LAUREL-RAIN'S PRESCRIPTION

WELCOME TO MY BLOG, WHERE BOOKISH DELIGHTS HOLD CENTER STAGE AND WHERE BOOKS HELP CHASE AWAY THE BLUES.

Monday, August 31, 2009

ANOTHER MONDAY!


My weekend flew by even more quickly than usual—or so it seemed!—since I had so much catching up to do after my week's vacation in the Napa Valley.

Which was wonderful, BTW, but I'm always glad to get back into the routine after a break like that. Recharged, as it were, I plunged into my blogging...I even learned a couple of new tricks for my other blogs—from my Blogging Guru Sheila, at JOURNEY THROUGH BOOKS.

To our left, you'll see the Faye Kellerman novel that I just happened upon when I was in Napa. I had brought along my three books to read, which I've reviewed below. So imagine my dismay on Wednesday to find that I had finished all three books and was desperate to search out a bookstore (which really would have been a BAD IDEA in the long run, since I had stacks and STACKS at home on my TBR pile!). But instead, I discovered a little book exchange shelf in the resort office and "exchanged" this book of Kellerman's for one of my own.

I thought I had read most of her books already, but had somehow missed this one. More about this fascinating tale after I've finished. Suffice it to say that it will keep me busy through Monday, and possibly beyond, depending upon other tasks I must face today!

Yes, the beginning of the month approaches and I have errands to run, bills to pay...But don't forget! Getting through Mondays also requires a good book by your side.

Happy Monday, everyone!!


LAUREL-RAIN SNOW CREATIONS

Sunday, August 30, 2009

OTHER REVIEWS


Check out my review of this delectable novel at:

LAUREL-RAIN SNOW'S REFLECTIONS

A delightful journey of cooking and blogging.








For another exploration into an inspirational story, check out my review here at:

LAUREL-RAIN SNOW'S EXPLORATIONS









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Saturday, August 29, 2009

FRIENDSHIP TESTED BY TIME

I promised to review this book as soon as I finished it. Actually, I turned the last page several days ago, but I was still in Napa. So here it is.


Childhood friends separated by a betrayal--a familiar theme in books I've read recently. And when the friends' lives follow divergent paths, only to meet again at some point in adulthood, we again feel the tug of familiarity.

But this tale, Best Friends Forever: A Novel, which takes a quirky departure from the common themes, leads the former "best friends" into an adventure that happens when one of them attends their high school reunion and meets up with a teenage nemesis, upon whom she takes out a form of revenge; desperate, she seeks out her old "best friend," hoping to somehow repair the damage.

What follows is an adventurous whirlwind through the past and into the present, while the two former buddies finally achieve closure.

What sets this novel apart from the usual "buddy" adventures is the gradual unfolding of the secrets and betrayals from the past in such a way that the two women finally reach a place of understanding and forge a path into the future.

Fascinated until the end, I found the book intriguing; however, this story did not live up to some of Weiner's other books. Therefore, four stars.

LAUREL-RAIN SNOW CREATIONS

Friday, August 21, 2009

WEEKEND ADVENTURES AHEAD

In the final hours before my departure to my getaway, I'm rechecking my lists—and, of course, the books I must take along are on the top of my list.

"Best Friends Forever," by Jennifer Weiner is one that I'll finish by the end of the day tomorrow, I'm sure. So, just to make sure that I am not facing any dull hours in the days ahead, I'm also taking along some others...like these:

I won "Julie & Julia" in a contest on Sheila's JOURNEY THROUGH BOOKS and I LOVED the movie!

I've also tucked in a copy of "Courage of Fear," a book I won on Goodreads, from the author Barbara Boyer.

As you can see, by the time Monday approaches, there will be no "blues" for me! Books of all kinds.

So I hope you all have a great weekend!


LAUREL-RAIN SNOW CREATIONS


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

HUMP DAY MUSINGS



Halfway through the week, with Friday approaching, I am jazzed and energized. This Friday, I embark on my week-long adventure in the Napa Valley of California.

Not only do I plan to catch up on some reading, perhaps even write a little in the notebooks I'm taking (without a laptop, I'm unable to do anything on the computer except check e-mails in the resort office), but I guess I'll do a little wine tasting. I make that sound like a chore, don't I?

So today I'm doing laundry, getting ready to pack my bags for the trip. Of course, I had to create a list, since I wouldn't want to forget anything! (Like there won't be stores around in case I do!).

And Noah, my six-year-old grandson is here, watching cartoons and eating snacks and doing all the things he can get away with at Nana's house!

I've also been clicking from blog to blog, catching up on posts and adding Amazon "buy buttons" to some books.

Hope to explore more when I return.

Have a great weekend!!


LAUREL-RAIN SNOW CREATIONS

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

WE MADE IT THROUGH MONDAY!


Take a deep breath, shore up your resources for the week(s) ahead—because rain will surely come before too long, not to mention more Mondays!—and settle in for more book explorations.

