Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Through the Triangle

by C.P. Stewart

Science Fiction was one of my early literary loves. When I was young, I devoured it book after book after book. Robert Heinlein was probably the first Sci-Fi writer that I followed. Of his works, Stranger in a Strange Land was and remains my favorite. Valentine Michael Smith, born and raised on Mars was my first literary crush. I have read several compeis of Stranger to tatters, and given several copies as gifts over the years.

Ray Bradbury. I still love Bradbury. The Martian Chronicles, The Illustrated man, Something Wicked This Way Comes, Fahrenheit 451, Dandelion Wine. I love all of his books and stories, and have never really accepted him as a Sci Fi writer, he is so much more. I reread Bradbury with the same affection and expectation of delight that I had the first time.

It has been a while since I have found a Sci Fi writer that I have enjoyed. Don't get me wrong, I know that they are out there, but I haven't found one that speaks to me. Meanwhile I have moved on and fallen in love with other writers, different genres.

I confess to having a special place in my heart (and on my shelves) for books and stories about time travel, Atlantis and Lemuria. Then there are the paranormal-like occurrences of the Bermuda Triangle. Very addictive for me.

Recently, it was my pleasure to receive a copy of Through the Triangle from the author C. P. Stewart.
Admittedly, I requested a review copy due to the fact that the author was somewhat local. I was slightly intrigued by the blurb that came along with the offer of the book, but that alone would not have been enough for me.

All too often I am disappointed by the offers of review copeis by new authors. This was not the case here. I have not been as drawn into a Sci Fi novel for a very long time. The characters were full and three dimensional.

The Oblique View, Captained by Mason Bankowski takes us on an adventure the likes of which I have not enjoyed for a very long time, We have aboard this small fishing vessel Jake and Nathan Myers. A broken father and son team where dad is looking for ways to reconnect. There is Juan, wiser than he should be for his years, and an experienced hand to Mason. The enigma of the journey is Manny. There is something about him...

We are offered so much more than the usual fare of the compass spinning or something vanishing without a trace. We are offered a story. An alternative future of our very own country. The descriptions of the electronic wonders alone were fascinating, but along with them we are shown the many faces of human nature. Could something like this actually happen here? I have to ask, why not?

You have to read this one. This author has a lot to offer and I am left hoping for more from him in the not too distant future.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Last Will of Moira Leahy

by Therese Walsh
Enough. Just light enough. Just dark enough. Just perfectly balanced and just enough.
Maeve and Moira were twin girls who lived with their family on the Penobscot. They lived
with loving parents, an adventuring grandfather and good friends and neighbors.

Like so many twins they shared a special closeness, and even a language between just the
two of them. For years they had all that they needed in just themselves in the security of their
family. Time passes. Things change. A mothers well meaning choices came back to haunt them all. One
day, a boy came into their lives and things changed forever.

The story of how Maeve lived after the changes, and what happened to this loving family..
is entrancing, magical at times and filled with sorrow and loneliness. Just for a while.. and
then as they do, things changed. They changed because Maeve found a strength in her she didn't know she had.
She was prodded by her father to step out, step forward and to live. A wise man, he was. He set both of his daughters free.

Read this book. Highly recommended.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Day The Falls Stood Still

by Cathy Marie Buchanan

This story takes place in Niagara Falls beginning in 1915. The main character is Bess Heath.
Bess is a warm and gentle young lady who loves her family, and is especially close with her sister Isabel. She is a student at Loretto Academy for young ladies, and has a pleasant and genteel life.

Things begin to fall apart for her family early on in this book. The end of the school year is being celebrated at Loretto, and Bess finds that her father and sister have not come to participate in the festivities.
As the ceremony ends she begins to learn just why and what that is going to mean to her.

Tom Cole is introduced soon after, but is not fully explained immediately. He is a fascinating and important character in this story.

Interspersed between chapters are newspaper stories about the area both at that time, and stories from the past. They are fictional, of course but add a lot to the story.

