Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year 2013




With All My Best Wishes For An Amazingly 

Happy New Year!!!


Thank you all for visiting my blog, reading, commenting and your continued blogger friendship and support. 

All my best to the phenomenal authors who write books that inspire me.

Happy New Year to all the publishers who send me so many wonderful books to feed my passion.   


  With gratitude and thanks.....I am truly blessed!


© [Wisteria Leigh] and [Bookworm's Dinner], [2008-2013].


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

THIS IS NOT MY HAT, by Jon Klassen

by Jon Klassen
Candlewick Press, 
October 9, 2012
40 pages, Age: 4+


Another winner from Jon Klassen has delighted my classes.  THIS IS NOT MY HAT, is a eye catching picture book about a little fish takes a perfectly sized hat for his own head from a rather larger sleeping fish  Swimming around as he tries to escape the little fish believes he has the perfect solution to hide from the big fish.  Does he keep his little hat? Readers will be on edge trying to figure out what happens at the end. The story provides a perfect opportunity to ponder a moral question. 

Jon Klassen won a Geisel Honor Award from the ALA in 2012, and the E.B. White Read-Aloud Award for I WANT MY HAT BACKEven before Klassen's awards were announced my students wanted to share I WANT MY HAT BACK over and over. They were enchanted by bear, little rabbit and friends in this story.  

I was therefore, overjoyed to receive a copy of THIS IS NOT MY HAT by the publisherI knew immediately it would be well received. At storytime, my students lit up when they saw the cover, with obvious recall to his first book.  You will find that children want to read these two books over and over. They act it out and are able to recall details with little prompting. 

THIS IS NOT MY HAT is adorable and children love how the little fish boldly takes what doesn't belong to him, even though it appears to be an ideal fitHis seemingly careless attitude will end with a comical chuckle.  THIS IS NOT MY HAT stole the hearts of my listeners and the reader as well.  Don't miss it!!

© [Wisteria Leigh] and [Bookworm's Dinner], [2008-2012].

Sunday, December 23, 2012

December 24th Candles for Sandy Hook Event


 Those of you on Facebook may have already seen this page. The link is here 

I hope you will join me and the thousands already who have accepted to participate in this memorial for the victims and families of Sandy Hook, Newtown, CT.   Peace and Love, Wisteria

© [Wisteria Leigh] and [Bookworm's Dinner], [2008-2012].

Saturday, December 22, 2012

The Last Runaway, by Tracy Chevalier


The Last Runaway 
Tracy Chevalier 
Dutton Adult (2013),  
Hardcover ISBN 0525952993 
320 pages 

Tracy Chevalier is a familiar author to me.  Girl With a Pearl Earring still stands out as one of my favorite historical fiction selections. The Last Runaway takes place prior to the American Civil War in the border state of Ohio. Honor Bright left her homeland of England to travel with her sister Grace to America.  Shortly after their arrival Grace dies leaving Honor in a tenuous position regarding her future. Honor Bright is a Quaker and  holds dear the tenets of her religion. She values honesty and abhors slavery.  She marries Jack Haymaker, a dairy farmer and moves in with him, along with his sister and mother. Honor finds herself in a perfect position to help runaways who travel along the Underground Railroad. The Haymaker family pretend not to notice Honor's small contributions of assistance until one day they forbid her to continue. Honor Bright is forced to make difficult decisions that cause great internal conflict and reflection.

The character of Honor Bright is eerily familiar as if this writer were in her shoes in a previous life. Belle, a milliner is spunky and frank and her friendship with Honor is genuine. More than once she manages to surprise Honor with her prowess with a shotgun.  The importance of quilting and hatting in America, women's roles, Quakers and The Underground Railroad, particularly the ramifications of the Fugitive Slave Act in Ohio provided Chevalier with background to write this beautiful and inspiring novel. An author's note of interest Ms. Chevalier learned to quilt in order to write The Last Runaway.  I’m sure a gratifying p
erk she had not anticipated. 

Disclosure: A copy of this book was received as an ARC from the publisher. This review is my candid and unbiased opinion. 

© [Wisteria Leigh] and [Bookworm's Dinner], [2008-2012].  


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Painted Girls by Cathy Marie Buchanan..Countdown to Release


My endorsement....

Cathy Marie is the author of When the Falls Stood Still, a remarkably memorable and haunting novel that still resonates with me today. Now The Painted Girls will be released in the US on 1/10/13.  It was released this week in Canada. Preorder your copy. 
A definite choice to fulfill your holiday wish lists with those newly acquired gift certificates. :)

The Painted Girls-Press Release

A heartrending, gripping novel set in belle époque Paris and inspired by the real-life model for Degas’s Little Dancer Aged 14 and by the era's most famous criminal trials. Following their father’s sudden death, the Van Goethem sisters find their lives upended. Without his wages, and with the small amount their laundress mother earns disappearing into the absinthe bottle, eviction seems imminent. With few options for work, Marie is dispatched to the Paris Opéra, where she will be trained to enter the famous Ballet and meet Edgar Degas. Her older sister, Antoinette, finds employment—and the love of a dangerous young man—as an extra in a stage adaptation of Émile Zola’s Naturalist masterpiece L’Assommoir. Set at a moment of profound artistic, cultural, and societal change,The Painted Girls is a tale of two remarkable sisters rendered uniquely vulnerable to the darker impulses of “civilized society.” Learn more.

Cathy's Home Page

The Painted Girls Banner

© [Wisteria Leigh] and [Bookworm's Dinner], [2008-2012]. 

Destiny, Rewritten, by Kathyrn Fitzmaurice


So excited to share this trailer about the book Destiny Rewritten by one of my favorite children's authors.... Kathyrn Fitzmaurice. The book is due out in March, so keep an eye out for it.  Visit her homepage at:

© [Wisteria Leigh] and [Bookworm's Dinner], [2008-2012]. 


Honoring Sandy Hook's Angels


Honoring Sandy Hook's Angels

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Review: THE RENT COLLECTOR, by Camron Wright

Camron Wright
Shadow Mountain
First edition (August 27, 2012)
HC, 304 pp, 


Sang Ly, a twenty-nine year old young mother, her husband Ki Lim and son, Nisay live on the top of a large mountain in Cambodia.  Rather than pristine rolling landscapes and crystal clean running streams, they are surrounded by piles of noxious and dangerous garbage. They live at the very bottom of Maslow’s Hierarchy.  The place is called Stung Meanchey, and this is their home, a shelter that consists of a couple of poles and a canvas roof.  Within are the bare essentials for survival.  Each day is spent with one goal in mind, to make enough money to eat a dinner.  Hopefully, with luck they will earn enough at the end of the month to pay rent to The Rent Collector,  a merciless, stone hearted drunk.  They call her the cow, but her name is Sopeap Sin. Nisay is a very sick child and all attempts to treat his chronic diarrhea fail. His belly is large and Sang Ly fears for his life.  One day when Sopeap arrives for the monthly rent, Sang Ly witnesses her sobbing after she discovers a torn children’s picture book in Nisay’s hands. Later, Sang Ly is sure that Sopeap must know how to read. How is it possible, that this wretched woman, also amid such poverty is able to read?  Sang Ly is determined to save her son and she now knows that there is a way.

This is an amazing  story of challenges, determination, guilt, gratitude and forgiveness. Seriously, a book that is difficult to break away from. Sang Ly and Sopeap Sin discover through their love of storytelling lessons that will surprise everyone.  I will savor this book, the characters, the message and my personal thoughts about life’s perspective. THE RENT COLLECTOR is a passionately rare and memorable gift for all readers.

© [Wisteria Leigh] and [Bookworm's Dinner], [2012].

© [Wisteria Leigh] and [Bookworm's Dinner], [2008-2012]. 

DISCLOSURE:  A free kindle version of this book was made available by Net Galley for review.

Wisteria Leigh
September 29, 2012

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Review-The Second Empress: A Novel of Napoleon's Court


Michelle Moran
Crown Publishing
August 14, 2012
HC, 320 pp, $25.00, 

Having read all of Michelle Moran’s novels, the allure of The Second Empress, her latest historical fiction work about Napoleon’s Court was an irresistible pick from my TBR pile.  I chose wisely and for a few hours I became French with a bit of Austrian thrown in. Much has been written about the Bonaparte family including thousands of letters that the author notes she examined in order to shape her vision of Napoleon and other family members, Pauline, his sister, and Josephine his first wife.  She does not apologize for the harsh treatment and depiction of the lewd, often cruel and ever unpredictable tyrannical despot Napoleon Bonaparte.  Marie-Louise, the eighteen year old daughter of the king of Austria faced an impossible decision. A decision she felt gave her no choice but to leave Austria to marry Napoleon who was at age forty, desperate for an heir. After fourteen years, of marriage his first wife, Josephine, was still barren so when her infidelity was exposed,  he had her banished from court.  Marie-Louise had nothing to fear from Josephine, but Napoleon’s promiscuous narcissistic exceedingly beautiful sister Pauline had dreams of her own. She would like nothing better than to model a reign with her perverse brother, together an incestuous pair, who would rule an empire in the style of ancient Egypt. When Marie Louise gives birth, Pauline must alter her course, and her idiosyncratic behavior increases.  At the same time,  Napoleon’s Machiavellian personality is not satiated and his military compulsion to conquer all results in a bloody defeat. When the future of France turns bleak, Marie-Louise now given the position of regent of France by her husband, must make an audacious and clever decision.

The Second Empress will delight the most devoted of Moran’s fans with an engaging plot and glimpse of history during Napoleon’s time. This highly recommended novel is another distinctive and spicy portrayal of powerful women who were destined to change history.

© [Wisteria Leigh] and [Bookworm's Dinner], [2008-2012].

DISCLOSURE: A copy of this book was sent at no charge to the reviewer for an unbiased candid review.

September 26, 2012

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

City of Women-A Personal Favorite of 2012


Personal Favorite 2012
FTC: ARC from HNR Magazine
Review will be in August Issue. 
Photo: Library Thing

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

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Virgin Cure, by Ami McKay- TLC Book Tour

Ami McKay
Harper Collins 
June 26, 2012, 
HC, 336pp,  

Is it possible that men really believed that by taking the maiden head of a young woman he would be cured of a host of socially transmitted diseases, most importantly, the pox?  Ami McKay has created a heartfelt story a young girl named “Moth.” She was abandoned by her father, and at the age of twelve was sold by her mother to a wretched wealthy woman who abused her with sadistic pleasure. Moth breaks free but her theft of a bracelet will only last so far. The year is 1871 and McKay depicts the horrors of life on the streets for thousands of young children who stayed alive by any means possible. Moral principles succumbed to a need to survive through desperate illegal and illicit behavior.
Moth is soon befriended by a young girl who offers her a chance to get off the streets. She introduces Moth to Miss Everett, the madam of a brothel who caters to the whims of wealthy gentlemen.  They pay enormous sums to bed a young virgin. Miss Everett proudly and protectively cultivates the street girls to exude beauty and class.  The girls learn to enchant their dates with sensual tension that only furthers to increase negotiations. Moth meets Dr. Sadie, a female physician who takes care of the girls in residence.  Dr. Sadie questions young Moth’s age as her innocence is apparent beneath her bravado and intelligence. As Moth dreams of a better life, a life of independence and freedom to be herself she believes Miss Everett will provide a secure future. Dr. Sadie and Moth develop a friendship that allows her to see life outside the illusion of comfort provided by Miss Everett.
Ami McKay
Her story is easily imagined by Ami McKay’s captivating recreation of tenement life in New York.  In her author notes, she explains her motivation and research that led her to Moth Fenwick’s story. She tells her surprise at her discovery of the myth of what is called “the virgin cure.” Ami McKay’s shaping of Moth is a composite of so many young girls on the streets, homeless and doing whatever it takes to survive. Moth will be remembered for her courage and her strong voice of determination that covers up her frightened soul.  Moth walks the reader down the dirty social history of city life in the late 1800’s where countless of homeless children struggled to survive life on the streets with hard and desperate choices that often ended in tragedy.  A wonderful vivid enveloping historical fiction read.  Will no doubt present comparisons and reflection about children worldwide who struggle, fearful and alone to this day.  

Disclosure:  A copy of this book was provided by TLC Book Tours for an unbiased review.

© [Wisteria Leigh] and [Bookworm's Dinner], [2008-2012].

