Saturday, May 31, 2014

May'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. May's Book of the Month is: 

The Basement by Bari Wood
Published as: The Basement in May 1995
Publisher: William Morrow and Company

Birth Name: Bari Eve Wood
Born: 31 December 1946 in Jacksonville, Illinois

Canonical Name: Bari Wood
Pseudonyms: None

The Basement by Bari Wood was the fifty-third book that I read in 2014. I have had this book on my TBR shelf since December 1, 2009 - although the book was Mareena's 'just because' gift for December of 2009, because I had misplaced my first copy. The third reading of this book took me four days to finish. This book is a definite keeper for me.

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Beryl Bainbridge - Watson's Apology: A Novel

57. Watson's Apology: A Novel by Beryl Bainbridge (1985)
Length: 222 pages
Genre: True Crime
Started: 25 May 2014
Finished: 31 May 2014
Where did it come from? From Paperback Swap
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 16 May 2014
Why do I have it? I like true crime and Beryl Bainbridge is a new author for me. 

In 1844 a middle-aged Irish spinster by the name of Anne Armstrong, gets the unexpected chance to escape her life of genteel poverty. An English schoolmaster, the Reverend John Selby Watson, a man whom she met briefly more than seven years before, and whom Anne has long since forgotten, appears suddenly with a proposal. While the Reverend Watson is certainly no Prince Charming, and his home is in no way a castle, life with him is seemingly so much more preferable to Anne's current living situation - that she accepts John's proposal. Thus begins a marriage that should never have been - where frustrations pile upon disillusionments until everything collapses in hatred and bloody violence. 

For, after nearly thirty years of marriage, the quiet, staid, rather ordinary Reverend Watson bludgeons his wife to death one Sunday after church. The seemingly customary history of the Watsons' unhappy marriage unfolds until it culminates in a sudden brutal act and a headline-grabbing trial. Staying as true to the documented facts of this historical case as she does to the workings of her singular imagination, Ms. Bainbridge artfully reveals what history withholds: the motives, the feelings, and the insanity that drive the Watsons to their domestic tragedy.

I did enjoy reading this book; although it seemed to me to be a little disjointed in places. Perhaps this was the impression that the author wanted to give the reader, I'm not really sure. However, I found this story to be incredibly sad - and although I usually enjoy reading tear-jerking stories - I think that the knowledge that this book was based on an actual murder case, was something that made this story almost too sad for me to read. I just felt incredibly sorry for all the characters involved, and the grinding hopelessness of the Watsons situation, as well as the historical period itself, really came through to me. I give Watson's Apology: A Novel by Beryl Bainbridge a definite A!

A! - (90-95%)

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Monday, May 26, 2014

Sudoku is a Puzzle, Isn't It?

Hello everyone! I hope that you're all just fine this morning - I certainly am! :) Anyway, I just wanted to give you an update on how I'm doing so far. On Thursday, May 22nd, I finished Spirit Lost: A Ghost Novel by Nancy Thayer. I immediately started reading The Merry-Hearted Boys: Liam Clancy, The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem by Ron L. Leonard on Thursday, May 22nd. The author himself sent me a copy of this book to read.

So far, I'm not that far into the book - just far enough in to write a partial review, that it seems like it will be pretty good. But I really do need to read further. Anyway, on Sunday, May 25th, I started reading Watson's Apology: A Novel by Beryl Bainbridge; which was a 'just because' gift from Mareena for the month of May. So far, it's good - although perhaps a little disjointed.

I've also been doing a lot of crosswords and sudoku puzzles in between my reading.

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Nancy Thayer - Spirit Lost: A Ghost Novel

56. Spirit Lost: A Ghost Novel by Nancy Thayer (1988)
Length: 199 pages
Genre: Horror
Started: 21 May 2014
Finished: 22 May 2014
Where did it come from? From Bookmooch
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 21 May 2014
Why do I have it? I like horror and have read and enjoyed several books by this author in the past.

An overachieving young married couple from Boston, John and his wife Willy decide to leave their hectic world of big-city advertising behind for the tranquility of island life. Thirty miles off the mainland, Nantucket offers the peace John needs to further explore his future as an artist. In fact, there is plenty of room for a studio in the old house they buy, located on historic Orange Street.