In this photo, you will see two books from my childhood (and from my mother's childhood). I must have read them ten to twenty times, or more! I loved those books. One is entitled "Cornelli," by the author of "Heidi" (Johanna Spyri), and the other is "Elsie Dinsmore" (Martha Finley). I have never heard about or seen other copies of either book. The point for me was that my mother trusted me with them.

She received them as gifts when she was a child (in 1921, to be exact), from an aunt who regularly sent gifts from another state. I don't think my mother ever met her, but I could be wrong about that. I just know that my mother considered them beloved treasures, so I felt blessed to have the pleasure of ownership for awhile.

When I was a new high school graduate, I took a job in a county schools library department to earn money for college. While there, I bound up these books (as they were falling apart) and kept them intact for a little while longer.

As you can see, they're still a bit dilapidated—I probably didn't do such a professional job with them—but at least the pages are not falling out! A couple of years ago, while visiting the old homestead, my mother gave the books to me. Previously, they had been "on loan" to me, while I was living at home. But now they were mine for good. What a treat!

So I put them in my bookcase, and then later shelved them on my Baker's Rack where I have placed one hardcover copy of each of my own creations. In other words, they have "pride of place" with other books that I cherish.

To me, books are for reading, for possessing, and for collecting. They are my most prized possessions—in addition to photographs—and they fall into that unique category of "sentimental collections."

I have another blog in which I showcase many of my collections, including my books. Check it out sometime at: LAUREL-RAIN SNOW'S COLLECTIONS.

In case you are interested in contests, I have two going on at my other blogs and one at one of my "ning" sites. In each contest, the winner will receive an autographed copy of one of my novels. For more details:

LAUREL-RAIN SNOW'S STARDUST DREAMS, EMBRACE THE WHIRLWIND WITH LAUREL-RAIN SNOW, and A RAINY, SNOWY DAY.

Happy Tuesday to everyone!


LAUREL-RAIN SNOW CREATIONS

Monday, August 17, 2009

JUST WHEN SHE THOUGHT HER LIFE WAS ALMOST PERFECT -- A Review of "Look Again"


Sometimes, the very thing that takes us out of the blues is a suspense tale.



Ellen Gleeson is a busy single mom and newspaper reporter, and despite the fact that layoffs at the newspaper loom on the horizon, ratcheting up the stress another notch, she believes that her life is just about perfect.

Rushing home from work one day and eager to face domesticity, she is blindsided by a picture on a small white card—one of those "missing children" advertisements. At first glance, she is sure that the poor lighting of her porch is the explanation. But upon closer inspection, as her blood chills, she confirms that the child in the photo is an identical match to her own adopted three-year-old son Will.

A beloved child she met while doing a story—at the time, he was recuperating in a hospital following heart surgery—and in the weeks that it takes to complete her assignment, she has fallen in love with the child. Everything seemingly lines up neatly in the process of adopting this supposedly abandoned child.

Now, with her world crashing around her on all fronts—her work life and home life are up for grabs—Ellen scrambles to find out the truth...while juggling all aspects of her life, as if she still has everything under control.

As the suspense mounts, we follow Ellen as she attempts to backtrack on the adoption process; with one trail after another leading to "dead" ends, she begins to doubt her own sanity—and then wonders about her safety.

I especially enjoyed one technique the author used—presenting increasingly short chapters as the suspense elevated—until I found myself flipping pages even faster. At the end of each short, suspenseful chapter, she left the reader on a cliff, eager to push ahead.

A thrill ride that kept me up at night, Look Again is a delightful tale with poignancy, mystery, and even that "love stuff," as Ellen begins to fall hard for an unexpected man in her life.


LAUREL-RAIN SNOW'S CREATIONS

PUSHING THE LIMITS: AN INSPIRATIONAL TALE -- A Review of "We're All Welcome Here"


A GREAT RAINY DAY OR MONDAY READ


Elizabeth Berg has done it again with this uplifting tale of pushing the limits...


It is 1964, in Tupelo, Mississippi, and a young mother, Paige Dunn—paralyzed by polio while pregnant with her daughter Diana—lives a life limited by her condition and as a single mother. But because of her inner strength and determination, she is raising her daughter, now entering her teens. Paige's in-home help (she is a quadriplegic) consists of a young black woman (Peacie) who comes in the daytime, and another helper who comes for part of each night.

Against this backdrop, Peacie and her husband LaRue, also constrained by their own limitations of race during a time of segregation, are equally determined to push for a life beyond its limitations. While Peacie cares for Paige, LaRue decides to help with the voter registration cause, involving himself in protest marches and placing himself at risk.

Gradually, things begin to unravel for these characters: LaRue is arrested, Peacie bails him out with money loaned by Paige—who can ill afford it—and someone has called to report the family to social services for having "insufficient help" in the home. Peacie's occasional absences have taken a toll.

Throughout the dire series of events that lead to what might seem a hopeless situation, Paige maintains her faith and hope, determined to find the help she needs so that she can finish her job parenting her daughter.

What unexpected events turn this disaster on end? And will Diana's father be of assistance? Will Peacie return in her role as caretaker? Or will Paige have to finally give in to her limitations?