We follow the effects that progress, grief, war and depression have on Bess' family. Each of the characters is given enough background to round them out and make them three dimensional and believable. I found myself caring what happened to these good people.

When I first read the blurbs for this book, I thought it sounded interesting, and it was. It was however, so much more, in a way that is difficult to explain. Perhaps the fact that the setting is one that is so familiar to so many is part of that. The authors gift for drawing the reader into the story is no doubt another.


Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Waiting For Columbus

This was an interesting read. Although it was a long and winding road, the journey
was a good one. Columbus. Who would have guessed that Christopher Columbus would ever
be a controversial figure. Columbus discovered America in 1492. Period.

Not so fast~ that may not be the way it happened. But although this book is called
Waiting for Columbus, it is not that Columbus. Or, is it? Well maybe. It might
be Christopher Columbus, pal of Queen Isabella and Captain of the la Callega. But wait,
isn't that the Santa Maria? Well yes it is! Confusing, isn't it?

Waiting for Columbus is a somewhat confusing book. The man who was gor many years honored
for discovering the Americas flipping channels on tv, and using a phone. How can that be?
Ask Zimmerman, whoever he is. What?

What indeed. Fifteenth century, twenty first century, one overlaid by the other.
Intriguing. Who is this Christopher Columbus anyway? That indeed is the question.
We do find out by the way. With the help of the most intriguing Emile, the earnest Dr Balderas,
and the beautiful Consuala who is a little bit in love with...someone.

I am glad I read this book. It is a mystery, a love story and has a form of time travel tossed in
for good measure. Mental time travel, but it is there, to be sure. It is worth getting through the
occasionally slow and redundant story to get to the answer. Most of the story drew me in and
the characters were likable and interesting.

So, Like I said.. three stars, I am glad I read it, and think you will be too.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Second Sight

by George D Shuman

I was drawn into this story immediately. There are many books with psychic characters out there, but I have never
before run into one where the psychic reads the last moments of a persons life, with a touch of her hand. Interesting concept. I liked it.

Sherry was likable, if a little naive. Perhaps that naivete was meant to come from her blindness, but that is one thing that rang a false chord with me. One who had lived the life Sherry Moore lived, should not have been naive. Vulnerable, maybe, but naive didn't feel right. Regardless, she was a good dependable character with a sens of herself.

Her friend Brigham was a darling man who had taken on a father-like role with her. He became a surprisingly powerful man in the end. Something I had not suspected at all. I liked that too.

The author created many compelling and interesting characters. Along with the good and kind folk, there are some reprehensible characters to balance out the story. They all brought out strong feelings, good or bad.

I thought this was a well told story, with an interesting concept. It held my attention, and I did not feel that the ending was predictable. I recommend this one for anyone who likes a good thriller.

Monday, July 27, 2009

A Gate at the Stairs

by Lorrie Moore

This is the story of families. Two families, that are broken in different ways. The book is told in the voice of Tassie Keltjin, the daughter of one of these families.

Tassie is the daughter of a potato farmer. He is successful in his own way, but has a laid back attitude to pretty much everything. Still, he is a man with heart. Her mother is a little on the vague side, and has some problems of her own that keep her from being fully invested in the lives of her two children.

Tassie goes to college, and in her search for a job as a babysitter, she is drawn into the lives of Edward and Sarah who are in process of adopting a baby. But of course, no one is really as they first appear, and so it is with this couple.

Her unusual job description has Tassie meeting birth mothers and giving some weak and inexperienced support to people she doesn't know. She has a personal life too, of course.
And as a young pretty woman, meets a young pretty man and falls enthusiastically into a relationship that eventually affects her position as a babysitter.

