Wednesday, December 31, 2014

December's Book of the Month

 

Hello Everyone! I chose the picture posted above because it reminds me of reading to my daughter Mareena when she was little. Every afternoon until she was about eight or nine years old, we would take one of her books that she wanted to read or that she was reading and we would curl up together on my big bed. 

We would spend an hour or so reading a chapter of her book, and then take a nap together. Her absolutely favorite author at that time was an English author named Enid Blyton. Ahh, nice memories... 

My picks for 'Books of the Month' will be decidedly more adult these days, but they will be from almost any genre. December's Book of the Month is:

 Published as: The Rest of Her Life in August 2007 
Publisher: Hyperion


Birth Name: Laura Moriarty 

Born: 24 December 1970 in Honolulu, Hawaii

Canonical Name: Laura Moriarty 
Pseudonyms: None  

The Rest of Her Life: A Novel by Laura Moriarty was the one hundred and twenty-third book that I read in 2014. I have had this book on my TBR shelf since August 16, 2014 and it took me three days to read. This book is definitely a keeper for me.

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Elaine Mercado, R. N. - Grave's End: A True Ghost Story

125. Grave's End: A True Ghost Story by Elaine Mercado, R. N. (2001)
Length: 174 pages
Genre: Non-Fiction
Started: 26 December 2014
Finished: 31 December 2014
Where did it come from? From Bookmooch 
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 26 December 2014
Why do I have it? I like non-fiction and Elaine Mercado, R. N. is a new author for me.

Just about everyone loves a good ghost story, but what does one do when it seems as if the very fabric of reality twists and the vastness of the shadowy unknown peers out from behind the everyday rhythm of life? In Grave's End: A True Ghost Story, Ms. Mercado addresses this issue with wrenching candor. Although this may not be a book to read in an old, shadowy house at midnight, the story offers both fear and hope, and a sense of something eternal. 

By the time Elaine Mercado and her first husband bought a charming - but somewhat dilapidated - Victorian-style house in Brooklyn, New York, in the winter of 1982, they had been house-hunting for a little over a year and were quite anxious to settle into a home of their own. Although the house was in need of some serious renovation, it was within their price range and they were more than content to do the work required to make the house their own. Little did they realize that they and their two young daughters would be embarking on a nightmare that would last for thirteen years.

Within a few days of moving in, Elaine and her eldest daughter - eleven-year-old Karin - began to experience the sensation of being watched. Next came the scratching noises and inexplicably weird smells, followed by whispering voices, maniacal laughter, fluffy, dust-ball sized apparitions flitting along baseboards, and mysterious orbs of light floating along the ceilings. Almost from the day the family moved in, each member was targeted by the haunting in some way; "suffocating dreams" were experienced by everyone except for the youngest daughter - five-year-old Christine. Eventually, these paranormal experiences escalated to actual acts of physical aggression directed at Elaine and both the girls.

This is the true story of how one family tried to cope with living in a haunted house. It also describes how, with the help of famed parapsychologist Dr. Hans Holzer and psychic medium Marisa Anderson, the family finally discovered the tragic and heart-breaking secrets buried in the house at Grave's End. As of the publication of this book, Elaine Mercado continues to live in the once-haunted house with her family. 

I certainly enjoyed reading this book; as I always love reading true accounts of paranormal experiences. In my opinion, the story was very descriptive; written in a down-to-earth style that I appreciated. According to the author, while there is still residual paranormal activity, the primary source of the haunting has been cleansed from the house, and she and her family are able to live in their house in relative peace. Overall, I would give Grave's End: A True Ghost Story by Elaine Mercado, R. N. an A+!  

A+! - (96-100%)
               
Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Happy Christmas to All, and May All Have a Wonderful Day!

MySpace background: CoolSpaceTricks.com
MySpace background: CoolSpaceTricks.com

Hello everyone! :) I hope that you all have a wonderful and much blessed Christmas filled with as much friendly and family togetherness as you could wish for. :) Both Mareena and I are feeling fine, although perhaps just the slightest bit blah (not necessarily ill, but just wanting to take it easy for today) - we still intend to enjoy Christmas to the fullest! :)

The kitties are really getting into the Christmas spirit - 'Santa Paws' bought them a stocking full of catnip and kitty toys, and the purrs of thanks are resounding around the room. Lollipop and Leila are currently getting into minor fistipaws over who is going to get to play with the feather bells first (I'm not sure that the twins even realize that there are actually four feather bells in the stocking, so there is one for each of the girls, plus one extra!)

Ruby is currently fascinated by the bag of catnip. I opened it for her and she went over the moon! :) She sniffed in the bag, jumped up and rubbed her chin between a couple of gift bags in order to get a chance to investigate a little more closely.

