Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Tippy Toe New Years Eve Murder by Leslie Meier

I'd forgotten about Leslie Meier's Books. I just found two in an unread box of books and I've missed out on so much! I like to read books in order and probably have this one out of order but that's okay. It was absolutely fabulous!

Lucy's daughter Elizabeth entered a make over contest in New York put on by  Jolie Fashion Magazine. New York is a far cry from Tinkers Cove, Maine and after an initial shock Lucy starts to really enjoy the energy of the city. 

She doesn't think much of the fashion world but there is an additional prize of $10,000 which would allow Elizabeth to continue on in school for the rest of the year. And so they try their best. The professionals at the magazine seem also to be contradictory to each other and there is a lot of disagreement.

The death of the woman in charge of make up and the illness of her own daughter Elizabeth sets Lucy off to find out if the death was foul play and what is wrong with her daughter.

There is an added dimension to this story, I suppose because of the setting, and the last couple of chapters had me sitting on the edge of my seat and trusting no one. 

Luckily Lucy lived and headed back to the arms of her husband and kids at the end of the book.

Aunt Dimity and the Family Tree by Nancy Atherton

Goodness I've been reading lately! I may have to slow down now because with bedbugs rampant in our libraries I'm not even sure about buying second hand. So I guess I'm down to buying Kindle books which certainly can add up!

I bought this book by mistake. I did want to read it but I didn't want to pay$14 on Kindle for it! However after reading the sample I accidentally pressed purchase book rather than delete sample and there it was. I love the aunt dimity books but I usually wait until they've at least come out in paperback and are cheaper. The books are fun to read. I love the small town of Finch and the happenings there but it only took me 24 hours to read the book so $14 was a bit steep.

Willis Sr. has decided to retire and buy an estate in Finch that is tumbling down but has a good foundation. There is lots of mystery in this one along with all of the single widows in Finch, which Lori calls the handmaidens, vying for Willis' attention and trying to get chosen to work for him keeping the large house clean and his cooking done.

I really did enjoy the book but it went too quickly

Monday, December 5, 2011

Angel Series by Debbie Maccomber

I've read a few of these books and I love them. They are Christmas books but also filled with simple romance stories. Gabriel the Archangel sends three embassador angels, Shirley, Goodness and Mercy, to earth at Christmas time to help answer prayers. This is an uncertain decision on his part. The 3 angels are constantly getting into trouble, they love earth. They love to spend time riding on the handrails of escalators, sending empty grocery carts across parking lots, and once in the Seattle fish market sent fish flying across the market. Never the less he keeps trying. Christmas is a busy time. I've read a number of her books but I keep forgetting which ones so I'm going to start listing them. A number of them can be ordered from or with 3 books in a series. On Kindle I found that the original book, Shirley, Goodness and Mercy - audio edition - is being offered free. So far the ones I know I've read are

Touched by Angels
The Trouble with Angels
Angels at Christmas

Some of the books have been reprinted and the covers have changed and the names of the books have changed. Kindle is great cause you can download the first 1-2 chapters free to read and then you will know if you've read it or not.

With Christmas such a busy time they are perfect reading material. Simple to read but fun so you can fit them in no matter how busy you are to give yourself a break now and then with a cup of coffee or tea.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

This book was amazing. It's an autobiography of Jeanette Walls' life living in what I would call beyond a dysfunctional family.  It's hard to believe that these 3 children survived to adulthood. Living in the Arizona desert - and I mean the desert, they had no home. Then moving to Carolina and living with her father's family, which was worse than their subsequent move into a hovel of a house with no electricity, no heat, no running water. 

I couldn't believe the situation these children lived in, and yet they came out okay. Maybe something in their natural wish to survive lifted them as adults into a healthier place and a better life. 

Very good book.

Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda

This book was and International Bestseller, which can easily be believed. It's an eyeopener to how different cultures operate. Rarely is a baby killed in North America, and even though I'm naive I can't believe that a baby would be killed due to it's sex. But in some cultures to have a girl child is a burden. Where people are beyond poor they need sons to help them operate what little land they have and when a daughter grows older it is necessary that she be married off so she won't be a financial burden and because with marriage comes a dowry which is badly needed.

After losing her first daughter, Kavita can't bear the thought of her newborn second daughter being taken from her by death. And so she walks all night to place her in an orphage. When she returns she tells her husband that the baby died in the night.

Kavita goes on to give birth to a son but she is never able to shut out thoughts of her daughter. Life in the countryside gets worse and the husband convinces Kavita that a move to the city would be good for them. Many people have thought that to move to Mumbai is the answer to all of their needs. Nothing could be further from the truth. Their life there, their son's life there, is worse than if they had stayed poor farmers in their original home.

The baby, Asha, is adopted by a family in America. The father is Indian, the mother American. She's  a good student, studying jounalism, and eventually gets a Fellowship to do a study on the poor children on the outskirts of Mumbai.  This gives her the first chance to meet her adoptive father's family and to learn more of her own culture.

She has always wanted to know about her family of origin and is able to find the orphanage and the name of her biological family and actually finds where they live. She visits but they are not home. She leaves a note telling them that she was there. She never does return but Kavita is given the knowledge that what she did was right for her daughter.

This book is very heartwarming. I really recommend it.                            

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Sarah's Key by Tatiana De Rosnay

I started to read this book yesterday morning and was finished by this afternoon. It was, to me and I'm sure to anyone who reads it, absolutely shocking and a real wakeup call. It's fiction and yet it is probably what happened to more than a few Jewish children during the Paris roundup on July 16, 1942. And in other events during the reign of terror.

