Tuesday, March 31, 2015

March's Book of the Month


Hello Everyone! I chose the picture posted above because it reminds me of reading to my daughter Mareena when she was little. Every afternoon until she was about eight or nine years old, we would take one of her books that she wanted to read or that she was reading and we would curl up together on my big bed. 

We would spend an hour or so reading a chapter of her book, and then take a nap together. Her absolutely favorite author at that time was an English author named Enid Blyton. Ahh, nice memories... 

My picks for 'Books of the Month' will be decidedly more adult these days, but they will be from almost any genre. March's Book of the Month is:

Jane's House by Robert Kimmel Smith
  Published as: Jane's House in August 1982
Publisher: William Morrow and Company 

Birth Name: Robert Kimmel Smith 
Born: 31 July 1930 in Brooklyn, New York

Canonical Name: Robert Kimmel Smith
Pseudonyms: None

Jane's House by Robert Kimmel Smith was the twentieth book that I read in 2015. I have had this book on my TBR shelf since April 5, 2001 and it took me two days to read. This book is definitely a keeper for me. 

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Robert Kimmel Smith - Jane's House

20. Reader's Digest Condensed Books, Volume 5: Jane's House by Robert Kimmel Smith (1982)
The Reader's Digest Condensed Books Series Volume 5: 1982 - (Jane's House/China: Alive in the Bitter Sea/Promises/Outrage)
Length: 128 pages
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Started: 27 March 2015
Finished: 29 March 2015
Where did it come from? From a Library Book Sale
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 5 April 2001
Why do I have it? I like contemporary fiction and Robert Kimmel Smith is a new author for me. I also love to read Reader's Digest Condensed Books from time to time.

"It's such a simple thing. All you have to do is remember in the morning to take something out to defrost. Providing you remembered to shop for meat sometime, and then wrapped it in aluminum foil and put on a legible label so that when you went fishing in the frost-clouded freezer at eight in the morning you could actually tell what was in there."

For widower Paul Klein, raising two children on his own after his wife Jane's death is incredibly difficult. It's forgetting the little things that is perhaps the hardest part of losing Jane in Paul's mind. Remembering to take food out of the freezer in time for dinner, making sure that sixteen-year-old Hilary and ten-year-old Bobby had clean clothes to wear for school - these were the type of nagging little chores that Jane always took care of so efficiently.

Jane. Beautiful, perfect Jane, whose memory was still very much alive in the big old Victorian-era style house in Brooklyn; as much as her memory continues to live on in the hearts of her husband and children.

And that was part of the problem. In fact, that was exactly the problem. For in time a new woman named Ruth would enter their lives, filling the house with love and laughter once more. The question was, could there ever be room for another woman - living in Jane's house? Her family were bound to her memory by love. And it was only love that could eventually set them free.

I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. I have always enjoyed reading about families in turmoil, and how they learn to overcome their various personal tragedies. I also thought that this was a well-written and well-developed story - poignant, realistic and entirely believeable to me. Actually, I'm so glad to have read this book when I did and I give it an A+! Robert Kimmel Smith is predominantly known as an author of children's books, although Jane's House is an adult book. 

A+! - (96-100%)

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Clare McNally - Addison House

19. Addison House by Clare McNally (1988)
(Originally Published as: Come Down Into Darkness) (1989)
Length: 298 pages
Genre: Horror
Started: 24 March 2015
Finished: 26 March 2015
Where did it come from? From Paperback Swap 
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 23 March 2015 
Why do I have it? I like horror and have read and enjoyed Ghost Light by the same author in the past.

For Doreen Addison, proprietor of an orphan's home known as Addison House, it comes as a nasty surprise to her to hear that the building will soon be sold. She must find a suitable house for herself, her assistant and the six children she fosters, and she must find a home fast. Doreen's search leads her to a beautiful, large house, secluded and rather inexpensive - just the right place for eight people to live.

Apparently, the house has been vacant for twenty years; and there were disturbingly dark stories of murder and suicide told about it. While Doreen was curious about all the rumors she had heard, and secretly wondered what had happened there so long ago, the house was still just what she was looking for. It was the perfect place to set up a children's home.

Soon after Doreen and her young wards move into their new home, unusual things start to happen. At first it was just a crazy old man living in the woods and a dead cat found on the back porch. But then the children began seeing strange things; and hearing blood-curdling screams at night. Several of the children report seeing a beautiful woman dressed in black, and there is a terrible accident down in the cellar.

Doreen starts to believe that something just isn't right about the house. However, her nightmare really begins as children mysteriously disappear. She soon finds herself confronting an ancient and malevolent power far beyond her understanding.

Only one thing can possibly save her and the children from utter destruction: she must discover the dark secret of the mysterious woman in black. Doreen alone must put an end to the repetitive grisly drama of obsessive love and hate...a tableau of twisted passions that has replayed for decades. Come home once and for all...if you dare.

