Literary Quote of the Month

“For poems are not, as people think, simply emotions (one has emotions early enough)—they are experiences,” … Rilke, The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

The Sunday Salon and Four Days before Christmas... Last Minute Bookish Gifts!

It's Four Days Before Christmas and all through the house... Welcome to The Sunday Salon! It's the day of the week we kick back and relax, and virtually talk books with all of our bookish friends. So, grab a cup of joe, find a comfy chair and let's chat...

It's almost Christmas! Do you have all your gifts hidden away or wrapped and put under the tree? I love wrapping presents and putting them under the tree.With the twinkling of the Christmas tree lights and the sounds of Christmas music floating through the air, it always puts me in the Christmas Spirit.

Are you scrambling for last minute bookish gifts? Well, here are a few suggestions for the readers in your life...

How about a Pillow Tray?  I purchased a pillow tray for one of the readers in my life so they could sit up in bed or on the sofa with their book or eReader and a drink comfortably on their lap. Now, the pillow tray I bought also doubles as an animal pillow when it's all closed up. It is so cute! The animal pillow trays are really made for kids, but would be big enough for you and your eReader and beverage. I actually was able to put my 17 inch apple laptop on it turned diagonally to be able to also have a bottle of water in the beverage holder. The animal trays I bought at QVC.com, but there are other pillow trays available if the animal pillow is not your thing. Price range from $30 for kids pillow tray to around $49 for adults pillow tray. There should be a lot of different trays at different prices out there though.

Personal Library Kit... Not that I like to "deface" my books with bookplates, but this is just too cute. If your bookish friend tends to lend out her book, this little kit is like the old fashion checkout's from the library, with a self adhesive checkout card pocket and checkout cards, with a date stamper to let the person borrowing the book know when the "return" date is. I might attach the card pocket with something removable, so as not to damage the book, but otherwise I love this kit!  Average price about $16.


Book Lover's Calendar! I love this calendar! Every day you get a new book to discover and I'm always learning something new! Either about a book or author. This year my public library was selling these as a fund raiser for $6! The list price is normally $14.

Other ideas.... Mugs, bookmarks, book totes... and always appreciated for a book lover is a gift certificate to their local bookstore! Picking out books is nice too, but if you're not sure if the person has a particular book, save the receipt (just in case). And if you are thinking about eReaders, the basic Kindle starts at just $59! And the Nook GlowLight sells for $99.

Merry Christmas to you and your family! I hope you enjoy Christmas! And when all the presents are unwrapped and you've received bookish gifts, come back here and share what bookish delights came your way!

Next week... back to finding your next great read right here! Lots of new books to share!

Happy reading... Suzanne

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Revival by Stephen King... A Review

I cringed... I was hesitant, I was apprehensive, I was frightened when I cracked the spine of Revival... Not because I was scared of the book, but scared that I would be, yet again, disappointed in another "recent" Stephen King novel... BUT I wasn't! I kept reading and kept waiting for the story to fall off the edge and disappear down some secret hidden doorway in the book, but instead I was just on the edge of my seat experiencing the thrill of Stephen King.. the old Stephen King I loved as a young teenager while reading The Shining.

Revival is just that - classic Stephen King horror that innocently starts off on a warm summer day and transforms into nail biting blizzard of terror!

In a small rural town in Maine, the new preacher comes to town. He's young, charismatic, handsome with a beautiful perfect wife and a small cute son. All the boys are in love with the beautiful wife, and all the girls in love with the Reverend Charles Jacobs, a man with an obsessive interest in the power of electricity. Jamie Morton was 6 years old at the time and begins a life long relationship with the Reverend Frankenstein... I mean Jacobs. In the Church youth group, Jacobs teaches the children about God through the power of electricity, where God is infinite, so is the power of electricity. Find the secret to electricity and also find the power of God. Now, the Reverend's theories and interest in electricity seem innocent enough, but when a horrible accident takes his beautiful wife and son from him, the Reverend goes off the deep end and interest turns to obsession.

The story revolves around the reincarnations of the Reverend Jacobs, from a small town preacher to a carnival sideshow huckster, to a faith healer, to mad scientist, with Jamie innocently witnessing these transformations as he navigates his own life over the years. And like a bad penny, Reverend Jacobs keeps popping up in Jamies' life, sometimes in a good way, sometimes bad, but always as though there is this invisible thread that binds the two together. And the ending?! OMG! It's unsettling to say the least, but pure horror at its best.

King's writing is great! The story has great characters that are so well developed. You understand these characters, heck they don't even feel like characters, they feel more like people that you know! And then you start to feel vested in what is happening. Then there is the plot, which is just spot on, especially the way it develops over the course of the book. There are so many great elements in this book (great storytelling, the supernatural, the questioning of man's faith and even a bit of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein) that will capture and keep the reader's attention.

I really enjoyed this book! I felt a whole range of emotions as I got lost in the pages - nostalgia, remorse, butterflies, and ultimately horror. Best King I've read in a long, long time. AND best horror story I've read in a long time too. Definitely put this on your TBR list and for any horror fans out there, this would make a great Christmas gift!

This was part of my library loot this month, but I may have to pick up a copy to put on the shelves, so I can reread this sometime!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Mailbox Monday

Welcome to Mailbox Monday! It's a weekly event for bloggers to share what books arrived in their mailboxes. Mailbox Monday was originally created by Marcia of To Be Continued and is now hosted by Vicki, Serena and Leslie at Mailbox Monday's own blog.


It's been a wonderful week in my mailbox! An unemployed art historian arrived, along with a hero reporter, a police procedural with international danger, a woman who was wondering if you can find love twice in a lifetime and to top it all off there was a Predator Drone was circling inside my mailbox too! Here's a little more about what came in...

And The Dark Sacred Night by Julia Glass... Kit Noonan is an unemployed art historian with twins to help support and a mortgage to pay—and a wife frustrated by his inertia. Raised by a strong-willed, secretive single mother, Kit has never known the identity of his father—a mystery that his wife insists he must solve to move forward with his life. Out of desperation, Kit goes to the mountain retreat of his mother’s former husband, Jasper, a take-no-prisoners outdoorsman. There, in the midst of a fierce blizzard, Kit and Jasper confront memories of the bittersweet decade when their families were joined. Reluctantly breaking a long-ago promise, Jasper connects Kit with Lucinda and Zeke Burns, who know the answer he’s looking for. Readers of Glass’s first novel, Three Junes, will recognize Lucinda as the mother of Malachy, the music critic who died of AIDS. In fact, to fully understand the secrets surrounding his paternity, Kit will travel farther still, meeting Fenno McLeod, now in his late fifties, and Fenno’s longtime companion, the gregarious Walter Kinderman. 

I'm very excited to receive this book! From the author of Three Junes, which I had enjoyed, comes this new story that welcomes back some familiar faces. Published by Anchor Books, a division of Penguin Random House, and was published earlier this year in April.


