Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Oh NOOOOO-Rachel Crow is Eliminated-Your opinion


This video speaks for itself.  What do you think?
Should Rachel Crow have been eliminated?
This performance was stellar. My heart breaks for her. Rachel it is not over...


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Oh No, George! by Chris Haughton

by Chris Haughton
Candlewick Press
To be released 2012

I received a surprise package from Candlewick Press today with the book Oh No, GEORGE.  I couldn't help but flip it open to read about the boldly colorful owl-eyed dog called George.  Harry, his owner goes out and George copes with numerous temptations that test his resolve.  As the author allows us to listen in on how George thinks, you just know trouble is inevitable.  Chris Haughton, hits the nail on the head with simple text, making this a perfect early reader and read aloud. With humor and perceptive expressions, the author captures the essence of George- a "wanabegood" pet who struggles with the ultimate test of will power.  Children will empathize with George's feelings,  when he gets into mischief.  A fun, lovable story for anyone who has tried to understand what goes on in their own pet's mind. This character should have a long life in the artful hands of Chris Haughton.

The copy of this book was furnished for free by the publisher. My review is my honest and unbiased point of view.

© [Wisteria Leigh] and [Bookworm's Dinner], [2008-2011]. 

Monday, December 12, 2011


Soon to be released in paperback!!

Penguin is due to release the enormous best-seller, A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES, by Deborah Harkness on December 27, 2011. If you haven't read this part historical fiction, part paranormal romance, you need to mark your calendar, or pre-order this compelling novel.  I became hooked from the beginning and now I am restless waiting for the sequel. 

Several posts back I summarized recent reads from my bookstand. One of my favorite books in that list was A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES, by Deborah Harkness.  The setting is Oxford University and below I have a clip with Harkness giving a walking tour of Oxford. The story centers around the characters of Diana Bishop, a researcher who descended from a brilliant notable ancestry of witches. She has known she has some unique sorcery capabilities, but has been in a cloud of denial her whole life. She calls up a book called Ashmole 782 from the stacks of Oxford's Bodleian Library with unexpected results. Her hands sense the power within the pages and quickly sends the book back to the ancient stacks. Matthew Clairmont has observed this from a distance, anything but an ordinary geneticist, he is a vampire with a long history with seemingly endless resources and a strong interest in Ashmole 782.  Matthew is only one of countless daemons, witches and vampires who covet the same book. Harkness speaks of their first date in the video. It is myth busting for Diana and provides a challenge to her as she must create a menu that will please a vampire.  She learns that his taste in fine wine is paramount to food, but that's about all. A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES is part of the ALL SOULS TRILOGY, SHADOW OF THE NIGHT due to be released in the summer 2012. 

Deborah Harkness-Walking Tour of Oxford

Book Giveaway Details

My readers will be thrilled to have the opportunity to win a copy of the the paperback edition of A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES that will be released by Penguin on December 27th. 

Contest runs from today through December 31st. 
To enter you must:
1. Leave your email address in code and follow my blog. 
2. Extra chance if you post on facebook and/or twitter, leave link. 
3. Extra chance if you blog about it, leave link. 
4. Leave a comment about the video, question for the author, or general comment about the book and contest. It's up to you. :)
5. Contest limited to participants in US and Canada.

Good Luck to all!

The Betrayal, Brides of Gabriel, by Diane Noble

Brides of Gabriel, Book 2
Diane Noble
2011, 291 pages

I  was surprised to discover this was Christian Fiction and also book two in the Brides of Gabriel series.  I did not read book one, but the plot is easily picked up as the author recaps the details from book one. Nevertheless, the story is entertaining and full of drama as you can image there would be when one man is a husband with multiple wives in a polygamist community. This book in the series features Bronwyn who upon the death of her husband is wed to Gabriel MacKay. Her sister wife and friend is Mary Rose and the family is part of a caravan of Saints traveling to the promised land called Salt Lake Valley. The problem arises when an unspeakable secret is realized. The wives struggle with decisions that question the religious leaders, including their husband Gabriel. They are driven to make plans that are dangerous but critical for their survival.

Noble frames this second book around the Mormon faith, yet it could easily speak of any evangelical faith whose overzealous elders drive to convert and overpower the weak with strict compliance to rules that supersede true spirituality.

This book was given to me by Library Thing for Early Reviewers. My review is unbiased and my honest opinion.

© [Wisteria Leigh] and [Bookworm's Dinner], [2010].