I must say, that after reading Ghost Light by Clare McNally many years ago, I was eagerly looking forward to reading Addison House almost as soon as I received it. This book started out very strongly and I had such hope that it would continue to be a really great story. I was so disappointed.

To be perfectly honest, I thought this book ended up being almost too frightening. Don't get me wrong, I really love reading old-fashioned horror; the creepier the better. Yet, Ms. McNally seemed to be writing the horror book to beat all horror books - one epic horror novel designed to scare the pants off every reader in the world. She seemed to take tiny bits of ten different types of horror and throw them together in one giant cauldron, then she stirred them up to see what came out.

It felt so much like 'kitchen sink'-style horror writing to me, that I wasn't quite sure what was supposed to frighten me and what wasn't. At a certain point, I just stopped caring about the history of the haunting because it was just so intricate that it became thoroughly confusing to me. I had to give this book a C+!

C+! - (76-79%)

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Monday, March 23, 2015

Robert James Waller - The Bridges of Madison County: A Novel

18. The Bridges of Madison County: A Novel by Robert James Waller (1992)
(Originally Published as: Love in Black and White) (1992)
The Bridges of Madison County Trilogy Book 1
Length: 171 pages
Genre: Contemporary Fiction 
Started: 22 March 2015
Finished: 23 March 2015
Where did it come from? From Bookmooch 
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 14 March 2015
Why do I have it? I like contemporary fiction and have read and enjoyed Slow Waltz in Cedar Bend: A Novel by the same author in the past.

Neither Robert Kincaid nor Francesca Johnson are in the first blush of youth when they first meet in Iowa in the 1960's. However, that brief yet intense meeting has the potential to alternately haunt them and comfort them for the rest of their lives. Their memories of their time together are perhaps strong enough to last a lifetime.

Robert Kincaid is a fifty-two-year-old photographer for National Geographic Magazine. He is a strange, almost mystical traveler of Asian deserts, distant rivers, and ancient cities who is known for his world-class, poignant photographs; whose work can melt the hardest heart. Yet, he is also a man who feels out of harmony with his time.

Francesca Johnson is a forty-five-year-old housewife, once a hopeful young war bride from Italy - so filled with excitement and dreams for a brighter future. However, living in the hills of southern Iowa with only flickering memories of her girlhood to keep her company, Francesca is lonely. She is ostensibly happy and content with her life, yet when Robert drives through the dust and heat of an Iowa summer and turns into Francesca's farmhouse lane asking for directions, their illusions suddenly fall away.

As the photographer Robert Kincaid uses light to capture not objects, but rather his own kind of truth, what occurs beside the old bridges of Madison County over the space of four days, becomes a prism transforming Francesca's and Robert's emotions into a shared experience of uncommonly rare and stunning beauty. An experience which will haunt them forever. This is a story of a love too beautiful and too strong to die. A story so movingly poignant that it will transform the reader's ordinary emotions into something incredibly wondrous and brilliant.

The result is a passionate and deeply moving book, filled with lyrical prose and a vibrancy that places Robert James Waller in the forefront of current fiction writers. I must say that I thought this was a truly lovely, sweet love story. It was such a well-told story, deeply passionate and almost timeless. I give this book an A+!

The Bridges of Madison County: A Novel by Robert James Waller is actually the second book that I've read by this author. Although this is also his debut novel. I must also say that while I've never watched the 1995 film adaptation, starring Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep, I've only seen bits and pieces. I much prefer the book to the movie. Although, having only seen some of the movie, I suppose this is to be expected.

A+! (96-100%)

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Norah Lofts - The Deadly Gift

Reread. The Deadly Gift by Norah Lofts (1967)
(Originally Published as: Afternoon of an Autocrat) (1956)
Length: 317 pages
Genre: Horror
Originally Read: 28 September 2010
Reread Finished: 21 March 2015
Where did it come from? Originally from Paperback Swap, then from my "keeper" shelf.

Despite starting to read several books in the past few weeks, I've not really gotten back into the flow of my reading as yet. I've just recently finished my fourth jigsaw puzzle on Sunday night, March 15th! I think I'm finished for now, and I really would like to start reading again. I thought I might as well start with a reread for me from almost five years ago.

I love Norah Lofts as an author, and had actually read The Deadly Gift for the first time about twenty years ago. Since then, Mareena got a copy for me as a 'just because' gift from Paperback Swap in April of 2009. Although I received my copy on April 4, 2009, I didn't actually read it until September of 2010. It took me eight days - from September 20th to September 28th - to finish reading it.

I decided to read this book for the third time in March of 2015 - over four days, from March 17th to March 21st. I'm definitely going to be keeping this book.

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Have a Happy and Much Blessed Saint Patrick's Day!