Last Words by Rich Zahradnik... In March of 1975, as New York City hurtles toward bankruptcy and the Bronx burns, newsman Coleridge Taylor roams police precincts and ERs. He is looking for the story that will deliver him from obits, his place of exile at the Messenger-Telegram. Ever since he was demoted from the police beat for inventing sources, the 34-year-old has been a lost soul. A break comes at Bellevue, where Taylor views the body of a homeless teen picked up in the Meatpacking District. Taylor smells a rat: the dead boy looks too clean, and he’s wearing a distinctive Army field jacket. A little digging reveals that the jacket belonged to a hobo named Mark Voichek and that the teen was a spoiled society kid up to no good, the son of a city official. Taylor’s efforts to protect Voichek put him on the hit list of three goons who are willing to kill any number of street people to cover tracks that just might lead to City Hall. Taylor has only one ally in the newsroom, young and lovely reporter Laura Wheeler. Time is not on his side. If he doesn't wrap this story up soon, he’ll be back on the obits page—as a headline, not a byline. Last Words is the first book in the Coleridge Taylor mystery series. 

Just paging through this book and picking out bits and pieces to read, gave me the feeling that this was going to be a good read. I liked the writing and the setting. AND, I look forward to reading a police procedural, which I haven't done in a long time. Published by Camel Press, Last Words is 237 pages, which means it can make for a pleasant evenings read, and it's a Kindle bargain price right now too at $4.95.

Perfect Sins by Jo Bannister... Four years ago, Gabriel Ash was working with the British government investigating hijackings in Somalia. But when his wife and sons disappeared, presumably taken—and probably killed—by pirates, his life fell apart. He has sudden reason to hope when a senior policeman suggests that his sons might still be alive—until that policeman is murdered. Still, there seems to be some link to a local operation, and Ash, no longer a government agent, is determined to find it.

Meanwhile, his friend Hazel Best has been having a tough time of her own. A police constable whose last case ended with her shooting someone dead, she is just beginning to regain her balance. Hazel and Ash are both beginning to take more of an interest in the outside world, when a neighboring archaeologist decides to dig up a curious mound of earth near the ice house on his land. It might be a burial mound, he thinks. It is, but not the ancient one he expects; it holds the bones of a little boy from perhaps thirty years ago, carefully laid to rest with twentieth-century toys. As Hazel is slowly drawn back into police work, Ash finds himself under threat from someone who must think his investigation into his family's disappearance is finally getting somewhere...


Jo Bannister is well known for her suspense novels, mysteries and police procedurals. I'm really looking forward to cracking the spine on this one! Under 300 pages, and recently released by Minotaur Books, this should be a good one.
 
The Life Intended by Kristin Harmel... In this richly told story where Sliding Doors meets P.S. I Love You, Kristin Harmel weaves a heart-wrenching tale that asks: what does it take to move forward in life without forgetting the past?

After her husband’s sudden death over ten years ago, Kate Waithman never expected to be lucky enough to find another love of her life. But now she’s planning her second walk down the aisle to a perfectly nice man. So why isn’t she more excited?

At first, Kate blames her lack of sleep on stress. But when she starts seeing Patrick, her late husband, in her dreams, she begins to wonder if she’s really ready to move on. Is Patrick trying to tell her something? Attempting to navigate between dreams and reality, Kate must uncover her husband’s hidden message. Her quest leads her to a sign language class and into the New York City foster system, where she finds rewards greater than she could have imagined.


I had never heard of Kristin Harmel, but the description above piqued my interest, because I loved the movie Sliding Doors. (I'm such a romantic!) Then I opened the book to read the first few pages and fell in love! I loved the way Kristin wrote and I was beginning to love the story too! This is going to be a wonderful read, I am sure!  Published by Gallery Books and Simon & Schuster, stay tuned for my review AND for the release date, which is December 30th!


Global Predator by Jack Maclean... High above the mountains of the North West Frontier, a Global Predator circles waiting to unleash its Hellfire missiles. The trail of Osama Bin Laden’s deputy, the elusive Egyptian terror master, Ayman al-Zawahiri has gone cold until a chance recording identified by a translator at the National Security Agency offers new clues. A special intelligence team assembles and plots to catch at him at a meeting with other high ranking al Qaeda leaders. In Pakistan’s beautiful Swat Valley, the local Taliban have been stepping up their attacks on anyone educating girls. English aid worker Sally is taken hostage while visiting one of her schools. When Wilkins, escaping his reckless trading mistakes at his London bank, is forced to rescue her, he finds himself trapped in a world of blind fear and terror. Only one person can now make sense of what is happening and stop a massacre of innocent schoolgirls.


A bit different from my normal reading, but taking a peek through the book, the writing is good and I will definitely be cracking the spine to see how Jack Maclean can entice me to keep reading this politically charged thriller. This is published by Amazon and is at a Kindle bargain price of $3.03!

I am so excited to have these books come in the mail! Thank you to the generous publishers! I look forward to reading each of these and look for my reviews coming soon!



Tuesday, December 2, 2014

K-9 Cop by Erna Mueller... A Review

K-9 Cop by Erna Mueller... 
What if reincarnation had a sense of humor? Or better yet, a sense of justice?... 

Justin Andrews is a smart, "smart-ass" kid, who is going to turn 14 soon, has a sister with a nose ring and pink hair, and a father who is trying to manage life and the kids without their mother. It's not working very well and to top it all off, the family was just in a serious car accident that has left Justin severly injured and depressed...

Now meet Lieutenant Spencer Watley, who, along with his canine companion Pepper, is hunting down the "Cyber Killers", until fate would intervene with mortal consequences... Spencer is killed. As Spencer ascends into what he thinks is heaven, he learns that being a good cop isn't enough to get him through the pearly gates... he needs an attitude adjustment. He needs to redeem himself. He needs to go through the Jerk Redemption Program! And to do this, not only is he sent back to earth, he's sent back as a dog... he reincarnates into his K9 companion,  Pepper. And his job assignment is Justin...

Fun, well written and a good adventure, K-9 Cop by Erna Mueller is an enjoyable read. Erna Mueller does a great job of melding the story of Justin and Spencer together and the twist of Spencer coming back as a dog is very creative. I'd almost say K-9 Cop leans towards being a "cozy", since the story really doesn't have any blood and guts, but it's really more substantial than that. Written with Young Adults in mind, this is Adult friendly too! Definitely put this one on your reading list if you like dogs, cops & robbers, or a great murder mystery!


About the Author... I was born in Austria and my family immigrated to the U.S. I loved living here as a child and considered the U.S. my home. My family returned to Austria and of course I had to tag along. I missed the friendly faces and the cultivation of the free spirit which America symbolizes. In Austria I completed my education but always wanted to return, so here I am.

