Why do I have it? I like contemporary mysteries and Wanda Canada is a new author for me.

Figure Eight Island - an island near Wilmington, North Carolina - is the place to live and vacation for a privileged class of Southerners. Definitely not what someone would call a sleepy little hamlet, the island is home to million dollar houses and wealthy opulence. Contractor Carroll Davenport doesn't party with the jet-setters; she builds houses for them. But when an arsonist destroys a house Carroll is building and her job supervisor is found buried under ten feet of topsoil, Carroll is drawn into a world of drug smuggling, corruption and murder. It's enough to ruin her day.

The challenge of keeping Carroll safe becomes increasingly perilous when a rogue cop pegs her as the murderer. Under the ever-watchful eye of Sheriff Stan Council, and with the help of a not-unattractive off-duty FBI agent, Carroll struggles to clear her name - but what she doesn't know could get her, and everyone she loves, killed.

I thought that this book definitely started off strongly, but in my opinion the plot became just the slightest bit implausible towards the end. I also really liked Carroll Davenport as a character in the beginning; however, the constant verbal sparring between her and her handsome off-duty FBI agent-turned-protector tended to get on my nerves - especially if a 'clash of wills' argument suddenly broke out while both of them were being held at gunpoint by someone intent on eliminating them. I give this book an A!

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

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Kitty Sewell - Bloodprint: A Novel of Psychological Suspense

70. Bloodprint: A Novel of Psychological Suspense by Kitty Sewell (2009)
Length: 351 pages
Genre: Contemporary Mystery
Started: 24 July 2013
Finished: 28 July 2013
Where did it come from? From Christmas Tree Shops
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 25 December 2011
Why do I have it? I like contemporary mysteries and Kitty Sewell is a new author for me. Mareena and I went shopping sometime in early December of 2011 with our friends Lisa and Sylvia, and Mareena bought five books for me as Christmas presents.

Madeleine Frank, born and raised in America, is the daughter of a mentally unstable Cuban mother and her father is an internationally prominent English artist. After losing her husband Forrest in a freak accident during a hurricane, Madeleine flees her island home in Key West, Florida and follows her parents to the ancient city of Bath, England to start life anew. Training and practicing as a psychotherapist, Madeleine has finally found a measure of peace through helping others.

Though devastated by her loss, her grief covers another much deeper scar from her past. Madeleine's demons have never truly left her and may, in fact, be closer than ever - in the mad visions of her mother, formerly a priestess of Santeria, the mysterious Afro-Cuban religion. Rachel Locklear appears in Madeleine's office, seeking therapy. A hostile, deeply mistrustful, and severely damaged young woman - Rachel is willing to try anything to break away from her Ukrainian lover, who has subjected her to years of cruelty and brutality and now threatens to kidnap their son.

As Madeleine learns more about her patient's history, she becomes increasingly troubled by the eerie similarities she discovers between Rachel's childhood and her own. Reluctant to act unprofessionally and risk having Rachel walk out of her life forever, Madeleine keeps her suspicions to herself. But she is unaware of the sinister forces gathering strength in her patient's life. Desperate to keep her son safe from his father's ruthless "associates", Rachel eventually has no choice but to involve the only person she can trust in a murderous web of revenge and deception.

From the tropical lushness of Key West to the imposing Georgian streets of Bath, two women with painful pasts collide dangerously with a world of Cuban sorcery, prostitution and cold-blooded murder - culminating in a tale as terrifying as it is compelling.

I have to say that while this book certainly had an exciting plot, I found that it was just a bit too convoluted and slow for my taste. In my opinion, this book was definitely not quick reading, and I had to give it a B+! However, I'm certainly interested in reading Kitty Sewell's debut novel, Ice Trap at some point.

B+! - (89-85%)  

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Giovanni Arpino - A Crime of Honor

69. A Crime of Honor by Giovanni Arpino (1963)
Length: 150 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
Started: 22 July 2013
Finished: 23 July 2013
Where did it come from? From a Library Book Sale
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 30 October 2001
Why do I have it? I like historical fiction and Giovanni Arpino is a new author for me. 