Legend has it that, from such a house as the Orange Street residence, whaling captains set off on their three or four-year long trips to the Orient, while their lonely wives waited, climbing to the "widow's walks" above the houses to search the horizon for returning ships. Often their husbands never returned.

So, John and Willy settle into their new life. They feel cozy and secure in their Orange Street house, surrounded by their antique furniture and sure of their love for each other. Even after eight years of marriage, their passion and devotion are still as strong - if not stronger - than when they first met.

Some of his friends wonder why John chose Willy, a solid, rather plain-looking woman. But Willy has never doubted her husband's love. She understands their deep commitment to each other and feels totally secure in her marriage. Fortunately, Willy inherited some money, so they can live comfortably while John paints and she does embroidery.

Everything should be perfect. They have each other, their beautiful home on Nantucket, and time to explore their talents in the serenity that Boston just couldn't offer. But something is terribly wrong. Willy senses that a mysterious force is at work that could destroy her happiness and all that she cherishes. With dawning horror, Willy fights the malevolent, unknown entity - gradually coming to an awareness of her opponent in what could be a battle not only for her marriage but for her very survival.

The plot of this book is entirely different from Nancy Thayer's later work, although the story was very well-written, in an easy style that I appreciated. The story was perhaps not as scary as I was expecting, but it was certainly eerie enough to still be enjoyable. I give this book an A+!

A+! - (96-100%)

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Patricia Gaffney - Circle of Three: A Novel

55. Circle of Three: A Novel by Patricia Gaffney (2000)
Length: 350 pages
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Started: 16 May 2014
Finished: 20 May 2014
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 fiction and had read and enjoyed The Goodbye Summer by the same author in the past.

After the sudden death of her husband, Carrie struggles with feelings of immense grief and guilt. She silently wonders: "Can grief last for a person's whole life?" For her, these feelings are twofold: Although she mourns the loss of her husband, she also mourns the death of their love - an emotional erosion that occurred long before her husband's heart gave out. Struggling to go on, to support her vivacious, loving fifteen-year-old daughter, Ruth, Carrie must shake off the sorrow and depression that surrounds her and begin a new life. For Ruth, as much as for herself, Carrie will somehow learn to live again.

Complicating matters is Dana - Carrie's mother - an industrious, snobbish, yet sympathetic woman who tries to do what's right for herself and, unfortunately, for Carrie as well. It was fear of her mother's disapproval that drove Carrie away from her unforgotten first love - the soulful, passionate Jess - who has recently re-entered her life.

Little does Carrie realize that her mother suffers secret miseries of her own. For Dana, life is still as mysterious as it was in early youth. Like her only daughter, Dana has lived within the confines of a silent marriage. And, like Carrie, Dana too, mourns a painful loss - the slow disintegration of her relationship with her daughter. Her unspoken wish is: "I'd give anything for the closeness we used to have. I love my daughter more than anyone else on this earth, but she won't let me in." 

At the end point of these two generations is Ruth, who silently copes with a double tragedy of her own - the loss of something she can never know - a real relationship with her father - and the emotional abandonment of her mother. Her secret sadness is: "She's still got me, but she's about half the mother I used to have. When Dad died I lost him and part of her. I'm almost an orphan." A precocious girl, quivering on the brink of womanhood, Ruth is eager to discover who she is and what life holds - even if that knowledge will draw her away from the people she loves.

Shining through the interconnected lives of three generations of women in a small town in rural Virginia, this poignant, memorable novel reveals the layers of tradition and responsibility, commitment and passion these women share. Ms. Gaffney explores the dichotomies inherent in all women's relationships - the tears and laughter, despair and hope, misunderstanding and compassion, anger and love - that occasionally divide them yet ultimately bind them together. In Circle of Three, the silken bonds of family are brilliantly illuminated, as are the delicate yet resilient bonds of feminine understanding and friendship.

I absolutely loved this book. I truly became immersed in this story - it was definitely a page-turner; moving and poignant, filled with emotional, well-developed characters with whom I connected deeply. I found myself caught up in the story, wanting to know what happened next. I actually have read this book before - about ten years ago - and while the story was familiar to me in places, I still enjoyed reacquainting myself with these characters. I give Circle of Three: A Novel by Patricia Gaffney an A+!

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

Saturday, May 17, 2014

'Puzzle Mania' Has Struck Again!

