LAUREL-RAIN'S PRESCRIPTION

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

Sunday, January 31, 2010

ROLLICKING ADVENTURES, WITH A LITTLE LOVE MIXED IN -- A Review of "Eleven on Top"

Stephanie Plum is tired of her job as a bounty hunter. It's dangerous, she's always stressed-out, and well, she just thinks it's time for something new.

So she quits. And then starts a series of nonsensical jobs (for her), discovering along the way that trouble finds her, even when she's not a bounty hunter! There are car bombings, garage bombings, and an "accident" involving a car running down her boyfriend Joe Morelli (a cop, no less!).

In the midst of ordinary life, she can't seem to catch an ordinary moment.

Even her sister's impending nuptials can't seem to "normalize" her.

So she finds herself back in the game of pursuing the bad guys, figuring out the mysteries, until finally, just about the time she almost gets herself killed, the answers are lining up. And she has it all figured out. But is it too late?

This is my first Stephanie Plum novel, and now I am hooked. I love her feisty personality, how she openly exposes her flaws and foibles, and how she describes her relationships—and her fear of commitment.

Written in the first person narrative, Eleven on Top (A Stephanie Plum Novel) immediately draws the reader into Stephanie's world, where one is very much present for the rollicking adventures and hilarious moments that define her life.


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Friday, January 29, 2010

A BUCK A BOOK READING CHALLENGE
















Want to get paid to read books?  Well, check in over at Del Gal's Blog for details.

Basically, though, for every book you read this year, stash $1 somewhere inaccessible so that at the end of the year, you'll have a dollar for every book you read!

And then—wow, this is cool!—take the money and buy something special for yourself.  This is a Win-Win situation, folks!

I know I'm in, because I'll already be reading, so it's a no-brainer.  Right??

Check it out!

FAMILY TREASURES: MOMENTS IN A LIFE -- A Review of "Making Toast"














Making Toast by Roger Rosenblatt, is a short but significant memoir of a family struggling to recover from the sudden death of the young mother, Amy Solomon—a wife, mother, and a pediatrician.

Left behind and bereft are three small children and a father, a busy surgeon. Amy's parents, Roger and Ginny, temporarily leave their home in Quogue to move into the home in Bethesda with their son-in-law and grandchildren.

Sadly, we watch as everyone learns how to move on...sort of like living after a limb has been ripped from the body.

What sets this memoir apart is how the father/grandfather (Boppo) and mother/grandmother (Mimi) share memories with the children, like they are bestowing treasures. Gradually, we as the reader also catch a glimpse of how precious life is, even in the face of tragedy, and how the best legacy for the family torn asunder is to commemorate the lost individual.

Photo albums, stories, memories shared by reliving experiences--like going to the Nutcracker's ballet--all these bring solace, even as they sometimes bring up the painful losses.

Over a period of a year, we watch the family reassemble itself and learn how to live again.

Beautifully crafted moments told in a father's voice, Making Toast is a story I will not soon forget.

I gave this one five stars.



                                            LAUREL-RAIN SNOW CREATIONS

Monday, January 25, 2010

IT'S MONDAY! WHAT ARE YOU READING?



















Another great reading week lies ahead, thanks to J. Kaye's Book Blog and this delightful meme, which allows us to truly and carefully choose our week's selections.


With so many delightful books on my TBR stacks, it is difficult to choose.

I am already reading the first one on my stack this week.  Not My Daughter, by Barbara Delinsky, is turning into one of those "can't put down" reads.

It's all about "pregnancy pacts," disappointment, unmet expectations...the stuff of good tales.  It "puts...mothers' love to the ultimate test..." "until the emotional ties are stretched to the breaking in this emotionally wrenching tale of love and forgiveness."

Next, we have a book from my Library Loot shelves, but what can we say about Mrs. Dalloway?  A short blurb from the Amazon page tells us:

This brilliant novel explores the hidden springs of thought and action in one day of a woman's life. Direct and vivid in her account of the details of Clarissa Dalloway's preparations for a party she is to give that evening,Woolf ultimately managed to reveal much more; for it is the feeling behind these daily events that gives Mrs. Dalloway its texture and richness and makes it so memorable.


Finally I am looking forward to an Amazon Vine read that I received a few weeks ago.  Making Toast, by Roger Rosenblatt, is a tale that is seemingly heartbreaking and healing at the same time.  On Amazon:

Family tragedy is healed by domestic routine in this quiet, tender memoir. When his daughter Amy died suddenly at the age of 38 from an asymptomatic heart condition, journalist and novelist Rosen-blatt (Lapham Rising) and his wife moved into her house to help her husband care for their three young children. Not much happens except for the mundane, crucial duties of child care: reading stories, helping with schoolwork, chasing after an indefatigable toddler who is the busiest person I have ever known, making toast to order for finicky kids. Building on the small events of everyday life, Rosenblatt draws sharply etched portraits of his grandchildren; his stoic, gentle son-in-law; his wife, who feels slightly guilty that she is living her daughter's life; and Amy emerges as a smart, prickly, selfless figure whose significance the author never registered until her death. Rosenblatt avoids the sentimentality that might have weighed down the story; he writes with humor and an engagement with life that makes the occasional flashes of grief all the more telling. The result is a beautiful account of human loss, measured by the steady effort to fill in the void. (Feb. 16) 

Last week, I finished three books:  Just Between Us, The Peppered Moth, and Alice I Have Been.