Gaetano Castiglia was a distinguished Italian doctor, the son of a wealthy land owner - the very soul of respectability. In his late thirties, Gaetano chose as his bride a girl of seventeen - Sabina - a beautiful peasant girl. Ever the true gentleman, he refused to give her up simply because public opinion was against the match. Even over his own mother's bitter objections, he planned to train Sabina, make her a lady and then marry her. All was proceeding according to Gaetano's intentions...until he discovered something that shocked him to the very core. 

This was an extremely intriguing book for me to read. Giovanni Arpino is a new author for me, and A Crime of Honor is a translation from the Italian. In my opinion, this book superbly showcased the changing social mores of Italian society during the time between the World Wars. I give this book an A!  

A! - (90-95%)

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Monday, July 22, 2013

Roxanne Pulitzer - Twins

68. Twins by Roxanne Pulitzer (1990)
Length: 287 pages
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Started: 20 July 2013
Finished: 22 July 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 contemporary fiction and Roxanne Pulitzer is a new author for me. 

No woman could resist Dexter Portino, handsome and gorgeous king of the jet set. Beautiful, talented photographer Anne Graham fell under his seductive spell, and when she won his love, she gained entrance into the extravagant, exclusive world of Palm Beach society. The birth of her beautiful twin daughters made her fairy tale marriage complete. 

Then all the glitter and glamour began to tarnish. For behind Dexter's dazzling smile lay the heart of a ruthless man driven by lust, greed, and revenge. A man who would wield power to manipulate both Palm Beach society - and the law - to destroy her.

At the center of the scandal are Carrie and Gracie - twins who have shared everything, even the same man. Born into a world where being 'in' means everything - intoxicating, indulgent, insane, even incestuous - they've grown up fast. Now they're headed on a collision course with fate, when even the incredibly wealthy can't hide all their secrets.

I certainly liked Twins by Roxanne Pulitzer; it was not the sort of book that I typically read, but was surprisingly enjoyable nevertheless. The plot actually turned out to be more interesting than I was expecting. I must say that the writing reminded me slightly of Jackie Collins; "Wealthy, bored socialites living scandalous lives among the jet set." I give this book an A! 

A! - (90-95%)

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Lauren Grodstein - A Friend of the Family: A Novel

67. A Friend of the Family: A Novel by Lauren Grodstein (2009)
Length: 302 pages
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Started: 18 July 2013
Finished: 20 July 2013
Where did it come from? From a Library Book Sale
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 1 June 2013
Why do I have it? I like contemporary fiction and Lauren Grodstein is a new author for me.

Peter and Elaine Dizinoff have been friends with Joe and Iris Stern since college. Living the perfect life in a wealthy New Jersey neighborhood, their children have grown up together and they have shared everything. However, sometimes the wrong decisions can be made for the right reasons...

Pete has spent his whole life working towards building an adulthood that would be, by all measures, judged successful. And in nearly every respect, he has accomplished just that: a skilled and intuitive internist with a loyal following of patients, Pete has built a thriving medical practice in Round Hill, New Jersey. He has a loving and devoted wife in Elaine; a network of close friends, a comfortable suburban status, and an impressive house with a good view from the porch.

Pete and Elaine have only one child, and Pete has pinned all his hopes on his son Alec. Pete only wants the best for Alec, and to that end, he and Elaine have done everything within their power to make his life successful. They've afforded him every opportunity, bailed him out of close calls with the law, and, despite Alec's lack of interest, have even managed to get him accepted into a good college.

But Pete never counted on the wild card: Laura, Joe and Iris Stern's daughter. Ten years older than Alec, irresistibly beautiful, with a history so shocking that it's never spoken of, Laura sets her sights on Alec, who falls under her spell. And with that, Pete sees his dreams for his son not only unraveling but completely destroyed. With the belief that he has only the best intentions at heart, he sets out to derail the romance. But Pete could never have foreseen how, in the process, he might shatter his whole life and devastate his entire family.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book! It was a gripping plot that was absolutely believable to me. Quite a book! I give this book an A+! and have put Lauren Grodstein's other books on my Wish List.

