- The challenge will run from January 1, 2010 through December 31, 2010.
- Our book weeks will begin on Sunday. Since the new year started on Friday, you get a couple bonus days for the first week. It will be simpler to keep track rather than running from Friday to Friday.
- Participants may join at any time.
- All forms of books are acceptable including e-books, audio books, etc.
- Re-reads are acceptable as long as they are read after January 1, 2010.
- Books may overlap other challenges.
- Create an entry post linking to this blog.
- Come back and sign up with Mr. Linky in the "I'm participating post" below this post.
- You don't have a blog to participate. Post your weekly book in the comments section.
- Mr. Linky will be added to the bottom of the weekly post for you to link to reviews of your most current reads.
Thursday, December 31, 2009
Even if you didn't, how many did you manage to read?
Did you discover a new author or a new genre.
Did you rediscover an old classic or reread a book from years gone by?
What book did you finish up the challenge with?
Did you read from a list and fly by the seat of your pants choosing a different book each week?
What was your favorite book?
What was your least favorite book?
Did you learn something new about reading, yourself or a topic you read?
What is on your wish list for 2010?
What authors, genres, or books would you like to see spotlighted on the blog for 2010?
Just a few questions to think about as we wrap up our reading year. I'll be posting a 2009 Reading Wrap up post shortly on My Two Blessings and will link to it on Mr. Linky. I have a wish for the 2010 Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks Challenge. According to the stat counter the blog received 4,391 visits over the past year: 3,596 were first time visitors and 785 were returning visitors. How many commented? About 1%. We have a lot of shy visitors. So, my wish is that you won't be so shy in the future and let us know what you think - about anything you read here on 52 Books. I promise, we won't bite.
Link to your wrap up Posts here:
Monday, December 28, 2009
"House of Reckoning" by John Saul
(from inside flap)
After the untimely death of her mother, fourteen-year-old Sarah Crane is forced to grow up quickly in order to help tend her family's Vermont farm and look after her grieving father, who's drowning his sorrow in alcohol. But their quiet life together is shattered when her father is jailed for killing another man in a barroom brawl and injuring Sarah in a drunken car crash. Left in the cold care of a loveless foster family and alienated at school, Sarah finds a kindred spirit in classmate Nick Dunnigan, a former mental patient still plagued by voices and visions. And in eccentric art instructor Bettina Phillips, Sarah finds a mentor eager to nurture her talent for painting.
But within the walls of Bettina's ancestral home, the mansion called Shutters, Sarah finds something altogether different and disturbing. Monstrous images from the house's dark history seem to flow unbidden from Sarah's paintbrush--images echoed by Nick's chilling hallucinations. Trapped for ages in the shadowy rooms of Shutters, the violence and fury of long-dead generations have finally found a gate way from the grave into the world of the living. And Sarah and Nick have found a power they never had: to take control, and take revenge.
MY THOUGHTS: This is a great book. It will grab you from the first chapter, you won't be able to put it down. I got the book on Saturday and finished it this morning. Following Sarah through her accident, therapy, and placement into foster care was like seeing first hand the system through which children go through. The foster family Sarah is put into is just in it for the money and soon Sarah is the cook and house cleaner. As Sarah starts school she is soon shunned because of her injury because she walks with a limp from her broken hip. Then Sarah meets Nick and her Art Teacher. Things start happening that can't be explained logically. The Art Teacher is reputed to be a witch by all the town folk. Nick is deemed crazy. Then Sarah is called evil. When all three of them come together at the house, Shutters, things begin to fall into place and soon the drawings and visions make sense.
MY RATING: 5
52 Books in 52 Weeks is over for the year. This is my 52nd book. This is my wrap up of that challenge.
This is the last week of the year and should have you starting book 52. Next Thursday, the last day of the year, we'll be wrapping up our 2009 Read 52 Books in 52. Questions to think about for our wrap up. Did you manage to read 52 books this year? Even if you didn't, how many did you manage to read? Did you discover a new author or a new genre. Did you rediscover an old classic or reread a book from years gone by? What book are you finishing up the challenge with? Have you started your wish list for 2010? Congratulations on making it through the year and thank you to all who followed our progress through out the year. Lots of good books, interesting discussions and new discoveries coming up next year.
I did read 52 books for this challenge. My 52nd book was House of Reckoning by John Saul. Here is my list of books. I did read some books that I don't usually read and I also read some books by new authors to me. Which one was my favorite? I can't really narrow it down to one. There are several that I really enjoyed reading. You can see the reviews on all my books here.
Week 1 - The Book Thief - Markus Zusak
Week 2 - The Martin Chronicles - Ray Bardbury
Week 3 - In Defense of Food - Michael Pollan
Week 4 - The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
Week 5 - High Noon - Nora Roberts
Week 6 - The Pagan Stone - Nora Roberts
Week 7 - The Good Earth - Pearl S. Buck
Week 8 - The River's Edge - Terri Blackstock
Week 9 - The Senator's Wife - Sue Miller
Week 10 - Airborn - Kenneth Oppel
Week 11 - A Treasury of Peter Rabbit and other stories - Beatrix Potter
Week 12 - Skybreaker - Kenneth Oppel
Week 13 - StarClimber - Kenneth Oppel
Week 14 - Betrayals - Carla Neggers
Week 15 - World Without End - Ken Follett
Week 16 - The Woman Who Rides Like A Man - Tamora Pierce
Week 17 - Lioness Rampant - Tamora Pierce
Week 18 - Shadow Music - Julie Garwood
Week 19 - What Jamie Saw - Carolyn Coman
Week 20 - Elephant Run - Roland Smith
Week 21 - The Lightning Thief - Rick Riordan
Week 22 - Alias Grace - Margaret Atwood
Week 23 - Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret - Judy Blume
Week 24 - The Bride's Necklace - Kat Martin
Week 25 - Retribution - Jilliane Hoffman
Week 26 - Specials - Scott Westerfeld
Week 27 - City of Bones - Michael Connelly
Week 28 - Falling into the Sun - Charrie Hazard
Week 29 - Bare Bones - Kathy Reichs
Week 30 - A Thousand Splendid Suns - Khaled Hosseini
Week 31 - E is for Evidence - Sue Grafton
Week 32 – The Narrows – Michael Connelly
Week 33 – Ice Land – Betsy Tobin
Week 34 – Dead Wrong – J. A. Jance
Week 35 – Dancing With Ana – Nicole Barker
Week 36 – A Mercy – Toni Morrison
Week 37 – The Stone Diaries – Carol Shields
Week 38 – The Poisonwood Bible – Barbara Kingsolver
Week 39 – The Dangerous Days of Daniel X – James Patterson
Week 40 – The Story of Edgar Sawtelle – David Wroblewski
Week 41 – The Seamstress of Hollywood Boulevard – Erin McGraw
WEEK 42 – The Help – Kathryn Stockett
WEEK 43 - The Bone Garden – Tess Gerritsen
Week 44 – The Last Oracle – James Rollins
Week 45 – The Manufactured Identity – Heath Sommer
Week 46 – The Blue Notebook – James A. Levine
Week 47 – March – Geraldine Brooks
Week 48 – Betrayal in Death – J. D. Robb
Week 49 – A Season of Gifts – Richard Peck
Week 50 – The Cost of Dreams – Gary Stelzer
Week 51 – Deadly Codes – JP O’Donnell
Week 52 – House of Reckoning – John Saul
Sunday, December 27, 2009
"The chain he drew was clasped about his middle. It was long and wound about him like a tail; and it was made (for Scrooge observed it closely) of cash-boxes, keys, padlocks, ledgers, deeds and heavy purses wrought in steel." (pg 22)
"Without their visits,' said the Ghost, "you cannot hope to shun the path I tread. Expect the first tomorrow when the bell tolls one."
"Couldn't I take em all at once, and have it over, Jacob?' hinted Scrooge.
"Expect the second on the next night at the same hour. The third upon the next night when the last stroke of twelve has ceased to vibrate. Look to see me no more; and look that, for your own sake, you remember what has passed between us." pg 26
Saturday, December 26, 2009
"Deadly Codes" by JP O'Donnell
(from back cover)
Daniel Cormac Gallagher, Jr., a Boston private eye, is hired to investigate the death of Jennifer Clark, tragically killed in a car bombing in her own driveway.
Gallagher has been commissioned by Jeanne Campbell, Jennifer's twin sister, to find a mysterious woman--Jennifer's secret lesbian lover who vanished immediately after the bombing. While the authorities continue to pursue their suspicions that the terrorist act may have been intended for Jennifer's husband, Bill, who holds a top-secret position in the counter-intelligence division of the National Security Agency, Jeanne reveals intricate details to Gallagher that intrigue him enough to take on the case. While Gallagher begins searching for the missing woman, he has no idea that a bounty has been placed on his own head--two hired gunmen are plotting to kill him. Gallagher's search takes him to Washington D.C., where he discovers that the car bombing is only a backdrop to a complex, treasonous scheme to sell code-breaking formulas to a hostile enemy nation.
As the violent mystery unravels, Gallagher finds himself under deadly attack from two shocking but powerful forces--one he knows and another he never expects.
MY THOUGHTS: I didn't know this author's work before this book, he has another book before this one. It is called "Fatal Gamble". This won't be the last book I read from JP O'Donnell. I really liked his way of writing, it was fast paced and caught you from the beginning of page one. I really liked Gallagher's character very much. He's a great private eye. He uses clues and reason for finding who he's looking for. As he is looking for the missing woman, unknown to Gallagher, there has been a hit put out on him from someone in Las Vegas. Only this time they are not only after him but his new wife. Can he find this missing woman and solve the case? Do the hit guys get their target? You'll have to read the book to find out.
MY RATING: 5
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Monday, December 21, 2009
"The Cost of Dreams" by Gary Stelzer
(from back cover)
Flora Enriquez trusts that she has found safe haven for her young family in the remote U.S. Southwest, after fleeing the murderous environs of her homeland where her parnets were slain in a civil war. Only to find that all of her life's greatest challenges, by far, still lie before her.
MY THOUGHTS: Flora, her sister and 2 brothers walk from Central America to the Southwest, U.S. to find freedom. Flora's whole village and family are killed in a civil war there. So Flora and what's left of her family walk to freedom. As Flora works and goes to school, she eventually gets her degree for teaching and her green papers. She meets and falls in love with Monte. They marry and have 2 children. Then one day Monte's brother comes to the tiny town where they live. He is looking for drugs that he thinks Monte and Flora have stolen from them. Flora is almost killed and Monte has killed his brother. Flora is "stolen" by Margarette and taken along on their migratory drive looking for work. Margarette is delusional, thinking Flora is her dead daughter come back to life. As Flora is hauled all over the south west and then to the north, she comes across a woman who she remembers from her childhood, Kate. Kate and her nephew are in Flora's village on a mission trying to help them. Kate leaves and her nephew stays. Her nephew comes up missing. Flora and Kate's chance meeting takes them to Mexico looking for a healer to fix Flora's paralyzed legs. This is a review book and it's really good!! This is Gary Stelzer's first book and I really enjoyed reading this book. He takes you along the path with Flora as you travel with her. If you get a chance to read this book, do, it's really good!
Thursday, December 17, 2009
We are winding down 2009, but looking toward 2010. I've been perusing the blogs and Amazon and My Wish list is growing by leaps and bounds these days. Imagine my surprise this week when I came across some books by authors I love and read that I wasn't aware of. How did they slip by me?
Vanishing Sculpture by Donita K. Paul. She is the author of The Dragon Keeper Chronicles, a christian fantasy series.
"Tipper is a young emerlindian who’s responsible for the upkeep of her family’s estate during her sculptor father’s absence. Tipper soon discovers that her actions have unbalanced the whole foundation of her world, and she must act quickly to undo the calamitous threat. But how can she save her father and her world on her own? The task is too huge for one person, so she gathers the help of some unlikely companions--including the nearly five-foot tall parrot Beccaroon--and eventually witnesses the loving care and miraculous resources of Wulder." - Donita K. Paul
Curse of the Spider King by Wayne Thomas Batson. He is the author of the ya christian fantasy series The Door Within trilogy and also the swashbuckling pirate books Isle of Fire and Isle of Swords.
"The Seven succeeding Elven Lords of Allyra were dead, lost in the Siege of Berinfell as babes. At least that's what everyone thought until tremors from a distant world known as Earth, revealed strange signs that Elven blood lived among its peoples. With a glimmer of hope in their hearts, sentinels are sent to see if the signs are true. But theirs is not a lone errand. The ruling warlord of Allyra, the Spider King, has sent his own scouts to hunt down the Seven and finish the job they failed to complete many ages ago.
Now 13-year-olds on the brink of the Age of Reckoning when their Elven gifts will be manifest, discover the unthinkable truth that their adoptive families are not their only kin. With mysterious Sentinels revealing breathtaking secrets of the past, and dark strangers haunting their every move, will the young Elf Lords find the way back to the home of their birth? Worlds and races collide as the forces of good and evil battle. Will anyone escape the Curse of the Spider King?" - Amazon.com
Muse and Reverie which was just released on December 8th. I have enjoyed reading all the books in the Newford Series so looking forward to reading this collection of short stories.
"Muse and Reverie is an all-new collection of short fiction in Charles de Lint’s “Newford” universe—the fifth such collection since 1993, and the first since 2002. Previous collections are Dreams Underfoot, The Ivory and the Horn, the World Fantasy Award-winning Memory and Dream, and Tapping the Dream Tree.
The city of Newford could be any city in North America, bursting with music, commerce, art, love and hate, and of course magic. Magic in the sidewalk cracks, myth at the foundations of its great buildings, enchantment in the spaces between its people. In this new collection, de Lint explores that magic and those spaces, shedding new light on the people and places that readers of novels like Moonheart, Forests of the Heart, The Onion Girl, and The Mystery of Grace have come to love." - Amazon.com
And one I discovered through Shelf Awareness:
Ben Kane's The Forgotten Legion. It will fit in nicely with my historical fiction challenge.
"This may be the only historical novel in which a principal character is a proto-Etruscan nationalist. In this lively and often riveting first novel, Kane captures much of the chaos, brutality, and splendor of the late republic in the first century BCE, when Rome was ruled by the First Triumvirate of Julius Caesar, Pompey, and Marcus Licinius Crassus. Curiously, the four main characters are from the underside of society, and each has reason to despise the power of the emerging Roman superstate. Tarquinius labors on a latifundium and bemoans the loss of Etruscan greatness and subservience to Latin cultural and political domination. Brennus is a great gladiator whose family fell victim to imperial expansion. The twins, Romulus and Fabiola, suffer the degradation of slavery. Each of them is caught up in one of the seminal episodes of the century, as Crassus, seeking military glory, launched an expedition against Rome’s archenemy in the East, Parthia. Kane clearly knows the history of the period, and his story is rich in accurate historical detail. The characterizations are finely drawn and set against a dangerous, cruel, but often thrilling landscape. --Jay Freeman" Amazon.com
***Links to amazon are for informational purposes only.
Sunday, December 13, 2009
"A Season of Gifts" by Richard Peck
(from inside flap)
One of the most adored children's book characters of all time is the eccentric, forceful, bighearted Grandma Dowdel, star of the Newbery Medal-winning A Year Down Yonder and Newbery Honor-winning A Long Way from Chicago. And it turns out that her story isn't over--not even close.
It is now 1958, and a new family has moved in next door to Mrs. Dowdel--a family in desperate need of her help(whether they realize it or not). There's twelve-year-old Bob, shy on courage in a town full of bullies; his Elvis-obsessed older sister, Phyllis, who just might be on the verge of spinning out of control; Bob's little sister, Ruth Ann, ready and waiting for a larger-than-life role model; and even Bob's two parents, the young minister and his wife, who are amazed to discover that the last house in town might also be the most vital.
As Christmas rolls around, the whole family will realize that they've found a true home, and a neighbor with remarkable gifts to share.
MY THOUGHTS: This is the book pick for my book club this month. I have never read any of Mr. Peck's books. You can be sure I will be reading more of them. I loved this book. All the characters jump off the page at you while your reading. Bob is telling the story of his family's move to a small rural town in Illinois. His father is a minister and they have moved here because his father was given a new church, which is in sad disrepair, and needs lots of work. The first paragraph of this book grabs you and doesn't let you go. You have to read it to find out what happens to this old house. Who lives in it? Is it really hunted? This is the first paragraph from the book. You have to read this book!!! It's really good!!!
You could see from here the house was hunted. Its crooked old lightning rods pointed bony fingers at the sky. It hadn't had a lick of paint since VJ Day, maybe the war berfore that. A porch sagged off the side. The kitchen screen door hung from a hinge. Only the snowball bushes crowding its foundations seemed to hold the place up.