I traveled the world and lived in many exciting cities such as Paris, Munich and London. I currently work as an accountant for a large pizza company in Seattle by day and passionately pursue a career as a writer in my spare time.


My new book, K-9 Cop, is adapted from my multi-national award winning screenplay.  The book has won several awards including first place in the 2009 National Good Read Competition sponsored by awomenswrite.com.


Please visit my web site at http://www.k9cop-woofwoof.com  for more reviews and other info.
For More Information
Visit Erna Mueller’s website.
Connect with Erna on Facebook and Twitter

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Chick with Books is a stop on the Virtual Book Tour of K-9 Cop by Erna Mueller's hosted by Pump Up Your Book! I want to thank Pump Up Your Book who gave me a eGalley of K-9 Cop for my honest review! K-9 Cop is available right now in paperback or as a Kindle book (and the Kindle book was ONLY .99 cents when we checked it out recently!) Happy reading...

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Turkey Trouble by Wendi Silvano... a Thanksgiving Day Reading

                                         Happy Thanksgiving!






     Turkey Trouble by Wendi Silvano and read by Laura Irrgang of Rhinestone Armadillo:                                              http://rhinestonearmadillo.typepad.com

Sunday, November 23, 2014

The Sunday Salon and Talking Turkey... Gobbler's and Good Books


Welome to the Sunday Salon!  It's that time of the week we sit back, relax and talk books! Grab a cup of joe, find a comfy chair, and let's talk... Turkey! Next week is Turkey Day, but instead of the turkey visiting us, let's talk about visiting the Turkey, or rather visiting Turkey, the country, through the pages of a good book! Here are a couple books that will whisk you away...



Birds Without Wings by Louis de Bernières ... from Goodreads: Louis de Bernières creates a world, populates it with characters as real as our best friends, and launches it into the maelstrom of twentieth-century history. The setting is a small village in southwestern Anatolia in the waning years of the Ottoman Empire. Everyone there speaks Turkish, though they write it in Greek letters. It’s a place that has room for a professional blasphemer; where a brokenhearted aga finds solace in the arms of a Circassian courtesan who isn’t Circassian at all; where a beautiful Christian girl named Philothei is engaged to a Muslim boy named Ibrahim. But all of this will change when Turkey enters the modern world.


The Museum of Innocence by Orhan Pamuk... from Goodreads: “It was the happiest moment of my life, though I didn’t know it.” So begins the new novel, his first since winning the Nobel Prize, from the universally acclaimed author of Snow and My Name Is Red. It is 1975, a perfect spring in Istanbul. Kemal, scion of one of the city’s wealthiest families, is about to become engaged to Sibel, daughter of another prominent family, when he encounters Füsun, a beautiful shopgirl and a distant relation. Once the long-lost cousins violate the code of virginity, a rift begins to open between Kemal and the world of the Westernized Istanbul bourgeosie—a world, as he lovingly describes it, with opulent parties and clubs, society gossip, restaurant rituals, picnics, and mansions on the Bosphorus, infused with the melancholy of decay—until finally he breaks off his engagement to Sibel. But his resolve comes too late. For eight years Kemal will find excuses to visit another Istanbul, that of the impoverished backstreets where Füsun, her heart now hardened, lives with her parents, and where Kemal discovers the consolations of middle-class life at a dinner table in front of the television. His obsessive love will also take him to the demimonde of Istanbul film circles (where he promises to make Füsun a star), a scene of seedy bars, run-down cheap hotels, and small men with big dreams doomed to bitter failure. In his feckless pursuit, Kemal becomes a compulsive collector of objects that chronicle his lovelorn progress and his afflicted heart’s reactions: anger and impatience, remorse and humiliation, deluded hopes of recovery, and daydreams that transform Istanbul into a cityscape of signs and specters of his beloved, from whom now he can extract only meaningful glances and stolen kisses in cars, movie houses, and shadowy corners of parks. A last change to realize his dream will come to an awful end before Kemal discovers that all he finally can possess, certainly and eternally, is the museum he has created of his collection, this map of a society’s manners and mores, and of one man’s broken heart. 

This is one of those books that has been in my TBR pile for some time. This post is a nice reminder of why it's there and I should finally read it! 

AND, something for the little ones on Thanksgiving Day...

Turkey Trouble by Wendi Silvano... Turkey is in BIG trouble! It's almost Thanksgiving and he doesn't want to be the main course! So, what's a turkey to do?!? A disguise of course! First, he ties a brush to his head and wears a tiny saddle to look like a horse, because no one would eat a horse, right? But the barnyard animals recognize him anyway. Open the pages of this delightful picture book and follow Tom's idea's on out smarting the Farmer with these funny disguises! You're children will enjoy it and so will you! Written with 3 - 7 year olds in mind, this would be a great book to read to the little ones at Thanksgiving!


Do you enjoy reading stories set in far away countries? Have you ever read any set in Turkey? I hope you enjoy your Thanksgiving!AND enjoy visiting Turkey through a good book!

Happy Reading... Suzanne

*P.S. Stop by on Thanksgiving Day and listen to a reading of Turkey Trouble by Wendi Silvano!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

The Sunday Salon and... Eeny, Meeny, Miny, Moe: 3 Ways to Pick Your Next Book.

Welcome to The Sunday Salon! It's that day of the week we visit our reading friends virtually and share our thoughts on books and reading. Grab a cup of Joe and sit back and relax... Let's talk books... and mainly, how the heck do you figure out the next book you're going to read?

I'm a reader, so when I finish a book, I generally pick up another book to read. When the book I just read is totally amazing, it may take me a few days (maybe more) before I pick up another book, but eventually I'll be trying to find a book just as good. But how? Here are 4 ways to tackle that job...

Serious Reading... or Reading a Series... reading a series can be like reading a 5000 page book and if you like the writing it's a dream come true. And usually if you like the writing in the first book in the series, you'll enjoy the rest of the books.

The Dewey Decimal System is Your Friend... or being Systematic... Have a pile of books and go through them one at a time. You've bought books (how many are in your TBR shelves?) and instead of putting them aside, you read them as you buy them!(or check them out of the library). This takes discipline! But the rewards are that you won't have that HUGE TBR pile looming over you!

The More the Merrier... Reading 2 books at a time. Why do  you have to pick one book over the other?! This is like getting a sampler at the restaurant! And the good thing is, if you decide you want to stick with one over the other, you've got your next book lined up already.

Alphabet Soup... or choosing your authors or titles by their first letter. Start anywhere in the alphabet. C is for Cornwell, then choose a "D" author, etc. Or this can work with titles of books too! This is like a reading challenge all to yourself.

This week I followed "The Dewey Decimal System is Your Friend", by taking out 4 books from the library and reading them one at a time. I do like reading series, but sometimes I suffer from "series overload", depending on what I'm reading. And I have read 2 books at the same time. Alphabet Soup is something I think might be fun too!... So, what's your method of choosing your next book?