Just when they are all about to give up, an unexpected visitor appears—someone who owes Paige a debt of gratitude for something that occurred many years before—and their lives are all blessedly improved.

An inspirational story based on true events that have been fictionalized, We Are All Welcome Here: A Novel sends a message of hope to all those who have almost given up on the circumstances that seemingly control their lives.

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THE PRICE OF FRIENDSHIP -- A Review of "Trouble"

A GREAT MONDAY READ:


Female friendship, failed marriage, disappointing career issues - all of these aspects of life plague the characters in this captivating novel from the author of The Great Man.

First we meet Josie, a Manhattan psychotherapist, who is attending a soiree at a single friend's lush apartment. As Josie, her friend Indrani, and assorted hangers-on party into the wee hours, Josie reflects on her marriage. She has decided to end the marriage, realizing that she and Anthony have been living like automatons for years. Their teenaged daughter Wendy is not a sufficient reason to continue; a well-adjusted young person, she will likely fare very well when they've ended their liaison.

Having decided this, Josie stays out quite late, flirting and considering sleeping with a man she meets. But then does not.

Once the decision to separate is made, Josie takes action. Her husband's response is underwhelming, but she chooses to consider this a good thing. Then she hears from another good friend—Raquel—a rock star that lives in LA, who has been bombarded with bad press from the paparazzi, and decides to vacation in Mexico. Josie agrees to accompany her.

From there, we follow the two friends as they enjoy themselves and bond again in their friendship. When events turn tragic, Josie finds herself dealing with the aftermath, calling upon all of her inner strength to deal with it.

From the first page onward, the author pulled me in—as she described the feelings, portrayed the interactions between the characters, and painted the immediate surroundings so that the reader could visualize it all—until I was completely caught up in events.

A beautifully wrought journey, Trouble: A Novel is a book that I will undoubtedly read again. I am so glad to add it to my library.


LAUREL-RAIN SNOW'S CREATIONS

MONDAY IS HERE!




Okay, I'll admit that Mondays aren't the bugaboo for me that they once were, with that whole "retired" and "free lance" thing I've got going on. Not to rub it in, or anything, but when you don't have to rush around, grabbing your cup of coffee and shower on the run, just so you can make it somewhere by a certain time—believe me, I have certainly been there and done that!

So whenever Monday looms, I still get that fluttery feeling in my gut—that angst that something good is about to end, while unexpected crises hover overhead, threatening to explode all over everything wonderful in my life.

For more than thirty years, I worked with families in crisis, so the "crisis" mode was normal. But that kind of mindset can permanently alter a person. Sometimes I still get that feeling...like the other shoe is about to drop. Maybe you could compare it to folks suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, although I don't mean to equate the two experiences...what I'm sensing in my innards is on a much lesser scale. Somewhere toward the other end of that continuum.

Nevertheless, I sometimes approach my interactions with family members in much the same way as I did those families in crisis—when they call me unexpectedly, for example, in the middle of the night—and my reaction is: "What's wrong?" It kind of puts a negative spin on life, don't you think?

So my solution, like my generalized prescription for this blog, is BOOKS, BOOKS, AND MORE BOOKS. Even while I was in the midst of that fray, I always had a trusty book nearby. At lunchtime, I would go off somewhere, pager tucked away in my bag, and pull out that book. While munching on my salad and sipping my coffee or tea, I could rise above it all. For just a little while.

I still have my books nearby, even though I don't necessarily need them for respite from the landmines of my former daily life; they are friendly companions that have been there for me through it all.

So as you read this, be sure to have your emergency supply of book(s) for the day, grab your coffee, run out the door, and have a great day!


LAUREL-RAIN SNOW'S CREATIONS

Sunday, August 16, 2009

RAINY DAY AND MONDAY BLUES


Okay, I am definitely a little premature with the rainy day talk. It's still blazing hot here in Fresno, CA, so perhaps I'm just indulging in a little wishful thinking. While rainy days can certainly elicit the blues, my prescription here will take care of that for sure. BOOKS, BOOKS, AND MORE BOOKS.

But it is Sunday, soon to be followed by Monday—so that part of this blog's mission is certainly something to consider.

For those of you who still do the nine-to-five thing (not to gloat, or anything, but I'm a free-lancer now after more than thirty years in that life), Mondays are still a hurdle to get over. Perhaps if you plan to enjoy a good book during your lunch hour, and add a book to your nightstand for those hours after work, you'll have something to look forward to.

So curl up in your favorite chair, take a deep breath, and start reading.

One of my favorites from an author I've always enjoyed is Jennifer Weiner's "Best Friends Forever." I haven't finished it yet, but it promises to be delightfully evocative of all of those moments in our lives...And when I'm finished, I'll come back here to review it.

LAUREL-RAIN SNOW'S CREATIONS

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Mary Ann in Autumn: A Tales of the City NovelHanna's DaughtersMiss Hildreth Wore BrownElizabethSolomon's OakSolomon's Oak

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