 A+! - (96-100%)

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Jennifer Weiner - Best Friends Forever: A Novel

66. Best Friends Forever: A Novel by Jennifer Weiner (2009)
Length: 359 pages
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Started: 16 July 2013
Finished: 18 July 2013
Where did it come from? From a Library Book Sale
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 1 June 2013
Why do I have it? I like contemporary fiction and Jennifer Weiner is a new author for me.

Adelaide Downs and Valerie Adler will be best friends forever - at least that's what Addie believes after Val moves in across the street when both girls are nine years old. But in the wake of a betrayal during their teenage years, Val is swept into the popular crowd, while a mousy, overweight and somber Addie becomes her school's scapegoat. 

Flash-forward fifteen years. Valerie Adler has found a measure of fame and fortune working as the weather girl at the local television station. Adelaide Downs lives alone in her parents' house in their small hometown of Pleasant Ridge, Illinois, caring for her brain damaged brother Jonathan and attempting to meet Prince Charming over the Internet. She returns one night from Bad Date Number Six, opening her door to find her long-ago best friend standing there; a terrified look on her face and blood on the sleeve of her coat.

"Something horrible has happened," Val tells Addie, "and you are the only one who can help." Sometimes the deepest bonds can never be broken, no matter how much Addie may wish that they could. 

I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. It was an easy reading page-turner filled with interesting characters and an engaging plot. I give this book an A+! 

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

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

F. G. Cottam - The Magdalena Curse

65. The Magdalena Curse by F. G. Cottam (2009)
Length: 324 pages
Genre: Horror
Started: 13 July 2013
Finished: 16 July 2013
Where did it come from? From a Library Book Sale
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 1 June 2013
Why do I have it? I like horror and F. G. Cottam is a new author for me. 

It only takes a couple of visits to convince Dr. Elizabeth Bancroft that Adam Hunter is not just having nightmares - he is a child possessed. His father is desperate: adamant that his son's affliction is the result of a curse he incurred in the depths of the Amazon rainforest many years ago. Mark Hunter would do anything to protect his son Adam, but he knows that the roots of Adam's terror lie in Mark's own past, deep within the jungles of the Amazon. 

Twelve years ago in Bolvia, Mark Hunter had been part of a misguided military operation that went terrifyingly wrong, leaving only two men alive to face the macabre events that followed. Two women held the key to Mark's future - one was more bad than good; one was more good than bad. Both of these women had dark and dangerous, very powerful abilities - and Mark had incurred the wrath of one of them who was capable of wreaking an unholy vengeance.

To save his son's very soul, Mark Hunter will travel from a sleepy village in the Scottish Highlands to a fortress high in the Alps, in search of this mysterious woman, hoping against hope that she will help him break the curse that ensnares Adam. He will leave his son in Elizabeth's care - who is about to discover there are equally dark secrets on their doorstep...and in her blood.

I really enjoyed reading this book. It was very unusual, interesting and well-written. It was a very involved plot, but I was captivated by the story's creepiness. I give this book an A! and have already placed three more of F. G. Cottam's books on my Wish List.

A! - (90-95%)

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Lawrence Sanders - McNally's Puzzle

64. McNally's Puzzle by Lawrence Sanders (1996)
Archy McNally Series Book 6
Length: 343 pages
Genre: Contemporary Mystery
Started: 11 July 2013
Finished: 13 July 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 mysteries and have read and enjoyed several books by the same author in the past.

Bird store owner Hiram Gottschalk is a wealthy widower with a paranoid son and heir, twisted twin daughters, and shady employees. As the owner of Parrots Unlimited, Hiram believes that his life is in danger, so he hires playboy-turned-Palm Beach private investigator Archy McNally and his sidekick Binky to protect him. Apparently Hiram had good reason to be frightened, Archy soon realizes - when the bird shop owner's mutilated body is found sometime later.