Hello everyone! I hope that you're all just fine this morning - I certainly am! :) Anyway, I wanted to give you an update on how I'm doing so far. Since I finished When Satan Wore a Cross: The Shocking True Story of a Killer Priest by Fred Rosen on Tuesday, May 13th, I have been wondering what to read next. There have been several really interesting books that arrived in the mail for me over the past couple of days, but I just couldn't decide which one to begin reading! :) 

In the end, I chose Circle of Three: A Novel by Patricia Gaffney. I started reading this book yesterday afternoon, Friday, May 16th. It's a reread for me from perhaps a decade ago - a familiar story, but hazily so. I'm enjoying it very much. So far today, I've done two or three Sudoku puzzles and a jigsaw puzzle as well.

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Fred Rosen - When Satan Wore a Cross: The Shocking True Story of a Killer Priest

54. When Satan Wore a Cross: The Shocking True Story of a Killer Priest by Fred Rosen (2007)
Length: 260 pages
Genre: True Crime
Started: 12 May 2014
Finished: 13 May 2014
Where did it come from? From Paperback Swap
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 12 May 2014
Why do I have it? I like true crime and Fred Rosen is a new author for me.

On Saturday, April 5, 1980 in Toledo, Ohio - on one of the holiest days of the Church calendar - the body of a nun was discovered in the sacristy of the hospital chapel. Seventy-one year old Sister Margaret Ann Pahl had been brutally murdered - strangled and stabbed, her body arranged in a shocking and shameful pose. But the police's most likely suspect was inexplicably released from custody and the investigation was quietly buried. Despite damning evidence, Father Gerald Robinson went free.

Twenty-three years later the priest's name resurfaced in connection with a bizarre case of satanic ritual and abuse. This prompted investigators to exhume the remains of Sister Margaret Ann to search for the incontrovertible proof that would indelibly mark Father Robinson as Sister Margaret Ann's killer: the sign of the Devil.

When Satan Wore a Cross is the shocking true story of official cover-ups, madness, murder and lies - and of an unholy human monster who disguised himself in holy garb.

I loved this book. The case was shocking to begin with, and I actually do remember when Gerald Robinson finally went on trial for Sister Margaret Ann's murder. Although, the television coverage that I watched certainly tamped down the satanic ritualistic element of the crime. This book was very clearly written, and I enjoyed the author's writing style - it was just detailed enough to be interesting, and not cluttered too much with technical jargon. I give this book an A+!

A+! - (96-100%)

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Monday, May 12, 2014

Bari Wood - The Basement

Reread. The Basement by Bari Wood (1995)
Length: 290 pages
Genre: Horror
Originally Read: 6 January 2008
Reread Finished: 12 May 2014
Where did it come from? Originally from a Library Book Sale; then Mareena reacquired another copy for me from Paperback Swap.

I first read this book from January 1st, 2008 to January 6th, 2008, and it took me five days to read - my reread of this book happened from December 25, 2009 to December 30, 2009. My third reread happened from May 8, 2014 to May 12, 2014.

Mareena had gotten another copy of this book for me as a "Secret Santa" Christmas gift. I'm certain that I still have my original copy somewhere, but I honestly don't have the first clue where to start looking. I have an idea that it may be in the 'Glory Hole' downstairs, but considering that this room is directly under the stairs - and is basically full of books that we have no room for upstairs - it's like navigating the Bermuda Triangle to locate a single book, even when I know the title and the author.

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

It's my Fifth Blogiversary!

Thank You Images

Hello everyone! I hope that you are all having a wonderful day for yourselves! :) Yes, today is my Fifth Blogiversary! Five Years?!?! Whoo Hoo. Party time! :)

I checked on an anniversary website and found out that the traditional gifts to celebrate five years together is to give your partner anything made of wood. The more modern gift is to give your partner silver. The fifth anniversary gemstone is sapphire, the anniversary color is turquoise, and the flower that you usually give your partner on your fifth anniversary together is the Daisy which can stand for loyal love, beauty, patience, purity, innocence, and simplicity.

There are currently more then 23,000 recognized species of Asteraceae or Compositae (commonly referred to as the aster, daisy, or sunflower family. The name Asteraceae comes from Aster, the most common genus in the family, and is derived from the Greek word for 'star'. The vernacular name "daisy", widely applied to members of this family, is derived from its Old English name meaning "day's eye". This is because the petals open at dawn and close at dusk. Asters are found everywhere in the world except Antarctica or the extreme Arctic.