At some point, Leila and Lollipop found out what Ruby was doing and ambled over to see what was going on. So the party had to be moved to the floor - Ruby went over to a special little spot of her own and ate up her catnip treat; and Leila and Lollipop rolled around on the floor like a couple of kittens for a while, and then the twins finally ate their catnip. Fun was had by all - humans and kitties alike!
  
MySpace stuff: CoolSpaceTricks.com

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Alice Hoffman - The Ice Queen

124. The Ice Queen by Alice Hoffman (2005)
Length: 211 pages
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Started: 21 December 2014
Finished: 23 December 2014
Where did it come from? From a Library Book Sale
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 19 December 2014
Why do I have it? I like contemporary fiction and have read and enjoyed Blackbird House by the same author in the past.

Once, in a childish fit of temper, the eight-year-old heroine of Alice Hoffman's The Ice Queen angrily wished to never see her mother again. Suddenly the little girl and her brother Ned were orphaned, and she was convinced that simply by stomping her feet she had shattered her world. While Ned dealt with the grief of his mother's passing by becoming a meteorologist: applying reason and logic to bad weather; as his sister grows into adulthood, she finds herself emotionally frozen.

Now working as a librarian somewhere in a small town, she lives a generally quiet life without much excitement. One day, she mutters an idle wish and suddenly, while standing in her house, she is struck by lightning. However, instead of ending her life, this cataclysmic event provides just the impetus she needs to restart her life. Determined to study the case histories of several survivors of lightning strikes, Ned convinces his sister to join him in learning more about the mysteries of lightning.

For her, being struck by lightning has left her with an inability to recognize the color red; and she soon finds herself fascinated by the awesome power of lightning. Witnessing the withering of trees and landscape near a strike, hearing the various stories of the medical traumas and odd new abilities of victims, all the myths of renewal; she is utterly amazed. Although she is a recluse, she goes in search of one Lazarus Jones - a local farmer rumored to have beaten death after a lightning strike: to have seen the other side and come back.

Perhaps this stranger who has seen death face to face can teach her to live without fear. When she finds him, he is her polar opposite, a burning man whose breath can boil water and whose touch scorches. As an obsessive love affair begins between them, both are forced to hide their most dangerous secrets - secrets that turned one person to ice and the other to fire.

I must say, that while this book was very good, and I enjoyed the story very much; in my opinion it still was slightly strange. I honestly don't know that much about lightning - although I do follow all the warnings about what not to do during thunderstorms - but even if only a fraction of what is described by the characters can happen in reality - I would be curious to find out. It was incredible to me. I give The Ice Queen by Alice Hoffman an A! This was actually quite a fascinating book.

A! - (90-95%) 

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Laura Moriarty - The Rest of Her Life: A Novel

123. The Rest of Her Life: A Novel by Laura Moriarty (2007)
Length: 306 pages
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Started: 18 December 2014
Finished: 21 December 2014
Where did it come from? From a Library Book Sale
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 16 August 2014
Why do I have it? I like contemporary fiction and Laura Moriarty is a new author for me.

Leigh Churchill is the mother of two lovely children - eighteen-year-old Kara - a high-achieving, popular high school senior, destined to go on to college; and Justin - a shy, awkward fourteen-year-old. While she has a wonderful relationship with Justin, for some reason that she can't identify, Leigh's relationship with Kara is strained and difficult. For the life of her, she can't understand what she may have done - or didn't do - that caused such coolness between herself and her daughter.

Then, in a single moment of careless distraction, Kara makes a mistake that ends in tragedy - something that no matter how much she may want to, she can't change or take back. Kara's actions not only divide Leigh's family, but polarize the entire community. We see the story from Leigh's perspective: as she watches her daughter struggling with the feelings of guilt and grief caused by what she has done; as Leigh herself grapples with the harsh reality of what happened and the devastating consequences which Kara's actions have on the family of another teenage girl in town; all while trying to shield and protect Kara in the face of rising public outcry. 

The Rest of Her Life: A Novel by Laura Moriarty delivers a luminous, compassionate, and provocative look at how even mothers and daughters with the best intentions can be blind to the harm they do to one another. Ms. Moriarty's novel is one of complex moral dilemma, filled with nuanced characters and a page-turning plot that makes readers ask themselves, "What would I do if I were in a similar situation?"

For myself, I absolutely loved this book. The story was filled with complex characters and intricate family dynamics, just the sort of story that I enjoy reading. I found Ms. Moriarty's writing and plot development to be spot on; very believable and with a strong basis in reality. I give The Rest of Her Life: A Novel by Laura Moriarty an A+! I will certainly be on the look out for more of Laura Moriarty's books to read in the future.

A+! - (96-100%)
  
Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Friday, December 19, 2014

Our Library Visit For December

Hello Everyone! How are you on this fine Friday? I'm doing just fine. :) Last Thursday, Mareena and I planned to go to our local library to raid the perpetual book sale for early Christmas gifts. However, it started snowing lightly on Tuesday morning, and the weather report was claiming there was going to be a Nor'easter blowing through which would dump between two and four feet of snow by Thursday morning.

We decided to change our library visit to Friday morning and left at around 11:30 A. M. We spent a delightful one and a half hours just browsing through the library book sale and ended up going home at around 1:00 P. M. We had bought a rather modest (for us) 44 books between us.

Between us, we bought 21 hardcovers and 23 paperbacks. We spent a whopping $40 for a total of 44 books. A pretty good haul, if I do say so, myself. :)

At the moment, I'm reading The Rest of Her Life: A Novel by Laura Moriarty - which I started yesterday evening, December 18th! This was a book that I acquired during our August 16th visit to the library!

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Margot Livesey - Homework: A Novel

122. Homework: A Novel by Margot Livesey (1990)
Length: 339 pages
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Started: 17 December 2014
Finished: 18 December 2014
Where did it come from? From Paperback Swap
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 15 December 2014
Why do I have it? I like contemporary fiction and have read and enjoyed The House on Fortune Street: A Novel by the same author in the past.

For the most part, Celia Gilchrist is living a happy life. Despite feeling slightly lonely and a bit like a third wheel when she's around her friends, Celia is nevertheless quite content living on her own, answering to no one else - except her cat Tobias. Yes, life is good for Celia Gilchrist.

When she meets Stephen, Celia is ecstatic and believes that she has finally found the right man to share her life. He is a wonderful man - a math teacher at her friend Deirdre's school - very solicitous of Celia, and a loving father to his daughter Jenny. So she moves in with Stephen and Jenny, and happily takes her place within their lovely ready-made family.

Yet, shortly after Celia moves in, things begin to go subtly, menacingly wrong. Money disappears, a sweater of Celia's is ruined; small, commonplace lies escalate into awkward confrontations. Ms. Livesey's debut novel is a stunning and affecting portrait of jealousy and fear, devotion and the desire to be loved.

I was absolutely captivated by this book. The plot was utterly believable to me, and the characters were well-developed and fairly jumped off the page - at least in my opinion. I really didn't want this book to end, and I found myself wondering what would happen next. I would give this book an A+! and am happy to say that I recently obtained another book by Margot Livesey - The Missing World: A Novel.

A+! - (96-100%)
       
Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Christopher Golden - Wildwood Road

121. Wildwood Road by Christopher Golden (2005)
Length: 351 pages
Genre: Horror
Started: 13 December 2014
Finished: 16 December 2014
Where did it come from? From Paperback Swap
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 24 November 2014
Why do I have it? I like horror and Christopher Golden is a new author for me.

Michael and Jillian Dansky seem to have it all - a happy marriage, two successful careers, and a bright future. However late one October evening, that changes completely. It's while driving home from a Halloween masquerade that Michael briefly nods off behind the wheel. When he wakes up, he finds a little girl standing beside his car - a little girl who Michael apparently came within a breath of running over.

Shaken by her appearance at such a late hour, and concerned that the child isn't wearing the most appropriate clothing for the frigid weather, Michael tries to help her as much as he can. She leads him to a darkened empty house, filled with shadows and haunted by whispers and sends him away with a whisper of her own: "Come find me." With her curious command echoing in his ears, Michael drives back home.

In the weeks to come, it's clear that someone - or something - doesn't want the girl found. As much as Michael tries to fulfill the girl's request, he just doesn't seem to be having much luck. And when a cold, cruel, vindictive woman awakens in the guise of his once loving and caring wife, Michael's search shifts slightly. Suddenly his quest isn't just for the missing girl, but for the Jillian he loves and may have lost forever...on Wildwood Road.

First of all, let me say that Mareena got this book as a 'just because' gift for herself when she saw that Stephen King had written a blurb for the book, and decided that I could read it as well if I wanted. She knew of Christopher Golden as primarily a young adult author, although she has never read any of his books. So, Mr. Golden is a new author for her to read.

In my opinion, this book was very enjoyable and I'm certainly glad to have read it. The story was quite a different treatment of horror from the books that I usually read, and was interesting enough to hold my attention right until the very end. It was well-written and I appreciated that the plot was constantly moving; the pacing never slowed or deteriorated in any way and this story never became dull or boring; at least for me. Overall, I give this book an A! 

A! - (90-95%)

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Laura Esquivel - Like Water For Chocolate: A Novel in Monthly Installments, With Recipes, Romances, and Home Remedies

120. Like Water For Chocolate: A Novel in Monthly Installments, With Recipes, Romances, and Home Remedies by Laura Esquivel (1989)
Length: 246 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
Started: 12 December 2014
Finished: 13 December 2014
Where did it come from? From Bookmooch
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 21 July 2012
Why do I have it? I like historical fiction and Laura Esquivel is a new author for me.

