Sunday, May 30, 2010


Sheila, at Book Journey, hosts this exciting Monday meme, in which we organize and structure our reading week.

Books Read/Reviewed Last Week: (Click the Title for the Review)

1) The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott, by Kelly O'Connor McNees

2)  Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott

3)  Men and Dogs, by Katie Crouch

Little Men, by Louisa May Alcott

Books on the List for This Week:

1)  Home to Big Stone Gap, by Adriana Trigiani

This one is another in Trigiani's series that began with Big Stone Gap, which I read a few weeks ago.

Tucked in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia is Big Stone Gap, the bucolic backdrop for Trigiani's popular series. In this fourth entry, Ave Maria Mulligan MacChesney and her husband, Jack, must come to terms with the absence of daughter Etta, newly married and living in Italy. (The country holds a special place in Ave Maria's heart: her biological father, Mario, whom she learned of and met only after her mother's death, is Italian.) Ave Maria has plenty to keep her mind off missing her only child (the MacChesney's son, Joe, died of leukemia at age four). She's a full-time pharmacist and the newly appointed director of the town's annual musical. Then comes news that her longtime friend, glamorous librarian Iva Lou, has been keeping a startling secret for nearly 20 years. Other developments, including a health scare for Jack and a Christmas visit from a colorful former resident, move the plot along briskly. With her original cast of characters, playwright and television writer Trigiani blends playfulness and pathos in this evocative portrait of a small southern town. Fans of the Big Stone Gap series can look forward to a feature film; Trigiani has written the screenplay and is slated to direct. Allison Block

2)  The Last Time I Saw You, by Elizabeth Berg

Here's a tidbit from Amazon:

A high school reunion and all of its attendant dramas is the backdrop of Berg's rose-tinted latest (after Home Safe). For Dorothy Shauman, her 40th reunion is the chance to finally hook up with her high school crush. She prepares weeks in advance for the big night, strange as that may seem, preening in front of the mirror. As Berg surveys the gamut of emotions felt by Dorothy and some of her classmates, she zeroes in on an array of stereotypes—the hot girls, the jocks, the in crowd, the out crowd—and considers what makes each one tick, offering the vanilla revelation that the person on the inside doesn't always match the person on the outside. It's cleanly plotted, ably written, and sure to appeal to boomers staring down the barrel of their own 40th reunions. (Apr.)
What are you reading this week?  Stop on by and share a little, so we can all add your books to our lists.


Friday, May 28, 2010


Hop on over to Crazy for Books, to participate in this lively Friday meme.  The purpose, of course, is to discover exciting new book blogs to follow and to add to your regular visiting routine.

I have three blogs to shout out today:

Words from the Tampa Bookworm

Reading Through Life

Tattooed Books

I'm very excited about hopping around the 'sphere and discovering more blogs.  Hope you'll hop on by here, too.


Sunday, May 23, 2010


Sheila, at Book Journey, hosts this fabulous Monday meme that offers us the opportunity to plan and organize our reading week, even as we bask in the success of the previous week.

Here's what I accomplished last week, followed by what I'm planning next.

Books Read Last Week: (Click the Title for the Review)

1)  Deception, by Jonathan Kellerman

2)  Louisa May Alcott:  The Woman Behind Little Women, by Harriet Reisen.

3)  The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott, by Kelly O'Connor McNees (Not yet reviewed)

Books Planned for this Week:

1)  Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott (This is a book I'm rereading for a challenge)

This, of course, is the famous story of the four March sisters: Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy, and the adventures are loosely based on the author's real family life.

2)  Little Men, by Louisa May Alcott (Another Challenge reread)

The sequel to Little Women, which carries on the tale of the grown March sisters and their lives as adults.

3)  Men and Dogs, by Katie Crouch

This book is an ARC I received from the Amazon Vine program.