I just started reading When Satan Wore a Cross: The Shocking True Story of a Killer Priest by Fred Rosen on 12 May 2014.

Fred Rosen was a former columnist for the Arts and Leisure Section of The New York Times. He now is a true crime author living in the United States. He was born in Brooklyn, New York, and has suffered from Dysthemia (also known as Chronic Depression) for a number of years.

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Nancy Thayer - Custody: A Novel

52. Custody: A Novel by Nancy Thayer (2001)
Length: 309 pages
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Started: 5 May 2014
Finished: 7 May 2014
Where did it come from? From Paperback Swap
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 5 May 2014
Why do I have it? I like contemporary fiction and have read and enjoyed several books by this author in the past.

When Kelly MacLeod becomes a Massachusetts Family Court judge, she is determined to do what is right. Young, brilliant, and engaged to the perfect guy, she feels truly ready to begin her new appointment. With all her dreams coming true, Kelly never envisions what might go wrong...

Then a chance meeting with a man in a cemetery awakens an unexpected passion in Kelly. Agreeing not to reveal their names to each other, Kelly and the stranger begin an illicit affair.

Anne Madison, a respected state reformer with political aspirations, wants custody of her twelve-year-old adopted daughter, Tessa. So does Anne's soon-to-be ex-husband Randall Madison - a prominent physician. Tessa is caught in the middle of her parents emotional tug-of-war.

On the brink of adolescence, Tessa is just beginning to discover her own sexuality. She also wonders who her birth mother is. Troubled by this and pulled in too many directions, she tries to please those she loves at a cost that just might be too high.

Kelly MacLeod gets drawn into this family's legal and personal tribulations. How does one effectively balance public service with private desires? What does it mean - legally and emotionally - to be a family? How does someone move past anger and sorrow toward compassion and wisdom? How do adults learn to temper their own wills with the best needs of the child? What is right when one's own deepest emotions clash with the law?

Kelly's involvement with this particular case leads her to question issues within her own personal life. In order to answer these myriad questions, Kelly must grapple with her career as a judge and assess her mysterious new lover, her own past, and the complications of many kinds of love.

In my opinion, this book was very well-written and the plot was certainly engrossing. However, while I enjoyed reading it, I found the story to be quite a stretch for the imagination. Overall, I give this book an A!

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

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Abby Haight and J. E. Vader and the Staff of The Oregonian - Fire on Ice: The Exclusive Inside Story of Tonya Harding

51. Fire on Ice: The Exclusive Inside Story of Tonya Harding by Abby Haight and J. E. Vader and the Staff of The Oregonian (1994)
Length: 227 pages
Genre: True Crime
Started: 1 May 2014
Finished: 3 May 2014
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 true crime and Abby Haight and J. E. Vader are new authors for me.

Championship figure skating, despite its glamorous facade of elegance, is a fiercely competitive sport beneath the surface - full of bitter rivalry and personal antagonism. For so many, Olympic glory means everything: fame, money, and the admiration of millions.

Every skater who goes for the gold certainly has the desire to win and a tremendous competitive spirit, but few more so than Tonya Harding. In Fire on Ice, you will learn about Tonya's hardscrabble childhood - a childhood racked by abuse, money problems, and unceasing pressure and constant belittlement by her mother. And you will learn how Tonya Harding made herself into one of America's best skaters.

This is the story of a young woman for whom ambition may, in the end, be her downfall. Her story is a tale of sacrifice and overcoming obstacles, of the strength of competition and the blindness of ambition. On the thinning ice over which Tonya Harding now glides - and perhaps has always glided - we cannot help but see an 'American Dream' type of story, and all of America is watching it.

This was an excellent book, in my opinion, I was also pleasantly surprised that the book portrayed Tonya Harding in a more sympathetic and vulnerable light than most of the news coverage of the Nancy Kerrigan knee-clubbing scandal in 1994. Not that Fire on Ice seeks to exonerate Tonya in any way for her actions, but this book does illuminate Tonya's health, marriage and financial difficulties.

By delving into Tonya Harding's background, the story portrays her as more of a flawed woman, blinded by her ambition, instead of a ruthless monster who orchestrated the destruction of her rival's career. I give this book an A+!