In turn-of-the-century Mexico, fifteen-year-old Josefita de la Garza - nicknamed Tita - lives on the family ranch with her mother Mama Elena, and her two older sisters - Rosaura and Gertrudis. According to family tradition, Tita - as the youngest daughter of an affluent rancher - must never marry but stay home and take care of her mother until she dies. For Tita, this family tradition is restricting and very old-fashioned - but as much as she hates it, Tita is still bound by that tradition. Instead, she turns all her pent-up desire toward cooking - expressing herself through the food that she prepares.

When Tita falls in love with her next door neighbor Pedro - and he with her - Tita's tyrannical mother steps in and invokes family tradition, denying Pedro's request for her youngest daughter's hand in marriage. Instead, Mama Elena offers Pedro the hand of her daughter Rosaura and, in order to stay close to Tita, Pedro accepts her offer. And so the story spans the next twenty-two years, detailing Tita and Pedro's unconsummated passion for each other; as well as their bittersweet and complicated romance.

I must say that I debated with myself whether or not to read this, but in the end I'm so glad that I chose to read it. Mareena had gotten the book for me as a 'just because' gift for July of 2012 - but having watched the 1992 movie with one of her friends a while ago - she wasn't too sure if I would actually want to read it. So, the book languished on my TBR pile for a little over two years.

I actually enjoyed this book very much. I found that the story was whimsical and almost fairytale-like in places. It was really quite captivating to me, and I give this book an A+!

A+! - (96-100%)

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Tami Hoag - Deeper Than the Dead

119. Deeper Than the Dead by Tami Hoag (2009)
The Oak Knoll Series Book 1
Length: 542 pages
Genre: Contemporary Mystery
Started: 9 December 2014
Finished: 11 December 2014
Where did it come from? From my mailman's wife who was getting rid of some books.
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 7 September 2014
Why do I have it? I like contemporary mysteries and Tami Hoag is a new author for me.

California, 1985 - Four children - running through the woods behind their middle school - literally stumble upon a gruesome discovery. Partially buried in a shallow grave and covered by wet leaves is the body of a young woman, her eyes and mouth glued shut. Close behind the children is their teacher, Anne Navarre, shocked by this discovery and heartbroken for her students as she witnesses the end of their innocence. What she doesn't realize is that this discovery will also effectively mark the end of innocence for the entire community of Oak Knoll, as the ties that bind both friends and families are tested by the secrets uncovered in the wake of an apparent serial killer's escalating activity.

FBI investigator Vince Leone, fresh from a law enforcement course at FBI headquarters, is tasked with interpreting those recently revealed secrets. He's using a new technique known as profiling - to develop a theory of the case; a strategy that pulls him ever deeper into the lives of the four children, and brings him closer to the young teacher whose own interest in recent events becomes as intense as his own.

As each new victim is found and the media scrutiny of the investigation intensifies around them, both Investigator Leone and Ms. Navarre wonder if those who suffer the most are the victims themselves - or the family and friends of the killer, blissfully unaware that someone very close to them is actually a cunning, calculating psychopath; capable of such horrific brutality.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. The plot was very exciting and dramatic; jam-packed with action, and filled with enough twists and turns to grab my attention right from the beginning. I was completely engrossed by the story and found that it just wouldn't let me go.

Despite having one or two books by Tami Hoag on my bookshelf already - although I don't think I could tell you where either book actually is at the moment - Deeper Than the Dead by Tami Hoag is the first book that I've read by this author. I would give Deeper Than the Dead a definite A+! and will certainly keep my eyes open for more thrillers by Ms. Hoag to read in the future.

A+! - (96-100%)

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Scott Spencer - A Ship Made of Paper: A Novel

Reread. A Ship Made of Paper: A Novel by Scott Spencer (2003)
Length: 352 pages
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Originally Read: 9 August 2013
Reread Finished: 9 December 2014
Where did it come from? Originally from a Library Book Sale, then from my "posted" shelf.

Although I acquired this book from a Library Book Sale that Mareena and I went to in October of 2007, I actually read it for the first time in August of 2013 - from August 6th to August 9th, 2013. I had just finished reading Scott Spencer's Preservation Hall and was just putting the book on my "posted" shelf, thinking that I would reread A Ship Made of Paper: A Novel sometime in the very near future. The next day I went looking for the book, thinking that it would actually take me several days to find it. Boy, was I mistaken! - I laid my hand on it right away; it almost seemed like rereading A Ship Made of Paper: A Novel by Scott Spencer was meant to be.

I reread A Ship Made of Paper: A Novel by Scott Spencer in December of 2014. It only took me three days to read - from December 6th to December 9th, 2014. I've since reposted this book on all the swapping sites that we belong to, so perhaps someone else will want to read it.
   
Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Friday, December 5, 2014

Scott Spencer - Preservation Hall

117. Preservation Hall by Scott Spencer (1976)
Length: 308 pages
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Started: 3 December 2014
Finished: 5 December 2014
Where did it come from? From Paperback Swap 
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 12 August 2013
Why do I have it? I like contemporary fiction and have read and enjoyed A Ship Made of Paper: A Novel by the same author in the past.

Meet Virgil Morgan, a young man in his late twenties who, to the world at large, seems to have all the earmarks of success: a luxurious apartment, a consultant job that pays extremely well and takes surprisingly little energy, and an idyllic marriage to a beautiful and creative woman named Tracy.

Meet Virgil's father Earl Morgan, a one-time high school music teacher who has always dreamed of greatness even as he hurtles towards oblivion. A hapless man who watches his wife pack a suitcase and leave him for good, who refuses to give up his beret and goatee. Yes, Virgil has always had a precarious relationship with his father; seeing Earl as an embarrassment - forever a source of gut-wrenching failure for Virgil, a man who wallows in his myriad personal failings too often and too well.

Virgil has done his best to stay away from Earl, and for most of his life that has worked quite well for him. When he and Tracy purchase their dream house in Maine, a cozy cottage they christen 'Preservation Hall', it looks as if he'll succeed - until a long-awaited romantic interlude is invaded by an unwanted visitor, and a sudden blizzard sets the stage for a terrifying week; forcing Virgil to confront the long-repressed ghosts from his past.

I must say that I absolutely loved this book. This is actually the second book that I've read by Scott Spencer and in my opinion, this story was fast-paced and very exciting. The characters were well-developed and sympathetically drawn, and the ones that were meant to be likable I liked very much. I give this book an A+!

A+! - (96-100%)
  
Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Margot Livesey - The House on Fortune Street: A Novel

116. The House on Fortune Street: A Novel by Margot Livesey (2008)
Length: 311 pages
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Started: 1 December 2014
Finished: 3 December 2014
Where did it come from? From a Library Book Sale
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 20 July 2012
Why do I have it? I like contemporary fiction and Margot Livesey is a new author for me.
 
It seems like a stroke of mutual good luck for Abigail Taylor and Dara MacLeod when they meet while studying at St. Andrews University in Edinburgh, Scotland. Despite their differences, the two young women form a firm and fast friendship and a lasting, unshakable bond. Even years later, they remain such an unlikely pair.

Abigail - an actress who confidently uses her talent both on and offstage - charms everyone she meets, but believes herself immune to love. Dara - a counselor at a crisis center - is convinced that everyone is somehow irrevocably marked by their childhood; she throws herself into romantic relationships with frightening intensity.

Yet now it appears that each woman has finally found "true love". Is this another stroke of luck? Proof that each relationship is a once-in-a-lifetime love? Abigail has apparently found love with her academic boyfriend, Sean, and Dara with a tall, dark violinist named Edward; who quite literally falls at her feet. However, soon after Dara moves into Abigail's downstairs apartment, trouble threatens both relationships, as well as their friendship.

For Abigail, the trouble comes in the form of an anonymous letter, addressed to Sean and accusing Abigail of being unfaithful; for Dara, a reconciliation with her estranged father Cameron - who left the family when Dara was ten - reawakens some very complicated feelings. Through four ingeniously interlocking narratives - Sean's, Cameron's, Dara's, and Abigail's - we gradually come to understand how these characters' lives were shaped by both chance and determination. Whatever the source, there is absolutely no mistaking the veil that falls when tragedy strikes the house on Fortune Street.

I absolutely loved this book. In my opinion, it was a poignant and thought-provoking story - very intelligently and thoughtfully written. For me, this was also a compulsively readable story - one that I just could not put down. It was an interesting and engaging plot, and I needed to know what would happen next. I give The House on Fortune Street: A Novel by Margot Livesey an A+! and must say, that while this is the first book by this author that I've read, it most certainly won't be my last.

A+! - (96-100%)

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Monday, December 1, 2014

Michael Phillip Cash - The After House

115. The After House by Michael Phillip Cash (2014) 
Length: 194 pages
Genre: Horror
Started: 29 November 2014
Finished: 1 December 2014
Where did it come from? Many thanks to Michael Phillip Cash and to Red Feather Publishing for sending me a copy of this book to read.  
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 17 October 2014  
Why do I have it? I like horror and have read and enjoyed several books by this author in the past.

Single mother Remy Galway and her daughter Olivia are just starting over with the monumental task of rebuilding their lives together after the failure of Remy's marriage. Now, almost a year after her divorce, she and her daughter have moved into a three hundred year old cottage in historic Cold Spring Harbor, Long Island. It is in this elegant, ancient whaling captain's house where Remy and Olivia hope to find peace and tranquility for themselves.

Little does this little family realize that there is in fact another occupant who dwells in the haven of their new home. Someone who lurks deep in the shadows of history, someone who strives to remain a relevant part of this reality. In the end, will the After House ultimately turn out to be Remy and Olivia's shelter or their final resting place? 

Let me say right from the beginning that I really enjoy Michael Phillip Cash's writing style - he certainly knows how to create a properly creepy atmosphere. I have read four of Mr. Cash's books in the past and have thoroughly enjoyed each of them for different reasons. This latest novel was certainly a departure for me; it was a quick and easy read, and while I would technically classify this book in the horror genre, the story wasn't necessarily all that scary; at least in my personal opinion.

I found this story to be slightly more playful and light-hearted in tone than Mr. Cash's other work, not overly comedic but definitely lighter in tone. I enjoyed reading The After House by Michael Phillip Cash and give it definite B+! - I look forward to reading more from this author in the future.

B+! - (89-94%)

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Reading Wrap-up For November at Moonshine and Rosefire


Hello everyone out there and I hope that you all had a terrific reading month for yourselves. I am known as Rosefire around the Internet and this is my new personal reading blog. I originally posted my reviews over at my daughter's blog, Emeraldfire's Bookmark but am now in the process of transferring them all over to my own blog. My daughter makes blogging look like so much fun that I thought that I would try it out for myself! :)

Anyway, I started out November with 1,009 unread books lying around the house and ended the month with 1,000 books unread. All the books that I acquired this month came from Penny Dell Puzzles and Paperback Swap.

Let me try to break down the influx for you:

Rereads
- Live to Tell by Lisa Gardner

Changes to the TBR pile

Read from my TBR pile (Yes! I am a reading machine :))
- Small Town Girl by LaVyrle Spencer
- The Reader by Bernhard Schlink
- In Another Country by Susan Kenney
- The Senator's Wife by Karen Robards
- The Ladies of Missalonghi by Colleen McCullough
- Random Hearts by Warren Adler
- What Lies Beneath: The Road to Hidden Harbor/Remember Me/Primal Fear by Anne Stuart, Joanna Wayne and Caroline Burnes
- Blackbird House by Alice Hoffman  

Added to my TBR pile (oh well, you win some and you lose some! Not too bad though, I suppose:))
- Collector's Series Sum-Doku Puzzles 4-pack (Volumes 1, 5, 6, 7) by Dell Magazines
- Wildwood Road by Christopher Golden
- The Old Willis Place by Mary Downing Hahn
- The Babel Effect by Daniel Hecht
- Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya

Taken off my TBR pile and sent to a new home (Yay! Happy Dance! :)) 
- Crow Hollow by Dorothy Eden
- The Stand: The Complete and Uncut Edition by Stephen King
- A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute
- Gallows Lane by Brian MacGilloway
- Torture Killers II: More True Accounts of the Most Vicious Murderers Ever Caught! by Rose Mandelsberg
- Practical Meat Dishes by P3 Publishing
- Ghost Island by Jan O'Donnell Klaveness
The Book of Books: An Eclectic Collection of Reading Recommendations, Quirky Lists, and Fun Facts about Books by Les Krantz and Tim Knight
- Practical Healthy Eating by P3 Publishing
Classic Mysteries: A Collection of Mind-Bending Masterpieces by Molly Cooper
- This Gun For Hire by Graham Greene
- Defending the Truth by Richard Parrish
- Ellery Queen's Memorable Characters: Anthology #50 by Ellery Queen
- Daddy's Girl: The Campbell Murder Case by Clifford Irving
- Tell Me Your Dreams by Sidney Sheldon
- The Moonflower Vine: A Novel by Jetta Carleton
- Early From the Dance by David Payne
- A Crime of Honor by Giovanni Arpino

Well, there it is...the breakdown! All in all, a very good reading month for me. Here's a further breakdown:

Books Read: 9
Pages Read: 2,677
Grade Range: A+! to B+!

So, there you go! The reading month that was November. I hope that you all had an equally good reading month; if not a little better. :) See you all next month! :)

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Sunday, November 30, 2014

November's Book of the Month

 

Hello Everyone! I chose the picture posted above because it reminds me of reading to my daughter Mareena when she was little. Every afternoon until she was about eight or nine years old, we would take one of her books that she wanted to read or that she was reading and we would curl up together on my big bed. 

We would spend an hour or so reading a chapter of her book, and then take a nap together. Her absolutely favorite author at that time was an English author named Enid Blyton. Ahh, nice memories... 

My picks for 'Books of the Month' will be decidedly more adult these days, but they will be from almost any genre. November's Book of the Month is:


The Reader by Bernhard Schlink 
 Published as: Der Vorleserin 1995
Publisher: Diogenes


Birth Name: Bernhard Schlink  

Born: 6 July 1944 in Bielefeld, Bethel, Germany  

Canonical Name: Bernhard Schlink  
Pseudonyms: None  

The Reader by Bernhard Schlink was the one hundred and seventh book that I read in 2014. I have had this book on my TBR shelf since July 20, 2012 and it took me four days to read. This book is currently on several book swapping sites waiting to go to another good home.