© [Wisteria Leigh] and [Bookworm's Dinner], [2008-2011].

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Across Many Mountains, A Memoir by Yangzom Brauen

A Tibetan Family's Epic Journey from Oppression to Freedom
Yangzom Brauen
St. Martin's Press
October, 2011-304 pp

 ACROSS MANY MOUNTAINS is the journey of three women, grandmother, mother and daughter from March 10, 1959, the day marked as Tibetan Uprising Day (considered the day when the Tibetan turmoil began).  This memoir is written from the point of view of the daughter, Yangzom Brauen.  It is a multigenerational approach that begins with the author’s grandmother and ends with her own story today. It is an astonishing narrative that provides the reader with the gripping history of her family, Tibet, Buddhism and the Dalai Lama. It is an eye opening read that delivers a message of determination, strength and understanding. As the Tibetan people and the government of China continue to clash, the Dalai Lama provides spiritual wisdom and hope from India.  The author skillfully assumes the persona of mother and grandmother to testify on their behalf. ACROSS MANY MOUNTAINS just might tempt the reader to pursue further reading about Tibet and Buddhism as it did for this reviewer. I applaud Yangzom Brauen for telling this remarkable family history.

This book was sent to me for review by Library Thing/  Early Reviewers.  My review is my candid and unbiased opinion of this memoir.

© [Wisteria Leigh] and [Bookworm's Dinner], [2008-2011].

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Christmas Giant, by Steve Light

The Christmas Giant
Written and Illustrated by Steve Light
Candlewick Press


The Christmas Giant is a warm and fuzzy treasure.  Humphrey the giant and Leetree, his little elf companion are given the task to grow and deliver a tree to Santatown.  Steve Light captures the friendship, love and tenderness of this special Christmas story through his endearing illustrations and accompanying text. Sometimes allowing his pictures to tell the story, children, especially emergent readers will love this memorable story.  With a clever plan, the Giant and Leetree solve a difficult problem that leads to a spectacular ending. I plan to read this one to my kindergarten students this week and will let you know their reactions.  The illustrations are beautifully detailed using pen and ink with soft pastels. The reader will no doubt notice new things each time they read the story. Librarians, media specialists and teachers will want this one in their classroom collections. Themes of friendship and problem solving make this outstanding.

I read this book to the delight of my Kindergarten classes this week during Media Class time.
They fell in love with Leetree and Humphrey. The students really understood the friendship and sharing toward a common purpose that lifts off the pages. They couldn't wait to see what was in the box the two delivered to Santa. Thank you to Steve Light from all the kindergarteners at my elementary school.

I was sent a hardcover signed copy of this book as a gift from the author.  I want to thank Steve Light for this surprise gift won in a raffle. My review is my unbiased and honest opinion of this picture book.

© [Wisteria Leigh] and [Bookworm's Dinner], [2008-2011].

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Catching Up-A Long Few Months

Thanksgiving Flowers from my cousin, Russ
After what seems like a long hiatus, I have summarized my last couple of months reading.  I have gathered this recap mainly for my own benefit. In the process, I hope perhaps one of more of these titles will attract your interest.  I doubt I will publish lengthy reviews on these, but my hope is to offer my brief, very brief comments.  These are books read over a period of time, a time of healing for me and deep self-reflection. With regrets, my writing has had to take a back seat to my health in order to focus on other priorities. With my ever shining optimism...I will pick up somewhere, regroup and begin to visit my blogger friend's posts soon.   I have missed my social network of bibliophiles and I hope everyone had a beautiful Thanksgiving. I did, and I know how very blessed I am. 

Yep, a purple poinsettia!!

August-November Books Read

53. Across Many Mountains, by Yangzom Brauen, A Memoir (A Tibetan Family's Epic Journey from Oppression to Freedom. (Library Thing Early Reviewer)

Across Many Mountains was an engrossing read about three women of different generations, mother, daughter and grandmother.  Many of you know how much I like to read about powerful and inspiring women. If you are that type of person, and want to learn a bit about Tibet and their struggle for freedom....this is a must read. I loved it!! So much so, I have been searching for more information and background about Tibet and China.  ~Wisteria Leigh

54. Catherine the Great, Non-Fiction, Portait of a Woman by Robert K. Massie, Random House, 978-0-679-45672-8. November 11, 2011 Release.