Hiram has been stabbed in his sleep, so Archy tries to solve the deadliest case of his career. But for Archy and Binky, the biggest piece of this scandalous puzzle is still missing - who has the motive to kill two more birds with one stone.

Although I eventually enjoyed reading this book, I did have some slight trouble at first getting into the style of the writing. I suppose it just took me a while to get used to the way Archy McNally expressed himself - to me, he seemed affected and somewhat pedantic. It was annoying at first, but I did eventually get used to Archy McNally as a character. This book was certainly enjoyable, and I have several more books from this series sitting on my bookshelf, but McNally's Puzzle was the first Archy McNally book that I've actually read. I give this book a strong A!

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

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Norah Lofts - Hauntings: Is Anybody There?

63. Hauntings: Is Anybody There? by Norah Lofts (1965)
Length: 240 pages
Genre: Horror
Started: 9 July 2013
Finished: 10 July 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 Norah Lofts as an author and have read and enjoyed several books by this author in the past.

'A ghostly caress in an empty room...A rush of emotions not entirely one's own...A mysterious presence on a dark staircase...' This book is a collection of twelve ghost stories written by an author known for her bestselling historical romance novels, who has "an obsession about houses" and a love of ghost stories. Now, with this book she has combined her two passions with chilling success.

I really enjoyed reading this book. It wasn't the scariest book I have ever read, perhaps, but it was certainly worth my time reading it anyway. None of these stories were written in order to shock and terrify the reader; the horror was of a gentler nature, but I'm glad to have read this book because it was written by Norah Lofts. Overall, I give this book an A+!

A+! - (96-100%)

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Jere Cunningham - Hunter's Blood

62. Hunter's Blood by Jere Cunningham (1977)
Length: 207 pages
Genre: Horror
Started: 7 July 2013
Finished: 9 July 2013
Where did it come from? From Paperback Swap
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 22 February 2010
Why do I have it? I like horror and have read and enjoyed several books by the same author in the past.

Five men from the city - a father and son, two brothers, and a business partner of theirs - go into the woods to do some hunting. What could possibly go wrong for them deep within posted woods? Apparently everything. Soon these city dwellers find themselves pitted against an evil so savage and ancient, even the locals avoid it at all costs.

I have to say that while this book was relatively good; overall, it just wasn't my cup of tea. It was certainly a good book for its type, and succeeded in holding my attention throughout, but I think that the hunting trip plot point didn't really work for me. I give this book an A!

A! - (90-95%)

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Belva Plain - After the Fire

61. After the Fire by Belva Plain (2000)
Length: 439 pages
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Started: 5 July 2013
Finished: 7 July 2013
Where did it come from? From Bookmooch
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 25 May 2013
Why do I have it? I like Belva Plain as an author and have read and enjoyed several books by this author in the past.

Gerald and Hyacinth had the type of marriage others envied. She was a talented artist. He was a brilliant plastic surgeon. Theirs was a comfortable, happy home with two wonderful children. Then whispers of betrayal tainted Hy's perfect marriage. And in one terrible night she commits an act that she will regret for the rest of her life. An act that gives Gerald the ultimate weapon: blackmail.

The price of his silence is uncontested custody of their two children. When her angry mother wants to know why Hyacinth won't fight for custody, she can give no satisfactory answers. But deep in her heart, Hyacinth knows that there is one question she must answer if she wants to free herself from a life of lies: What really happened that terrible night? Only then can she reclaim her children, her pride, her life - at last.

I think that Belva Plain is a really gifted storyteller, and After the Fire is yet another example of what a terrific storyteller she is. I was drawn into the story from the first page, and really wanted to know how Hyacinth would deal with her dilemma. I give this book an A+!