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Lisa Gardner - Live to Tell

Reread. Live to Tell by Lisa Gardner (2010)  
The Detective D. D. Warren Series Book 4
Length: 435 pages
Genre: Contemporary Mystery
Originally Read: 31 July 2012
Reread Finished: 29 November 2014
Where did it come from? Originally from a Library Book Sale, then I received a paperback copy from my mailman's wife.


So, having bought this book as a hardcover copy from a Library Book Sale that Mareena and I went to in July of 2012, I read it for the first time in July of 2012 - July 28th to July 31st, 2012. I gave away my hardcover copy of Live to Tell on August 21, 2012. I received the paperback copy of this book on September 7, 2014 from my mailman's wife who was planning on getting rid of between 60 to 70 books.

I reread Live to Tell by Lisa Gardner in November of 2014. It only took me two days to read - from November 27th to November 29th, 2014. I've posted this book on all the swapping sites that we belong to, so perhaps someone else will want to read it.

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Giving Thanks For All Our Blessings This Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving Graphics

I hope that all my blog readers in the United States have a very happy Thanksgiving! May your Thanksgiving be filled with great food, wonderful friendship and all the family ties that you may wish for. :) So, Mareena and I had turkey and gravy, roast potatoes and mashed potatoes; and I had brussel sprouts while Mareena had canned peaches for dessert. We also had strawberry rhubarb pie and apple pie with custard. After that, we may watch a movie or read books for the entire day! :)

May all of you have a wonderfully safe and blessed Thanksgiving. Be sure to find some quiet time for yourselves and count your blessings today when and if you can. I know that I'm incredibly thankful for my continued health and happiness, my daughter's continued health and happiness, that we are both comfortable and love each other as much as we do, and that our family is as well as they are. We are also incredibly thankful for our three kitties - Ruby, Leila and Lollipop.

I also hope that everyone who is away from their families at this time, will know that they are sorely missed, truly loved and deeply appreciated by all! God bless all of you, may you have a very happy and wonderful Thanksgiving! :)  

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Alice Hoffman - Blackbird House

113. Blackbird House by Alice Hoffman (2004)
Length: 225 pages
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Started: 25 November 2014
Finished: 26 November 2014
Where did it come from? From a Library Book Sale
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 9 April 2014
Why do I have it?
I like contemporary fiction and Alice Hoffman is a new author for me.


Welcome to Blackbird House - a small farm on the outer reaches of Cape Cod, imbued with as much vitality as the people who live there. For the past two centuries, Blackbird House has stood as a testament to time and the passage of history; a place as bewitching and alive as the characters we meet. There is Violet Cross, a brilliant young woman who is in love with books and with a man who is destined to betray her; Lysander Wynn, attacked by a halibut the size of horse, is convinced that his life is ruined until a boarder wearing red boots arrives to change everything; and Maya Cooper, someone who does not understand the true meaning of the love shared between her mother and father until it is almost too late.

From the time of the British occupation of Massachusetts to present day in our own modern world, for each family that lives within the walls of Blackbird House, their lives are inexorably changed for however long they may stay. Not only by the people they love, but also by themselves and the lives that they lead within Blackbird House. For more than a dozen men and women who have lived inside Blackbird House, they will learn just how much love transforms us and how it is the one lasting element in our lives.

These interconnected narratives are as intelligent as they are haunting, as luminous as they are unusual. In a rare and gorgeous departure, Alice Hoffman weaves a web of evocative tales that becomes a glorious travelogue through time and fate, through loss and love and survival. The past both dissipates and remains contained inside the rooms of Blackbird House, where there are terrible secrets, inspired beauty, and, above all else, a spirit of coming home.

I must admit that I was slightly disappointed in my reading of Blackbird House; but that is only because I wanted more from each story. It felt slightly incomplete to me. I suppose that was because I wanted to know more of a back story with each of the characters, and I had a nagging feeling of being left hanging, wondering what would happen next. In my opinion though, reading this book was certainly still very enjoyable. 

In my opinion, each story was beautifully and lyrically written, if somewhat unusual and fantastic in places. I would give Blackbird House by Alice Hoffman a definite A! I have maybe two or three other books by Ms. Hoffman on my bookshelf that I might be interested in reading sometime in the future, but I'll need to search them out. I'm sure they'll turn up at some point.

A! - (90-95%)
   
Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Anne Stuart, Joanna Wayne and Caroline Burnes - What Lies Beneath

112. What Lies Beneath by Anne Stuart, Joanna Wayne and Caroline Burnes (2002)
Harlequin Feature Anthology: September 2002 - (The Road to Hidden Harbor/Remember Me/Primal Fear)
Length: 378 pages
Genre: Contemporary Mystery
Started: 24 November 2014
Finished: 25 November 2014
Where did it come from? From Paperback Swap
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 22 November 2014
Why do I have it?
I like contemporary mysteries and Anne Stuart, Joanna Wayne and Caroline Burnes are new authors for me.


She climbed back in her car, shoving her hair away from her face. "I'm going to find you, Michael O'Flannery," she murmured. "I'm going to find your ghost and everything I can about you. Just watch me."

Twenty years ago, an extremely talented and rising poet disappeared without a trace in the woods of Maine. Over the years rumors about his mysterious disappearance abounded, from the mundane to the fantastic; but nothing was ever proven. Now English professor Molly Ferrell has come to Hidden Harbor, Maine to write his story, and to find out what really happened to Michael O'Flannery.

She opened her eyes and stared at him. "Nathan?" His name came out in a husky whisper.
"I'm here."
She touched her hand to his. "Help me. Please help me."
"Do we know each other, Jill?"
She didn't answer, just closed her eyes and seemed to fade into a semiconscious state.

Dr. Nathan Duncan is curious about the mysterious young woman who just came into his emergency room as a patient. He's inexplicably drawn to her and is sure that he's met her somewhere before, but isn't sure where. Running from her jealous husband, Jill Jacobs is determined to hide her true identity. But can she keep the man she once loved in the dark forever? 

The woman began to run, dropping the bucket of shells she'd been collecting. As she drew closer to the body, she slowed. Her hand went to her mouth to stifle the scream as she saw the terrible damage that had been done by sharp, vicious teeth. For a long moment she stared at the body, and then she turned away and ran, retracing her steps to the beach cottage she owned on Pirate Harbor and the telephone that would bring the sheriff.

A badly mutilated body washes up on the Florida shore. Was this a victim of another shark attack...or something else entirely? Marine biologist Libby Phillips isn't quite sure. What she does know for certain is that modern-day pirate - and suspect - Chad Watson is distracting her from her work in more ways than one.

I must say that I enjoyed this book very much. In my opinion, all the stories contained in this anthology were very well-written, and as examples of the romantic suspense genre, each story was really quite good. The first story - The Road to Hidden Harbor by Anne Stuart - was the story that interested me right away, and was why I asked Mareena if I could read this book first. 

It took me one day to read the first two stories in the anthology - The Road to Hidden Harbor by Anne Stuart and Remember Me by Joanna Wayne. Both stories were great - although in my personal opinion, perhaps more focused on the romantic subplots, rather than the mysteries. Primal Fear by Caroline Burnes was also quite enjoyable. It was a quick read for me, and I appreciated that the romantic subplot was less pronounced in this final story. 

Overall, I would say that What Lies Beneath by Anne Stuart, Joanna Wayne and Caroline Burnes deserves an A! This was certainly a great anthology to showcase the work of three of the top romantic suspense authors within the genre: Anne Stuart, Joanna Wayne and Caroline Burnes.

A! - (90-95%)

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Warren Adler - Random Hearts

111. Random Hearts by Warren Adler (1984)
Length: 267 pages
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Started: 20 November 2014
Finished: 23 November 2014
Where did it come from? From a Library Book Sale
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 10 May 2001
Why do I have it? I like contemporary fiction and Warren Adler is a new author for me.


In a perfect world, people like Edward Davis and Vivien Simpson would never have met. He's a happily married man; an ambitious aide to an important Congressman who loves his wife. She's a happily married woman; a housewife with a young son and a dog who absolutely adores her lawyer husband. They are each living the good life - or so they believe. 

There is absolutely no earthly reason why they should ever meet...

Until a commercial airliner crashes into the Potomac River with eighty-four souls on board. Two of the victims are linked by a clue that at first stuns and baffles, then draws together their surviving spouses; and sends them on a dizzying exploration of their loved ones private lives. The secrets that they uncover about the people that they loved are totally unexpected. 

The explosive discovery leads Edward and Vivien on a journey that ultimately forces them to confront the mysterious and random nature of love - and the transforming power it wields over the men and women caught up in its relentless maelstrom.

I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. In my opinion, this was an emotional and very human story. It showed me how the consequences of a single action can ultimately tear apart a person's life - the feelings of hurt and betrayal, anger and confusion that can potentially ruin someone's happiness and contentment with life. 

This was the first book by Warren Adler that I've ever read and I give it an A+! Although Mareena has seen the 1999 movie adaptation of this book - starring Harrison Ford and Kristin Scott Thomas - at least once with a friend of hers; she and I have only ever seen portions of the movie together. Maybe the next time it comes on television, we'll watch the entire movie. However, in my personal opinion, the book is better than the movie; so watching the movie isn't all that imperative to me.

A+! - (96-100%)
 
Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight