Saturday, October 31, 2015

October'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. October's Book of the Month is:
  Published as: Gad's Hall in September 1977
Publisher: Hodder and Stoughton, Ltd

Birth Name: Norah Robinson
Born: 27 August 1904 in Shipdham, Norfolk, England
Died: 10 September 1983 in Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk, England

Canonical Name: Norah Lofts
Pseudonyms: Juliet Astley and Peter Curtis

Gad's Hall: A Novel of the Supernatural by Norah Lofts was the sixty-third book that I read in 2015. I have had this book on my TBR shelf since December 22, 2011 and my third reading of this book took me four days days to finish. I sent this book off to another good home on October 15, 2015.

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Friday, October 23, 2015

Anita Shreve - The Pilot's Wife

67. The Pilot's Wife by Anita Shreve (1998)
The Fortune's Rocks Series Book 3
Length: 293 pages
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Started: 20 October 2015
Finished: 23 October 2015
Where did it come from? From a Library Book Sale
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 10 October 2000
Why do I have it? I like contemporary fiction and have read and enjoyed several books by this author in the past.

As the wife of an airline pilot, Kathryn Lyons understands the importance of being prepared for every eventuality that life presents to her. That includes everything from moving fairly frequently; to long periods of separation due to her husband's flight schedule; to the inevitable late-night knock at the door that every pilot's wife dreads. Yet when Kathryn receives such a knock: carrying word that the plane flown by her husband, Jack, has exploded somewhere off the coast of Ireland, she must confront the unfathomable - one startling revelation at a time.

Soon drawn into a maelstrom of publicity fueled by the persistent rumors that Jack had led a secret double life, Kathryn sets out to discover the truth. She is determined to learn just who her husband really was, whatever that knowledge might cost herself and her fifteen-year-old daughter. Her exhaustive search for the truth is what propels this taut and impassioned novel as it poignantly explores the question: just how well can we ever really know a person?

I must say that I absolutely loved this book. It was such an easy read for me; truly a page-turner. I've had this book on my bookshelf for quite a long time, but I can't remember if I have ever read it before. I think that I remember watching the made-for-television movie that was broadcast in 2002, starring Christine Lahti. I would definitely give this book an A+!

A+! -(96-100%)

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Ruth Rendell - End in Tears

66. End in Tears by Ruth Rendell (2005)
The Chief Inspector Wexford Mysteries Series Book 20
Length: 323 pages
Genre: Contemporary Mystery
Started: 17 October 2015
Finished: 20 October 2015
Where did it come from? From a Library Book Sale
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 1 June 2015
Why do I have it? I like contemporary mysteries and have read and enjoyed A Sight For Sore Eyes by this author in the past.

At first there was no reason to link the killings. In fact, the first death could easily have been called an accident. When the car driven by Mavis Ambrose is struck by a falling chunk of concrete and she is killed, the police have absolutely no reason to suspect foul play in her death. However, the bludgeoning of gorgeous eighteen-year-old Amber Marshalson that follows several months later is clearly murder.

In the midst of the hottest summer on record, Inspector Wexford is called in to investigate the Marshalson case. He quickly discovers a potential link between Mavis' death and Amber's murder: Amber was driving the car directly behind Mavis' when the piece of concrete crushed it. Whatever other ties both cases might have, Inspector Wexford is certain of one thing: whoever wanted the teenager dead was willing to kill twice. 

When a third body is found, the case takes a completely unexpected and quite a darkly disturbing turn. And as Inspector Wexford investigates the case further - the darker such realities become. In fact, the more Inspector Wexford digs into the case - and the closer that he gets to solving it - the more it inevitably leaves him feeling adrift; absolutely lost in a world that is seemingly without morals. 

I have always enjoyed reading Ruth Rendell's books and this one was no exception. I have actually read several earlier books from this series many, many years ago. However, while I'm not sure if it is because this is a later mystery in a rather long series or not, I will say that I found the mystery to be remarkably more complex than I was expecting. I had some trouble keeping all the characters straight in my mind, so the mystery became just the slightest bit confusing to me. Despite that, I would still give this book an A! 

A! - (90-95%)

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Rosamunde Pilcher - Flowers in the Rain and Other Stories

65. Flowers in the Rain and Other Stories by Rosamunde Pilcher (1991)
Length: 277 pages
Genre: Short Story
Started: 13 October 2015
Finished: 17 October 2015
Where did it come from? My friend Noeleen got married in March of 2011, but before the wedding she needed to purge some of her books in the process of merging two households.
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 11 April 2010
Why do I have it? I like short stories and have read and enjoyed several books by this author in the past.

In this second collection of short stories written after 1985's The Blue Bedroom and Other Stories, Rosamunde Pilcher writes all about love and the pinings of the heart. From the familial style to the bittersweet pang of first love, these sixteen stories showcase all the joys and sorrows experienced by a variety of lively and unique characters. Whether it's a mother's love for her son expressed as she talks to him on the morning of his wedding, or a son's enduring love for his widowed mother and sister, or a headstrong girl's first encounter with love and heartbreak: each story is written with Rosamunde Pilcher's usual warmth, flair, and wisdom.

While millions of readers have become fans of her work through reading her best-selling novels, Rosamunde Pilcher has also been writing short stories for over fifty years. Through a variety of vivid settings the reader is transported back to a simpler time and place; into a thriving world of hope and romance that has become this author's trademark. Flowers in the Rain and Other Stories leaves absolutely no doubt that Rosamunde Pilcher is that rare style of writer whose every work is like a gift of love.

