In his wickedly brilliant first novel, Debut Dagger Award winner Alan Bradley introduces one of the most singular and engaging heroines in recent fiction: eleven-year-old Flavia de Luce, an aspiring chemist with a passion for poison. It is the summer of 1950—and a series of inexplicable events has struck Buckshaw, the decaying English mansion that Flavia’s family calls home. A dead bird is found on the doorstep, a postage stamp bizarrely pinned to its beak. Hours later, Flavia finds a man lying in the cucumber patch and watches him as he takes his dying breath. For Flavia, who is both appalled and delighted, life begins in earnest when murder comes to Buckshaw. “I wish I could say I was afraid, but I wasn’t. Quite the contrary. This was by far the most interesting thing that had ever happened to me in my entire life.”
Thursday, May 31, 2012
Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Format: Audio Book Source:Library
Author:Danielle Steel (Author), Kathleen McInerney (Narrator)
Product Description for Amazon;
In this heartfelt, incisive novel, Danielle Steel celebrates the virtues of unconventional beauty while exploring deeply resonant issues of weight, self-image, sisterhood, and family. A chubby little girl with ordinary looks, Victoria Dawson has always felt out of place in her family, especially in body-conscious L.A. While her parents and sister can eat anything and not gain an ounce, Victoria must watch everything she eats, as well as endure her father’s belittling comments about her body and see her academic achievements go unacknowledged. Ice cream and oversized helpings of all the wrong foods give her comfort, but only briefly. The one thing she knows is that she has to get away from home, and after college in Chicago, she moves to New York City.
Landing her dream job as a high school teacher, Victoria loves working with her students and wages war on her weight at the gym. Despite tension with her parents, Victoria remains close to her younger sister, Grace. Though they couldn’t be more different in looks, they love each other unconditionally. So when Grace announces her engagement to a man who is an exact replica of their narcissistic father, Victoria worries about her sister’s future happiness, and with no man of her own, she feels like a failure once again. As the wedding draws near, a chance encounter, a deeply upsetting betrayal, and a family confrontation lead to a turning point.
Behind Victoria is a lifetime of hurt and neglect she has tried to forget. Ahead is a challenge and a risk: to accept herself as she is, celebrate it, and claim the victories she has fought so hard for and deserves. Big girl or not, she is terrific and discovers that herself.
I always enjoy Danielle Steel's novels, I always have. This book had a lot of positives for me. I loved the main character, Victoria, and I felt her pains with her. But for me after reading the back and the title I thought, "hey it should be good it's about a girl like me." No I didn't have a narcissistic father, neither did I have bad parents in anyway, probably more spoiled then anything. But it was supposed to be about a "big girl". And the title is a good choice once you read the book , it's really a perfect choice. But I take issue, and usually always do when the "fat women" is under a size 16. Okay, maybe that's what qualifies someone as a plus sized model, but for me that's not a big girl. I myself am usually about a size 22/24. Victoria through-out the story yes, does battle with her weight. She goes between a size 12 and a size 16. A women who wears a six 16, at least a good many, can wear a mini skirt and not have anyone point and laugh or post a picture of them on the people of Walmart website. So for me, I personally don't qualify her as a big girl, but more an optimal weight. Disappointed with that fact, but really that's just a personal pet peeve. The book overall is without a doubt a, "... heartfelt, incisive novel, Danielle Steel celebrates the virtues of unconventional beauty while exploring deeply resonant issues of weight, self-image, sisterhood, and family."
Monday, May 28, 2012
Author: Suzie Dawson pseudonym of David L. Dawson
Publisher: Smashwords Edition
Source: LibraryThing Giveaway
Jess Cardle has been left at the alter, and is still hurting three years later. Her cat, Marlon decides it time for her to find a new mate, and has a few creative ideas on how to make that happen.
What I liked about this book was Marlon’s hijinks. A cat lover myself I love the thought of a cat being an intuitive, thought processing being. There were a few times I chuckled, I enjoyed Dawson’s since of humor. It was an enjoyable story.
