Thursday, April 30, 2015

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

Bed and Breakfast by Lois Battle
  Published as: Bed and Breakfast in November 1996
Publisher: Viking Adult 

Birth Name: Lois Battle 
Born: 6 October 1939 in California
Died: 17 June 2014 in Beaufort, South Carolina 

Canonical Name: Lois Battle 
Pseudonyms: None

Bed and Breakfast by Lois Battle was the twenty-fifth book that I read in 2015. I have had this book on my TBR shelf since July 15, 2011 and it took me two days to read. This book is definitely a keeper for me. 

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Colin Dexter - Service of All the Dead

27. Service of All the Dead by Colin Dexter (1979)
The Inspector Morse Series Book 4
Length: 294 pages
Genre: Contemporary Mystery
Started: 27 April 2015
Finished: 29 April 2015
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 Colin Dexter is a new author for me.

The ever-tenacious and intractable Inspector Morse could be on vacation in Greece. In fact, he should be sailing happily around the Greek islands right now - taking his meticulously-planned and highly-anticipated moment of ease, sunning himself beside the rolling waves of the Aegean Sea. Instead, he is investigating a murder that the police have long since written off. Although, he really only has himself to blame this time.

But he finds the crime - the brutal killing of a suburban churchwarden - remarkably fascinating and extraordinarily difficult to solve. In fact, he believes that he's discovered not just one murder but two; for Inspector Morse suspects that the fatal fall of St. Frideswide's vicar from the church's bell tower is actually murder as well. And as he digs deeply into the private lives and the myriad unsanctified lusts of the late vicar's erring flock, the list of the dead only grows longer.

Not even the oddly appealing woman he finds scrubbing the floor of the church can properly compensate Inspector Morse for the imposition he has brought upon himself. Most especially not for the high risk of probable danger he's bound to get himself into. So he has another pint, follows his hunches, and settles in to untangle the deadly business of homicide...

I must say that I really enjoyed reading this book. I think that I may have several of Colin Dexter's books on my bookshelf, although this is the first one that I've read. In my opinion, this story was quintessentially English - the writing seemed to be slightly grandiose to me; maybe even a tad pompous. Although, I would say that my feelings are due in large part to Colin Dexter's writing style; Inspector Morse is probably meant to come across as supercilious and slightly overbearing.

I found the mystery itself to be rather convoluted as well, but still very intriguing for me to read. Overall, I found Service of All the Dead by Colin Dexter to be quite good and very enjoyable - I would give it a B+!

B+! - (85-89%)

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Norah Lofts - Saving Face and Other Stories

Reread. Saving Face and Other Stories by Norah Lofts (1983)
Length: 229 pages
Genre: Short Story
Originally Read: 1 March 2012
Reread Finished: 26 April 2015
Where did it come from? Originally from a Library Book Sale, then from my "keeper" shelf.

Despite acquiring this book during a Library Book Sale that Mareena and I went to in April of 2009, I think I had actually read it for the first time perhaps ten years before then. My reread of the book took place in February of 2012 - from February 29th, to March 1st, 2012. I had promised myself that I would read the book one more time and then I put it on all the swapping websites that we belong to.

Well, that third reading took place over four days in April - from April 22nd, to April 26th, 2015. Norah Lofts is such a wonderful writer and I would actually say that she is one of my very favorite authors, although I do have quite a few on my list already. I think that it's time for me to share Norah Lofts' work with other readers - I won't be greedy. ;)

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Lois Battle - Bed and Breakfast

Reread. Bed and Breakfast by Lois Battle (1996)
Length: 613 pages
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Originally Read: 30 July 2011
Reread Finished: 22 April 2015
Where did it come from? Originally from a Library Book Sale, then from my "keeper" bookshelf.

I first acquired this book at a Library Book Sale that Mareena and I went to in July of 2011. I read the book for the first time over ten days in July of 2011 - from July 20th, to July 30th. Lois Battle was a new author for me at the time that I first read this book, although I requested that Mareena look up some more of her books as soon as I finished reading.