This is a sad story, but not a depressing one. It is really a story of life. Growing, learning, loving and guilt of course. There is always guilt. Do not make the mistake of labeling this one as fluff. It is much more than that. It is a good story, well told. The characters are compelling interesting, down to the ones who appear only for a moment. I recommend this for a good solid relaxing read.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Into The Beautiful North

by Luis Alberto Urrea

I read and loved Urrea's book The Hummingbirds Daughter. Because of this I did not hesitate to buy Beautiful North, without a second thought. I was then a little afraid to read it, thinking it might be disappointing to me. I shouldn't have worried.

Nayeli is a young girl from a Mexican village. One day, she realizes that the men in her village have slowly drifted away. They have nearly all gone north, into the United States. Most of them, including her father, have eventually simply disappeared.

Nayeli is from a family of strong positive women. In fact, the small village has several strong woman, and some of the young ones decide to go on a mission. They are going to go north and find men. They want to bring back seven good, strong, brave men to their village. It isn't safe to live in a place with not enough men, they decide.

This is the story of their mission. The people they meet and the way that they themselves grow and change. They learned a lot along the way and found themselves in some very difficult situations. This is about taking the road from childhood to adulthood, and about loyalty strength and family.


Year of Past Things

by M.A. Harper

Adrien died 3 years ago. He died but he didn't actually leave.
The reasons are not immediately apparent, but his presence is.
This creates a situation that is not comfortable for Adrien's widow Michelle and her new husband Phillip. Perhaps, not even safe. Things happen in the household that range from curious, to chilling. Complicating matters is the fact that Michelle is more than a little bit still in love with Adrien. Their son Cam has never come to terms with the death of his father. Nichole, the younger child is troubled as well.

Phillip is trying to be understanding, but when the things that go bump in the night become more substantial and in fact detrimental to not only his marriage but his health and safety. Or does it?

Phillips brother, Father Dominic is not only an important factor to the story, but someone that I would like to know. In fact I found most of the characters to be compelling and likable. There is one in every crowd, they say and in this story it was... well, I will let you come to your own conclusions.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Schuyler's Monster


Robert Rummel-Hudson

This is a story of loving (and all too human) parents, and an extraordinary child. Rarely do you find a child who has special need described with such humor. There is always love, just as there was in this story, but humor and honesty and passion have equal roles.

I work with children who have special needs. Even though none of them have the same diagnosis as Schuyler, some of the obstacles they face are the same. The most difficult, is always communication. It is what the parents want the most, the children need badly and what is all too often not given enough attention.

This is a story of Schuyler's life, from conception to present day, more or less. The reader learns all about the world she developed in and how she began to grow. We learn what Mom and Dad are like, and how they learned along with their daughter what she needed to be happy and purposeful.

I wish that more of the parents had the gumption of these two, instead of sitting in IEPs and just going with the flow. I wish that more use was made of these communication devices, and not just 10 or 20 minutes during the day. I would like to give a copy of this book to every single family in our school.

( Things would really start hitting the fan, then!)

Well done Schuyler's daddy...! Good job Schuyler's mom. Keep up the good work, because I am sure that there will be more beneficiaries from it than just your amazing little girl.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who has a child, and anyone who does not. I particularly recommend this book to anyone who works with or runs schools for special needs children...or typical children. You are the ones who need to learn to reach for the stars.

Sunday, June 7, 2009


by Dave Cullen

This is more than a history of events. It is a story of the people involved, and the many ways people were impacted by the events of that day. Intellectually, I knew that it was not just the families of the victims, but others who also had personal storms to weather. This is their story, too.

This is not a story of the horror, that is present but only as background. It is a story of a town, a school, and the people. It is a dispassionate telling of events, the shooters and their families.

Highly recommended

Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Last Bridge

by Teri Coyne

I consider this story to be a harsh one But it is the telling of a harsh life, so it cannot be any other way. Alexandra "Cat" Wilson is introduced very early in the story. We see her driving home for her mother's funeral. Death by suicide. Home is not exactly where she is headed either, as she had left the place she was raised and never went back. A decade had passed. Just for a little added drama, her abusive father was lying in a hospital having suffered a massive stroke only days earlier.That would be a lot to take on for any family. But Cat's family was different. And not in a good way.