Sadly with this one there was a lot I didn’t like. At approximately 10,000 words I do not expect an author to having spelling or grammar mistakes but there was at least on when the author said “go four round four”, when he meant “go for round four”. I thought for this short story there was too much, as it would work better as a summarization of a longer novel then a novella. Jess also reveals her story to a co-worker and afterwards comments she should have so years ago. If it were a commonly kept secret, I might understand, but I have a hard time believing it possible a woman becomes engaged to a man she’s been dating for ten plus years, and her co-worker had no idea she was in a relationship. This being a novella I would have preferred it to focus more on the Marlon, the matchmaking cat, and less on Jess’s life story. I think all the details would be perfect in a full length novel.
Upon researching more about the author I found “The Fall”, by David L. Dawson, which is a full length novel whose first chapter is available on Goodreads. Dawson appears to me to be a writer with great ideas and tons of ambition. I did undoubtedly enjoy “The Matchmaking Cat”, I just wish it had been more focused.
Thursday, May 24, 2012
What to Do:
1. Post on your blog answering this question:
Blogging Question: How do you handle the writing of a negative review?
Monday, May 21, 2012
Author: Sandra Brown
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Published: August 12, 2008
Format: Audio Book; (read by: Victor Slezak)
TV reporter Britt Shelley wakes up unsure of what's happened. The last thing she remembers is she was meeting Charleston PD detective Jay Burgess at a local bar, except now she's naked and Jay is lying next to her, dead.
A horrific fire in the police station 5 years earlier made Jay Burgess and 3 other notable city figures heroes, as only seven lives were lost due to there quick actions. It was a fire that launched careers except Raley. Firefighter Raley Gannon, arson investigator for the case, was found next to Suzie Monroe, apparent drug addict, much the same was as Britt wakes up next to Jay.
Raley and Britt team up, as more similarities pop up between their cases, to clear both there names. But the closer to the truth the get, the more someone wants them out of the picture.
I have thoroughly enjoyed all of Brown's books so far; and this one did not disappoint. What I thought was going to be a common plot had so many twists and turns I stopped trying to guess who the bad guy(s) were. There are so many great characters in this book and everyone for me was well developed. The story line alone is enough to make me recommend it, but the surprises Brown has for us, makes me love it. If you love trying to figure out who did it, I highly recommend this book, because you will most likely be wrong (more than once.)
This was an audio book version read by Victor Slezak, as most of hers seem to be. I would describe his time of voice as being Wilford Brimley-esque but in a good way. As well Slezak quite capably gives each character their own voice.
***Have you read any Sandra Brown novels? If so what was your favorite?***
Friday, May 18, 2012
I know I wasn't supposed to be posting I'm supposed to be reading but started trolling book blogs. I came across the Book Blogger Hop which I had seen before but as yet had not participated in. It gives other bloggers a chance to find you and you them; as well as readers looking for new book blogs.
This weeks question: How many books do you own? This can include books in your to-be-read (TBR) pile(s) and books you have already read that are on your keeper shelf.
A lot that is the most articulate answer I can give you to this question. I have loved reading since I was a little girl and my mom and remember my mom always telling me I'd need more light or I'd end up needing glasses (only one in the immediate family who has never needed glasses let me just say). I had a tall 5 row bookshelf in my last apartment stacks in front of stacks. The books got boxed up and about 5 smaller boxes got sent to the attic so the only ones out are ones to be read, of which there are probably 20+. That doesn't count the ones in my mom's attic. I know there is at least one box of "The Babysitter's Club" books, some "Nancy Drew", and all of the Laura Ingalls books. I have at least one plastic tote of mine and my brothers children's books to pass down when my two girls stop destroying theirs (crimes of passion but book murders none-the-less in my opinion). Not nearly as much as our wonderful host I'm sure but enough to start a flea market stall with. Most girls dreamed of weddings. I dreamt I had a floor to ceiling Victorian era library.
Thanks for stopping by and hope to see you again!!
Thursday, May 17, 2012
“Book DescriptionI didn’t try to personally summarize this book. I did in the first chapter however, start to misjudge it. It was an audio book pick for me and in the second chapter I said to myself I know where this is going. And I was right, about where it was going, but wrong about the book itself. It carries a present and past story switching in between the chapters, but is not confusing to what was happing. The only criticism I have is the last two women characters we meet do not have have the same depth as the rest. Whether that’s due to us not knowing them as long or more as pieces to tie people together, to give a main character a happy ending, or my completely incorrect personal opinion. But that is just a small piece of criticism for a book that went above and beyond my expectations. As the description says it is, by far, “powerfully written and intensely moving.”
Publication Date: October 12, 2010
There's little love in eight-year-old Tom Bedford's life. His parents are old and remote and the boarding school they've sent him to bristles with bullies and sadistic staff. The only comfort he gets is from his fantasy world of Cowboys and Indians. But when his sister Diane, a rising star of stage and screen, falls in love with one of his idols, the suave TV cowboy Ray Montane, Tom's life is transformed. They move to Hollywood and all his dreams seem to have come true. Soon, however, the sinister side of Tinseltown casts its shadow and a shocking act of violence changes their lives forever.
What happened all those years ago remains a secret that corrodes Tom's life and wrecks his marriage. Only when his estranged son, a US Marine, is charged with murder do the events resurface, forcing him to confront his demons. As he struggles to save his son's life, he will learn the true meaning of bravery.
Powerfully written and intensely moving, The Brave traces the legacy of violence behind the myth of the American West and explores our quest for love and identity, the fallibility of heroes and the devastating effects of family secrets.”
***Nicholas Evans is also the author of, “The Horse Whisperer”
Now I know today is only Thursday, and the three day weekend [Memorial Day] is actually the weekend after (good time to read “The Brave”), I’m taking a blog vacation. I know my dear followers [more correctly Mom] you may be sadly disappointed but if I keep posting so often I'll never get time to read the books that are piling up. See you Monday!
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
“Hermie, a common caterpillar” is the first book Lucado wrote and the website describes the book as;
Hermie and his friend Wormie have always felt common. They don’t have stripes or dots, they aren’t very strong, and they can’t find anything special about themselves. But every time they pray, God tells them that He loves them all the time just as they are and that He isn’t finished with them yet. When Hermie becomes a beautiful butterfly, he realizes just how special God’s plan is for him!This is the basis of the Hermie character, naturally leading to Little Hermie a baby caterpillar for the two to five age range.
“Thank You God for Blessing Me” is a children’s board book. It is written in lyrical rhythmic lines telling a story that teaches toddlers, ages two to five, about thanking God for all He has given us as well as to doing the best they can to be kind and obey.
There is a clear message in this prayer and easy to comprehend for this age group. The illustrations are colorful and Little Hermie, though a plain caterpillar, his eyes seem to sparkle. It’s soft, sweet illustrations really catch your child’s eye. I being the mother to a 3 and 4 year old had the perfect test demographic. And I was asked no less than three times, “Can we read it again?” and “Just one more time?”
Hermie was re-launched in August 2011, along with Lucado’s other Little Hermie board book “Thank You God for Loving Me” both listed online for $6.99.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Jane greeting card store manager is hoping to become a proud franchise owner. She’s even gone so far as to a social study by a famous talk show host to help supplement the purchase of her storefront. In involves dating 40 guys who must first be screened and then compared to a qualification list set forth by herself and friends. And if that wasn’t enough her schizophrenic brother is leaving voicemail messages about corpses. Her concern for her brother throws her into a fight to stay alive, complete all her dates in time, and impress the secret shoppers that will be the deciding factor on whether or not she’ll be offered a “Wilkommen” store, and finally be out from under the corporations tedious scrutiny.
I would not say it was a slow start but I didn’t actually start to really enjoy this book until about half way through. Many of the characters make you laugh and sometimes pull a heart string or two. It makes you want to cheer them on. It’s a plot filled with twists and turns and the unexpected. It’s part romance, mystery, and humor all rolled into one.
Monday, May 14, 2012
eFiction’s website describes itself as not a literary journal but a magazine containing only the best short stories. Every other month is a themed issue though the other six months are open. You can not simply describe eFiction magazine as a magazine of short stories though because each issue almost always contains serial fiction, poetry, and book reviews along with it’s short stories.
Before the loss of computer I had received a free review copy of eFiction (Issue September 2011) through a LibraryThing member giveaway. That gem has been sitting in my inbox ever since. I just finished reading it, cover to cover, and you’ll surely be reading about more up to date issues in the future.
The Semptember 2011 issue included the following:
The Dead Beat by Ericka Linquist & Aron Christensen
The Bike Mechanic by Aaron M. Wilson
Blood Binds by Tonya R. Moore
Motivator by Kristy F. Gillespie
Without Form or Substance by Phyllis A. Duncan
Kimberly Anne by Steven Terrill
Gypsies by Richard Sutton
Blind Date by Mary O’Neil
Divine Providence by Robert Turner
Youth and Vitality by Lillie A. Lindsay
My Life Song by Lisa Vandiver
Memory by Michael Abolafia
Helper12 by Jack Blaine reviewed by Essie Holton
Break Room Anthology: Mystery and Horror Stories by M.T. O’Neil reviewed by Essie Holton
Night Machines by Kia Heavey reviewed by Essie Holton
“The Dead Beat” is a paranormal serial about two cops that seem to be chasing after ghosts who have “possessed” living hosts. Though I didn’t really get all the who, what, where, when, and why’s, it was very well written and makes me want to read the next chapter.
“Without Form or Substance” was probably my favorite of the short stories. It made me Google the author and hope for a novel link version of her story. Though sadly as with many short stories, that’s the whole reason they’re called short.
“Youth and Vitality” actually when right over my head the first time I read it, though when I realized what it was about I was quite impressed. As well, “Memory” with first reading I loved, but at the same time it reminded me of the “dictionary” poems I wrote when I was younger. Dictionary poems consisted of picking out five to ten big words and then using them in a poem. I do, however, love Abolafia’s style, and descriptions. And here is a good place to mention I also loved his bio. From what I understand of the submission guidelines, these are submitted by the author with their work, and I found Abolafia’s bio as entertaining as his poem.
The book reviews in this issue are written by Essie Holton, (who makes me feel my inferiority in the reviewer category). All are quite descriptive but without spoilers and Night Machines will be going on my ever growing to-read shelve.
Though I didn’t comment specifically on all the inclusions, I enjoyed every one of them. As well, eFiction has an extensive website with stories, links to subscribe (all formats), and groups that will leave you trolling their website for hours, as opposed to say reviewing the magazine itself. And if you didn’t get sucked into that time warp they also have a facebook page.
On my so far as my yet undefined personal rating system, if it were a five star rating system I would give eFiction 5 stars (I’d give them 10 if it was a 10 star rating system, highest marks all around, and they [eFiction] are constantly improving and branching out).
Sunday, May 13, 2012
From the Inside FlapThere seems to be more internal dialog from Rylan on his need to “get in her pants” then really digging for any secrets. If Brown had put more “substance” into the story line and less “harlequin” I would have liked it much better; and the explosive secrets, though worked alright in the context of what they were, for the one, I wish she had gone a different route.
When Rylan North flashes Kirsten Rumm his heart-stopping smile, she knows she can't refuse him...even if letting the actor share her home for a week will force her to relive the last terrible days before her stunt pilot husband fell prey to his own daring acts. Rylan is the perfect choice to play "Demon" Rumm in the movie about his life: no one is more brash, bold, or demanding. But before Rylan immerses himself in Kirsten's world, he must exorcise the explosive secrets that haunt her dreams...and gamble she'll find the courage in his arms to risk loving again... --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
I did enjoy this book and look forward to her others (she is the author of sixty…wait for it…New York Times bestsellers). Though I’m still thoroughly impressed with “Rainwater”; it was able to make me want to cry during the sad parts and smile in the happy ones. I think that is what I most judge a book by; when I’m finished and I want to know more- a sequel, something, anything, or if the authors written other books. [Note to Self: Create personal rating system.] I may not put it at the top of the list but I also wouldn’t count it out either.