Here's a snippet from Amazon:

Following her embraced debut, Girls in Trucks (2008), Crouch offers another southern tale in which Hannah Legare finds herself back in her hometown, Charleston Harbor, South Carolina, as her marriage, business, and life in San Francisco crumble. She soon begins to puzzle over an old mystery: her father Buzz’s mysterious disappearance more than 20 years earlier. Hannah retraces old ground, hoping to glean insights from the recollections of her mother, stepfather, brother, and family friends. Yet most residents of the town prefer to remember Buzz fondly, and view his disappearance during a routine fishing expedition as a tragic accident. Hannah, however, is still haunted by her father’s absence and the thought of the family dog drifting alone in the boat. Her quest to discover her father’s true fate provides clues to Hannah’s current problems, including her trouble being faithful to her husband, even as she realizes she may find information she never wanted to know. At least she will finally begin to piece together her own story. --Katherine Boyle
What delightful books are you reading this week?  And what did you accomplish last week?  I hope you'll stop by and share.


Friday, May 21, 2010


This is a meme hosted by Jennifer, at Crazy for Books.  The point of the hop is to discover exciting and possibly new book blogs to visit and follow.

I've participated a few times, now, and have, indeed, found blogs that I've ended up following as a result of the visit.

So if you want to participate, just hop on over to Jennifer's blog, sign the Mr. Linky, and happily hop around the blogosphere.

Thursday, May 20, 2010


A deceased woman packed in dry ice with a DVD that chronicles her abuse at the hands of teachers in the school where she taught—this is our introduction to Elise Freeman, a talented teacher who also tutors students to help them pass their SATs, etc. We immediately suspect one of the alleged abusers, or even the boyfriend...or possibly someone else threatened by the DVD.

But naturally, none of this is as straightforward as it seems. It's an Alex Delaware mystery, and he and sidekick Milo Sturgis have a lot of work ahead of them. First, they are hindered by their Chief's warnings to be "discreet," since these are some well-connected people—the students and their parents. And then they find the staff at the prep school most uncooperative...and you know that these two will not be discouraged by these efforts to stall them.

So facing all kinds of obstacles, and gradually separating fact from fantasy, it's fun to watch these two detectives as they finally uncover what is really going on and solve the murder. Because, of course, they do...But not until the very end.

And, typically, the actual killers will not be anyone we suspect in the beginning, or even later.

What I love most about an Alex Delaware novel is that I feel as though I am part of their team. With Alex telling the story (first person narrative), we get to see inside his head and enjoy his thought processes, and even know what's in his fridge, or what his house looks and feels like...

While Deception: An Alex Delaware Novel (Alex Delaware Novels) was not one of Kellerman's best books (in my opinion), I did love it enough to give it four stars. Most of the characters were so unappealing, and even Alex and Milo were not quite as much fun as usual. But no's still a worthwhile read.


Sunday, May 16, 2010


It's that exciting time of the week!  This Monday meme, hosted by Book Journey, offers the opportunity to share what we've been reading and what comes next.

So here's how it goes.

Books Read This Week: (Click the title for the review)
1)  A Wild Ride Up the Cupboards, by Ann Bauer

2)  Private Life, by Jane Smiley

3)  This One is Mine, by Maria Semple (Not yet reviewed)

Still Reading:
1)  Deception, by Jonathan Kellerman

Books To Read This Week:

1)  The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott, by Kelly O'Connor McNees

Here's a peek into the story:

McNees lightly imagines the life of Louisa May Alcott, whose Little Women has enjoyed generations-long success. The story begins with a 20-year-old Louisa unhappily moving with her family from Boston to Walpole, N.H., where her Transcendentalist philosopher father pursues a life sans material pleasure. Louisa, meanwhile, plans on saving enough money to return to Boston and pursue a career as a writer. Then she meets the handsome and charming Joseph Singer, who stirs up strong emotions in Louisa. Not wanting to admit that she is attracted to him, Louisa responds to Joseph with defensiveness and anger until, of course, she can no longer deny her feelings and becomes torn between her desires and her dreams. While certainly charming, the simply told, straightforward narrative reads like YA fiction. It'll do the trick as a pleasant diversion for readers with fond memories of Alcott's work, but the lack of gravity prevents it from becoming anything greater. (Apr.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

2)  Louisa May Alcott, The Woman Behind Little Women, by Harriet Reisen.