Driving through the night, swigging bourbon from the bottle.. Cat arrived home.

The county sheriff was waiting for her as she drove up to her mothers house. The place she grew up. It was a small town and everyone knew everyone else. They all knew everyone else's business, too. And they had long memories.

Before long, Cat is joined by her brother Jared, her sister Wendy...and others from her past. She hadn't expected any of this to be easy. Nothing in her life so far had given her reason to expect anything to be easy. Ever.

There was abuse, there was no love, there were few friends or even acquaintances to help her through this troubled time. But then, Cat didn't want any help. She didn't need it, she would tell you so herself.

It was the secrets that seemed to trouble her most. The stories, the facts, that no one knew. All she wanted was to get this next thing over with and get out of town. Again. Or did she?

My first instinct was to get out of this horrible story. Lay it down and walk away. I'm glad I didn't, because things are not always as they seem.

The suicide note read: Cat, he is not who you think he is... Mom xxxooo

Monday, May 25, 2009

of BEES and MIST

by Erick Setiawan

Wiki says : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fable

A fable is a succinct story, in prose or verse, that features animals, plants, inanimate objects, or forces of nature which are anthropomorphized (given human qualities), and that illustrates a moral lesson (a "moral"), which may at the end be expressed explicitly in a pithy maxim.

This story is meant to be a fable, and so it is. An adult fable with adult themes and adult situations. IT is the story of Meridia, a young woman who spent her childhood in a home whose mirrors held images of strangers within them. A home whose stairway was apt to grow or shrink while traveling on it. A home filled with chill, and cold and empty hearts.

It her coming of age story. Something that is accomplished in a small town where anything might happen. She meets Daniel, and her life continues and becomes a life she wouldn't have recognized from her dreams. They battled hardship and hate and his shrewish mother. Her unloving father broke Meridia's heart, and her mother Ravenna's as well. Still, goodness and love grew in Meridia's heart.

The mysterious Hannah, though seldom seen was often vital to the story.

Why Bees and Mists? well, you will see their role as well. One that you wouldn't expect to find in an ordinary story. This though, is not that, not ordinary at all. There is magic and mystery and defiance and most of all there is love.


Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Angel's Game

by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

This is an all enveloping love story that......no, maybe not. This is a paranormal mystery that will draw you in from the...no, maybe not that either. This is an extraordinary piece of literary fiction, touched by murder, deception and deep friendship. I'm sorry, that isn't quite right either.

None of these things describe this book. All of these things describe this book.

This book is like a fire opal. Hold it up and from each direction, and in different light the color that you see blazing through is different. Also like a fire opal, this story is a gem worth having. It is worth passing on to others , to share the wealth. Perfection!

No, surely not. Nearly all gems have flaws. I read, and even went back to reread some passages, I never lost interest for one moment.

This is the story of a remarkable life. David Martin's life. All of the experiences that fed or sucked away at his soul. The events that broke his heart, or filled it. It is the explanation of how spirit kept him going, and where he landed. Some parts may sound familiar, because who among us has never had a broken heart, or spirit?

I highly recommend this book. I am at a loss to explain it, but I do recommend it

Saturday, May 2, 2009

The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane

by Katherine Howe

The fact that the author herself is a descendant of two of the women who were accused during the Salem witch trials does make this story very interesting. I have to imagine that there were some interesting stories passed along in her family. At least, I would hope so!

First I have to say that the physical book itself charmed me. I received an advance copy and was very taken by its appearance.

Second, I did like Connie and Liz and Grace (who did somehow have some of Endora's energy. Remember Bewitched?)