I reread Bed and Breakfast by Lois Battle over two days in April - from April 20th, to April 22nd, 2015. This was actually my second reading of the book and I ended up reading it to bits. I still enjoyed reading it as much the second time around. Bed and Breakfast by Lois Battle is a definite keeper for me - at least until I read it for a third time.

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Winston Graham - Angell, Pearl and Little God

24. Angell, Pearl and Little God by Winston Graham (1970)
Length: 479 pages
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Started: 14 April 2015
Finished: 19 April 2015
Where did it come from? From Bookmooch
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 13 April 2015
Why do I have it? I like contemporary fiction and Winston Graham is a new author for me.

Pearl Fridell is a truly beautiful woman; yet is she also to blame for her beauty? All she knew was that the self-indulgent but successful solicitor, Wilfred Angell would never have looked at her twice if she had been plain. Mr. Angell was a self-described lover of beautiful things, and through her relationship with him, Pearl was exposed to a fashionable lifestyle that she otherwise never would have experienced had she stayed in the background for her entire life. It was quite a satisfactory arrangement for the both of them.

That was until an ambitious boxer named 'Little God' enters their lives. Little God has earned a vicious reputation for himself - both inside and outside of the ring - and he is known as a man who consistently gets what he wants - no matter what the cost. Now, Little God has set his sights on Pearl, and he decides he wants her for himself. In the end, just what problems will arise because of Pearl's beauty?

First of all, let me say that I wasn't planning on reading this book. I was actually wanting to read something from Winston Graham's Poldark Series, as PBS will begin airing the new series on 'Masterpiece' starting in June. Mareena couldn't find any books in the Poldark Series for me on any of the swapping sites that we belong to, so she requested three of Winston Graham's other books instead. I'm so glad that she got this book for me, because it was so good.

I must admit that I wasn't expecting to enjoy reading this book as much as I did. A main component of the story involves the sport of boxing, and since I don't know the first thing about boxing - and don't find the sport interesting at all - I wasn't sure how boxing itself would figure into the story. To be perfectly honest, the story starts out slower than I expected - I was tempted to set the book aside and stop reading for a while.

I'm so glad that I stuck with the book, though, it was quite a hidden gem for me. This was quite an interesting story, with an intriguing and dramatic plot. All in all, I found this to be an unexpectedly excellent book; and I would give it an A+! 

A+! - (96-100%)

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Puzzles Are my Weakness!

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 The Color of Hope by Susan Madison on Monday, April 13th, I have been trying to choose which book to read next. Every so often, I will transfer several books - usually between five to ten - from my bookshelves downstairs, to somewhere back upstairs. This usually happens every Sunday after Mareena and I get back from the radio station.

So, that's exactly what happened this past Sunday afternoon, April 12th. I chose about eight or nine books and took them upstairs with me. I'm not entirely sure how many of these choices I'll actually read, but they all look so interesting that I'm sure that I'll have fun anyway. I'm also occasionally doing a variety of puzzles - mostly Sudoku, crosswords and word jumbles from the newspaper.

Currently, I'm reading Angell, Pearl and Little God by Winston Graham. I started reading this book on Monday, April 13th after Mareena requested it for me through Bookmooch as a 'just because' gift for April. I haven't gotten that far into the story as yet, but the premise sounded interesting.

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Monday, April 13, 2015

Susan Madison - The Color of Hope

23. Reader's Digest Select Editions, Volume 5: The Color of Hope by Susan Madison (2000)
The Reader's Digest Select Editions Series Volume 5: 2000 - (Ghost Moon/The Empty Chair/Hawke's Cove/The Color of Hope)
Length: 133 pages
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Started: 12 April 2015
Finished: 13 April 2015
Where did it come from? From a Library Book Sale
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 10 May 2001
Why do I have it? I like contemporary fiction and Susan Madison is a new author for me. I also love to read Reader's Digest Select Editions from time to time.

It's the sea, they said in high, bright voices. Come on, honey, the sea. Pebbles shifted under her toes. Slippery. Cold. The ground gave way. She stumbled and fell. Mommy! Daddy! She heard them, miles above her, laughing. She tried to stand, but an unexpected wave slammed into her, glassy and green, determined.