A review on Amazon tells us a little about this story:

“Every now and then, there appears a writer who has tracked a subject for so long through space and time that the resulting product ranks it superior to any of the facile interpretations or extended magazine articles that currently pass for biography. Such is the case with Harriet Reisen . . . . Ms. Reisen is a master storyteller. Chapters are never formulaic. With compassion and insight, she propels readers on to the next adventure, sacrifice, tragedy and triumph.”—Marion Elizabeth Rodgers, The Washington Times...
I'm excited about these books, as I've been looking forward to reading them, and they also will satisfy a challenge (All Things Alcott).

What are you reading this week?  I hope you'll stop by and share.


Saturday, May 15, 2010

THE GOOD WIFE -- A Review of "Private Life," by Jane Smiley

Margaret Mayfield was considered to be the least attractive daughter in the family—mostly because of her somewhat unappealing personality—and these very qualities were whispered about by neighbors and relatives. So when a very bright man, Andrew Early—a bit older than Margaret, who at twenty-seven was considered to be an "old maid"—appears to be courting her, everyone is pleased.

Margaret's mother Lavinia and Andrew's mother Anna seem to be negotiating for this union.

Margaret herself is impressed by Andrew's interest in her, and together they embark on a marriage that will carry them into what seems to be an interesting life in California. Andrew is an officer in the navy and very much the scientist, with his various theories that seem to dispute much of the popular thought of the day.

Impressed by him at first, Margaret listens and seemingly agrees with her husband's views...mostly because they seem so plausible.

On the personal level, Margaret and Andrew carry on separate lives. Even their attempts to become parents fall flat, first with a miscarriage and then with the death of their child Alexander in infancy.

Later in their lives, Margaret begins to question and even fear Andrew's beliefs and his tendency to sound too suspicious of almost everyone.

What will Andrew do at a pivotal moment in history that will jeopardize the lives of those around them? And what effect will Margaret's pleas have upon Andrew's actions? As this story nears its conclusion, it becomes clear that something much more malevolent is going on, and that Margaret herself is a victim to the kind of madness that consumes her husband.

Considering the times and the nature of marital roles then, Margaret seems caught up in the constraints of her wifely role, while Andrew might appear as a man just acting out his role as the husband.

In the end, I felt compelled to read quickly through the pages of Private Life, hoping for a positive resolution. This tale earned five stars.


Sunday, May 9, 2010


Here we are again at Monday!  I love this meme, hosted by Book Journey, since it offers the opportunity to visit lots of blogs and find out about wonderful books.

This past week yielded two completed books and reviews.

Books Read Last Week: (click the titles for the reviews)

1)  Audition, by Barbara Walters

This was a book that I savored, reading it a little bit at a time while I also read other books.  I think it's the kind of book you can read slowly over a period of time.  It was a wonderfully inspirational tale.

2)  On Folly Beach, by Karen White, was an ARC received from the publisher.

Books Still Reading:

A Wild Ride up the Cupboards, by Ann Bauer.

Books Planned for This Week:

1)  Private Life, by Jane Smiley, is an ARC from the Amazon Vine program.

A brief snippet from Amazon:

In her latest novel, after Ten Days in the Hills (2007), the Pulitzer Prize–winning author offers a cold-eyed view of the compromises required by marriage while also providing an intimate portrait of life in the Midwest and West during the years 1883–1942.

2)  This One is Mine, by Maria Semple, is a review copy from the publisher.

A tidbit from Amazon:

Former television producer and writer Semple (Arrested Development; Mad About You) bashes Hollywood celebrity, New Age nonsense and struggling relationships in this smart and funny debut...
3)  Deception, by Jonathan Kellerman, a master at the psychological suspense thriller.
A brief blurb:

When Milo Sturgis, the LAPD homicide detective, catches a particularly tricky case, he naturally turns for help to his good friend and frequent partner, psychologist Alex Delaware. At first it looks like a straightforward suicide: a woman records a message on a DVD and then kills herself. But the facts are all wrong...
Considering that I only read two out of three books on my stack last week, this is probably an overly ambitious list.  But I'm looking forward to it!

What are you reading?  Hope you'll stop by and share.


Saturday, May 8, 2010


On May 26, my interview of this inspirational author will be posted on Dames of Dialogue, which is a group blog that features unique guests.

Linda Rettstatt has an intriguing story, and I hope you'll join us on that date to learn more.

Meanwhile, I couldn't resist teasing a bit with this book cover—I want to BE there in what looks like a lovely cottage in the woods—and here's a blurb about it.

My name is Beth Rutledge. Today is my birthday. I am fifty-one years old. My mother will tell you I have been having a midlife crisis. My best friend will tell you I am courageous. My husband will tell you that, on my last birthday and for just a little while, I lost my mind.

I will tell you this: Sometimes you have to lose something in order to reclaim it. Sometimes you have to trust the love that holds the seams of your life together and stretch it to a new limit. Sometimes you just have to lose your mind… and follow your heart.

Ms. Rettstatt has several other titles just as fascinating...all about women who experience a crisis of some kind and afterwards undergo a life change.  To find out more about her books, check this WEBSITE.

And don't forget to tune in to read my interview on May 26, 2010!

For more about MY CREATIONS, click HERE.

Sunday, May 2, 2010


As we start the new reading week, we celebrate our past week's successes and eagerly anticipate what's on our stacks for the week ahead.  All hosted by Sheila, at Book Journey.

Books Completed Last Week:  (Click the title for the review) 

1)  The Friday Night Club, by Jacob Nelson Lurie

2)  Fifty Is Not a Four-Letter Word, by Linda Kelsey

3)  The Cheater, by Nancy Taylor Rosenberg

Still Reading (But 3/4 Way Done!):

Audition, by Barbara Walters

Coming Up This Week:

1)  On Folly Beach, by Karen White, is a publisher's review copy.

Here's the Amazon product description:

To most people, Folly Beach, South Carolina, is simply the last barrier island before the Atlantic. To some, it's a sanctuary, which is why Janie Hamilton's mother encourages her to buy the local book store, Folly's Finds, hoping it will distract Janie from the loss of her husband in Afghanistan.

Janie is at first resistant, but intrigued after finding love letters and an image of a beautiful bottle tree in a box of used books from Folly's Finds, and decides to take the plunge. The store's seller insists on one condition: Janie must allow Lulu, the late owner's elderly sister, to continue selling her bottle trees from its back yard. Historically, bottle trees were brought by African slaves to the American South, and Janie had grown up with one in her backyard, and it has always been a symbol of refuge to her.

Janie generally ignores Lulu as she sifts through the love letters, wanting to learn more. But the more she discovers of the letters' authors, the closer she feels to Lulu. As details of a possible murder and a mysterious disappearance during World War II are revealed, the two women discover that circumstances beyond their control, sixty years apart, have brought them together, here on Folly Beach. And it is here that their war-ravaged hearts can find hope for a second chance...
2)  A Wild Ride Up the Cupboards, by Ann Bauer, has been on my TBR stacks for awhile.

Here's a blurb from Amazon:

Bauer's nuanced debut chronicles a mother's struggle with her child's mysterious, undiagnosed illness and the once-passionate marriage that doesn't survive the decades of extraordinary stress. Love, marriage and babies follow quickly from Rachel and Jack's first electric meeting, when Rachel is a 20-year-old student at a small Minnesota college and Jack an itinerant worker. But when Edward, the eldest of their three children, turns four, he suddenly transforms from a bright, animated boy to a zombie who goes weeks without sleeping, stares endlessly at his hand and howls to fill a silent room. Settled in Minneapolis, Rachel and Jack try various doctors, codeine and even marijuana tea for their son, who is often mistaken for an autistic, but he stays locked in what he calls, during moments of lucidity, "the nowhere place." Bauer follows the family through Edward's adolescence: Jack struggles with alcoholism and holding down a job while Rachel, a journalist, binds the family together with fierce mother-love. Throughout, Rachel attempts to unravel the mystery of her long-deceased Uncle Mickey, a strange, troubled man whose plight might hold a clue to Edward's disease. Bauer's prose often pierces with authentic, unsentimental power, but blow-by-blow chronological plotting diminishes the novel's grace.
I'm looking forward to these challenging books, and I hope to hear about all of your reading choices for the week.

To explore my Creations, go HERE.

Click to Buy Web of Tyranny

Click to Buy Miles to Go


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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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