Most books or stories that I have read about the witch trials have assumed that anything outside of the ordinary was witchcraft and therefore bad or wrong. I myself never felt that way. It is my personal belief that there is magic in the most mundane if only we look. I have always felt that there was more to the Salem story than some women who were wrongly accused and punished. Did these women, or at least some of them have abilities outside the typical? I have always thought so. Can folk remedies and the use of herbs and intention do good or harm. Well, yes. To my thinking intention is very important, and it has been clearly proven that many ills can be treated from natural sources.

Early on in the book, it is given to Connie to consider that those accused were perhaps witches. While she is not interested in pursuing this line of thought at first, so called coincidence intervenes and her interest is piqued. She begins to do research with a much more open mind than she had in the beginning.

I liked this book. The story drew me in from the beginning, and held my interest throughout. I liked the characters, and enjoyed the interludes where we were taken back to the sixteen hundreds.

I do believe that the ending leaves room for a sequel as do so many books these days. When and if one is written I will be waiting eagerly for its release. A little bit of mystery, a little bit of magic, a pinch of romance, good characters, interesting story and yes, I would recommend it to my friends.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Tide, Feather, Snow

by Miranda Weiss
For many years I have been intrigued by Alaska. I have heard stories from people who have traveled there, read magazines and books that featured this mysterious place. I have longed to visit, all the while knowing that chances of that happening were slim, at best.

I recently read Not One Drop by Rikki Ott, a book that tells the story of the aftermath of the Exxon Valdez disaster as it relates to Cordova and its people. An engrossing and compelling read, that made me want to learn more.

When this book became available, I knew I wanted to read it, and I am glad to have the opportunity to do so. It too explores the vastness and purity of our forty ninth state. It paints a picture of the beauty as well as the hard core grittiness to be found there. This book takes us across Alaska and allows us to look into the lives and homes of some of the people who have chosen to make the state their home, as well as those who were born there.

I think this is a must read for anyone who enjoys a good adventure story, learning about another way of life, or simply enjoys reading a memoir about someone who is essentially like them, an ordinary person but one who makes extraordinary choices.

Down Around Midnight

by Robert Sabbag

This is a fact filled, mostly unemotional account of the authors experience of a plane crash in 1979.
It was a foggy night and after a delay, Air New England Flight #248 flight left LaGuardia airport, bound for Hyannis.

When the plane went down, killing the pilot and critically injuring the co-pilot, there were ten passengers on board, including Suzanne. She was to play a significant part in the rescue of the survivors. She was in fact, quite a hero that night. The author Robert Sabbag played an important role himself, but this is described dispassionately and with no self importance.

This book, written so many years after the actual event, gives us a unique perspective into how a single event can affect lives forever. The author began by speaking with his own family about the crash, something that had never really been done in the days immediately following. He then found and interviewed other passenger, as well as rescue personnel. The result being one of the most intriguing books I have ever read.

I recommend this book . It is an easy read, and an interesting, if not fascinating topic.
Truth is of course stranger than fiction, and some of the events described here bear that out.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Lake Champlain Islands ( Images of America)

By Tara Liloia

This book contains beautiful pictures and good information. It was obviously well researched. This is the first of the Images of America books that I have read, but it certainly will not be the last. I have found that similar books are available for many areas of the country that I am interested in learning more about. I can only hope that they are as wonderful as the book about the Lake Champlain Islands.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Mystery of Grace

by Charles De Lint

There is a blurb on this book by Alice Hoffman. She said "Nobody does it better".
I don't usually put much stock in these author blurbs, but I have to say that I agree with this one.
I don't remember how I found Charles De Lint, but I am grateful that I did, because as Ms Hoffman says, nobody does it better.

This is the story of Grace. It is a story of life and love and faith, or the loss of it.
It is a story of friendship and commitment and death. Most of all, it is a story that reminds us, as do all of De Lint's books of the magic within us all.

Grace with her tattoos and her grease and her family, the good and the bad,, is each one of us. Grace is more aptly named than you might think at first look. Grace learns to open her heart wider than she ever believed that she could, and see truth.

This is yet another must read in a long line of must reads by this magical author.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Still Life

by Joy Fielding

Joy Fielding is quite a story teller! Casey Marshall has a life that would be envied by nearly anyone. She is young, healthy, beautiful, successful, wealthy and happily married. After a lunch with her two best friends, while walking to her Lexus, she is struck and nearly killed by a speeding SUV.

So much for the perfect life. Fielding brings the horror of being trapped helpless in your own body a new twist. While lying in a hospital bed, Casey can hear all that is said around her, and has no way to communicate to anyone that she is able to do so.

Her younger, and very troubled sister Drew visits, as do her two friends. Janine and Gail. They continue their visits throughout the months that Casey lies unable to connect with them in any way. Her husband Warren makes the decision that Casey would be happier if she were to be taken to her own home, and cared for by professionals he hires.

This really is a wonderful, yet horrifying and suspenseful read. It is a book that you will not want to put down, and I didn't. I have never read anything by this author before, but I absolutely will. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good suspenseful story with a lot of believable twists and turns.

A Final Arc of Sky

by Jennifer Culkin

This book has only one failing as far as I am concerned. It is far too short.

The episodes related in this book range from critical care for infants in PICU units, to lifesaving measures applied while being bounced around in a helicopter. Each of the stories told by the author of her experiences on the job are mirrored by other stories about her personal life. This serves to make a very compelling read.

The style of this author is informal and down to earth. This is a style I enjoy when reading a memoir. It provides a sort of intimacy that is not to be found by a more formal approach.

I will indeed recommend this book to my friends, and I will also hope for a volume II by Jennifer Culkin.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

My Abandonment

by Peter Rock

"Valor consists in the power of self discovery"
There are many such quotations in the book. A book filled with both bits of wisdom and mounting horror. Caroline is a thirteen year old girl. She and her father are homeless, and living in a public forest. It doesn't take long to realize that her father is both mentally ill and very protective and loving in his own peculiar way.

Caroline is "home schooled" meaning that her father, who is not unintelligent, sees to her education. They visit the public library in the town nearest to them. Caroline has encyclopedias which she reads, and she is taught math and an odd sort of philosophy among other things, by her dad.

Although Caroline has been warned to stay out of sight at all times, they do live on public land, and inevitably, one day she is spotted. What follows is enough to give you hope that she will somehow be given an opportunity to live a more typical life.

The characters in this book are compelling, especially Caroline. I was impressed to find a teenage girl so well portrayed by a male writer. There was something very unique about the writing style of this book, the cadence of the text. I found this book to be difficult to put down. It is so easy to become deeply involved in the story, you just want to go on and on. I will recommend this to friends, it is a very good read.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Little Stranger

by Sarah Waters

I received this book from Amazon vine. I want to say that Sarah Waters is a favorite author of mine. I have read all of her books, and I have seen the British films made of Tipping the Velvet and Fingersmith. Wonderful on all counts.

I was thrilled to see that a new book was soon to be released, and I was particularly happy to be able to read an advance copy, and not have to wait.

The story mostly takes place at Hundreds, the family estate of the Ayres family. When we are first introduced to this home it is in its heyday, the family at it's peak of social and financial success. The story takes place after the war however, a time when many estates are failing. Hundreds has not escaped this fate.

The Ayres family is doing their best to save their home. In fact, they are struggling even to keep food on the table and feed their livestock on the estate farm. The bulk of the responsibility has fallen on the shoulders of Roderick, the man of the family since his fathers passing. Roderick suffers from emotional and physical injuries sustained in a plane crash while he served his country. The burden of saving the family's home and fortune is almost impossible for him to bear.

Caroline, his older sister busies herself with keeping house and caring for her mother. Roderick will not allow her to help him with what he sees as his duty to the family. Mrs Ayres has perfected the ability to live in denial.

We are introduced to Dr. Farraday, when he is summoned to care for Betty, the young girl who works for the family. He is to play a huge role in this story and the fate of this family.

I am sad to say that none of the characters in this novel appealed to me as much as those in her previous novels. These characters were lackluster and annoying. The story seemed to trudge along, rather than flow naturally as all of Water's other novels do.

Perhaps if one has not become so enamored with the type of novels that Water's has written in the past, one would enjoy it more. I knew this was going to be a bit of a departure for her, but perhaps it is just not what she does best. I am sorry to say that I was disappointed

Monday, March 9, 2009

The Kennedy Legacy: Jack, Bobby and Ted and a Family Dream Fulfilled

by Vincent Bzdek
Just uttering that name is sure to elicit some response. I think that when it comes to the Kennedy family, it is either love or hate and little in between.

For me, it has always been love. I was ten years old when JFK was killed in Dallas. Fair or unfair, I think that single act has affected my opinion of Texas ever since. The announcement was made in our school, and we were let out to go home soon after. I remember crying so hard, I could barely see my way. My father had recently walked out on us, and I felt that we lived in a very precarious world. When JFK died the feeling that nothing would ever be the same, and we would never be safe again washed over me.
I have not altered that opinion much since that time.

Bobby died on my sister's birthday...Leaving us with Ted to carry on for the family.

This is a compelling story of the Kennedy family and the manner in which these men were raised. We have all heard the stories of the Kennedys being a close, competitive, intelligent and loving family. The Kennedy Legacy presents them no differently, but does perhaps make us more aware of just how much the brothers all had each others backs.

This is a fairly comprehensive and very readable account of the gifts of this family, listing the most important changes that they have brought to our lives while working within the political system.

Many people are well aware of jFK and RFK's legacies. Somehow it seems that despite the many years of service he has given, Ted's is often glossed over or overlooked.

The last section of this book is devoted to Ted. I have to admit that having always been a fan of the Kennedys, my favorite of the brothers has always been Ted. Back in the eighties I worked in small town outside of Boston, and was fortunate to see Ted every three months or so when he came into our business. I found him to be jovial, friendly, respectful and just plain nice. I always looked forward to seeing him and his aide enter the room. There were times his briefcase was carried in like a try, with papers hanging out the sides, as if he was working as he walked. He made me smile, he made me laugh, and his staff was just as nice. We would take calls asking us to remind him of his next stop.. and he would accept the reminders boyishly and in a friendly manner.

Ted, like the rest of us has made a few bad decisions, but overall..I can only describe him as down to earth, friendly and a man of service and love. This book makes it very clear that Ted has worked hard all of these years. He has worked Hard for his country, and his fellow countrymen. He has worked for equality, healthcare and so much more.

This is a fantastic read. It is a book that not only those of us who lived during the Camelot years will enjoy, it will be appreciated by readers of all ages, young and older.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Paths of Glory

by Jeffrey Archer

The story of George Leigh Mallory, a novel based on history. I had never been drawn to read about Mr Mallory prior to this. I had never read anything by Jeffrey Archer either. For some reason, when given the opportunity to read this book, I enthusiastically took it.

The story begins when George Mallory was a child living in his fathers house. His father was a conservative clergyman of limited means who wanted to provide the best possible life for his three children. For George, this included the best education he could manage.

From a young age, Gorge showed a lack of fear, and a love of climbing. His father encouraged his sons sense of adventure, even to the point of accompanying him on ever more rigorous climbs, at least accompanying his as best he could. This trust and encouragement surely contributed to the self confident young man George became.

During his years at school, he knew that his mountain climbing had to take a backseat to his education, and so it did. TO his satisfaction, there were others who shared his interests, thus enabling him to continue with what brought joy to his life, scaling mountains.

I became so invested in the people portrayed in this book, I had a hard time putting it down. I had a vague and passing knowledge of Mallory and his Everest climbs, but nothing more than that. After reading about his life and family, as well as his dreams. I am searching for more information on this clearly incredible man.

I strongly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good read, or is interested in mountaineering. I will be reading more books by this author very soon, as well as more books about George Mallory and Everest. A book that inspires a new interest is the very best kind of book.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Hummingbird's Daughter

by Luis Alberto Urrea

The author, at the end of this work of wonderous and beautiful fiction, this history, tells us it is the result of 20 years of historical and cultural research for the this book. It is the story of Teresa Urrea, also known as The Saint of Cabora. It is a story that was carried down through his family for many generations.

It takes you from the days before her birth, a fatherless child, in a hut with a dirt floor through her childhood, her life and so much more. This is a work of history, of spirituality and religion, of war, love hate and betrayal. It is a story of God, and healing and deep humanity.

Teresita, as she was called was eased from her mother's womb by Huila, a midwife and healer. At the moment of her birth, she was recognized as a gifted child. One who would be a healer in her own right, in the years to come.

Abandoned by her mother, she lived a life of poverty and abuse with her mothers sister and that sister's own children. It was only after an episode of extreme abuse that Huila took the child under her own protection, and saw to it that her life would be eased. Huila not only looked into her eyes and saw a gifted girlchild, but knew who her father had been.

Circumstances forced her to leave the only home she had ever know, and follow Don Tomas' Urrea to a new home, and a new life. Her aunt chose another path, which freed her to live with Huila, whom she learned to love and respect. Huila was free to become the teacher the child Teresita was waiting for.

The words to describe the terrible beauty of this book fail me. It is a book filled with love, with hate, with food and music, with worship and heresy ( but not where you expect it to be). It is a tale of opportunities, war , betrayal and martyrdom, joy and earthiness. This is a book that should sit on a shelf in every readers home. It is one to read again and again. IT is a book with no need for a sequel, as to read it again is to read more, learn more and see more.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Chance to dine with Sara Gruen, author of Water for Elephants

Algonquin Books is holding a huge sweepstakes for Water for Elephants, which is being sponsored by Parade magazine. The sweepstakes will be awarded to a book club (max. 5 members) and prizes include:

--Round-trip airfare to Asheville, NC
--Two nights’ lodging at the Inn on Biltmore Estate
--Ground transportation
--Dinner with Water for Elephants author Sara Gruen
--Signed copies of Water for Elephants


Friday, January 30, 2009

The Seance

by John Harwood

Too much.

That is what comes to mind. Too much to the story. The story is too convoluted. Too many twist and turns. It strikes me that more depth could have been provided rather than more characters. It became difficult to keep track of who was who.

Some characters seemed to simply drop out of the story without explanation.They did reappear, abruptly and just as abruptly brought the threads of the story together.To me this story is reminiscent of Wilke Collins, THE WOMAN IN WHITE, but not quite uo to that standard. I had high hopes for this book up until the halfway point, when the meandering of the story seemed to get out of hand.

A running theme was the appearance both desired and undesired of spirits, or ghosts. There were fraudulent mediums and gifted ones. Marriages not blessed by love, broken families and blackmail. It was exhausting rather than entertaining. I cannot think of a single person that I would recommend this book to.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

A Reliable Wife

by Robert Goolrick

It was just a story about...

You will have to make up your own mind. This is a compelling story woven within the lives of A lonely man, a broken woman and sorrow. But there is more. There is love, joy, and contentment.
by Robert Goolrick

The story is interwoven with emotion. There are so many twists and turns the reader is left feeling amazement, but never left unbelieving.

The lives of Ralph and Catherine have been flawed and empty for many years. The story of their coming together, a poor young woman and a hollow man of wealth is one that will pull you in from the beginning. You keep reading to see where the next turn takes you and and when you find out, you read more because you are so drawn into the complexity of characters and plot that closing the covers of this book begins to feel physically impossible.

What happens to this couple, for so they have become, and the people around them is labyrinth. For me, I was anxious to find my way out, and reluctant to leave it behind. This books is a keeper. I believe it will become a classic piece of literature that will be discussed, shared, read and read again. I will recommend it to everyone I know.