A+! - (96-100%)

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Reading Wrap-up For April 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 April with 946 unread books lying around the house and ended the month with 924 books unread. All the books that I acquired this month came from authors, BookmoochPaperback Swap and a Library Book Sale that Mareena and I went to on April 9th.

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 :))
- The Tin Can Tree by Anne Tyler
- I Want to do Yoga Too by Carole P. Roman
- The Captain No Beard Series by Carole P. Roman
- The If You Were Me and Lived In...Series by Carole P. Roman
- Katie: The Real Story by Edward Klein
- Man, Woman and Child by Erich Segal
- The Guardian by Jeffrey Konvitz
- While my Sister Sleeps by Barbara Delinsky
- The Murder of King Tut: The Plot to Kill the Child King by James Patterson and Martin Dugard
- Cold Mountain: A Novel by Charles Frazier 
- All Through the Night: A Suspense Story by Mary Higgins Clark
- Last Wish by Betty Rollin

Added to my TBR pile (oh well, you win some and you lose some! Not too bad though, I suppose:))
- Just Ask the Universe: A No-Nonsense Guide to Manifesting Your Dreams by Michael Samuels
- The Universe-ity: A Spiritual Education Using the Law of Attraction by Michael Samuels
- Decorating With Silk and Dried Flowers: 80 Arrangements Using Floral Materials of All Kinds by The Home Decorating Institute
- Make it Yours!: Customize and Personalize - the Trading Spaces Way! by Brian Kramer
- 48-Hour Makeovers: Get a New Look in a Weekend! by Brian Kramer
- Christopher Lowell's Seven Layers of Design: Fearless, Fabulous Decorating by Christopher Lowell
Decorating Hints and Tips: More Than 2000 Practical Solutions to Help You Improve Your Home by Julian Cassell
- Almost There: The Onward Journey of a Dublin Woman by Nuala O'Faolain
- At Home in Mitford by Jan Karon
- Blackbird House by Alice Hoffman
- Breathing Lessons: A Novel by Anne Tyler
- The Dead Hour: A Novel by Denise Mina
- Ellen Foster: A Novel by Kaye Gibbons
- In This Mountain by Jan Karon
- The Kennedys: The Third Generation by Barbara Gibson and Ted Schwartz
- Loss of Flight by Sara Vogan
- Secret For a Nightingale by Victoria Holt
- The Shack: A Novel by William P. Young
- The Stormy Petrel by Mary Stewart
- Story of a Marriage by Andrew Sean Greer
- Triangle: A Novel by Katharine Weber
- Twice Kissed by Lisa Jackson
- The Woods by Harlan Coben
- Zodiac by Robert Graysmith
Tracy Porter's Home Style: Creative and Livable Decorating Ideas For Everyone by Tracy Porter
- $100 to $1,000 Makeovers: Maximizing Your Decorating Dollars by Brian Kramer
Maggie Colvin's Home Style: Quick Make-Overs to Transform Your Home by Maggie Colvin
- Better Homes and Gardens New Decorating Book by Denise L. Caringer
- Bonnie Prince Charlie by Moray McLaren

Taken off my TBR pile and sent to a new home (Yay! Happy Dance! :))  
- If Morning Ever Comes by Anne Tyler
- A Slipping-Down Life by Anne Tyler
- Afterage by Yvonne Navarro
- Put Yer Rosary Beads Away Ma: A Salty Tale of a Young Man's Musical Dreams and Struggles in 1970's Ireland by Cahal Dunne (2 copies)
- The Miracle at St. Bruno's by Philippa Carr
- Shooting at Loons by Margaret Maron
- I Want to do Yoga Too by Carole P. Roman
- The Captain No Beard Series by Carole P. Roman
- The If You Were me and Lived In... Series by Carole P. Roman
- Complete Guide to Creative Needlepoint by Jo Bucher
- A Tangled Web: A Novel by Judith Michael
- The Love Killers by Jackie Collins
- The Hanging Tree: A Novella by Michael Phillip Cash
- Stillwell: A Haunting on Long Island by Michael Phillip Cash
- So, Now You Know: A Compendium of Completely Useless Information by Harry Bright
- On the Beach by Nevil Shute

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

Books Read: 22
Pages Read: 2,912
Grade Range: A+! to B+!

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