In my opinion, this was a really enjoyable book to read. These are sixteen 'feel good' stories; truly heartwarming and emotionally-satisfying, just all-around delighful reading. I must say that none of the stories were all that complex or taxing for me to read; they were just nice, nice stories. I would certainly give this book an A+!

A+! - (96-100%)

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Anne Tyler - The Amateur Marriage: A Novel

64. The Amateur Marriage: A Novel by Anne Tyler (2004)
Length: 306 pages 
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Started: 9 October 2015
Finished: 13 October 2015
Where did it come from? From a Library Book Sale
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 21 November 2013
Why do I have it? I like contemporary fiction and have read and enjoyed several books by this author in the past.

From the very beginning, everyone who knew Michael and Pauline could tell that they were absolutely meant to be together. As a couple, they seemed to be perfectly matched: young, good-looking, made for each other. As a matter of fact, their first meeting with each other seemed to be almost like a scene from a romantic novel or some old Hollywood movie. 

The moment Pauline - a stranger to the Polish neighborhood of Eastern Avenue in Baltimore, even though she lived only twenty minutes away - walked into his mother's grocery store, Michael is completely smitten. Pauline steps into the store as a damsel in distress, and Michael becomes her hero. And in the heat of World War II fervor, they are propelled into a hasty marriage. Yet, this is definitely a couple who never should have married.

Pauline, impulsive and impractical, tumbles headlong through life and takes to marriage in a relatively hit-or-miss fashion. Michael, serious and deliberate all throughout his life, proceeds into marriage in exactly the same precise and measured way - dealing with Pauline and her various issues in a fairly judgemental and predictable fashion. And, in time - while other young married couples who were equally as inept from the beginning seemed to grow more seasoned and settled in their own marriages - both Michael and Pauline remained amateurs. Over time, the couple's foolish and petty quarrels inevitably take their toll.

Even when they find themselves - almost three decades later - loving, instant parents to their little three-year-old grandson named Pagan, whom they rescue from Haight-Ashbury, Michael and Pauline still seem unable to bridge the cavernous distance created by their deep-rooted differences. For flighty Pauline - who clings to the notion that given enough time, all things wrong can be made right again - the rifts in their marriage can always be patched. Yet to the unyielding Michael, their differences have become unbearable.

I must say that I absolutely loved reading this book. In my opinion, Anne Tyler is thoughtful and measured in her writing style; deeply invested in the development of her characters and plots. She is actually a tremendous writer.

I am always amazed at how easily I can get lost in her stories. To me, they never seem forced or disjointed. This book was equally as easy to read and to get lost in; there was a poignancy and a realistic quality to this plot that I thoroughly enjoyed. I give this book an A+!

A+! - (96-100%)

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Norah Lofts - Gad's Hall: A Novel of the Supernatural

Reread. Gad's Hall: A Novel of the Supernatural by Norah Lofts (1977)
The Gad's Hall Series Book 1
Length: 282 pages
Genre: Horror
Originally Read: 28 December 2011
Reread Finished: 3 October 2015
Where did it come from? Originally from Paperback Swap, then from my "keeper" shelf.

I have already reread another Norah Lofts book - The Deadly Gift - in March of 2015. This is actually my second book by Norah Lofts that I have reread this year. I believe that I've read this book a total of three times.

The first time I read this book was perhaps twenty years ago; the second was in December of 2011 - from December 24th, to December 28th, 2011. Mareena had actually acquired Gad's Hall: A Novel of the Supernatural by Norah Lofts for me as an early Christmas gift. The book actually arrived in the mail on December 22nd, 2011, and although Mareena tried very hard to keep it a secret from me until Christmas Day, her strength of will crumbled and by December 24th she had let the secret out! I started reading the book immediately after she gave me her 'just because' gift for December of 2011.

My third reading of this book took me four days - from September 30th, to October 3rd, 2015. I think that since I have read this book a total of three times and have had it on my bookshelf for almost four years, I can probably post it. I'm sure someone else would enjoy reading this book.

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Reading Wrap-up For September 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 September with 1,048 books lying around the house and ended the month with 1,039 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:

Changes to the TBR pile

- The Sight of the Stars by Belva Plain
- Dancehall by Bernard F. Conners
- Ordinary People by Judith Guest
- Heartwood: A Novel by Belva Plain
- Rosemary's Baby by Ira Levin

Read from my TBR pile (Yes! I am a reading machine :))
- Ellen Foster: A Novel by Kaye Gibbons
- The Old Willis Place: A Ghost Story by Mary Downing Hahn
- Groundswell: A Novel by Katie Lee
- See Jane Die: A Novel by Erica Spindler

Added to my TBR pile (oh well, you win some and you lose some! Not too bad though, I suppose:))
- Before the Frost by Henning Mankell
- Abide With Me: A Novel by Elizabeth Strout

Taken off my TBR pile and sent to a new home (Yay! Happy Dance! :))
- Show of Evil by William Diehl
- So Far... by Kelsey Grammer
- Gerald's Game by Stephen King
- Ellen Foster: A Novel by Kaye Gibbons

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

Books Read: 9
Pages Read: 2,449
Grade Range: A+! to A!

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