Another strong woman who came to life with Massie's magic. I am in awe of Catherine the Great and couldn't put this well written biography.  Her story is a fascinating read that unravels with unencumbered grace from beginning to end. Robert Massie is an amazingly talented writer. Anyone who loves history, particularly about famous women monarchs will enjoy this one. You might want to pick up an additional copy and give it this year to a biography reader in your life.~Wisteria Leigh 

55. Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, by Amy Chua, Penguin Press, Chinese American Biography, 978-1-59420-284-1. (Self-purchase)

This was great! The point of view of a mother who is driven to push her daughters to excellence and the consequences she must face and accept. This one surprised me. I was expecting something quite different.   As a teacher, I see the pressures put on many students, some can handle it, others can't. Naturally, all parents want the best for their children. So did Amy Chua. 
I enjoyed her journey of discovery when she realizes the fate of one daughter was sabotaged from the beginning.  I was anxious to read this for some time. Chua wrote a superb and honest reflection of her story. ~ Wisteria Leigh

56. A Discovery of Witches, by Deborah Harkness,  Viking Press (Penguin Group), 978-0-670-0-02241-0. (561 pages), First book in the All Souls trilogy. Love, love loved this one!!! (Vampires, Witches, Alchemy, Science and magic). Published 2011.

I will tell you, I loved this one so much, I can't wait for the second book. Refreshing and fun novel. Deborah Harkness created her own magic as my hands were velcroed to this book.  Really...I liked it better than Twilight. ~Wisteria Leigh

57. Conquistadora, by Esmeralda Santiago, 978-0-307-26832-7, Alfred A. Knopf, historical fiction, Puerto Rico 19th century, Women plantation owners, sugar plantations, slavery. (421 pages).

I must really love Spanish writers as I have noticed a pattern in my reading over the last few months. Whether the setting is Spain or some other Latin culture, or it is a translation from a work by a Spanish writer, I have enjoyed each one. I am a huge fan of Isabel Allende, and the writing of Esmeralda Santiago although much different, is impressive with an equally satisfying gift of story telling prowess. The courageous character Ana Larragoity Cubillas, is driven and self-reliant. The setting of Puerto Rico is close to me, as I lived in a small town outside San Juan as a child. Another strong female role placed this time in an engaging period of history that is seldom written about. Beautiful!! ~Wisteria Leigh
58. The Northside, by Nelson Johnson, 978-0-937548-73-8, Non-fiction, Atlantic City/African Americans.(358 pages), Plexus Publishing, Inc. (Historical Novels Review-self purchase).

A valuable and interesting history of the creation of Atlantic City. The author uncovers the "real history" and the blood, sweat and tears of the African Americans who migrated north to build a vacation destiny for rich whites. The story of how a small community known as Northside emerged as a result of another racial imbalance in history. Fascinating cover to cover. ~Wisteria Leigh

59. Midnight on Julia Street by Ciji Ware, 978-1-4022-2272-6, (512 pages), Sourcebooks, historical fiction. Release August 2011.

Review to appear in Historical Novels Review. A heads up...I adore Ciji Ware and Midnight on Julia Street is one of my favorite books of those I have read...and I have read many.  The sultry New Orleans setting with a story that offers intrigue and mystery when a downtown historic building is the center of a battle. In a town where everyone appears to be related, and everyone knows someone, the history of the condemned building will reveal secrets no one could have imagined. Ware at her quintessential best! ~Wisteria Leigh

60. The Betrayal, by Diane Noble, Brides of Gabriel Book 2, 978-0-06-198094-7, historical Fiction, 1842, Salt Lake Valley, Harper Collins (Avon), (290 pages). (Early Reviewer Library Thing).

An historical fiction drama about polygamy and the relationships of women who are sister wives is presented in this Brides of Gabriel book called The Betrayal. I was expecting a placid read of life in Salt Lake Valley, but Noble has other plans for her story.  It is not my favorite book in the list presented here, but it was a fun read.  To be fair, the subject matter does not interest me. Very straight forward and predictable.  This was just an average read for me, but I did finish it. ~Wisteria Leigh

61. Sleeping With the Enemy,  by Hal Vaughan, (Coco Chanel's Secret War), 978-0-307-59263-7. (282 pages),  Alfred A. Knopf, 2011. (Self purchase).

I looked forward to reading this book so much, I put aside others that I had been hoping to read next. The story of Coco Chanel and her life during World War II is presented by Hal Vaughan who claims to have exposed the reality of Coco Chanel and her collaboration with the enemy. 
Fascinating to read about Chanel and what Vaughan believes is truth. Read it and form your own conclusions. This one is well worth a look. ~Wisteria Leigh