Writing about one particular child made it so much more real. I have never been able to comprehend what happened. I see pictures and I hear stories and yet my mind won't let me see it as real.  I think part of why I was unable to put the book down was that it was about one human being, what she was feeling and experiencing. 

An American journalist is given a job researching the Roundup on the 60th anniversary. She had never heard of it and the research, and Sarah in particular, became an obsession to her. There was a secret tie in with her husband's family, a french family who had rented the apartment Sarah and her parents had been taken from during the roundup. Now her husband was renovating the same apartment that had been in his family since 1942.

I never know how much to say because I don't want to give away the story but I will say that this is a must read, especially for the younger generation. We need to teach our children/grandchildren what happened to ensure that it never happens again. 

The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton

My goodness, my last post was September 3rd? I've gone through a lot of books since then. I'll see if I can remember them all. 

I picked up The Forgotten Garden because I overheard a couple of women talking about it by the book rack in our pharmacy. I'm as much a sucker for books as kids are for candy that's sitting just at their heights in the checkout stands. I picked up the book to look at the back and the minute I saw that it takes place in Cornwall, England I had to have it - being Cornish myself. It's fiction, of course, but I rely on the writers to describe what the places are like as well. 

I loved this book. It spanned 4 generations basically. The main character was told at 21 years old that she'd Been found by the dock master sitting all by herself with no one claiming her. He took her home with him, not wanting to leave her alone in a strange country (Australia) and she was eventually just adopted by the family. 

As a middle age woman she went looking into the mystery of who she was. She got some answers and bought a cottage overlooking the sea that tied into her mystery. She never did solve the mystery of who she really was before she died but her grand daughter took up where she had left off and the mystery was eventually solved. And what a convoluted story. I was almost at the end of the book before I realized what had happened. It's one of those books where you keep guessing but then eventually that theory goes out the window by something that happens in the plot. 

It was very interesting, fun to read and an easy read. I haven't read any more of her books. She has three others out. 

Saturday, September 3, 2011

King Richard I by Jacob Abbott

Again I downloaded this book free on Librivox. I'm sure there is so much more to learn about these monarchs but this recording was full of information. It spoke of Eleanora of Aquitane, Richard's mother, who was first married to King Louis II of France.  The lands which her grandfather had dominion over were turned over to her but it was a condition of the marriage that the land not be incorporated into France. 

Eleanora was a feisty woman and insisted on accompanying her husband on the crusades along with a number of the women from her court. This didn't turn out well, women being women.

She also liked men and her affairs were no secret. Even though they were catholic she and Louis found a way to be granted an annulment by the Pope so she could marry King Henry II of England. 

The events in this book were exciting. Many of us think our families are dysfunctional... King Henry II's sons were constantly at war both between themselves and against their father. He kept his wife and daughters prisoners for most of their lives with him. He also supposedly had a mistress, Rosamond, who's cottage was built for her within the grounds of the palace hidden away at the end of a maze. 

In the end all of his sons died with the exception of Richard, who accended the throne, and John. 

Then begins the story of the adventures of Richard I himself on the crusades. All in one book. 

Jacob Abbot did a wonderful job of relating a very complicated story. You can also download this book from the Guttenberg Press. That is where most of Librivox's readings are from and if you look at the Guttenberg site you can see the maps and illustrations that are in the book. 

These books have me thirsting for more knowledge of the Monarchy for some reason. I've downloaded Richard III now as well. 

Friday, September 2, 2011

Apple Turnover Murder by Joanne Fluke

It was interesting to read the reviews on Amazon by readers. Many of them didn't like this book. Many of them are getting tired of the same old, same old. But other's loved this book. I loved this book too. I live in a small town and I guess same old, same old, feels comfortable to me. These are cozy mysteries. They are books you can get lost in just for fun and don't require deep thinking. 

In this, the 13th book in the series, Hannah is asked on short notice to bake 1100 cookies for a charity event being organized by the mayor's wife. Her partner Lisa, much to Hannah's horror, suggests that they also set up an apple turnover stand. Of course the recipe for the turnovers is included in the book and they sound delicious. I love everything apple and am hoping I can make myself get into the kitchen and give these a try.

The Amazing Herb is going to be performing at a talent show during the event. His assistant is ill and Lisa, Herb's wife and Hannah's partner, can't take her place. Since Hannah has done the act before with Herb in an earlier book he enlists her help. She's sworn she will never do it again but it doesn't take much to convince Hannah to put on the dreaded purple dress once again. 

During the show the master of ceremonies is found dead between acts - of course, it has to happen to someone doesn't it?  Hannah could very well be considered a suspect this time as the MC is someone she hates. But it doesn't take long to clear her and she's off in search of the killer. 

Norman, the dentist and one of Hannah's love interests, isn't in this book aside from a couple of phone calls from a conference he's attending. The Mike/Hannah/Norman love triangle is still there but it seems a bit shaky with both Mike and Norman. 

Personally I'm pulling for Norman but that's just me. 

Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom

I got this book from the library and read it in an evening. It wasn't at all what I expected and I was a bit disappointed about who I'd meet in heaven until I reminded myself this is just a book, one person's idea. It's about an 83 year old man who spent his whole life at a job that he didn't really enjoy. It was his life's story as much as it was about who and why he met who he did. 

What I did get out of it was that every person who crosses our path in life whether for a few months or for years... and even people related to events in our lives that we never meet.... are there for a reason. Maybe we won't see the reasons, or even meet some of the people who have contributed to our experiences or lessons in our lives, until much later. Sometimes you can see the lessons while  you're alive, other times you won't. 

The author suggests that death isn't the end, it is only the beginning. I like that idea. 

I love to read different sorts of things and maybe we choose the books we want to read for a reason too. Great food for thought.