Happy reading... Suzanne

Saturday, November 15, 2014

2014 Reading Challenge Updates



Did you challenge yourself to read more this year?! It's almost the end of the year and I thought I would share some updates on the reading challenges I joined this year. How has it been going? Well, I basically started the year by picking out books to meet my challenges and then slowly forgot about books specifically for the challenge and just read books I thought I would enjoy (plus books chosen by my reading group for book club). So, as I look back at what I've read so far, 41 books as of today, here's how they all fit in…

*Done: Southern Literature Reading Challenge… I've read two book that fits into this category: Palmetto Moon by Kim Boykin, and Ruby by Cynthia Bond. Met my goal of 2 books written by an author from the South and that take place mainly in the South.

Dive Into Poetry Reading Challenge… I've read one book of poetry so far, Dog Stories by Mary Oliver, but have read plenty of poems in different books all along. I will be getting out one of my poetry books and start to enjoy a full course from one poet so I can finish this challenge. I think it will be a Billy Collins poetry book.

*Done: Graphic Novel Reading Challenge 2014… I've read 5 individual graphic novels, plus all 15 Manga books in the Battle Royale series and 7 books in the Ooku Manga series. My goal was 12 books, so I actually reached my goal.

2014 TBR Pile Reading Challenge… OMG, I haven't picked one book off that TBR pile yet! My goal was to at least read ONE book off my shelves, so I will be grabbing one of those soon!

*Done: Dystopian Reading Challenge 2014… I thought I would have read more dystopian fiction this year, but I haven't. I do consider my most recent read, Beautiful You by Chuck Palahniuk dystopian, so I have reached my goal with one book read.

Chunkster Reading Challenge 2014… It's all about FAT books, and I read 2 so far, Three Souls by Janie Chang (468 pages) and Under The Wide And Starry Sky by Nancy Horan (497 pages).

2014 Book Bingo Reading Challenge… 25 squares, many books, and lots of categories! The challenge is to read the books from at least one row. I have completed 2 rows! 5 Different Genre books and 15 books in a series! I am 6 new release books away from completing the New Releases column (for a total of 15 new books read). It is a lot of fun filling in the bingo squares to see what I have accomplished. Technically I'm done, but I would love to complete a few more bingo's before the end of the year.

Goodreads 2014 Reading Challenge… My goal was 50 books this year, and I'm at 41! Goodreads is a great place to keep track of all the books you've read, want to read and a great place to get motivated to meet your reading challenges!

So, did you join any reading challenges or make a reading resolution? How are you doing with your reading this year?! All that really counts is that we are enjoying our time reading! Let me know how you are doing!


Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Boy Who Drew Monsters by Keith Donohue… A Review

OMG! What a great book! I could not put this book down! A cross between The Shining and Where The Wild Things Are…What if the monsters you imagine really do go bump in the night?!

A doomed ship wrecks off the coast of Maine over a century ago, and still the screams can be heard floating off the water… or is it just the whistling of the wind? All hands were lost at sea, some young children… do they cry for revenge? And a little boy caught in his own mind, draws the monsters in his head… or are they visions of something else?

Tim and Holly, Fred and Nell, two couples living similar lives, outsiders by long time Maine residents standards, giving birth to boys just about the same time and best of friends - the boys, Jack Peter & Nick, and the couples. J.P. and Nick grow up together, friends from the start, but then a near tragedy happens and launches J.P. into a world of his own - inside, never venturing outside, literally. A near drowning makes JP afraid to go out of the house, with only his friend Nick to pass the time with him inside. But then strange things start to happen… a bump in the night, a strange ghost like monster lurking outside, scratching at a bedroom door. And all along, Jack Peter feverishly drawing… the monsters in his head… the monsters heard in the night.

A priest, a one-eyed Japanese house servant filled with ghostly tales, and two imaginative boys whose parents think nothing of their screams in the middle of the night… until it's almost too late. What's real and what's imagined?! I was holding my breathe in spots and could feel my heart racing. This is one book filled with all that great edge of your seat tension until the very end, where a bone chilling twist  made me want to read the book all over again! If you like ghost stories or if you like horror novels, you'll love The Boy Who Drew Monsters by Keith Donohue! This is truly heart stopping in spots. The writing is solid, the story is great and the ending trumps it all! Warning… don't turn the lights out until you're finished reading this and then make sure you look under the bed first!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Happy Veterans Day, Remembrance Day and Thank You to All Who Serve and Have Served!

                                                       In Flanders Fields
 
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.                                   
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields. 

                                                                                                ...Written by John McCrae 

Today is Veterans Day in the United States. A day set aside to honor all those who have served our country honorably in the military - during wartime and peacetime. It is different than Memorial Day, in that it primarily is meant to honor the living and to acknowledge that they too have sacrificed for their country. Remembrance Day is what the Commonwealth of Nations celebrates and in doing so, dons the traditional red poppy on their lapel from Oct. 31 thru Nov.11th. In the United States we honor our veterans on Memorial Day with a red poppy, which had become popular due to the poem In Flanders Field by Canadian physician Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae. These red poppies bloomed across some of the worst battlefields in Flanders. 

Thank you to all the veterans for your service, dedication and sacrifice!



Monday, November 10, 2014

Beautiful You by Chuck Palahniuk… A Review

Fifty Shades of Grey meets Bridget Jones, sprinkled with a heavy dose of The Walking Dead and Eat, Pray, Love. And even though I am not a prude, there was some gross added too…

How's that for a review? All of which describes Beautiful You by Chuck Palahniuk. I picked up the book at the library, read the inside front jacket, which made this sound like it would be a hoot to read, but it really went beyond what I could have imagined…

Penny Harrigan is a small town girl from Omaha, who has ambitions beyond her good girl nature. She studies law, moves to New York and finds work at a prestigious law firm while trying to pass the bar exam AGAIN. In the meantime, she accidentally falls face first into a meeting room with none other than C. Linus Maxwell, richest man in the world, aka Climax-Well, because he is famous for his amazing sexual prowess, who immediately asks the plain jane clerk out on a date. (Sound like a familiar plot?) Fast forwarding ahead a bit, Penny starts to "date" the rich guy. At first it's pretty platonic, but then it takes a different turn, and Penny understands his nickname AND his abilities with the ladies. But their "romance" is more like Penny being a lab rat for Max's development of a line of sex toys than anything else. Max breaks up with Penny after the research is done, and sends her on her way. Things start to turn a bit sinister here, with women all over the world obsessing over these sex toys and abandoning their jobs, husbands and lives (Here's where The Walking Dead part comes in). Good girl Penny decides she needs to save the day because she feels partly responsible for these "toys", and tries all her resources, including a trip to Nepal for a visit with a hermit sex witch who is well versed in… well you know. If that weren't enough, there is a plot twist at the end that almost redeems the bad guy, in a "I did it all for love" kind of scenario.