A+! - (96-100%)

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Friday, July 5, 2013

Michael Phillip Cash - Stillwell: A Haunting on Long Island

60. Stillwell: A Haunting on Long Island by Michael Phillip Cash (2013)
Length: 231 pages
Genre: Horror
Started: 4 July 2013
Finished: 5 July 2013
Where did it come from? Many thanks to Michael Phillip Cash for sending me a copy of this book to read.
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 3 July 2013
Why do I have it? I like horror and Michael Phillip Cash is a new author for me.

Paul Russo's wife has just recently passed away from cancer. While grieving her loss, Paul is also trying to get his family's life back in order. After taking a six month long leave of absence from his job as a realtor, in order to care for his wife during her illness, Paul is in desperate need of work. Enter Craig and his wife Melissa, who ask if he can represent them when they sell their house on Long Island. Craig is a childhood friend of Paul's, and of course, Paul jumps at the chance that Craig offers him.

Stillwell Manor has been in Craig's family for generations, but due to an horrific family tragedy which occurred there, he wants to sell the mansion as soon as possible. Paul agrees to walk through Stillwell Manor, which he remembers visiting as a child, and which Craig's wife Melissa has been preparing to sell.

Little does Paul realize how much his fate will become entwined with Stillwell Manor. For months now, he has been tormented by a demon who asserts that Paul's wife's spirit is being held hostage on the other side. Paul's only chance to set his wife's soul free, lies in traveling to Stillwell Manor - the scene of an horrendous murder-suicide - where Paul hopes to discover the clues buried deep within the Manor's dark, secretive, centuries-old past - clues which will finally allow his wife's soul to rest in peace.

This book was really, really good; I absolutely loved it! It was just the type of book that I enjoy reading - featuring creepy old houses, ancient horror, and multi-layered family relationships. I give this book an A+! and will eagerly be searching for more books by this author to add to my TBR pile.

A+! - (96-100%)    

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Harrison Arnston - Trade-Off

59. Trade-Off by Harrison Arnston (1992)
Length: 369 pages
Genre: Contemporary Mystery
Started: 2 July 2013
Finished: 4 July 2013
Where did it come from? From a Library Book Sale
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 15 February 2001
Why do I have it? I like contemporary mysteries and Harrison Arnston is a new author for me.

Less than enthusiastic with the prospect of taking on yet another murder case in light of her failing marriage, attorney Laura Scott reluctantly agrees to represent John Slocum, a drifter who was discovered bent over the mutilated body of a local teenager. The case is simple enough, Laura thinks, until it suddenly takes a nightmarish turn. As the dark secrets of her client's past are revealed, Laura realizes that she is the only one who can ensure that justice will be served...but only if she gives up something in return. 

I have to say that this book was excellent! I had read it before, some time ago, but didn't remember any of the major plot points at all. The plot was extremely interesting and fast-paced, and the characters were sympathetically drawn. The book itself was very well-written and I will certainly be looking out for more books by Harrison Arnston to read in the future. I give this book a definite A+! 

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

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Richard Bausch - The Fireman's Wife and Other Stories

58. The Fireman's Wife and Other Stories by Richard Bausch (1990)
Length: 219 pages
Genre: Short Story
Started: 29 June 2013
Finished: 2 July 2013
Where did it come from? From Paperback Swap
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 27 June 2013
Why do I have it? I like contemporary fiction and have read and enjoyed In the Night Season: A Novel by the same author in the past. 

The epigraph for this collection of ten stories is a brief quotation from the poet John Keats: 'Happy love, more happy, happy love!' Richard Bausch does indeed write about the joys of marriage and family life, however he also reveals the pain lurking just beneath the surface of every seemingly happy life. 

The first short story 'Wedlock', is about a newly married couple whose honeymoon night of amiable levity suddenly turns mean-spirited; in 'Equity', three adult daughters whose mother had previously supported them through divorces, nervous breakdowns, and other crises now must deal with their mother's senility; the title tale and its sequel, 'Consolation' both examine the lives of firemen and their spouses before and after a tragedy; 'Luck' is narrated by the son of an alcoholic house painter. While many of the stories contained within this collection have contemporary urban settings, the short story 'Old West' is a retelling of the Shane story which basically strips away all of the legendary gunslinger's heroism.