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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Elizabeth the Queen, by Sally Bedell Smith


Elizabeth the Queen:The Life of a Modern Monarch
Sally Bedell Smith
Original Publication Date: 2011
Edition 2012,
ISBN 1400067898
Random House 688 pages

Sally Bedell Smith presents a comprehensive picture of Queen Elizabeth II. What makes this such a compelling read is the information and candid picture the reader will visualize from this biography. As an American, the image of Queen Elizabeth is often vague and remote. Perhaps that is how our president appears to other countries, but without experiencing Parliament and the British Monarchy first hand, one can’t help but feel unconnected and distanced. Yet, after reading Smith’s book for the Early Reviewer program at Library Thing, a clearer more human and genuinely warm image of the Queen is more likely probable. This biography depicts the Queen as a mother, who believes in the sacrifice of her role as the monarch above all. The love for her family is no less important, but her dedication to the British people will often cause limitations and conflict. The reader will identify with her positive inspirational spirit. This biography is a kind and gentle history of the Queen up to this current Diamond Jubilee Year. It is not just about the Queen, but about it encompasses her life, her extended family and her long and steady reign. I can’t judge how candid this biography really is. For example, does the author paint a pellucid portrait of the Queen? As with any popular public figure, the paparazzi, the press and the world will try and judge her. Draw your own conclusion by reading this enchanting biography, Elizabeth the Queen: The Life of a Modern Monarch. Did you know she has a Facebook page? How special would it be to actually friend this mighty yet petite techno savvy sovereign. Sally Bedell Smith’s biography is a noteworthy addition to the existing archives about the House of Windsor. Happy Diamond Jubilee : “Long Live the Queen!”

Disclosure: Early Reviewers(Library Thing)sent a free ARC for review.

© [Wisteria Leigh] and [Bookworm's Dinner], [2008-2012].

Monday, May 21, 2012

Review-The Secrets of Mary Bowser by Lois Leveen


Lois Leveen
William Morrow
2012, pb, 496pb

Lois Leveen will admit that when she studied The Civil War in school she found it to be rather dull. For the author, it wasn’t until she began to examine the social and cultural climate during the war, rather than specific battles that defined the war that changed her opinion. Fortunately for the reader, Leveen begins a search to answer a few curious questions. The result is a blend of known history and her imagined historical fiction surrounding the lives of three people who spied for the Union they were Mary Bowser, Elizabeth “Bet” Van Lew and Thomas McNiven.

This story takes place in Richmond Virginia where Mary is a house slave for the affluent Van Lew family.  The Van Lew’s have a daughter Elizabeth who has strong abolitionist views.  It is “Bet” who notices that Mary is quite bright. Although she can not read, she has a unique memory and demonstrates a quick mind. When Elizabeth manumits Mary, she arranges to send her to live in Philadelphia to attend school. Years later, Mary returns to Richmond to join with “Bet” to spy for the North. Mary, assumes the identity of a slave and works for Jefferson Davis and his wife. With clever irony Mary assumes the part of an illiterate and simple minded slave who actually has a photographic mind, is highly educated and has a natural mature poise. “Bet” Van Lew is believed to be pro-South, but is a true abolitionist. With her Southern charm and hospitality she apparently eludes suspicion.

The Secrets of Mary Bowser is an irresistible story of espionage and bravery.  Leveen has opened up the souls and minds of people who lived during this divisive war.   Whether slave, abolitionist, soldier, slaveholder, woman, freed African American, northerner or southerner, the Civil War impacted peoples’ lives beyond each gruesome and gory battle in disparate ways.   To this day, there is an unquenchable allure for books, articles, photos and anything about the Civil War. What makes this period of American History so compelling?  Perhaps it is a desire to seek understanding as we unravel the evil mark that slavery left on our history. The Secrets of Mary Bowser will satisfy those seeking historical fact and lovers of historical fiction who search for any perspective that will move us a step closer to understanding the disunion to e pluribus unum.

Wisteria Leigh, May 21, 2012

Copy of book received from TLC Tours for review.  
Alternate copy purchased :Kindle edition. 
 © [Wisteria Leigh] and [Bookworm's Dinner], [2012].