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Several people in the challenge and even some who are not have been expressing interest in continuing or joining the challenge of reading 52 Books in 52 Weeks. And there has been some interest in me keeping the blog open and going. So, I've been giving it some thought and will probably do so.
If the challenge continues for 2010, it would actually be open to any one who wants to participate. Which means I would be making a few changes to the blog. Hint Hint my followers and lurkers. So please let me know if you are interested in continuing or participating. If the challenge continues for 2010, I will most likely make a few changes, including a Mr. Linky to link to participants, plus links for those who like to post reviews on their blog.
So my fellow contributors, participants, followers and lurkers, what do you have to say. Yay or Nay?
And it is two weeks before christmas. Have you gotten your christmas shopping done yet? I haven't even started, nor do we have our tree or outside lights up. We set out to put up our christmas lights and while pulling out the lights, started cleaning up the garage. We got into a throwing away mode and I'm happy to say we have a clean garage and we can now fit on of the cars inside. Yippee!!
Speaking of Christmas shopping, I'm in the mood to buy books for the holidays.
Buy Books for the Holidays is the brainchild of several bloggers and is the goal is quite simple. Buy books, support your local indie bookstores and think about contributing to literacy charities. At the blog you can find out tons of information including the latest, a wonderful post about books for boys ages 0 to 9, spotlight on independent book stores and profiles on charities. So give someone you love a book, maybe two or three or more and Buy Books For The Holidays!
Sunday, December 6, 2009
"The Manufactured Identity" by Heath Sommer
As a psychological thriller "The Manufactured Identity" is a strange tale that will keep you reading the book. From one moment to the next the characters are keeping you on your toes. The first chapter will grab you as soon as you read it. You read about a guy that can't remember who he is and has thousands of dollars on him. Wouldn't you want to know what happened and where all that money came from. As you keep reading and meeting all these people you begin to wonder what they all have in common. But you will have to read the book to find out! Besides that the book cover is really awesome!
"The Blue Notebook" by James A. Levine
This book is about Child Prostitutes. Although I really wanted to read this book, once I started it I couldn't put it down, but I couldn't read it, it was very disturbing, I had to stop now and then because I couldn't read on. But I had to pick it back up and continue on. I wanted to find out what happened to Batuk. It is a very disturbing book. Knowing that this is going on in the world and no one to help these children. But be warned there is lots of sexual talk that is very frank and to the point. Very descriptive sexual talk.
"March" by Geraldine Brooks
This is the first book I have read from Geraldine Brooks. I enjoyed her writing very much. As I read Little Women years ago as a child and more recently re-read it again, I often had questions about Mr. March. Little Women doesn't actually tell you anything about the Civil War. Geraldine Brooks goes beyond the book Little Women and answers all those questions with extra thrown in. Mr. March's experiences are not good ones, but then war is not a very good thing to experience. Mr. March's ideas of what it was going to be like and what it really was like was a little naive. But he does come home to his wife and his little women. As to whether he is a whole person after his experience is another question all together.
"Betrayal in Death" by J. D. Robb
This is my first J. D. Robb book and it won't be my last. I really enjoyed this book. I really like the character of Eve. She's a very through and quick on her feet cop. She is also a very loving wife. In return Roarke, her husband is a millionaire, but is also a very normal down to earth guy. As Eve is searching for clues to Yost's where abouts, Roarke steps in and helps Eve to track down Yost. While in the process they uncover a robbery that is actually the reason for all the murders. A 7 billion dollar robbery! While they are trying to track down who is behind the contracts and what it has to do with Roarke they stumble onto the robbery and links them all together. Do they get Yost? You'll have to read the book to find out.
Saturday, December 5, 2009
Description from Coffee House Mysteries: "Coffeehouse manager Clare Cosi has grown very fond of Alfred Glockner, the part-time comic and genuinely jolly charity Santa who’s been using her Village Blend as a place to warm his mittens. When she finds him brutally gunned down in a nearby alley, a few subtle clues convince her that Alfred’s death was something more than the tragic result of a random mugging—the conclusion of the police.
With Clare’s boyfriend, NYPD Detective Mike Quinn, distracted by a cold case of his own, and ex-husband Matt investigating this year’s holiday lingerie catalogs (an annual event), Clare charges ahead solo and discovers Santa had a list that he was checking twice—and the folks on it were not very nice. Then someone tries to ice Clare, and she really gets steamed.
Between baking delicious holiday goodies and fending off the attentions of a persistent professional elf, Clare sets out to solve Santa’s slaying. But she'd better watch out, because if she fails to stop this stone cold killer, she may just get the biggest chill of her life."
I discovered Cleo Coyle's cozy Coffee House Mysteries a couple years back and love her style, the characters in the story line, the stories and the interesting recipes using coffee. Holiday Grind is Cleo Coyle's Coffee House Mystery # 8 and it includes all the interesting characters who work and live around Village Blend. When her friend and Santa's Elf, Alfred doesn't show up for Clara's Fa-la-la-la latte tasting, she gets worried and goes to look for him. She finds him dead in an alley way. The police think it is a mugging gone bad, but Clara thinks it is murder. Why? Well you'll just have to read the book to find out why. When she can't convince hard edged detective Emmanuel Franco and his partner Charlie Hong that it was murder, she is determined to prove them wrong. Clara enlists the aid of her her ex husband's mother Madame Dreyfus Aleggro Dubois, who is not only elegant and well off, but a snoop who knows the right people. Clara ends up in some harrowing positions, putting her life at risk, when the killer decides she is getting too close.
Included with the story are recipes for coffee drinks, coffee syrup, all the fa-la-la-la lattes recipes along with all kinds of holiday recipes. They all sound interesting and delicious, even for a tea drinker like me.
Books in the Series
#1 On What Grounds
#2 Through the Grinder
#3 Latte Trouble
#4 Murder Most Frothy
#5 Decaffeinated Corpse
#6 French Pressed
#7 Espresso Shot
#8 Holiday Grind
#9 Roast Mortem - Due out August 2010
Thank you to Cleo Coyle for providing me with an autographed advanced reader copy of Holiday Grind. I genuinely appreciate the opportunity to review one of the Coffee House Mystery Books. For more information about Cleo Coyle, the Coffee House Mysteries or to read an excerpt, check out her website Virtual Blend
Publisher: Berkley Hardcover
Released: November 3, 2009
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Lesa of Lesa's Book Critiques:
"If you're looking for holiday reading that isn't all sweetness and light, Holiday Grind offers the perfect combination of Christmas atmosphere, a well-developed cast of characters, and a complicated mystery."
April of Cafe Of Dreams:
"Holiday Grind is filled to the brim with the series' trademark humor, sassiness and mystery. Though number eight in the series, Holiday Grind is so well written that it easily could be read as a stand alone. Perfect for the holiday season, indulge in this rich and frothy mystery and I'll guarantee that if you have not read the other books in this series, that that will quickly change!"
Vickie of Vixen's Daily Reads:
"I am always curious how the author will have the main character get involved in the mystery that needs solving. Sometimes they can be a wee bit awkward, but Cleo Coyle always has Clare getting involved rather seamlessly. It's because it's someone she knows or someone she cares about asks her to get involved."
Thursday, December 3, 2009
Today is the start of Week 48 in the quest to read 52 books in 52 weeks and should have you starting book # 49. We are winding down the year with 4 weeks left and heading towards our goal of reading 52 books for the year.
It's been quite busy for everyone as evidenced by the lack of reviews. I apologize for that. Hope to have a few reviews up for you the last 4 weeks. As of December 31st, the 52 books in 52 weeks challenge will be over for 2009. This blog will be discontinued but kept up in order for folks to refer back to the reviews. As of January 1st, I will be hosting a new challenge
You are all welcome to join in and/or continue following the new challenge.
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Sunday, November 15, 2009
A Tale of Food and Friendship
Andrea Israel and Nancy Garfinkel
Front Flap: Loyalty, loss and ties that bind. These are the ingredients of The Recipe Club, a 'novel cookbook' that combines an authentic story of friendship with more than 80 delicious recipes.
Lilly and Val are lifelong friends, united as much by their differences as by their similarities. Lilly, dramatic and confident, lives in the shadow of her beautiful, wayward mother and craves the attention of her distant, disapproving father. Val, shy and idealistic -- and surprisingly ambitious -- struggles with her desire to break free from her demanding housebound mother and a father whose dreams never seem to come true.
In childhood, "lilypad" and ValPal" form an exclusive two person club, writing intimate letters in which they share hopes, fears, deepest secrets--and recipes, from Lilly's "Lovelorn Lasagna" to Valeries "Forgiveness Tapenade." Readers can cook along as the friends travel through time facing the challenges of independence, the joys and heartbreaks of first love, and the emotional complexities of family relationships, identity, mortality, and goals deferred.
The Recipe Club sustains Lilly and Val's bond throughout the decades, regardless of what different paths they take or what misunderstandings threaten to break them apart...until the fateful day when an act of kindness becomes an unforgiveable betrayal.
Now, years later, while trying to recapture the trust they've lost, Lilly and Val reunite once more---only to uncover a shocking secret. Will it destroy their friendship, or bring them even closer?"
In an attempt to expand my reading repertoire, I accepted an offer from Caitlin of FSB Associates to read and Review "The Recipe Club." The premise is very interesting. The Recipe Club uses a unique method of telling a story using emails and letters between lifelong friends Lilly and Val. While the two girls are in elementary school back in 1964 they start writing each other letters and start the Recipe Club in which they exchange recipes with each letter. The story follows them through their high school years as each girl works to establish their own identities, yet find ways to remain friends. When they reach college age in 1973 they have a falling out and don't talk to each other again until 2000 when Val's mom passes away. Val seeks out Lilly again trying to re-establish their friendship and connection, while trying to work out their issues. A secret is discovered that will test their renewed friendship. The story is told mainly through the emails and letters until the later portion when the story unfolds in real time.
Mixed in with all the emails and letters are the recipes with unique titles taken from the story. Recipes such as "Ga-Ga-Gai Pan," "Conspiracy Apple Pie," "Wild Girl Wild Mushroom Salad," "Apple and Pear Friendship Fool" or "Enlightened Peanut Brittle."
The story really captures your attention and emotions and reminded me of friendships from elementary, through junior high and high school to college. How people change and grow apart, then back together. The Recipe Club is very interesting and I'm looking forward to trying out some of the recipes.
Thank you Caitlin for providing me with a courtesy (free) copy of The Recipe Club. Head on over to Written Voices to read an excerpt and check out an article "You are what you say, when you talk about what you eat"
Publisher: Polhemus Press
Released: October 15, 2009
Cheryl at Cheryl's Book Nook:
"I absolutely fell in love with Lilly, Valerie and the Recipe Club. Authors Andrea Israel and Nancy Garfinkel wrote with such passion."
Margot at Joyfully Retired:
"The remarkable thing about the novel is that it is told almost completely via emails and letters interspersed with their recipes. I say remarkable because I could understand everything that happened just from their letters and emails. This well-written story shows the spirit and character of their lives and the heart of their friendship."
Yvonne at Socrates' Book Reviews:
"The Recipe Club” is cleverly put together and readers will feel as if they are part of Valerie and Lilly’s world. A very enjoyable book that keeps readers captivated to the end."
*** FTC notice: non compensated, unbiased opinion - book received free of charge from the publisher.
Saturday, November 14, 2009
You can see my reviews of these books at my place, Just Books. Just click on the name of the book and you will go right to my review.
The Help - Kathryn Stockett
The Bone Garden - Tess Gerritsen
The Last Oracle - James Rollins
Thursday, November 12, 2009
November 8, 1932: Benjamin Bova
November 8, 1847: Bram Stoker
November 10,1899: Kate Seredy
November 12,1888: Anne Parish
November 12,1928: Marjorie W. Sharmat
November 13,1915: Nathaniel Benchley
November 13,1850: Robert Louis Stevenson
Worth checking into and reading some books by these authors.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
This was a very interesting, fast paced suspense thriller that held me spellbound for the entire book. The story follows August Adams, his wife April, and his son Charlie. Hidden within the Gutenberg bibles are clues to finding a treasure and two secret organizations want that treasure, but first they must get their hands on the Bibles. They have been following August and know he is transporting one he had just bought and that April works for a museum housing one of the Bibles.
They hold Charlie and his grandmother hostage while forcing August to decipher the hidden messages with the illuminations in the Gutenberg Bible and forcing April to steal the one at the museum.
"According to Amazon “the clock ticks, the suspense mounts, and the body count rises as August pits his knowledge and his love for his family against the clock, secret societies, and even Johannes Gutenberg himself.”
Thursday, November 5, 2009
Today is the start of Week 44 in the quest to read 52 books in 52 weeks and should have you starting book # 45. We have 9 weeks left in the year and heading towards our goal of reading 52 books for the year.
Okay, all my quiet folks who have been lurking and reading. How many books have you read? Are you close? Let me know.
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
An Apple For Eve
Wow. Anything by Kathleen Norris leaves me reeling. She has a way with words and emotions. Her descriptive powers are untouchable. When she describes a hot drive in the car in the middle of August, I find myself sweltering, though it is 40 degrees outside. She leaves me parched and there is actual relief when she mentions a stop at a roadside cafe for a refreshing glass of grapefruit juice clinking in a glass of ice. Like her other books, the story line is emotionally complicated. I'm a happy ending kind of gal, to the core, but these books are ambiguous. Kathleen Norris forces you to look at other sides of a coin. She can convince you to desire the characters to do something you personally would not morally choose. Then, she will swing back and not let you have it. The beauty of home and family is upheld and almost worshiped but it isn't a feel good road to getting there.
I haven't posted for months and finally summed up my list here on my blog.
Saturday, October 31, 2009
Back Cover: "Obsessed with creating life itself, Victor Frankenstein plunders grave yards for the material to fashion a new being, which he shocks into life with electricity. But his botched creature, rejected by Frankenstein and denied human companionship, sets out to destroy his maker and all that he holds dear. Mary Shelley's chilling Gothic tale was conceived when she was only eighteen, living with her love Percy Shelley near Bryon's villa on Lake Geneva. It would become the world's most famous work of horror fiction, and remains a devastating exploration of the limits of human creativity."
The story starts with an Adventurer Robert Wallen, trying to reach the North Pole. He tells the story in letters to his sister, Elizabeth. Out in the middle of the frozen ice lands, they meet up with Dr. Frankenstein who is chasing the monster. Frankenstein takes over the narrative at this point, telling his story and how he came to be there.
He had created a monster. Upon creating this monster and shocking it to life, he became instantly disgusted with it and himself and abandoned it.
"The different accidents of life are not so changeable as the feelings of human nature. I had worked hard for nearly two years, for the sole purpose of infusing life into an inanimate body. For this I had deprived myself of rest and healthy. I had desired it with an ardour that far exceeded moderation; but now that I had finished, the beauty of the dream vanished, and breathless horror and disgust filled my heart. Unable to endure the aspect of the being I had created, I rushed out of the room, and continued a long time traversing my bedchamber, unable to compose my mind to sleep....
I started from my sleep with horror; a cold dew covered my forehead, my teeth chattered, and every limb became convulsed: when, by the dim and yellow light of the moon, as it forced it way through the window shutters, I beheld the wretch - the miserable monster whom I had created. He held up the curtain of the bed; and his eye, if eyes they may be called, were fixed on me. His jaws opened and he muttered some inarticulate sounds, while a grin wrinkled his cheeks. He might have spoken, but I did not hear; one hand was stretched out, seemingly to detain me, but I escaped and rushed downstairs." pg 58 -59
He leaves the house for a couple days and when he returns is overjoyed that the monster has left. The monster disappears for a period of time only to resurface angry with Frankenstein and kills his brother. Frankenstein knows the monster is responsible, however he is very depressed and travels up into the Alps to escape and sooth his weary spirit. The monster finds him and approaches and asks him to listen and help him. Seems the monster has managed to educate himself quite well.
"Be calm! I entreat you to hear me, before you give vent to your hatred on my devoted head. Have I not suffered enough, that you seek to increase my misery? Life, although it may only be an accumulation of anguish, is dear to me, and I will defend it. Remember, thou hast made me more powerful that thyself; my height is superior to thine, my joints more supple. But I will not be tempted to set myself in opposition to thee. I am thy creature, and I will be even mild and docile to my natural lord and king, if thou wilt also perform thy part, the which thou owest me. Oh, Frankenstein, be not equitable to every other and trample upon me alone, to whom thy justice, and even thy clemency and affection is most due. Remember, that I am thy creature; I ought to be thy Adam, but I am rather the fallen angel, whom thou drivest from joy for no misdeed. Everywhere I see bliss, from which I alone am irrevocably excluded. I was benevolent and good; misery made me a friend. Make me happy and I shall again be virtuous." pg 102-103Seems the monster has educated himself living in a storage shed by a French family's house and spying on them. He managed to get a hold of three books and learned to read. The three books: Milton's Paradise Lost, Plutarch's Parallel lives and Johann von Goeth's Sorrows of Werter. The monster wants Frankenstein to make him a woman, a mate who will keep him company and he promises to disappear forever. After some thought, Frankenstein decides to so. He disappears to a tiny island and in the middle of making the monster's mate, is so overcome with disgust, destroys the mate halfway through. The Monster, who had been keeping tabs on him, kills his best friend, Cherval and Frankenstein is put in jail for the murder. When he is acquitted, he returns home to his father and his lady love who is still waiting for him.
Even though the Monster told him he would be there on his wedding night and kill him and despite the fact the good Doctor tells his lady love he has a terrible secret, but can't reveal it to her until they are married, he and Elizabeth get married. Frankenstein sends his new wife off to bed, while he paces the floor in the library, overcome with worry about Frankenstein.
"She left me, and I continued some time walking up and down the passages of the house, and inspecting every corner that might afford a retreat to my adversary. But I discovered no trace of him, and was beginning to conjecture that some fortunate chance had intervened to prevent the execution of his menaces; when suddenly I heard a shrill and dreadful scream. It had come from the room into which Elizabeth had retired. As I heard it, the whole truth rushed into my mind, my arms dropped, the motion of every muscle and fibre was suspended; I could feel the blood trickling in my veins, and tingling in the extremities of my limbs. This state lasted but for an instant; the scream was repeated and I rushed into the room." pg 199
Yes, the monster killed Elizabeth and the chase is on. Dr. Frankenstein chases the monster until we get to the point where the doctor meets up with Robert Walden. He is in ill health and ends up dying. Robert discovers the Monster in the room with Dr. Frankenstein, saying goodbye to his creator. After a long and dramatic discourse over his body, jumps out the window and disappears into the night.
"But soon,' he cried, with sad and solemn enthusiasm, 'I shall die, and what I now feel be no longer felt. Soon these burning miseries will be extinct. I shall ascend my funeral pile triumphantly, and exult in the agony of the torturing flames. The list of that conflagration will fade away, my ashes will be swept into the sea by the winds. My spirit will sleep in peace; or if it thinks, it will not surely think thus. Farewell.' pg 225
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Today is the start of Week 43 in the quest to read 52 books in 52 weeks and should have you starting book # 44. We have 9 weeks left in the year and heading towards our goal of reading 52 books for the year.
NaNo is a challenge to write a 50,000 word, 175 page novel by the end of november. Does it have to be perfect, no. The challenge is to ignore your inner editor and write, write, write. Be creative, brainstorm, let it flow without censoring yourself or your characters. You let your characters tell the story and you listen. Once NaNo is all over, you can edit to your heart's content. There is even a Young Writer's Program for those under 18 and many, many schools are joining in on the event.
I'll tell you a secret. Prior to joining NaNo in 2007, I never took writing seriously. I dabbled here and there and had notebooks filled with a couple chapters of stories, then forgotten. You get an idea, write about it, then forget it. I found out about NaNo a couple weeks before it started. Decided I would take the challenge and guess what. I had a blast! I now have two Works In Progress (WIP's) which I am working on editing. I have learned a great deal about the writing process and am still learning. I'm joining in for another round with a mystery story called "Eyes in the Ashes."
My challenge to you - go for it. If you've been thinking about writing something, do it now. Join NaNo and see what happens. You may just surprise yourself.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Publisher Description: Romance was not part of Nora Grey's plan. She's never been particularly attracted to the boys at her school, no matter how hard her best friend, Vee, pushes them at her. Not until Patch comes along. With his easy smile and eyes that seem to see inside her, Patch draws Nora to him against her better judgment.
But after a series of terrifying encounters, Nora's not sure whom to trust. Patch seems to be everywhere she is and seems to know more about her than her closest friends. She can't decide whether she should fall into his arms or run and hide. And when she tries to seek some answers, she finds herself near a truth that is way more unsettling than anything Patch makes her feel.
For she is right in the middle of an ancient battle between the immortal and those who have fallen -- and, when it comes to choosing sides, the wrong choice will cost Nora her life.
"hush, hush" is a very, very good young adult paranormal story in which teenagers act like typical teenagers, except with a twist. Nora gets paired with Patch in biology class. Their first assignment - interview your partner. However Patch makes it difficult for Nora because he is the silent, mysterious type and doesn't like to answer questions. She's persistent though which leads to all kinds of trouble. The more she gets to know Patch, the more difficult life becomes. Someone is following her and she thinks it is Patch.
She lends Vee, her bff, her jacket and Vee gets beat up. A homeless woman takes her coat in exchange for directions and is gunned down. Then the body disappears. Someone breaks into her house and her bedroom is totally ransacked. But when the police arrive to investigate, everything has been set back to normal. And the two young men who befriend her and Vee seem to be acting strange.
It all seems to center around Patch. Sometimes he acts like he wants her around, other times he doesn't. He seems to be everywhere she is. Is he the one trying to make her crazy? The story is full of twist and turns and at times you can't tell who the good guys are, which makes it all the more scary and interesting.