I must say, that while I certainly appreciated reading many of these stories, I was slightly irritated that none of them actually led anywhere for me. To be completely honest, several of these short stories just didn't make all that much sense to me. However, I did find the last story, 'Letter to the Lady of the House' - in which a man on the eve of his 70th birthday, writes an apology letter to his wife after a disagreement they've had that evening - particularly heartwarming and sweet. Overall, I give this book a B+! 

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

Monday, July 1, 2013

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 719 unread books lying around the house and ended the month with 706 books unread. All the books that I acquired this month came from a Library Book Sale that we went to on the 1st, Bookmooch and Paperback Swap.

Let me try to break down the influx for you:

Rereads
- A Rose For Virtue: The Very Private Life of Hortense, Stepdaughter of Napoleon I, Mother of Napoleon III by Norah Lofts 

Changes to the TBR pile

Read from my TBR pile (Yes! I am a reading machine :))
- Cypress Point by Diane Chamberlain
- First Things First by Barbara Delinsky
- 11 Great Horror Stories Including "The Oblong Box" and "The Dunwich Horror" by Betty M. Owen
Blood Brother: 33 Reasons my Brother Scott Peterson is Guilty by Anne Bird
- Last Kiss by Luanne Rice
- In the Night Season: A Novel by Richard Bausch
- Beachcombers: A Novel by Nancy Thayer
- The Eighth Day by Brooke Leimas
- The Last Time They Met: A Novel by Anita Shreve
- Guilt by Association by Susan R. Sloan
- Moon Shell Beach: A Novel by Nancy Thayer
- The Glenna Powers Case by Hillary Waugh

Added to my TBR pile (oh well, you win some and you lose some! Not too bad though, I suppose:))
- All Night Long by Jayne Ann Krentz
- Best Friends Forever: A Novel by Jennifer Weiner
- Bloodroot by Amy Greene
- The Collected Stories by John McGahern
- Dance With Me by Luanne Rice
- Drowning Ruth by Christina Schwarz
- First Offense by Nancy Taylor Rosenberg
- A Friend of the Family: A Novel by Lauren Grodstein
- Gap Creek: The Story of a Marriage by Robert Morgan
- How to Clean Practically Anything by Edward Kippel
- The Magdalena Curse by F. G. Cottam
- The Mill by Tracy Lamphere
- My Soul to Keep by Tananarive Due
- Silent Witness: The Karla Brown Murder Case by Don W. Weber and Charles Bosworth, Jr.
- A Special Relationship by Douglas Kennedy
- Stranger in Paradise by Eileen Goudge
- Summer of Roses by Luanne Rice
- Taker by Alma Katsu
- A Time For Dancing by Davida Wills Hurwin
- Big Girl: A Novel by Danielle Steel
- The Confession by John Grisham
- Sidney Sheldon's Angel of the Dark by Tilly Bagshawe
- Summer Breeze: A Novel by Nancy Thayer
- The Fireman's Wife and Other Stories by Richard Bausch
- Rand McNally Student's World Atlas by Rand McNally

Taken off my TBR pile and sent to a new home (Yay! Happy Dance! :))
- The Dark Fantastic by Stanley Ellin
- Chameleon by William Diehl
- First Things First by Barbara Delinsky
- The Man With the Candy: The Story of the Houston Mass Murders by Jack Olsen
- A Room For the Dead by Noel Hynd
- Blood Dreams by Jack MacLane
- Memories of Another Day by Harold Robbins
- 11 Great Horror Stories Including "The Oblong Box" and "The Dunwich Horror" by Betty M. Owen
- Irresistible Impulse by Robert K. Tanenbaum
- In the Night Season: A Novel by Richard Bausch

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

Books Read: 13
Pages Read: 3,983
Grade Range: A+! to B+!

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