For the Connelly family, life was beyond perfect. Ruth was a successful corporate lawyer for a prestigious Boston law firm, her husband Paul was a well-respected professor working at two colleges, who wrote in his spare time. They had two lovely children: Sixteen-year-old Josephine, known as Josie, and fourteen-year-old William. And every summer was spent at the family's summerhouse, the place where generations of Ruth's family had reveled in the beauty of the Maine coast.

It was certainly a place to make enough memories to last a lifetime. Yet, almost without her realizing it, everything is slowly disintegrating. This summer, there is apparently no escape from the tension that has surfaced between herself and her troubled daughter, Josie. That tension has begun to spread into her and Paul's relationship as well, adding strain to a once rock-solid marriage.

When a long-promised sailing trip to celebrate Will's birthday turns tragic, his idyllic birthday treat suddenly turns into a family nightmare. Trapped by such a tragedy, mired in her own personal destructive spiral of guilt and denial, Ruth knows only the darkness of her own loss and grief. It is only when she finally finds the courage to return to Maine and confront her conflicting emotions, that Ruth begins to understand that sometimes the greatest and deepest pain is inflicted on those we love the most.

Susan Madison is a new author to me and this is actually the first book of hers that I've ever read. I certainly enjoyed this book very much - it was interesting and fast-paced, and I would love to be able to read more of Ms. Madison's work in the future. However, I found the plot to be just the slightest bit far-fetched and somewhat implausible. However, I would still give this book an A!

A! - (90-95%)

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Daphne du Maurier - Jamaica Inn

22. Jamaica Inn by Daphne du Maurier (1936)
Length: 243 pages 
Genre: Historical Mystery
Started: 8 April 2015
Finished: 12 April 2015
Where did it come from? From Bookmooch
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 3 March 2014
Why do I have it? I like historical mysteries and have read and enjoyed several books by this author in the past.

On a bitter November evening, young Mary Yellen journeys to the windswept Cornish coast to stay at the foreboding Jamaica Inn. She arrives at her aunt and uncle's inn to fulfill her mother's dying wish. Although the coachman tries to warn her to stay away from the ramshackled, ruined place, Mary chooses to stay and honor her late mother's final request.

So, Mary will join her relatives - her frightened Aunt Patience and her imposing Uncle Joss Merlyn - and do her best to ignore the various rumors swirling about the place. With the coachman's dire warning still echoing in her ears, Mary will witness her Aunt Patience cowering in fear before her dour Uncle Joss. Terrified by the inn's looming shadow and its brooding darkness, Mary gradually finds herself becoming ensnared in the various devious schemes being enacted behind its crumbling walls - and tempted to love a man she dares not trust.

I really enjoyed reading this book very much; in my opinion, the story was certainly very good and I wanted to find out what would happen next. Although, I will say that I found the story just the slightest bit overly theatrical for me. I absolutely love Daphne du Maurier's writing style; she certainly knew how to create a frightening and suspenseful atmosphere.

I would always literally get lost in Ms. Du Maurier's books every time I read one. However, Jamaica Inn was a slightly different reading experience for me; I never entirely lost myself along the wild Cornish moors while I read this particular book. In my opinion, while this was still a very good story, I don't think it was Daphne du Maurier's best work. Although, I would still give Jamaica Inn by Daphne du Maurier an A!

A! - (90-95%)

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Rona Jaffe - The Road Taken: A Novel

21. The Road Taken: A Novel by Rona Jaffe (2000)
Length: 388 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
Started: 2 April 2015
Finished: 7 April 2015
Where did it come from? From a Library Book Sale
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 19 December 2014
Why do I have it? I like historical fiction and have read and enjoyed several books by this author in the past.

Rose Smith was born right at the beginning of the twentieth century - in the year 1900 - the year that ushered in the most rapidly changing century in history. It was a century filled with remarkable advancements - in the field of medicine, in the world of technology, politics, and most especially within American society. At the age of ten, Rose loses her mother to an illness which everyone seems remarkably vague about; refusing to even entertain Rose's simplest questions regarding her mother's death.