So, did I like it?… Yes and no. The writing was good, the plot was unique and was humorous, but then it went just a little over the top for me with the trip to Nepal and the hermit. The ending made me sad for good girl Penny, who I thought deserved more. But this is Chuck Palahniuk, cult writer known for what is termed transgressive fiction, or fiction that "focuses on characters who feel confined by the norms and expectations of society and who break free of those confines in unusual or illicit ways." This certainly isn't going to be your Momma's cup of tea, unless she's Erica Jong, but if you can get past the hermit, and some of the graphics, the story itself was that kind of tongue in cheek look at what would happen if women didn't "need" their male counterparts any more, and that part was funny.




Sunday, November 9, 2014

The Sunday Salon and the 3 Books I Discovered as I Legally Loitered...

Welcome to The Sunday Salon! It's that one day of the week we sit down virtually and chat books! This week, I visited my local library to find what I want to share with you this week...

It was Saturday, and I missed a phone call on my cell. Calling my voice mail, I heard the familiar voice of the local librarian telling me my book was in. Hmmm, a book. What book? She never tells me what book I have in, just that "the book I requested is in". Now to be fair, when I get in the mood to reserve a book, I usually reserve more than one because you never know if someone is going to bring back their library book on time, and I want to read something NOW. That's one of the reasons I buy books- the instant gratification of reading what I want when I want. I do try to reserve books before they're out, just so I don't have to wait, but it doesn't always work out that way. But in any case, library card in hand I drove off to the library. It is a beautiful day here in Connecticut.

The sun was shining, the temperature a little cool and breezy, but perfect fall weather. When I got to the library there was plenty of parking, I guess due to the beautiful weather, and I found my way inside and up to the reserved stacks. It's a little strange for me even now, but if I reserve a book or even find a book on the shelves to take out, I never have to make human contact. The reserved books are in a separate section of the library, and there are 3 check out machines in the front. Scan the bar code on my card, scan the bar codes on the books, out pops a receipt (or I can have them email the receipt), and off I go.

On this day, though, I did not just grab my reserved book and go, I loitered. Probably the one place on earth they encourage loitering is your local library and I took full advantage of their generosity. Our local library has a beautiful section for new and newer books. It reminds me of a book seller display, with the covers facing out and beckoning you to check them out. Who doesn't judge a book by its' cover or at least open a book just because it has an interesting cover? Especially when you're loitering...

 My loitering took me to a book of changes and second chances, from a professor in Madrid; a new book by a well known author that takes women to the erogenous zones of sarcasm; and the book "I had requested" and was waiting for me? Is a book that will have us wondering about the monsters under OUR bed...

The Heart Has Its Reasons by Maria Buesnas... A talented college professor in Madrid, Blanca Perea seems to have it all. But her world is suddenly shattered when her husband of twenty years leaves her for another woman. Questioning the life she once had and whether she truly knows herself, Blanca resolves to change her surroundings. She accepts what looks like a boring research grant in California involving an exiled Spanish writer who died decades ago. Anxious to leave her own troubled life behind, she is gradually drawn into his haunted world, with its poignant loves and unfulfilled ambitions.

But in delving into the past, Blanca finds herself simultaneously awakened to the present by Daniel Carter, a charismatic professor with crucial knowledge about the dead writer that he has never before revealed. Amid this web of passion, conflict, and hidden feelings, including her own, Blanca advances like an avid detective, refusing to quit, and ultimately discovers startling answers that resonate deeply in her own life.


First of all, I love Spanish writers. Carlos Ruiz Zafon and Gabriel Garcia Marquez to name just two. What I usually find in Spanish writing is this beautiful fluid imagery written out with a pen. What caught my eye on this book was the title. The cover made me think that it wasn't a romance, but something a bit more substantial. (not that romances can't be substantial!) I opened it, read a few paragraphs and fell in like with the writing. I'll be enjoying this library pick first! And I'll let you know what I think, but from first impressions, I am really looking forward to reading this. The story sounds interesting- research, dead writer, new beginnings. And the writing drew me in!

Beautiful You by Chuck Palahniuk...  A novel about the apocalyptic marketing possibilities of female pleasure. Sisters will be doing it for themselves. And doing it. And doing it. And doing it some more . . . Penny Harrigan is a low-level associate in a big Manhattan law firm with an apartment in Queens and no love life at all. So it comes as a great shock when she finds herself invited to dinner by one C. Linus Maxwell, aka "Climax-Well," a software mega-billionaire and lover of the most gorgeous and accomplished women on earth. After dining at Manhattan's most exclusive restaurant, he whisks Penny off to a hotel suite in Paris, where he proceeds, notebook in hand, to bring her to previously undreamed-of heights of orgasmic pleasure for days on end. What's not to like? This: Penny discovers that she is a test subject for the final development of a line of sex toys to be marketed in a nationwide chain of boutiques called Beautiful You. So potent and effective are these devices that women by the millions line up outside the stores on opening day and then lock themselves in their room with them and stop coming out. Except for batteries. Maxwell's plan for erotically enabled world domination must be stopped. But how?  

OK, I have a friend who loves Chuck Palahniuk, and when I saw this I had to at least pick it up. Palahniuk is well known for his book (and the movie that followed), Fight Club. He's also got a cult following. His fiction falls in what I would consider tongue in cheek and he makes us looks at ourselves in different ways as a result. The title of this book definitely did not give away what it was about, but after reading the inside dust jacket, I just had to smile. It sounds like a hoot and I had to take it out.

The Boy Who Drew Monsters by Keith Donohue... A novel about a young boy trapped inside his own world, whose drawings blur the lines between fantasy and reality.

Ever since he nearly drowned in the ocean three years earlier, ten-year-old Jack Peter Keenan has been deathly afraid to venture outdoors. Refusing to leave his home in a small coastal town in Maine, Jack Peter spends his time drawing monsters. When those drawings take on a life of their own, no one is safe from the terror they inspire. His mother, Holly, begins to hear strange sounds in the night coming from the ocean, and she seeks answers from the local Catholic priest and his Japanese housekeeper, who fill her head with stories of shipwrecks and ghosts. His father, Tim, wanders the beach, frantically searching for a strange apparition running wild in the dunes. And the boy’s only friend, Nick, becomes helplessly entangled in the eerie power of the drawings. While those around Jack Peter are haunted by what they think they see, only he knows the truth behind the frightful occurrences as the outside world encroaches upon them all.


Didn't we all have monsters either under the bed or in the closet? What if they were real?! I enjoyed Keith Donohue's book Stolen Child many years ago and when I read about this new book, I had to give it a try. My library didn't even carry it, I had to request an interloan library loan. I am really looking forward to reading this!

After checking out these books, I wondered out to the car, but first took a short break in the courtyard. It was just too nice not to sit for a few minutes in the beautiful sunshine and I thought I would read a bit more from each of these books. What I discovered was how much I loved actually holding the books in my hand and turning the pages. My bookshelves are stuffed full, overflows everywhere, so I really needed to read more eBooks, but there is something still special about that physical book. Sitting there, turning the pages, brought back a flood of memories of other books I had taken out and enjoyed in that same courtyard, and I suspect there will be more memories of other books in the future.

Happy reading... Suzanne

Sunday, November 2, 2014

The Sunday Salon and Cold Weather Reading List

Welcome to The Sunday Salon! It's that day of the week we all get together virtually and talk about BOOKS! Grab a cup of java, pull up a comfy chair and relax...

The cold weather is finally rearing its' ugly head in Connecticut! Up until a week ago or so, I could not believe the beautiful temperatures! It was in the 70's or there a bouts and I thought I had already moved to the South. Even Halloween was mild, with no jacket required when giving out the candy. BUT, today is a different story… the wind is howling and the leaves that are on the ground are swirling about like a tornado. The temperature is 39 degrees this sunny but cold Sunday morning. Fall is here and winter is not that far behind.

So, what does that mean for our reading? Can we really read about white sand beaches and wear our flip flops while we do it?! Some would say, beach reads are an escape in the winter, but for me, colder weather means a different type of reading. Maybe something a little more thought provoking or serious… maybe a classic or two… Just opening some big fat book while I'm curled up on the sofa with a quilt and a hot chocolate on a cold winter night, makes me content. How about you? Do you change your reading habits? Do you have a reading list? Sometimes that great book I was so excited about and bought, I just wasn't quite in the mood for with margarita's on the veranda, so I put them aside. Some of those become my cold weather reads. I don't have a list per say, but I do have a few reserved reads on the nightstand.

Now that we've determined that there is a chill in the air, here are 3 books on my cold weather reading list…

An Unnecessary Woman by Rabih Alameddine… From the publishers:  an enchanting story of a book-loving, obsessive, seventy-two-year-old “unnecessary” woman. Aaliya Saleh lives alone in her Beirut apartment, surrounded by stockpiles of books. Godless, fatherless, childless, and divorced, Aaliya is her family’s “unnecessary appendage.” Every year, she translates a new favorite book into Arabic, then stows it away. The thirty-seven books that Aaliya has translated over her lifetime have never been read—by anyone. In this breathtaking portrait of a reclusive woman’s late-life crisis, readers follow Aaliya’s digressive mind as it ricochets across visions of past and present Beirut. Colorful musings on literature, philosophy, and art are invaded by memories of the Lebanese Civil War and Aaliya’s own volatile past. As she tries to overcome her aging body and spontaneous emotional upwellings, Aaliya is faced with an unthinkable disaster that threatens to shatter the little life she has left.

When I sampled the writing in this book, I was immediately drawn in. I immediately liked Aaliya, and could almost imagine myself as her, surrounded by my books and living a sedentary life when I become an old woman. All of us readers Chicks, I think, should appreciate her story, and Rabih Amameddine's writing seems perfect to translate Aaliya's story.

Liar Temptress Soldier Spy by Karen Abbott… From the publisher: the spellbinding true story of four women who risked everything to become spies during the Civil War. Karen Abbott illuminates one of the most fascinating yet little known aspects of the Civil War: the stories of four courageous women—a socialite, a farm girl, an abolitionist, and a widow—who were spies.

After shooting a Union soldier in her front hall with a pocket pistol, Belle Boyd became a courier and spy for the Confederate army, using her charms to seduce men on both sides. Emma Edmonds cut off her hair and assumed the identity of a man to enlist as a Union private, witnessing the bloodiest battles of the Civil War. The beautiful widow, Rose O’Neale Greenhow, engaged in affairs with powerful Northern politicians to gather intelligence for the Confederacy, and used her young daughter to send information to Southern generals. Elizabeth Van Lew, a wealthy Richmond abolitionist, hid behind her proper Southern manners as she orchestrated a far-reaching espionage ring, right under the noses of suspicious rebel detectives. Using a wealth of primary source material and interviews with the spies’ descendants, Abbott seamlessly weaves the adventures of these four heroines throughout the tumultuous years of the war. With a cast of real-life characters including Walt Whitman, Nathaniel Hawthorne, General Stonewall Jackson, detective Allan Pinkerton, Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln, and Emperor Napoleon III, Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy draws you into the war as these daring women lived it.

I just can't resist reading about women who secretly made a difference in a man's world. When I read a little sample of this, I was happy to find it wasn't  a dry factual account of the lives of these women, but written more like a historical fiction. Definitely on my TBR list and look forward to reading this!

The Moors Account by Laila Lalami… From the publishers: In this stunning work of historical fiction, Laila Lalami brings us the imagined memoirs of the first black explorer of America—a Moroccan slave whose testimony was left out of the official record.

In 1527, the conquistador Pánfilo de Narváez sailed from the port of Sanlúcar de Barrameda with a crew of six hundred men and nearly a hundred horses. His goal was to claim what is now the Gulf Coast of the United States for the Spanish crown and, in the process, become as wealthy and famous as Hernán Cortés. But from the moment the Narváez expedition landed in Florida, it faced peril—navigational errors, disease, starvation, as well as resistance from indigenous tribes. Within a year there were only four survivors: the expedition’s treasurer, Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca; a Spanish nobleman named Alonso del Castillo Maldonado; a young explorer named Andrés Dorantes de Carranza; and Dorantes’s Moroccan slave, Mustafa al-Zamori, whom the three Spaniards called Estebanico. These four survivors would go on to make a journey across America that would transform them from proud conquis-tadores to humble servants, from fearful outcasts to faith healers.

This is historical fiction and again, the sample of the story just drew me in. Interesting take from the slave's perspective. On my TBR list.

Weekly Update… The past week was filled with me getting out some of those long overdue reviews for my graphic novel reading challenge this year, sharing a new Memoir Monday book, and reviewing some of the great children's books that I enjoy here and there. Click on the links to find out more about the past week...

Memoir Monday was about a girl and her birds. Michele Raffin's journey to preserving and helping exotic and endangered birds. If you're an animal lover, this book is for you!

Tuesday was the Children's Corner, with a children's picture book about handling worrying. Is Worry Worrying You? is humorous with great illustrations appropriate for children AND adults!

Wednesday was a review of a two book manga series called Rabbit Doubt. If you love a good mystery, you'll enjoy these manga. A stand out storyline, although a bit violent, this is a great series!

Halloween was filled with things that go bump in the night and I shared a great cartoon from the old disney days called Silly Symphonies, The Skeleton Dance. It's from 1929 and has all the charm from Halloween's gone by..