Thank you to Emily of Simon and Schuster via Shelf Awareness for sending me an ARC of hush, hush to review. I thoroughly enjoyed it. However, I don't know how it really ends. Why? Because the hardcover release has a completely different ending. Looks like a trip to the book store is in order.
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Released: October 13, 2009
Genre: Young Adult paranormal
Steph of Reviewer X (Teen point of view)
"...dark and both relevant and whimsical, with memorable characters, great quotability, and abundant humor. Hush, Hush doesn’t stop at exciting--it was an experience so complete and enjoyable, it tides you over."
Karin Librarian of Karin's Book Nook:
"HUSH, HUSH by Becca Fitpatrick is an enjoyable mix of suspense and romance. Patch is definitely the type of dark and mysterious character that will make girls go weak in the knees."
Liviania of In Bed with Books
"Creepy moments and sexy moments abound, in a nice balance. Plus, several of Nora and Patch's conversations are snarky fun."
*non compensated, unbiased opinion - book received free of charge from the publisher.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Today is the start of Week 42 in the quest to read 52 books in 52 weeks and should have you starting book # 43. We have 10 weeks left in the year and heading towards our goal of reading 52 books for the year.
It's called the Nook!
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
"The Seamstress of Hollywood Boulevard" by Erin McGraw
(from back cover)
Trapped in Kansas at the turn of the twentieth century, Nell Plat is seventeen, unhappily married, and the mother of two baby girls. No realiity could be further from her secret dreams of glamor and excitement, dreams that tmpt her to do the unthinkable: she runs way to the woderland of Los Angels and its burgeoning motion picture industry.
Nell becomes Madame Annelle, costumer to glittering Hollywood in the Roaring Twenties. But a knock on the door threatens to rip apart the seams of her own carefully consturcted costume, and Nell is forced to confront the legacy of her abandonment and deception. Can she rework the delicate fabric of her life?
MY THOUGHTS: This book is about starting over. Turning your life into something that it wasn't and once you have that, the consequences of that decision. Nell is a young girl with nothing in sight except marriage and children. She lives in a shoddy on the parries of Kansas. Her only hope of getting out of the life she doesn't want is to runaway. She has her second child within a year of the first and can't see the end of the road coming to any good. Nell leaves her two babies behind and heads for California. The only thing Nell knows how to do well is sew. As Nell gets customers to sew for and builds up her clientele, she meets George and falls in love. She and George want a child, but Nell doesn't think she can a child again after the botched birth of her second child she left in Kansas. But Nell does get pregnant and Mary is born. When everything is going along great, Nell's past comes knocking at her door. Now she has to reveal everything to George and hope it all woks out. Will it work out? You'll have to read the book to find out.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
"The Dangerous Days of Daniel X" by James Patterson & Michael Ledwidge
(from back cover)
From the day that his parents were brutally murdered before his very eyes, Daniel X has used his secret abilities--like being able to manipulate objects and animals with his mind--to hunt down their assassin. Finally, with the help of The List, bequeathed to him by his parents' dying breath, he is closing in on the killer.
MY THOUGHTS: This book wasn't what I thought it was. I have never read a book like this by James Patterson. It is a Science Fiction book. It is also about a teenager who has secret abilities. He is an alien living on our planet as a human. Another alien came here looking for THE LIST. That is why his parents were killed. Now Daniel is hunting down all the aliens on that list. He has some help from people he has made up to be his friends. He also has his mom and dad, that he has made up from his memories of them. They are as real as if they were there. He is also just 15 years old. This is a very good book and I really enjoyed it a lot.
"The Story of Edgar Sawtelle" by David Wroblewski
(from back cover)
Born mute, speaking only in sign, Edgar Sawtelle leads an idyllic life with his parents on their farm in remote northern Wisconsin. For generations, the Sawtelles have raised and trained a fictional breed of dog whose thoughtful companionship is epitomized by Almondine, Edgar's lifelong friend and ally. But with the unexpected return of Claude, Edgar's paternal uncle, turmoil consumes the Sawtelles' once peaceful home. When Edgar's father dies suddenly, Claude insinuates himself into the life of the farm--and into Edgar's mother's affections.
Grief-stricken and bewildered, Edgar tries to prove Claude played a role in his father's death, but his plan backfires--spectacularly. Forced to flee into the vast wilderness lying beyond the farm, Edgar comes of age in the wild, fighting for his survival and that of the three yearling dogs who follow him. But his need to face his father's murderer and his devotion to the Sawtelle dogs turn Edgar ever homeward.
MY THOUGHTS: I have heard of this book a lot, hopping around book blogland, and saw different opinions of it. I got the book Saturday at the library and was a little awed by how thick it was. 904 pages long. But once I started it I couldn't put it down. It kept calling me to finish it. I wanted to find out what happened to Edgar's father and what his uncle had to do with all this. As Edgar searches out the whys and hows a terrible accident happens that sends Edgar and three of dogs into the wilds of Northern Wisconsin. Edgar does a lot of growing up while on the run and finally figures out being home with his mother and dogs is what he wants. So he heads home to find a way to implicate his uncle in his father's death. I didn't really like the ending to this book. I left questions that would have liked answered. Other than the ending this book was written beautifully. I felt like I was with Edgar and the dogs while they were growing up together. Awesome book!!
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Dictionary Day is in honor of Noah Webster, considered the Father of the American Dictionary. Noah Webster was born on October 16, 1758.
The objective of this day is to emphasize the importance of dictionary skills, and seeks to improve vocabulary.
Webster began to write his dictionary at the age of 43. It took him 27 years to finish it! In addition to traditional English vocabulary, it contained uniquely American words.
Celebrate Dictionary Day by reading the "Good Book"......the Dictionary! We challenge you to learn some new words today.