The first two are reviewed on CURL UP AND READ, and the third review can be found on MOONBEAMS AND RAINBOWS.

Hope you all have a great reading week!  Please stop by with your comments and links.


                                            MY CREATIONS

Monday, January 18, 2010

IT'S MONDAY! WHAT ARE YOU READING?



















From J. Kaye's Book Blog, comes a meme that works with us all week.  Because, as we read our way through our stacks, we're always thinking about our goals, and what we hope to accomplish; we're already planning for what comes next!


I gleaned this week's selections from my Library Loot pile and my Mailbox Monday selections.  Then I added another one from last week, which I am still working on.


Because I got side-tracked with other "bloggie" tasks this week, I didn't begin The Peppered Moth until yesterday.

I finished Just Between Us late Saturday, and the review is HERE.

And even though I began reading The Art of Social War this week, I abandoned it about a third of the way through.  I am sure that I'll pick it up again at some point.  For some reason, I lost interest. 

Of these two, I am so torn between which one to start first!  I've been itching to read Mrs. Dalloway, which I've been seeing all around the Blogosphere...but then I look over at Alice I Have Been, which I've been anticipating...well, it seems like forever!  I had it on preorder, and it's part of my Alice in Wonderland Challenge.

With such a dilemma, there's only one thing to do!  Read, read, and read until I've finished all of the books!

Not a problem...I think most of my other blogging things are done...one more guest blogger and an author interview, and then an article for this Friday for Dames of Dialogue.  Yeah, no problem!  LOL.

What can I say about these books?  Well, Mrs. Dalloway speaks for itself, I think, and Alice I Have Been is the centerpiece to the maelstrom surrounding the girl who was the inspiration for Lewis Carroll's books.  Perhaps maelstrom  is too strong a word, but there was definitely some controversy.  Here's one of the back cover blurbs:

"Alice I Have Been is a smoky, magical mirror into the life of the real Alice.  It's a spellbinding look at another Wonderland:  Victorian England.  Melanie Benjamin blends the known with the unknown in a seamless tale of love, loss, and myth.  It's storytelling at its finest."

Okay, my dilemma is over.  Once I finish the book I am now reading, this is the next one on the list!

Hope you'll stop by, leave your comments, and link back to your own reading weeks.



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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

TEASER TUESDAYS







In this meme, hosted by Miz B of Should Be Reading, we get to share tidbits of our current read.

Here's how to play:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
Here's mine:

        A direct hit, finally.  I chafed:  Scott Storm had even suggested (over a fact-finding Irish coffee or four at the Grill!) that I have a baby rather than continue to look for work.  "A baby would complete you, Stacey, it would fulfill you.  Or you could always get some dogs," he'd offered up. "like Inga." p.106.


The Art of Social War, by Jody Wing, is a peek inside the Hollywood social climbing scene.

From Booklist, on the Amazon page: Wing’s debut novel follows a pair of newlyweds from New York to Los Angeles. Stacey Knight, a thriving PR representative, is stunned when her handsome fiancĂ©, Jamey Makepeace, drops a bit of shocking news on her: after the wedding, they’re going to move to Los Angeles so he can take over as the head of Pacificus Studios. Stacey, a die-hard New Yorker, is horrified at the thought of moving to the land of traffic and Botox, and she is floored when Jamey’s new coworkers crash their wedding and make a spectacle of themselves. Simon Mallis, the former head of the studio, isn’t happy about Jamey taking over, and as soon as the newlyweds arrive in Los Angeles, they find themselves shunned by the Hollywood elite, leaving Stacey determined to fight back. Though some of the characters are too over-the-top to be amusing or believed, some of the more realistic details, like the dingy studio offices and long-suffering assistants, are spot-on. This charming fish-out-of-water story should find fans among chick-lit readers. --Kristine Huntley

I hope to see some of you stopping by, leaving your comments, and linking back to your current reads!





                                            LAUREL-RAIN SNOW CREATIONS



Monday, January 11, 2010

IT'S MONDAY! WHAT ARE YOU READING?



Hey, everybody, it's Monday!  And guess what that means?  Over at J. Kaye's Book Blog,  
our usual Monday get-together is going on.  We get to plan out our reading week and reflect on the week we've left behind.

After last week's rather heavy reads, I am looking forward to some more light-hearted ones.  At least the first two on my list below fall into that category!