Saturday was about DC comics. They have published a compendium of a sort that describes all the comics they have produced, with checklists that you can use to check off what you have and what you need. If you aren't a comic book enthusiast, this is a great resource for gifts or finding something that may internets you. Lot's of superhero's in the DC line.

That was my week, how was yours?! What interesting books did you crack the spine on? And tell me, do you change your reading habits during the seasons?

Happy reading… Suzanne

Saturday, November 1, 2014

DC Entertainment Graphic Novel Essentials and Chronology 2014… a Review

DC Entertainment Graphic Novel Essentials and Chronology 2014… Isn't that a mouthful?! What it is, is a catalog of all DC comics, from the earliest superhero's, such as Superman and Batman, to the current such as Fables. And DC Entertainment also includes Vertigo and MAD.

As you open the pages, it begins with the 25 essential (DC) graphic novels, with short summaries of each, and goes on to "The New 52", which are new beginnings to their favorite line of characters, with new #1 issues so newbies can have a place to begin. Then there is more in-depth coverage of the top superhero's and their graphic novels; next is coverage of the essential Vertigo graphic novels, including The Sandman and Fables, with some coverage of MAD magazine and DC Comics: All Ages. The tome ends with a full backlist and suggested reading order.

154 pages front to back, with full color graphics, this is a nice reference guide to DC graphic novels. I had collected a few of the graphic novels listed (The Sandman Omnibus Vol. 1, Promethea, vol.1 & 2) and it's nice to see how many more volumes in a series there are, for my own reference, if I did want to complete the collections. For the more serious collector, I would say this is an invaluable resource. For the person just getting their feet wet in graphic novels, who enjoy the superhero genre, this would be a great resource as well, to learn about the different superhero's and their story lines. Remember though, this is ONLY for DC graphic novels. It's available in eBook only, but it's also FREE! You can download The Kindle Version or The Nook Version with these links.  I rate this 4 Wonder Women!

*BTW, I received an eGalley of this book from DC comics in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Rabbit Doubt by Yoshiki Tonogai... A Review of the 2 Book Manga Series


Rabbit Doubt by Yoshiki Tonogai... There's a game going around Japan called 'Rabbit Doubt'. The premise of the game is that all of the players are rabbits in a colony, and one amongst them is randomly chosen to be a wolf that infiltrated the group of rabbits. Every round, the wolf kills off a rabbit, and every round, the group tries to figure out which of the rabbits is actually a wolf in disguise. Sometimes the kids who play this game decide to meet up in person, and Yuu, Mitsuki, Rei, Hajime, Eiji, and Haruka have done just that. Unfortunately, one of them has decided to take on the mantle of the wolf and has already killed once.

When I read about this Manga, the premise intrigued me. It had something a little "more" than the average Manga story. It's a guessing game, a deadly guessing game, and the reader is guessing right along with the characters involved. And the story is good! The artwork is good too, although at the very beginning I was confusing a couple of the girl characters because they looked so similar. But that worked out as soon as "the game" began...

So, what about the story and "the game"? The start of the story is about this group of kids who play this game called Doubt (or Rabbit Doubt) virtually, on their cellphones, and who decide to actually meet. After they get together, and we start to get acquainted with them ourselves, they decide to go out. Strange things happen and then mysteriously, no one can remember how, they all wind up in this abandoned building. The doors are all locked. Everyone has a bar code tattooed on them, which they are soon to discover can open certain doors. Can they work together to get out of there?! When one of them dies, they know that they are playing "the game" for real and must determine who the wolf is before everyone dies. This pits them against each other to a point, with fingers pointing and accusations flying until they start to try and solve the mystery of who has had the opportunity to kill. And YOU are trying to solve the mystery right along with them!

The story just slowly draws you in until you are turning those pages to see what happens next...

I'm not going to reveal anything here to spoil it for you, just know that this is a 2 book series. Book 1 ends with 2 people and the killer, and we still aren't quite sure who is who, which leads the reader to Book 2, which starts where Book 1 left off and then a killer plot twist (sorry had to use that) half way through the story and another twist at the end! I did not expect the plot twist in the middle, and then another plot twist makes this a better than average Manga. Plus there's a little opening at the end for possibly another story to come along.

Book 1 is 398 pages... Book 2 is 445 pages. It took me a couple of days to read them both, because I just had to keep reading along. I only bought Book 1 at first, but when I got to the end of it, I HAD to pick up the next book, so be warned you'll want to know how it ends and you can only find out in the next book.

*P.S. There is some violence here, so I would not recommend for very young readers.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Children's Corner… Is a Worry Worrying You? by Ferida Wolff and Harriet May Savitz, a Review

Is a Worry Worrying You?
                ... by Ferida Wolff and Harriet May Savitz

Worry takes on the form of a BIG blue/green furry monster is this cautionary tale to children on how to tame the worry monster.

The carefree life we imagine for children is in reality sometimes fraught with all sorts of stress. How to help children deal with their stress? In Is a Worry Worrying You, the authors use whimsical illustrations to help children learn how to creatively make worries go away…

What if you "had a lots elephants over and didn't have any tea to serve them?!" Well, you'd just serve them lemonade instead! Or, what if a monster lives under your bed and you're afraid to go to sleep? Well, "you can get rid of that worry by singing the monster lullabies until you both fall asleep." Creative ideas to get your child brainstorming their own solutions to their BIG blue/green furry monster.

Wonderful illustrations that will make you and your child smile as you turn the pages of this creative book on how to deal with stress. 32 pages, geared towards 4 - 8 year olds, and published by Tanglewood Press. Adults could also take a lesson from these pages, because we all have stress now and again! I enjoyed the humorous ways the authors presented dealing with the silly problems illustrated, and thought the illustrations were wonderful. 3 1/2 Big Blue/Green Furry Monsters for creativity!

I want to thank Tanglewood Press for the eGalley for my honest review!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Memoir Monday presents… The Birds of Pandemonium by Michele Raffin

There are plenty of books about animals out there, but tucked in between them you can find some special gems. That's what I thought when I heard about The Birds of Pandemonium: Life Among the Exotic and the Endangered by Michele Raffin. As I read the preface, I was immediately drawn in. Michele's writing is wonderful, lively and engaging and you can tell she genuinely loves her birds. And it's about these birds, their personalities, that make this a heartwarming read. Here's what the publisher has to say about this book…

Each morning at first light, Michele Raffin steps outside into the bewitching bird music that heralds another day at Pandemonium Aviaries. A full symphony that swells from the most vocal of more than 350 avian throats representing more than 40 species. “It knocks me out, every day,” she says.

Pandemonium, the home and bird sanctuary that Raffin shares with some of  the world’s most remarkable birds, is a conservation organization dedicated to saving and breeding birds at the edge of extinction, with the goal of eventually releasing them into the wild. In The Birds of Pandemonium, she lets us into her world—and theirs. Birds fall in love, mourn, rejoice, and sacrifice; they have a sense of humor, invent, plot, and cope. They can teach us volumes about the interrelationships of humans and animals.

Their amazing stories make up the heart of this book. There’s Sweetie, a tiny quail with an outsize personality; the inspiring Oscar, a disabled Lady Gouldian finch who can’t fly but finds a brilliant way to climb to the highest perches of his aviary to roost. The ecstatic reunion of a disabled Victoria crowned pigeon, Wing, and her brother, Coffee, is as wondrous as the silent kinship that develops between Amadeus, a one-legged turaco, and an autistic young visitor.

As we come to know the individual birds, we also come to understand how much is at stake for many of these species. One of the aviary’s greatest success stories is breeding the gorgeous green-naped pheasant pigeon, whose home in the New Guinea rainforest is being decimated. Thanks to efforts at Pandemonium, these birds may not share the same fate as the now-extinct dodo.

The Birds of Pandemonium is about one woman’s crusade to save precious lives, and it offers rare insights into how following a passion can transform not only oneself but also the world.

Courtesy of Algonquin Books, I received an eGalley of The Birds of Pandemonium (published Oct. 7, 2014), in exchange for an honest review.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

The Sweet Surrender of Janet Buchanan by Paula Quinn… A Review

Hold onto your Tartan, this Highlander romance is passionate, tender and HOT!

The Sweet Surrender of Janet Buchanan by Paula Quinn is a romance filled with a hunk of a Scottish Highlander, a feisty & strong willed woman and a storyline that is perfect for this sweet novella. This is the story of Janet Buchanan and Darach Grant, who have this wonderful distaste for each other, but also an unbelievable attraction to each other. She has a mind of her own and is no man's possession; He is arrogant, confident and adept with the ladies... and never shares the same bed twice. 

The story begins with Janet being ceremoniously offered up in marriage to save an attack on the castle and lands her brother is steward of. This is suppose to be just a delay tactic, while they wait for the true lord of the castle, Malcolm MacGregor, to come and protect his keep. While Malcolm is otherwise engaged, he sends none other than Darach Grant, the man who stole Janet's heart and left many months ago. But that's all he sends! Janet doesn't know which is worse, being married off to save the castle or having Darach back in her life, and HIM being the sole answer to her problem!  

The banter between them is funny and sweet, and stinging at times. AND it is wonderful! The romance starts of teasing us and then it is hot, HOT, HOT! As soon as I started reading this story, I could not stop. The writing is wonderful! Paula Quinn sets the stage with an authentic Scottish landscape, wonderful characters that are fully fleshed out, and a believable & fun romance.

My only complaint with The Sweet Surrender of Janet Buchanan is that is was too short! I thought Janet and Darach deserved more to their story, and the ending seemed a bit abrupt. But this is a novella and just a little present to the readers of her The MacGregors: Highland Heirs series. This book is 1.5 in the series, so I can only hope Janet and Darach make another appearance!

Even though I thought it was a bit short, I enjoyed every minute of this novella! I would recommend The Sweet Surrender of Janet Buchanan to any girl who loves her men in plaid, and loves a good HOT romance! I give this Highlander Romance 5 Tartans!

*BTW, I received this as an eGalley from the publisher for an honest review.


Friday, October 24, 2014

Children's Corner… Birds of a Feather by Vanita Oelschlager, a Review

Birds of a Feather: A Book of Idioms and Silly Pictures…
written by Vanita Oelschlager and illustrated by Robin Hegan

This silly and delightful book will teach children what idioms are with humorous and cute illustrations. And do you know what an idiom is?! An idiom is a group of words that have a meaning when put together, but generally nothing to do with the words themselves. One example is "It's raining cats and dogs!" It's not really raining cats and dogs, but that's an idiom. Of course it means it's raining very heavy, but what does that have to do with cats and dogs?! These idioms have origins, but what Birds of a Feather does is illustrate some of these idioms we use every day in a humorous, colorful way. The explanation of the meaning of the idiom is explained, with an example in a sentence in the corner of the page, so everyone understands.

"Goosebumps", "Bright eyed and bushy tailed", "Look what the cat dragged in", are only some of the idioms explained. Very cute and sometimes very funny illustrations make for a picture book that will be enjoyed many times after the first reading. Oh, and it's educational too! 32 pages, and written with Pre-school - 3 year olds in mind, I enjoyed it myself and I'm nowhere near 3!

BTW, I received Birds of a Feather as an eGalley from Vanita Books for an honest review. Thank you!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Palmetto Moon by Kim Boykin... A Review

Pour yourself a Sweet Tea and relax… 

Palmetto Moon by Kim Boykin is like a welcoming breeze on a warm summer day. When I opened the book for the first time, I stepped into Charleston, South Carolina and didn't look back until the last page. Kim Boykin's writing is inviting, engaging and wonderful.

Vada Hadley is a sweet Southern girl, just out of college, from a wealthy family, who is destined to marry drop dead gorgeous Justin McLeod to solidify the ties of these two wealthy families. But it's just a marriage of convenience, with Justin, quite a ladies man, who doesn't intend to change his ways and Vada not really liking Justin at all. On the eve of her wedding, Vada's Murrah, Ruth Lee, the woman who practically raised her from birth, comes up to her bedroom with her suitcase, giving Vada the option no one else wants to give her - a way out. Without any money of her own, and a handful of her designer dresses, Desmond, Ruth Lee's husband, whisks Vada off to anyplace she wants to go to escape. Vada chooses Round O, a small rural South Carolina town about 50 miles from Charlestown, where she was offered a teaching job after graduating from college. No way her family would look for her there. And so, Vada starts life as a working girl, living in a run down boarding house with a bitter old woman as a land lady, and a handsome hunk running the local diner. Hmmm, maybe things aren't so bad… romance, friendship and a wonderful portrayal of the South, Palmetto Moon is more than I could have wanted when I opened the book for the first time. Even though the year is 1947, the book has a contemporary feel to it, and it just draws you in. The romance starts very sweet (1947), but the embers underneath are HOT and don't disappoint!

I can't say enough about how much I enjoyed this book. But there are two things I can tell you…

1. I'm going to be reading more of Kim Boykin ( and I just downloaded an advanced copy of her Christmas novella, Just in Time for Christmas coming out later this month.)

2. If you like romance novels and/or Southern fiction, YOU SHOULD READ THIS BOOK!

I give Palmetto Moon by Kim Boykin a 5 Sweet Tea rating!



I want to thank Pump Up your Book Tours for sending along a copy of Palmetto Moon by Kim Boykin for an honest review! Thank you, I loved it!

**Kim stopped by Chick with Books to us what inspired her to write Palmetto Moon… Here's the LINK!


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