Raised by her somewhat distant father, her older sister Maude, and her new stepmother Celia, Rose quickly learns to become independent and adaptable. As she grows up and begins a family of her own, she and her three very distinct but equally strong-willed daughters, as well as the men in their lives become an indelible part of the country's growth too - an America beset, and inescapably altered by - the onset of devastating wars, the advent of new medicines, and the emerging empowerment and autonomy of women.

This is a glorious saga that spans the years of twentieth-century America - a poignant tale of our century and our America - as told through the experiences of four generations in the same family that embodies the human experience. This is a story that chronicles the lives of an extraordinary woman and a family whose lives are composed of a mosaic of tragedy and joy, love and hate, rivalry, struggle and redemption. This is also a poignant tale of an unforgettable family, and the choices made, chances taken and twists of fate followed, which transform people's lives forever.

I absolutely loved reading this book. I have always enjoyed reading books about families - books dealing with families and their histories. Although this was a relatively quick read for me, it still had the feeling of an intricately-woven, well-plotted family saga. I thoroughly enjoyed it, although I found it just the slightest bit long-winded in parts. I give this book a definite A+!

A+! - (96-100%)

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Hillary Mantel's 'Wolf Hall' Movie Review

'Wolf Hall': From left, Damian Lewis, Mark Rylance and Claire Foy (as Anne Boleyn) star in this six-part adaptation of two of Hilary Mantel's novels: Wolf Hall and Bring up the Bodies'Wolf Hall' airs on PBS' 'Masterpiece', Sunday nights at 10 PM, Eastern and Pacific times; 9 PM, Central Time

So in June of 2011, Mareena and I went to our local Barnes and Noble Bookstore to celebrate Mareena's birthday. She had bought herself a paperback copy of Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel along with two other books - although I couldn't tell you what those other books were. When we first learned last week that 'Masterpiece' would be airing a television adaptation of Hilary Mantel's 2009 book Wolf Hall from Sunday night, April 5th, to Sunday night, May 10th, 2015; Mareena told me excitedly that she had a copy of Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel that was somewhere in her room. She told me exactly where it was in her room - something that was quite a feat in itself - and I went in and grabbed it for her.
Since she said that I could read it whenever I wanted, the book is currently sitting on my bedside table waiting for me to pick it up. I'll probably end up reading it sometime after the show ends in May. The 2009 book Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel is the first novel in the Thomas Cromwell Trilogy; followed in 2012 by Bringing up the Bodies and the trilogy will conclude with The Mirror and the Light - a novel that I believe will be published in 2015. Despite having a copy of Wolf Hall already, Mareena has a request for a copy of Bringing up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel on her Wish List on several of the swapping websites to which we belong.

Mareena has told me that she has actually read slightly mixed reviews of Hilary Mantel's book Wolf Hall, although she doesn't usually pay that much attention to them. She generally withholds her own personal opinion until she reads the book for herself. If the book interests her enough, she will read it no matter what the reviews may say. Here's hoping that the television adaptation of 'Wolf Hall' is good and solid.

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Reading Wrap-up For March 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 March with 1,047 unread books lying around the house and ended the month with 1,043 books unread. All the books that I acquired this month came from Bookmooch and Paperback Swap.

Let me try to break down the influx for you:

- The Deadly Gift by Norah Lofts

Changes to the TBR pile

Read from my TBR pile (Yes! I am a reading machine :))
- The Bridges of Madison County: A Novel by Robert James Waller
- Addison House by Clare McNally
- Jane's House/China: Alive in the Bitter Sea/Promises/Outrage by Robert Kimmel Smith, Fox Butterfield, Catherine Gaskin and Henry Denker

Added to my TBR pile (oh well, you win some and you lose some! Not too bad though, I suppose:))
- The Black Flower: A Novel of the Civil War by Howard Bahr

Taken off my TBR pile and sent to a new home (Yay! Happy Dance! :))
- The Diary by Eileen Goudge
- Where Are the Children? by Mary Higgins Clark
- Sandcastles by Luanne Rice

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

Books Read: 4
Pages Read: 914
Grade Range: A+! to C+!

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