 The Art of Social War, by Jody Wing, is one I started yesterday, and so far, it's a fun read.  Amazon Blurb:  In her debut novel, Wing uses Sun-Tzu's classic The Art of War and her own difficult transition from New York to L.A. to craft a brainy, satiric chick lit novel that forgoes a typical looking-for-love plot in favor of a happy-couple-against-the-world story. Tried and true New Yorker Stacey Knight is marrying the man of her dreams, businessman Jamie, who recently acquired a sinking Hollywood studio, necessitating their move to L.A. During the wedding reception, however, the antagonistic Trio of Terror studio heads Simon, Barb and Phil volley the first shot in a smooth but sinister dinner toast. As her enemies go all out, Stacy plays the victim for an irritating length of time before getting wise. The twists and turns, once they become clear, are entertaining, but Wing's characters aren't terribly likable, especially compared to some of the well-drawn minor characters. Though her concept, weaving in passages from Sun Tzu, is clever, the read slows to a crawl under the weight of difficult-to-follow conversations, a strange narrative style and frequent use of two-dollar words. (Dec.)

Next, I plan to plunge into Cathy Kelly's Just Between Us.   It has been on my TBR stacks for awhile.  The women (sisters) live in the Irish countryside, with seemingly perfect lives...careers, relationships, everything looks great on the surface.  But after a closer look, secret heartaches are revealed.,,


 Finally, Margaret Drabble's The Peppered Moth.  This one is more serious.  On the back cover:  Bessie Bawtry earns a Cambridge scholarship in order to escape her small Yorkshire town.  Ambitious and eager for a new life, she struggles to free herself from the family she left behind.  Nearly a century later, her granddaughter, Faro, journeys to Yorkshire seeking answers to the same questions Bessie faced.  What power do we have to reinvent ourselves?  Do family and tradition bind us to a destiny beyond our will?  Abounding with lively characters and subversive wit, this is Margaret Drabble at her best.

Last week, I finally finished the two books I'd been reading, well, like forever, it seemed!

Unfinished Desires, by Gail Godwin, an Amazon Vine read;  reviewed here at CURL UP AND READ.

Fall to Pieces, by Mary Forsberg Weiland, won in a contest at J. Kaye's Book Blog, was also reviewed at CURL UP AND READ.

By the time I'd finished these two, I felt the doom and gloom descending, and while I had planned to read another memoir (also about addiction), I decided to put that one back on the stack for another week!

Hope you all have great reading weeks!  Please stop by, leave your comments, and share your own reading plans.


Sunday, January 10, 2010

WATCHING A TRAIN WRECK -- A Review of "Fall to Pieces"















I enjoyed reading this one, despite the darkness...it was definitely worthwhile.  I got this one in a contest over at J. Kaye's Book Blog.


In Fall to Pieces: A Memoir of Drugs, Rock 'n' Roll, and Mental Illness, Mary Forsberg Weiland's account of her rollercoaster ride with drugs, rock `n' roll, and mental illness, she doesn't mince words. What comes through loud and clear is the lonely voice of someone who has always felt like she didn't quite fit in.

We follow her through her adventures traveling with Scott Weiland's band, from one event to another; we stand back a bit, as the two of them brutalize each other in this journey through addiction. But the still, small voice of a "little girl lost" in love with the man of her dreams, despite all of the obstacles, rings out.

Sometimes I found it difficult to traverse the minefield of their journey, but I kept plodding along, hoping that eventually, they would find their way. In the end, we do not have the "happily-ever-after" of a Hollywood movie, or of fiction; instead, we catch a glimpse of what "might-have-been" or "what-could-still be."

There is hope in the ending, despite the rugged terrain of the adventures. And that is the only reason I kept plugging away. After awhile, I just wanted to close my eyes and stop. I imagine that's how the author felt during her dramatic life events.

A worthwhile read, but I decided that four stars was the most I could give. This would not be most people's cup of tea, anymore than watching a train wreck would be. I commend the author, though, for the courage to tell her story.






                                             LAUREL-RAIN SNOW CREATIONS

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

TEASER TUESDAYS







This is one of my favorite memes, hosted by Miz B at Should Be Reading.

We get to share our fabulous current reads by excerpting a couple of sentences, linking the title, and then we visit everybody else who is sharing that day.  Great, huh?

Here's how it works:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
Here's mine for today:

     "The first time you walk into a twelve-step meeting or a rehabilitation facility, nobody tells you how many times you're going to have to do it before you get it right.  Nobody tells you that it will likely be two steps forward and one step back for the rest of your life.  Nobody tells you that odds are, you will circle around endlessly and keep coming up against that First Step—admit that you are powerless over your addiction and that your life is out of control—until the day you finally stop selling yourself the same old b...t story about your life." p. 172.


This is from Fall to Pieces, by Mary Forsberg Weiland (A Memoir).


On the back cover:  "Want to take a trip to the dark side and back?  Fall to Pieces is a brutally honest and compelling account of Mary Weiland's struggles with addiction and mental illness that will have you on the edge of your seat with every turn of the page.  Brave, bold, and unfiltered, Mary's writing injects humor and levity in a way that is both entertaining and necessary, while keeping the focus on the extremely serious and life-threatening behaviors that she confronts..."

This wonderfully compelling book came to me as a contest win, from J. Kaye's Book Blog.  Thank you, J. Kaye!

Hope you'll stop on by, leave your comments, and link back to your own Teasers.


                                                 LAUREL-RAIN SNOW CREATIONS

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