Friday, July 31, 2009

Friday Fill-Ins, July 31, 2009

Graphic courtesy of Tonya!
Graphic courtesy of Tonya!

Graphic courtesy of Tonya! we go!

1. It's time for the monsoonal rains to stop in Connecticut.

2. Shopping online; it's not a bad place for finding just about anything you could want.

3. I must be insane to have four crazy greyhounds. But, eccentricity is an oddity I can live with.

4. Engulfed in a book while sitting on the beach gazing over the vast beauty and power of the ocean is the best thing I have ever known.

5. My sister is simply amazing to have passed her state test yesterday. She is now officially an RN. I won't divulge her age, but she has 5 children, one in her thirties.

6. The last time I laughed really loudly was reading Sookie Stackhouse.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to staying dry inside reading, tomorrow my plans include painting inside and Sunday, I want to buy some new plants, work in my new garden(if it stops raining) and hang with my fur babies while reading. I just might strangle (no not seriously) my black fur cat who can't seem to stay off my book when I'm reading lately. LOL

Have a great weekend everyone.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Book Review: The Last Day, by James Landis

The Last Day: A Novel
James Landis
Steerforth Press

Warren Harlan Pease is a sniper specialist in the US Army, who on his first day home meets Jesus on a beach in New Hampshire. Warren calls the beach “a place of memories. When you come here, you take your life with you.” (3) Warren Pease, whose name alone is a metaphor for his struggle for religious understanding. Soldiers call Iraq the Mess, and as he spends hours conversing with Jesus he attempts to make “peace” with the the horrible carnage and decimation of human life he has witnessed. War forces him to question his understanding of God, and other peoples’ cultural and religious beliefs.

As a small boy, he learns one day his mother has committed suicide. On the same day he meets the person who become his best buddy, Ryan. His father is a busy veterinarian who has little time for Warren. In high school he meets Bethie Smith, who he finds out is the teacher’s daughter. When Mr. Smith is fired for teaching inappropriate material, Bethie and Warren become his home schooled students. Warren(War) loves Mr. Smith like a father. He introduces War to poetry and he falls in love Emily Dickinson. He also falls in love with Bethie.

Contradictions surround his life in the desert. Love and hate, life and death, goodness and evil, friend and enemy invade his thoughts and tests his faith realizing through Jesus it is more about believing in yourself. You never know the enemy, good and evil can be easily misread, suicide bombers change life in a flash, and people who love and hate one another can love God.

“The chaplains would have you pray, but thats because they were afraid for you being afraid for yourself. A good soldier walked with God. A frightened soldier asked God to walk with him.”(268)

Landis brings you up close to the war zone with his detailed knowledge of weaponry and operations. The story is on the edge drama with some predictability that works anyway. Prepare to weep copious tears of sweeping emotions from sadness to joy. Landis balances the melody of his themes with the harmony of Warren’s conflicts to create a glorious everlasting chanson of belief and wonder.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Wordless Wednesday, July 29, 2009

My New Garden!
Thanks to my cousin, Russ!!

Book Giveaway-I Can See You by Karen Rose

Three copies of I Can See You
will be raffled off at midnight on August 14th. You must be a resident of the US, no PO boxes please.

To enter the contest, please make sure you are a follower on my blog,(1 chance),post a comment on this post with your email (1 chance), mention this contest on your blog and link back to me, (1 chance).

The winners will be notified via email and on this blog, so make sure I can contact you. Books will be mailed directly to the winners from the Hachette Book Group. Thanks to Hachette for sponsoring this contest.

Summary from the book jacket....
Eve Wilson's face was once scarred by a vicious assault. Terrified and ashamed, she escaped to the online realm, where she could choose the face she allowed people to see. Years later, her outer scars faded and inner scars buried, Eve has fought her way back to the real world and is determined to help others do the same. .....Karen Rose delivers her latest pulse-pounding suspense novel, where the line between the virtual world and everyday reality blurs when it comes to murder.

Good luck to everyone!!

Tuesday Teasers, July 28, 2009

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

* Grab your current read
* Open to a random page
* Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
* BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
* Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

"Up against the back stoop, overhung by a small porch roof, I saw a wide and deep pile of pork bones, carrot tops, rotted squash,, broken furniture, soiled sheets, black-haired rag dolls, broken liquor bottles, one mirror, three busted clocks, a rusted frying pan, and a mess of white paper covered in nonsense scribbling. Such things should have been carted off to be burned or buried, but that pile had obviously just kept growing outside the door."

From: A Separate Country by Robert Hicks...due out September 2009. Robert Hicks is the bestselling author of The Widow of the South. This is his new novel set in New Orleans, after the war. A historical novel based on the life of the General John Bell Hood, a notable Confederate general.

According to the back cover....
"is the bittersweet story of a decent and good man who refused to admit defeat-and the story of those who taught him to both love and be loved, and transformed him."

Published by Hachette Book Group.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Mailbox Monday, July 27, 2009

Mailbox Monday is hosted by Marcia at The Printed Page. "Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week (checked out library books don’t count, eBooks & audio books do). Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists." ~Marcia

Hi everyone, I hope you had a great weekend and managed to enjoy good weather wherever you live. We had rain, thundershowers and breaks of sunshine here in Connecticut. I can't complain, but since I am from New England and have a reputation of bitching about weather, it was too humid for me. Good for the plants though!

Here are my books that arrived in my mailbox. Any books I purchased I am going to post later this week. I went a little crazy last week, forgive me please!!!

From the jacket...
The times and species have been changing at a rapid rate, and the social compact is wearing as thin as environmental stability. Adam One, the kindly leader of the God's Gardeners- a religion devoted to the medling of science and religion, as well as the preservation of all plant and animal life-has long predicted a natural disaster that will alter Earth as we know it.......

From the jacket...
Patriot, traitor, general, spy: James Wilkinson was a consummate contradiction. Brilliant and precocious, at age twenty he was both the youngest general in the revolutionary Continental Army and privy to the Coway cabal to oust Washington from command. He was Benedict Arnold's aide but the first to reveal Arnold's infamous treachery. By thirty-eight, he was the senior general in the United States army -and he had turned traitor himself.

From the jacket...
Dulce Maria "Mary" Guevara is a woman with nothing left to lose. Wrongly accused of being a cocaine queen, she has lost her job, her reputation, and-worst of all-custody of her son. ..........In this mesmerizing debut novel by two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Liz Balmaseda, one woman's hunger for justice becomes a journey into darkness-and a punishing, soul searching test of priorities.

From the jacket...
The year 2009 marks the four-hundredth anniversary of Henry Hudson's discovery of the majestic river that bears his name. Just in time for this milestone, Douglas Hunter, sailor, scholar, and storyteller, has written the first book-length history of the 1609 adventure that would put New York on the map.

From the jacket...
One Sunday when she is ten years old, Velva Jean Hart is saved. But being saved isn't anything like Velva Jean expected, and life soon brings devastating changes: her father disappears on one of his adventures, and her loving mother becomes gravely ill. Before her mother dies, she urges Velva Jean to "live out there in the great wide world."
The only world Velva Jean knows is her home in the gold-mining and moon-shining mountains of Appalachia. Her secret dream is to become a big-time singer in Nashville-until she falls in love with Harley Bright, a handsome truant-turned-revival preacher.

What did everyone get in your mailbox? Please leave your link...

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Review-American Lion by Jon Meacham

American Lion
Jon Meacham
April 30, 2009
512 pp.
Random House Trade Paperbacks
ISBN-10: 0812973461
ISBN-13: 978-0812973464

The challenge was going to be reading the biography, American Lion about Andrew Jackson, a President for whom I had little respect. My main concern was to remain unbiased and open-minded.

Would it be possible to look beyond his Indian Removal policies and stand on slavery? Or, the fact that he owned many slaves at his home in Tennessee, Hermitage. Owning slaves and being President of the United States was not unusual at this time as history has shown. My ignorance was to judge this man by these two evils when in fact, after reading American Lion I have come to revere him as one of the greatest presidents this country has ever had.

So, how can a man, this President have such diverse inconsistent beliefs when it comes to the liberty of his people. He was according to Meacham, a Jeffersonian who believed in the Constitution and believed that blacks, indians were not equal and that America was the protector of these people. He considered himself the Father of America, and everything he did, every policy he made, every speech he delivered, every breath he took was for welfare and future preservation of the Union.

He was responsible for keeping the Union together close to three decades prior to the Civil War. He fought the battle against South Carolina when they wanted to eliminate what they considered to be an unfair tariff. This tariff in their opinion penalized the South and promoted the Northern economy. Calhoun, the legendary orator, opposed Jackson on everything. He promoted states rights where Jackson believed the federal government needed more power. Jackson feared if the states were able to settle issues independently, there would eventually be no Union, and the American republic would fail. He believed the Union was a collective of all states.

Calhoun was the first to threatened the possibility of South Carolina succeeding from the Union. Jackson countered this with threats of military force and strong will. Eventually, he won. He extended the power of the presidency to include the power to veto. He was able to muster support and the eventual power to act as Commander in Chief without Congress. These were major changes in our government that are still in place today.

Meacham won a Pulitzer Prize for this book, without a doubt well deserved. He has presented a fascinating account of the 7th President from a human element. In his prologue he talks about the many contradictions of Jackson. He could be tender and aggressive, visionary and blind. He was censured by the Senate, but later he would not let this remain on his record and he fought to expunge the ruling. He succeeded. In his farewell address Meacham uses a quote of Jackson’s that reflects on his legacy:

My public life has been a long one, and I cannot hope that it has at all times been free from errors;but I have the consolation of knowing that if mistakes have been committed they have not seriously injured the country I so anxiously endeavored to serve, and at the moment when I surrender my last public trust I leave this great people prosperous and happy, in the full enjoyment of liberty and peace, and honored and respected by every nation of the world.

Meacham has done extensive research with copious primary sources and end notes. His writing is a delight on every page, sentimental and highly engaging. The book was well organized with short precise chapters, details are balanced with narrative. Visual support is gained with pages of pictures, although more would be preferred. My opinion of Jackson has changed forever. Whatever your opinion may be, this is a superb biography that I vigorously recommend.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Tuesday Teaser, July 21, 2009

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

* Grab your current read
* Open to a random page
* Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
* BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
* Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

He looks past the bloodshot white, past the blue and gray flecks and looks directly into the black center.
"It's him," he decrees and throws his arms around his father's neck as he climbs onto his lap and bables about Petro, and the frog they found, and the cat that died, and the ice strom last year, and toing to town, and Mama buying toffee,and still having some in his pocket, and his pants being too short, and the nail he stopped on, ant the bird hat got in the house,and can they get another dog...until Maria tells him hush.
(page 27)

Title: Under This Unbroken Sky, by Shandi Mitchell

Monday, July 20, 2009

Mailbox Monday, July 20, 2009

Mailbox Monday is hosted by Marcia at The Printed Page. "Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week (checked out library books don’t count, eBooks & audio books do). Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists." ~Marcia

This week in my Mailbox I received a variety of ARCs, many surprises showed up.
Here is my exciting mailbox..which one do you like the best? Which one would you suggest I read next? Please help me decide.

Fire by Kristin Cashore (Young Adult)
Dial Press
July 2009
461 pages

From the Jacket:
Young King Nash clings to the throne, while rebel lords in the north and south, build armies to unseat him. War is coming. The mountains and forests are filled with spies and thieves. This is where Fire lives, a girl whose startling appearance is impossibly irresistible and who can control the minds of everyone around her. Everyone...except Prince Brigan.

The Brutal Telling,Louise Penny
Minotaur Books
October 2009

From the Jacket:
:"Caos is coming, old son."
With those words the peace of the Three Pines is shattered. When a stranger is found murdered in the village bistro and antiques store, Chief Inspector Gamache and his team are called in to strip back layers of lies- and catch a killer whose identity will shock them all....

I Can See You, Karen Rose
Hachette Book Group
480 pp

From the Jacket:
Eve Wilson's face was once scarred by a vicious assault. Terrified and ashamed, she escaped to the online realm, where she could choose the face she allowed people to see. Years later, her outer scars faded and inner scars buried. Eve has fought her way back to the real world and is determined to help others do the same. Now a graduate student moonlighting as a bartender, Eve researches the addictive powers of online communities. When her test subjects begin turning up dead as a result of apparent suicides, she doesn't know where to turn.

The Day the Falls Stood Still
Cathy Marie Buchanan
September 2009
Hardcover, 978-1-4013-4097-1

From the Jacket:
The year is 1915, the dawn of the hydroelectric era in Niagra Falls. Seventeen-year-old Bess Heath has led a life of comfort and ease as the younger daughter of the director of the Niagara Power Company. But when a tragedy leaves her beautiful sister dead and her family disgraced, Bess's life is transformed beyond imagination.

The Widow's Secrets by Laura Brodie
The Penguin Group

From the Jacket:
Sarah McConnell's husband had been dead three months when she saw him in the grocery store...

What does a woman do when she's thirty-nine, childless, and completely alone for the first time in her life? Is she crazy if she sees her husband standing beside a display of plastic pumpkins? Or is that a natural response to grief that will diminish in time?

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Sunday Salon--July 19, 2009

The Sunday

Happy Sunday Salon to everyone! Saturday as mentioned, with the help of my energetic sister, we finished painting my dining room and one wall of my living room. This will sound weird, but one more wall will be the same color and then the others will be a different color. No, I'm not telling you yet. But, I will show you a pic when done. For now, here are some works in process. Obviously, the furniture is a pit out of place. Notice some of my bookcases...tee hee. My dogs tried to help, but as you can see at the end of the day they had had enough.

What do you think of the new paint color?

Reading this week:

Still finishing up American Lion, about Andrew Jackson. The author Jon Meacham won a Pulitzer for his incredibly written biography. (Review to follow). I'm spending a lot of time with this lengthy history taking copious notes for a paper I am doing on it.

Reading for the First Look program at Barnes and Noble: Under This Unbroken Sky by Shandi Mitchell. An awwesome read so far! The historical fiction book takes place in 1938 about a farming family from the Ukraniane who immigrate to Canada. I'm hooked on this one too.

Lastly, a little light reading...Inkheart by Cornelia Funke. Somewhat disappointing start and I loved the Dragon Rider series. I haven't given up hope. It is about my favorite subject...books, so how bad could it be?

Hope everyone enjoys the great least in the Northeast. How about where you live? Watcha doing today? Please don't forget to tell me what you think of my painting? Ta ta for now.....

Friday, July 17, 2009

Friday Fill-Ins

Graphic courtesy of Tonya! we go!

1. Taco chips and salsa make a quick and easy dinner.

2. Inkheartis the book I'm reading right now.

3. July brings back memories of my mom.

4. Please, be real, the fact that he was married was obvious.

5. They say if you tell your dreams they will warn your friends that you are a total eccentric.

6. I need a new dryer but I need time to think it over.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to taking a long shower and reading, tomorrow my plans include painting with my sister again. My dining room is looking fabulous but it needs a third coat. Sunday, I want to take a long walk! Graphic courtesy of Tonya!

Bookish Friday....On My Desk

I was just over visiting Nymeth and she has a posting of her desk. I was supposed to do this some time ago and never did, so after viewing her post here goes.
I actually sit in a recliner comfy chair suitable for very short people. Believe it or not, they sell such a thing. My laptop is always on my lap unless I'm reading in my chair.

My desks are actually coffee tables in my living room. I have an office, but I hate to be away from my dogs. So what you are seeing is my table that contains my stereo equipment. On top I have book baskets, my greyhound statue, and at the moment a big mess. This is what it looks like when I'm working, reading, relaxing and too lazy to clean-up. I organize my current books, ARCs, school books etc. in different baskets.

What's on top....Statue, baskets, lip-gloss(you never know who may ring the bell), two house phones, my cell phone, sunglasses, eye drops, sticky tabs, library card, reading classes, lamp, iced coffee (omnipresent), blue tape for masking my walls (yes, I'm painting), my GPS from my car (so I won't get lost). My current reads..American Lion, Under This Broken Sky, and a new ARC..The Widows's Season.

My other coffee table is a little more organized. I post this photo so that you will know I'm not totally disorganized. I'm also right in the middle of painting. More to come....LOL.

Congratulations to Winners of Off Season

Congratulations!!! Woo Hoo!!
The following people won a copy of Off Season by Anne Rivers Siddons.

Jill from Rhapsody in Books
Carol M.
Diane from The Book Resort
Debbie from Debs Desk
Kara T.

Thank you all for sending me your addresses so quickly. I have forwarded them to The Hachette Group. You will be receiving your book directly from them shortly.
Thanks to The Hachette Group and Valerie Russo for providing the books for this giveaway.

Thanks to everyone for participating and keep your eyes open for the next book contest.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Book Review: The True Story of Hansel and Gretel

The True Story of Hansel and Gretel
A Novel of War and Survival
by Louise Murphy
Penguin, 2003.pp.320
ISBN #0142003077

In this fractured fairy tale of Hansel and Gretel, it is not difficult to notice the underlying original tale as the story unfolds. The original tale is scary, but The True Story of Hansel and Gretel is terrifying. The characters of the witch and stepmother, pulled from the strong females in the original are anything but evil. In this story the evil “witch” is portrayed by the Oberfurher one of the feared SS who has piercing eyes of ice and a heart of impenetrable granite. There is no gingerbread house in this story, but the Oberfurher will lure children with candy, in the hopes of a careless slip-up.