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

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Friday, March 13, 2015

My Boredom Has Passed, and my 'Puzzle Mania' is Slowly Easing!

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. I'm happy to report that my feeling of boredom has completely passed - it only lasted for one day actually, and then I was back to normal.

I just started doing my third jigsaw puzzle on Tuesday, March 3rd! This one is of a sleeping child with a kitten lying on her bed. It looks like a Victorian-style painting and it's so sweet! :) It's actually a deceptively simple looking puzzle to do; but it's way more difficult than I was expecting - much trickier to finish.

Anyway, I've put aside The Story of a Marriage by Andrew Sean Greer; at least for a little while. I'm currently dipping into The Year of Jubilo: A Novel of the Civil War by Howard Bahr. So far, it seems like a very good story, just remarkably intricate. I'll stay with it for a little longer, but I think my interest is beginning to wane slightly. Not enough to completely give up on this particular book, but perhaps I'll just set it aside for a while.

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Monday, March 9, 2015

'Puzzle Mania' - Day Twenty-One and Counting!

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. Actually, I'm not quite sure how I'm doing, to be perfectly honest. For some reason, I just can't seem to concentrate on anything at the moment. For the first time in literally years, I'm actually bored!

It hasn't been for that long - only for today - but nothing seems to be interesting me. Not puzzles, not reading, not even television or movies! Frankly, I'm not sure how to handle this feeling, I've felt it so seldom during my life.

Anyway, since I'm somewhat stalled with my reading of The Story of a Marriage by Andrew Sean Greer, I'm looking at several other books to see what might interest me. So far, I'm looking at The Year of Jubilo: A Novel of the Civil War by Howard Bahr. Then there's a book that Mareena received from Bookmooch back on Friday, February 13th. It's an historical mystery called And Only to Deceive by Tasha Alexander. It certainly seems intriguing!

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Thursday, March 5, 2015

And my 'Puzzle Mania' Continues to Rage!

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. After I finished reading The Art of Seeing: A Novel by Cammie McGovern on Wednesday, February 25th, I was looking through a box of books in my closet and lo, and behold, my hand fell on my next book, The Stormy Petrel by Mary Stewart! It certainly was a tremendously quick read for me, and by Saturday afternoon, February 28th, I was reading The Story of a Marriage by Andrew Sean Greer.

So far, I'm not that far into the story; but it seems good. It's sort of slow getting into the story at the moment, but I hope that it will pick up soon. I've had it stowed away in a banker's box full of books that I acquired from a Library Book Sale that Mareena and I went to back in April of last year.

I've also been doing quite a bit of Sudoku as well. The version that I'm doing is actually called Sumdoku. I even finished one entire book from the set of four that I received through the mail in November of last year.

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Reading Wrap-up For February at Moonshine and Rosefire

Hello everyone out there and I hope that you all had a terrific reading month for yourselves. I am known as Rosefire around the Internet and this is my new personal reading blog. I originally posted my reviews over at my daughter's blog, Emeraldfire's Bookmark but am now in the process of transferring them all over to my own blog. My daughter makes blogging look like so much fun that I thought that I would try it out for myself! :)

Anyway, I started out February with 1,048 unread books lying around the house and ended the month with 1,041 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:

666 by Jay Anson

Changes to the TBR pile

Read from my TBR pile (Yes! I am a reading machine :))
- Neighborhood Watch: A Novel by Cammie McGovern
- The Secret Between Us by Barbara Delinsky
Daddy's Little Girl/Without Fail/Flight Lessons/Three Weeks in Paris by Mary Higgins Clark, Lee Child, Patricia Gaffney and Barbara Taylor Bradford
- The Art of Seeing: A Novel by Camie McGovern
- The Stormy Petrel by Mary Stewart

Added to my TBR pile (oh well, you win some and you lose some! Not too bad though, I suppose:))
- The Book of Planet Earth by Clint Twist
- The Associate by Phillip Margolin
- A Thousand Country Roads: An Epilogue to The Bridges of Madison County by Robert James Waller
- Breaking the Surface by Greg Louganis and Eric Marcus
- Three by Ted Dekker
- Eye Contact: A Novel by Cammie McGovern

Taken off my TBR pile and sent to a new home (Yay! Happy Dance! :))
- Moonlight Mile by Dennis Lehane
- Sweetwater Creek by Anne Rivers Siddons
- Suddenly by Barbara Delinsky
- Max by Howard Fast
- Second Generation by Howard Fast
- Naked Once More by Elizabeth Peters
- Call Me Anna: The Autobiography of Patty Duke by Patty Duke

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

Books Read: 7
Pages Read: 1,704
Grade Range: A+! to A!

So, there you go! The reading month that was February. I hope that you all had an equally good reading month; if not a little better. :) See you all next month! :)

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight