Friday, January 28, 2011


The author grew up in a home overshadowed by a brilliant, Radcliffe-trained academic mother, Fredelle, who couldn't get a teaching job because she was a woman. In the background, but also always noticed, was her charming, dashing father, Max, who was a professor and an artist (but also an alcoholic). Fredelle provided income as a writer, but the anger she felt over the inequities of her situation seemingly consumed her at times. But she focused her considerable energies upon her home and her daughters, Rona, followed later by Joyce.

Rona recalls her sister as the family charmer, while she was the rebel. While still in college, she married, and then a year later, had her son. In the large shadow of her mother (and then of her sister, who at eighteen went off to live with J. D. Salinger), Rona still managed to blossom as a writer and an editor. She had to fight against a chronic depression and the label of being called a "bad mother" by her son's teachers and her own mother for working long hours.

Struggling to forge her unique identity, against these influences and these odds, is the driving force of this memoir. It is a reminder for each woman of how her own mother's stamp of approval or disapproval informs her life. It is also a triumphant declaration of how history, family environment, and the times in which she lived created a woman who excelled in spite of the odds. Her quote: "I became who I am in spite of her and because of her."

I enjoyed reading the history of the author and her family, for I have read and followed her sister's literary journey. Rona's story fills in a few more pieces of this puzzle. I chose four stars for My Mother's Daughter: A Memoir because, at times, the journey was a bit tedious. I would recommend it to those who love memoirs, or who can relate to the mother-daughter issues.

Sunday, January 23, 2011


Okay, now what's up with the Minnie Mouse image?  Well, she looks pretty cheerful and I needed that image to help me get into the morning.

For whatever reason, I was up at 4:15 today, and it wasn't because I went to bed too early, either.

I'd finished reading my final book for the week, so I got up to post my review.

As I considered the books I'll be reading this next week, I felt that "still new" excitement that one of them will be a book I ordered for my KindleThe Girl in the Green Raincoat, by Laura Lippman, has been on my wish list.

Speaking of my Kindle...Sheila, over at Book Journey, has named her Nook (Snookie), and I've been delving into that so-called creative part of me to come up with a name for my Kindle.  Any ideas?

Nothing seems to leap into my mind, like titles or names usually do.  Maybe I've overused my stash of names for characters in my WIP.  Would one of those names work?

If I stare at it long enough, maybe something will come to me....hmm, not working.

I thought that if I hosted a contest, perhaps someone would come up with a name FOR me.  The prize would be one of my review books...I posted the titles of those books below and will give the winner his/her choice...What do you think?

Game on, bloggers!  Let me know what you think my Kindle should be named, and if I go with your selection, you'll win a book!  And you can choose from the list!

Here are some books up for grabs:

Miss Hildreth Wore Brown - Olivia deBelle Byrd
Reading Women - Stephanie Staal
My Formerly Hot Life - Stephanie Dolgoff
Mary Ann in Autumn - Armistead Maupin

Leave your e-mail address in your comment so I can notify you!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


Once upon a time, I was a book lover who totally enjoyed the physical book that I could hold in my hand; place on a bookshelf or in a bookcase; and enjoy the ambience of rooms filled with said bookshelves and bookcases.

But alas, my rooms were filled to the brim with these physical books and shelves.  I had to part with some of them (library donations) in order to make room for the steady influx of books.

Many of them sit on stacks on coffee tables or on the floor.

Now some of these photos do not reflect the current state of my "stacks," since I've been working away at diminishing them.

But when Christmas came and I unexpectedly received my Kindle—about which I had some ambivalent feelings!—I soon realized that I had the answer to my dilemma.  I could still be surrounded by my physical books without further endangering life and limb with obstacle courses around which to maneuver (which might happen if I keep adding to these stacks!).

Kindle is my new friend!  It is easy to or two clicks, and whispernet does its thing.  Who knew it could be this simple?

Reading on my new Kindle has also turned out to be fun.  I'm still a little nervous about it, though.  Reading in bed could result in accidents, like the Kindle falling to the floor when I nod off (that has happened to my physical books!).

But I am pretty sure that we will find a solution to this one.

Have you encountered the positive experiences of Kindle?  What are your thoughts?

Thursday, January 6, 2011


When a mysterious young woman shows up in the small town of Southport, North Carolina, the townsfolk are curious, but they open their arms to welcome her. She rents a small cottage at the end of a gravel road; starts working at a local diner; and soon finds herself shopping regularly at a market owned by a widower with two small children.

Katie Feldman has secrets; she has had traumas that have left her vulnerable—and shop owner Alex Wheatley, with a background as a military detective, suspects some of what she's hiding by the behavior he observes. But he doesn't probe. He doesn't do anything that might cause her to run.

Settling into the cozy, safe haven she is building, Katie almost begins to feel comfortable again.

Meanwhile, we begin to read about someone in Boston—a man, Kevin Tierney, who is unraveling slowly but surely as he searches for his missing wife.

A compelling and page-turning saga with elements of mystery and romance, Safe Haven grabbed my attention from the first page and held it until the very end. The tale is rich with characters like Katie and Alex, the two children, and a few of the townsfolk whom we can visualize by the author's descriptions, as well as by the dialogue that shows us the cozy, enfolding circle of warmth provided by this setting.

Then at the very end, an unexpected twist arouses that prickle of something extra...something that changed my perspective on many of the events. I developed goosebumps and then wanted to immediately reread the book, to see if I could notice a clue earlier in the story. I'm definitely giving this book five stars.

Click to Buy Web of Tyranny

Click to Buy Miles to Go


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Laurel\-Rain's bookshelf: to-read

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

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