As the story unfolds, Hansel and Gretel are pushed out into the woods by their stepmother and father, a dire decision, but necessary to survive. The two young children drift without direction, sprinkling breadcrumbs hoping their parents will be able to find them later.

They stumble upon a cottage in the woods where Magda, the village witch lives. She is a strange old woman and although reluctant at first, she acquiesces and agrees to help the children. Magda must present the two for inspection. She creates false papers, altered photographs and must change the color of Hansel’s hair. With daring courage, knowing she and the children could be shot if her subterfuge is detected she presents the children for review.

Murphy’s strength is in her passionate writing that is edgy and realistic. With tension and suspense she chillingly tells about a rape, the psychopathic behavior of the Oberfurer and desperate measures the villages take to save their children.

The reading is slow at first, then suddenly as details unfold you will be flipping furiously to the next page. Set in two locations, the story eventually merges together and quickly like a force in motion builds to a breathtaking end.

The True Story of Hansel and Gretel
is a story of hope and survival, where despite the harshness of war, the love and memories that bond families together can never be stolen.

On a personal note: When I finished this book, I held it in my hand, my body stunned. I sat for some time in my cozy chair savoring the moment, unable to move but reflecting on the message and this wonderful book.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Mailbox Monday, July 13, 2009

Mailbox Monday is hosted by Marcia at The Printed Page. Here is what it is all about.
Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week (checked out library books don’t count, eBooks & audio books do). Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists.


When I Was a Slave: Memoirs from the Slave Narrative Collection
Edited by Norman R. Yetman

From the jacket flap:
Thirty-four gripping testimonies are included, with all slave occupations represented-from field hand and cook to French tutor and seamstress. Personal treatment reported by these individuals also encompassed a wide range-from the most harsh and exploitive to living and working conditions that werre intimate and benevolent.

All for the Union, The Civil War Diary and Letters of Elisha Hunt Rhodes
edited by Robert Hunt Rhodes

From the jacket flap:
All for the Union is the eloquent and moving diary of Elisha Hunt Rhodes, who enlisted into the Union Army as a private in 1861 and left it four years later as a 23 year-old lieutenant colonel after fighting hard and honorably in battles from Bull Runn to Appomattox. (excerpted on the PBS-TV series The Civil War.

The Slaves' War by Andrew Ward
"This is a riveting book" quote by Ken Burns.

From the jacket flap: is the Civil War as seen from not only battlefields, capitals, and camps, but also slave quarters, kitchens, roadsides, farms, towns, and swamps. Speaking in a quintessentially American language of wit, candor, and biblical power, army cooks and launderers, runaways, teamsters, and gravediggers bring the war to vivid life.


The Widow's War by Mary Mackey
Publication Date: 9/1/09

From the jacket flap:
In 1853, Carolyn Vinton is left alone and pregnant when her fiancé, abolitionist Dr. William Saylor, disappears. Grieving and desperate, Carrie is easy prey for William's stepbrother, Deacon Presgrove, who convinces her that William is dead-and offers to marry her to give her baby a father.

South of Broad by Pat Conroy
Tentative publication date 9/15/09
See for more information

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope (Hardcover)
William Kamkwamba (Author)
Bryan Mealer (Author)
October, 2009

From the jacket flap:
He was mocked and called misala-crazy. But young William Kamkwamba struggled against the odds to fulfill a dream that would change his life in Malawi, a famine-stricken, landlocked nation on the southeastern tip of Africa. With the help of his best friend and the support of his father, William forged a handmade contraption that created ..."electric wind"..." "William has become a worldwide sensation, offereing hope, opportunity, and inspiration to millions everywhere."
William says..."If you want to make it, all you have to do is try--"

The Last Day: A Novel
James Landis
Steerforth (2009),
Paperback, 304 pages
Publication date 2009
ISBN 1586421654/9781586421656

From the jacket flap:
....the spellbinding story of Warren Harlan Pease, a young US Army sniper freshly returned from the Iraq War to his native New Hampshire. What follows is a page-turning adventure that is also a powerful and poetic meditation on religion and war, love and loss."

Hope you enjoy your week. I also went on a spending spree thanks to the BEA event I read about on The Devourer of Books blog. Thanks Jen...I spent oodles. I'll post some pictures tomorrow. LOL I must be nuts.