Thursday, December 10, 2009

Stone's Fall by Iain Pears

This book is a keeper in my mind. I was totally intrigued by the author's writing of the story "backwards". By that I mean that the story opens Part 1 with Matthew Braddock finding out about the death of a women he has known in the past, and that she has left a package for him. Thus begins the mystery that unravels as the author takes us into the past history of the characters. My first thought was how on earth could a story be written "backwards", but Iain Pears accomplishes that task most successfully. In each of the three parts, he unravels the skein while at the same time expertly weaving all the threads into a whole fabric. I don't want to give away any of the story, so will keep my comments to a minimum, but suffice to say that this book is a favorite and bears reading more than once. I can honestly say I have found a new author to read and look forward to acquiring more of his works. If you enjoy a story that is complex and detailed and that still keeps you guessing until the end, then I highly recommend Stone's Fall.

Palace Circle by Rebecca Dean

I really enjoyed this book. The story was engaging and believable and I loved the inclusion of well-known historical figures. I appreciate when an author goes to the trouble to build the story around actual historical events and figures and provides a learning experience for the reader as well as an enjoyable read. This is the first of three novels by Rebecca Dean and I am looking forward to reading the next two.

Dark Side of the Morgue by Raymond Benson

I quite enjoy a good who-dunnit, and found this to be just that! Spike Berenger is a little rough around the edges, and so is his investigative style, but isn't that to be expected in a good detective story? The story kept me guessing right to the end and I enjoy when a book can do that. There's nothing worse than figuring out the story before all is revealed! I would definitely pick up another of Raymond Benson's mysteries.

Women in Family Business: What keeps You Up at Night?

An interesting book, but not what I expected or was looking for. Having just gone into business with a family member, I was looking for more of a partnership with family members perspective. This book seemed to focus more on the wife as support to her husband who is the primary business person and then on her relationships with other family members. For me it didn't consider the perspective of two family members of equal status working together to run a business. I do think if the situation you are in is one where you're looking for direction in how to be supportive of family members running businesses, then this book would be helpful. I did find it well-written, just not what I was looking for.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Size 2 for Life by Ashley Marriott and Marc L. Paulsen, MD

I found this an interesting and encouraging book. We all might want to be Size 2, but in this book the authors explain how not everyone can be a size 2, but they can be an adjusted size 2. They explain how to find what your perfect size might be by measuring your wrist. They tie in eating properly, and getting the right amount of exercise in a no-nonsense and up-front manner that I found encouraging. This is not the kind of book you can sit down and read cover to cover, tho. It is more a reference, with facts, exercises, recipes, and a diet plan that can help you along the way. I think this book is worth a read, and maybe will inspire a new perspective on sizing and maybe even encourage getting to your size 2!

How to Solve Your People Problems: Dealing With Your Difficult Relationships by Dr. Alan Godwin

I found this an interesting and worthwhile book. It deals with conflicts and relationships, why we have them, and why we need them. I am sure anyone who reads it will find that they recognize situations in their own life where conflict has arisen, and how it might have been dealt with better. It would definitely be worth a second read.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Common Bond by Donigan Merritt

At first I wasn't sure if I was going to like this book. I wasn't sure what direction it was going in. Then it started to draw me in to the story. It's one of those that you will keep reading because you want to understand. The main character is Morgan Carey, but the book is not about him. It is more about his relationship with his wife and his guilt regarding their relationship. It is about learning from our relationships and is told with a sensitivity to all the depths of emotion involved. It is about love, death, and finding oneself again. Moving, thoughtful, and inspiring. I also enjoyed the secondary relationships, especially the ones between Morgan and Ben Kamakani, and his family. They befriended Morgan at a time of great loss for him, and then for themselves, and they helped him heal, and gave him hope for the future. Read this book, enjoy the Hawaiian setting, and join Morgan as he finds his redemption.

Big Wheel at the Cracker Factory by Mickey Hess

I loved the cover of this book! Just reminded me of a box of Ritz crackers! The book is about anything but crackers, though! It is about searching for what we want to be when we grow up, and finding that what we want to be isn't always what we thought it was. It's about doing the job we work and study hard for, and finding that other jobs are necessary to fill in the gaps. It's about finding jobs, and looking for meaning in what we do. Sometimes funny, and always thoughtful and inspiring, I enjoyed this book. Mickey Hess has let us into his life for a year of working, going to school, and all his doubts and wonderings about what he wants to do when he grows up. He gives us his insights with a down to earth humour I found very engaging. If you've ever questioned where you're going next in your life and career, try this book. You'll find you're not alone.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

No Matter What! by Lisa Nichols

You CAN overcome every obstacle....NO MATTER WHAT! That is what Lisa Nichols shows us with her 9 Steps to Living the Life You Love. I found this book very well-written, and inspiring. Lisa makes a lot of sense with her approach to life and her steps in how to get past those things that trip us up...and don't we all have just one? or two? or a few??? I stayed up late the past two nights totally engrossed in what I was reading and couldn't wait to finish the book. Lisa's candor and down to earth approach make No Matter What! an easy book to read. Her steps aren't rocket science, and anyone could follow them and apply them to their own life. The difficult part would be the confronting our own selves! But aren't we worth it?! I would love for everyone to be able to read this book and just imagine the possibilities! Definitely a keeper! Find it! Buy it! Read it! Keep it!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Secrets Unveiled by Sheshena Pledger

An interesting and well done story that will put you right into a world you don't expect. The world of a crime family out for vengence. The language places you in the setting as much as anything else. That being said, I didn't enjoy this story, finding it much to harsh for my tastes. Once again, if you think you would enjoy this book, please feel free to send me a message and I'll pass it along to the first request.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Threshold: A Hard-Boiled Thriller by Bonnie Kozek

I read this book with a reluctant fascination. Wondering where the story was going, but although I wasn't enjoying much about it, still continuuing to read on and find out. The setting is the streets and about as low as it gets. The lead character, Honey McGuinness, is not your average leading lady crime fighter. She chooses to live on skid row and has seen it all. When one of her friends is murdered, she takes it upon herself to solve the crime. As the back of the book says, it is "Bawdy, gritty, and unrelenting...." Not my type of book, but if it sounds interesting to you, then feel free to email me and I'll pass along my copy to the first person to request it.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Deadly Exchange by Geoffrey M. Gluckman

It's been awhile since I read Deadly Exchange. As you will notice, we've been a little busy opening our bookstore, but the reading still continued. Deadly Exchange was a great book and an intriguing idea. Worthy of a movie even! I can just see something of this nature happening in these days of fear of terrorist threats, and our ever expanding technological advances. Some day it just might happen that everyone has a chip under their skin, and that radio frequencies can communicate and effect that chip...maybe the person carrying it too? Interesting premise, isn't it? What would be the possibilities? I recommend this book to anyone interested in futuristic possibilities!

Never Without A Book Ltd. (the store)

I'm excited to say we are now open! It's been a very busy time getting the store set up and getting all the books on the shelves, and we're still working hard at that. We still have boxes of books to go, but opened our doors anyway. One of our most exciting events lately was the addition of our bookstore cats! (Rodent control...I like to say! ;)) Shakespeare and Rembrandt were strays we adopted from the SPCA. They are both very laid back and have adapted well to their new home at the bookstore. That's them in the attached pictures. Rembrandt is an orange and white longhair who loves to climb anything. Shakespeare is the cream ginger longhair who loves to be petted and held. We're hearing lots of good comments from our customers so far and looking forward to many happy years in this location. If you're ever in Edmonton, look us up!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Bookstore Update!

We're not open yet but we do have our sign! Just had to share it with everyone! All those boxes you see in the window...and many more...are filled with books! Opening day is coming up soon...before the end of June!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Bookstore Update!

Things are moving along quite quickly with the bookstore renovations. We're pleased with the way it's looking and champing at the bit to get the inventory and fixtures loaded in. We're hoping for an end of June opening. You can check out pics, and updates, or even become a fan at our Facebook page. Just search Never Without A Book on Facebook and you'll find us! :)

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Awards! X2!!

I obviously haven't been keeping up with my emails. Today I found I had been given two awards for my blog! Lovely to receive! I'll be passing these awards on in the next while, but meanwhile,

Here are the Rules...
1) Accept the award, post it on your blog together with the name of the person who has granted the award and his or her blog link.2) Pass the award to 15 other blogs that you’ve newly discovered.3) Remember to contact the bloggers to let them know they have been chosen for this award.

I've accepted and posted them to my blog and I hope you'll check out the blogs they were awarded from. Just click on the awards for a link. I'll post my awardees as soon as I can. Wow! Two awards x 15 = 30 lucky blogs! :) I've got some blog surfing to do!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

The Book Store!!! - An Update!

First I apologize to all for not keeping current on my book reviews. I am quite behind and hope to spend some time catching up soon. The combination of working full-time and spending as much available time as possible on the store isn't leaving much time for sleep or anything else! It's all good, tho! Things are so exciting now that we have a space and can work towards renovating and setting up the store! We have a name --- Never Without A Book Ltd. --- and are finally making progress on a logo. Feel free to check out our page on Facebook! We'd love to see you there and hope you will become a fan! Updates appear there periodically, mostly from a sleep deprived brain, so not a lot of details yet. My regular job is closing it's doors soon, and I've cut back my hours in order to spend more time with the store. If you're in the Edmonton area...I do hope you'll stop in and see us once we open! I'll get back to my reviewing soon...promise! ;)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

New Orleans Stories: Great Writers on the City by Various Authors

What a mixed bag of stories one can find in this book. Some I loved, some I didn't so much. Some were a little strange, especially some of those cures. But that's ok. This is not necessarily a book of stories about New Orleans. It is however a gathering of stories by people who either were from New Orleans, or lived in New Orleans at some point. It is an illustration of how this most decadent city can tug at your soul. Most of the stories are short and can be read in one sitting. Authors include such greats as William Faulkner, Anne Rice, Tennessee Williams, Truman Capote, and even Louis Armstrong. Although you might not like all of these stories, I think you might find one or two that catch your interest. For me, it's all about New Orleans, and that made reading it worthwhile.

Memoirs of a Fortune Teller & Vigilante Witch Hunter by Gary Turcotte

I'm choosing to post a joint review for these two books, because they are written by the same author, but also they go together. My first thought on the writing, and it made it difficult to read, was how choppy it came across. I wondered if it was on purpose, giving a sense of separate entries being written in "Memoirs of a Fortune Teller". If that was the intention, then it succeeded. Although the story was easy to follow, gaps were obvious. It idea is a good one, tho. I simply wished for more continuity. "Vigilante Witch Hunter" provided more continuity, although at times it also felt a little choppy. At times I felt rushed through the storyline as well. I really feel this is an interesting and unique idea that maybe simply needs a little more meat on the bones. I didn't hate it, but didn't love it either.

Catching Up!

Wow! It's been awhile since I've posted a review.....but I have a really good excuse! :) Aside from working full-time, I've been involved in the setting up of a new used bookstore. It's name? Never Without A Book Ltd. Isn't that exciting??? Over the past month or so, a lot of my spare time has been spent on tasks necessary to setting up and becoming an owner/manager of a business. Never Without A Book Ltd. is now incorporated as of a couple of weeks ago, and has already purchased inventory and fixtures. Currently we are in the process of obtaining a location and going through all the requirements to that end. What a long and involved process! Consequently my review books are backing up and although I've continued to read, posting reviews has fallen by the wayside. I'm now hoping to correct that over this next couple of weeks. Meanwhile, I'll post any updates regarding the bookstore as they happen! And now....on to some reviews.......

Monday, March 16, 2009


Congratulations Marta! It's time for a celebration!

Check out Marta's blog for a fantastic giveaway to celebrate her 100th post! You can find it here at

Saturday, March 14, 2009

New Orleans Requiem by D. J. Donaldson

I loved the New Orleans memories this book brought back. Almost everywhere the characters went, I could envision. That being said, I didn't ever see any murders while I was there and one can only be thankful for that! This was a very well-written murder mystery and I'm sorry to say that it is now out of print. I'll be keeping an eye out for more of D.J.Donaldson's work. In checking his website, I found that this particular series of books are all out of print. I find that sad as I enjoyed it so much.

The book is part of a series of Andy Broussard/Kit Franklin mysteries. In this one, a serial murder appears in New Orleans at the same time as a convention of forensic specialists. Kit and Andy work with the local law enforcement, and a couple of their forensic friends to solve the murder.
I recommend this book and wish everyone interested in reading it luck in your search. Meanwhile I'm starting my search for others in the series!

Louis Armstrong by Mike Pinfold

If you've never heard him, you don't know what you're missing. His voice was one of a kind. His skill with his horn again one of a kind. There was no one like "Satchmo". His story is as inspiring as it is amazing. Louis Armstrong was one of the greats!

This book is a comprehensive story of his life and career. Well worth reading. His music is well worth listening to. I hope you've taken a few minutes and clicked on the above link for one of his more familiar songs.

Louis Armstrong by Mike Pinfold

Love and Other Natural Disasters by Holly Shumas

What is worse, a physical affair? Or an emotional affair? What is more forgiveable? Love and Other Natural Disasters is an exploration of how one couple gets through an emotional affair. Holly Shumas is a licensed marriage and family therapist who explores this idea in her second novel. Eve is close to giving birth to her second child, and reflecting on the wonderful life she has with her husband Jonathan, when she discovers he is involved, emotionally, with another woman. How she reacts to this knowledge, and how she struggles to make sense of it is only half the story. Her hurt is palpable and yet at the same time I felt some of her reactions were extreme. But then again, how do we know how we would react given the same situation. How would you feel and what would you do if you found that your husband had an emotionally intimate relationship with another woman. That he was more able to discuss and share things with her than you. And even more hurtful is that he kept it secret. Jon's affair is mostly conducted through email and that makes the secretiveness easy without any outright lies. As such, he doesn't see this extra-marital relationship as wrong as there is no physical relationship. It is a sign of the times that people can meet and become emotionally involved online, without even meeting in person. Could this difference of thought and perspective be attributed in part to how men and women are emotionally wired? An interesting story that gives much to think about. A well-written book and I recommend it.

Bark up the Right Tree by Jessie & Ruth Tschudin

This one is for all the animal lover's out there. If you love dogs, and your heart goes out to all those in need of forever homes, then this is one book you should definitely read! Jessie (the dog) is a mature black labrador retriever, abandoned by her family, who found a new home with Ruth Tschudin who had a vision that grew from a dog pulling a child in a wagon, to "a place where adoptive families and abandoned animals could love and support each other." This is Jessie's story, told through Jessie's eyes, but with Ruth's assistance, because we all know it's kind of difficult for a dog to type! This story is heart-breaking, and heart-warming. Be prepared for tears and joy! And visit Jessie's website at

Eagle Brand Classic Recipes

Who doesn't need another handy little recipe book of way to yummy recipes! this is just such a book. The cover along makes you hungry. This one comes in handy for all those special occasions when you need to take something along for a potluck, or when company's coming and you want to serve something special. I like that some of the recipes are make-ahead-able and freeze-able. Once again, far to many choices but one need never again wonder what to do with that can of Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk!

Top Tarts - Ten Recipes by Tamasin Day-Lewis

This tiny little book inspired me and made me hungry! I need to go on a shopping trip to get some ingredients, but first I would have to make up my mind which tarts to try. I love that she has included a section on mastering pastry, especially since pastry and I have been enemies for quite some time. Then I would have to decide...will it be the ever favorite Quiche Lorraine? Or, should I try the Tomato and Prosciutto Tart? Or maybe the Ambrosial Peach, Vanilla and Amaretti Tarte Tatin. To many yummy choices!

Family Plots: Love, Death & Tax Evasion by Mary Patrick Kavanaugh

I didn't quite know what to make of this book at first. I think the title and the cover are indicative of the unique and unusual sense of humor of the author. After all, included on the cover is a 'stamp' "Awarded Sixteen Rejections from Prominent NYC Publishers 2008". Rejections? Hmmm... After reading it, I'm not sure why. I found it entertaining to say the least. Possibly the rejectors didn't like the mix of fact and fiction? Mary Patrick Kavanaugh says this "Family Plots is a novel based on the facts of my life. Many events are drawn from actual experiences; however, I have collapsed time, conflated characters, invented dialogue, and rendered some fictional scenes and characters purely for dramatic impact. Because I am not the first or last writer to sensationalize the verifiable data of my personal life, I think there should be a genre recognized for this category of work. If it were up to me, I'd call it Pulp Faction." I have to agree with her. I applaud her story-telling abilities and enjoyed the quirky approach.

Mary Patrick Kavanaugh also has a website and I have to say Kudos to Mary for not giving up!

Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom

Although I've been wanting to read this book for awhile...ever since I read "The Five People You meet in Heaven"...I didn't have it on my list until a conversation with a friend brought it to mind. After talking about it, I just had to read it. I'm glad I did. This is a wonderful conversation between the author and his favorite teacher. A relationship that wasn't simply student and teacher, but friend, and mentor as well. We all have at least one person in our lives who we think of as a mentor and who is or was one of those simply wise people we wish we could be around forever. Morrie is one of those who when faced with the certainty of his own death, stands strong and proud in his beliefs and his attitude to life. We can all learn from his example. All I can say is.....Read it. Read it!

Land of Marvels by Barry Unsworth

"Barry Unsworth, a writer with an "almost magical capacity for literary time travel" (New York Times Book Review) has the extraordinary ability to re-create the past and make it relevant to contemporary readers." is a quote from the back of the book. I really enjoyed this book. I've always had a fascination for archeology and history and combining that with a newer interest in all things middle eastern, this book fit right in! I found it compelling and informative even though it is a work of fiction. The story is set in 1914, pre-WWI times. The historical, archeaological & geological information was interesting and educational at the same time. I enjoy when an author adds little snippets of relevant information to their story. The characters are realistic and believable and make you want to care about the story. This is the kind of book that can draw the reader right in and I felt like I had been on this adventure with them. I didn't like the way the story ended, but it fits. I would still recommend this book to anyone who enjoys historical fiction. This one's a keeper for me!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Update for the Book Carnival Giveaway Winner

Flip has not responded to my email, or post regarding winning Vigilante Witch Hunter, and email has come back officially as undeliverable. Consequently I have asked my son to draw another number, and the lucky winner is #22, Velocibadgergirl! An email has been sent. Congratulations Velocibadgergirl!

Monday, March 9, 2009


FLIP!!!! Congratulations Flip!

Many thanks to all who participated in my first giveaway! I'm looking forward to more giveaways in the future. :)

Monday, March 2, 2009


Since I received two copies of the thriller, Vigilante Witch Hunter by Gary Turcotte, I thought it would be nice to share the wealth! I haven't read it yet, so what follows is from the back of the book.

Every dark cloud does not have a silver lining.

Melissa married the man of her dreams. She didn't know that he was a fortune teller. His secret life brought many dark hearted people into Melissa's future. She wondered if her soulmate had sold his soul to the devil. Sometimes a buried treasure is best left alone.

Leave a comment to be entered into the draw for this book. I will be posting the winner on Sunday, March 8, 2009. Giveaway is open to everyone. There will be one winner.

Book Giveaway Carnival! is hosting the next Book Giveaway Carnival starting on March 2nd and running through until March 8th. I'm joining in the fun! You can to! You can find more information here. I'll have a book to give away listed shortly, so check back soon!

Friday, February 20, 2009

The Measure of a Man: A Spiritual Autobiography by Sidney Poitier

I have been a fan of Sidney Poitier ever since I first watched "To Sir With Love"! Who hasn't? But is it the character? Or is it the man? I consider him to be one of our greatest actors and yet so quietly he came to greatness. Until reading this autobiography, I can't say I knew very much about Sidney Poitier. Now, I can say that my respect for him is well-placed and I'm even more a fan.

From his childhood, growing up in poverty on Cat Island in the Bahamas, to his battle with prostate cancer, this book reveals the life of a man of dignity. I found his childhood filled with treasured memories growing up with a freedom most children never know and also packed with lessons that most never learn, but that stood him well in later life. I found myself agreeing with his thoughts and comparisons of that childhood with respect to today's children with their video games and need for constant outside stimulus.

Times were different then, and so were the struggles he faced. He was a man who worked hard and took pride in what he accomplished. When things were difficult, he kept his focus and never gave up. I appreciated his discussions about the making of his films and his perspective relating the stories to what was happening historically. The one thing I have to respect him for is his humility. Often I noticed him giving credit to those who came before him for paving the way for him and those who came after.

I recommend reading this book. We can all learn something from such a thoughtful, intelligent, respectful human being.

When We Were Romans by Matthew Kneale

This was an easy read and interesting, although I'm not sure I really enjoyed it. The story is told from the perspective of a nine-year old boy with all the focus and interests one would expect from this age. His friends, his hamster, his toys and his relationships with his family. Occasionally we are treated to excerpts of his learning about Space and Roman history. It is much more than that, tho, the reader finds, as the story unfolds. At first I was amused at the perspective, and I am impressed with the author's ability to stay 'in character' throughout. Some would be bothered by the mis-spellings and grammatical errors but it is what you would expect from inside the mind of a 9-yr old. There were definitely times I felt that Lawrence was mature for his age, like when he is trying his best to help his mother even when he's not sure what it is that she needs, and other times when I felt he was simply acting out by his deliberate misbehaviour. The interaction between him and his sister was completely believable. There were parts that puzzled me and the ending was not at all expected but did make everything clearer and more understandable. I don't like to give away an ending, so I won't, but I do feel this book is worth reading. It will draw you in.

To Marry The Duke by Julianne MacLean

A lot of historical romances are basically the same. Just expanded versions of the boy-meets-girl formula and set in historical times. That being said, I found this book bright and refreshing. Yes we do have the historical setting, and as the title implies, the plan is to marry a Duke. Our heroine, however, is no blushing young maid, but instead is a strong, forthright and independent American daughter of a working class background whose family has made it big in America. Being rich, however, doesn't automatically give one entrance into American society and therein lies the reason Sophia has come to have a 'season' in London Society. How she handles the oh so proper London Society, and her new family make this a fun and enjoyable read. I particularly appreciated the perspective of Sophia's Dangerous Duke which added depth to the story.

If you're a die-hard romance fan, give this one a try. I'm sure you'll enjoy it!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

City Above The Sea And Other Poems by Stephen Alan Saft

A book of poetry. Easy to read and like most books of poetry, not all will be liked or enjoyed by everyone. Some of the poems didn't quite catch my attention, however, there were others that spoke to me, bringing back memories that I could relate to the poems, or in the case of a couple, so discriptive that I could almost be there. 'To An Old Professer Wherever" reminded me of an english teacher who made a huge impression on me and encouraged my reading habits! 'The Cucumber Plant To The Sun' and 'Tomatoes' brought images. textures and tastes to mind. I could almost smell them growing and could definitely picture them in my minds eye. 'Solomon Bricker' is one that required the reader to think, and 'New York In Winter' amused me for some reason. 'Memories of a Father' struck a little close to home and with a few changes here and there, it could be for my own Father. For some reason, 'Blacksmith' also reminded me of my Father. I liked 'What Will Be' just because.

If you enjoy poetry, then you might want to give this one a try.

Legs Talk: Let Your Legs Do The Talking by D.E. Boone

This is a cute little book. A quick read, less than an hour and quite enjoyable. It's a different take on romance with the whole story being conducted pictorially by legs. The comments accompanying each picture are humorous and playful. This would make a fun addition to a Valentine's gift, or for anyone who appreciates a unique take on the dating game.

Tidings of Great Joy by Sandra Brown

A wonderful story! Of course the usual boy meets girl, some conflict arises, they resolve it while falling madly in love, and well, you know the rest! This one is a little bit of a different approach and I enjoyed it completely. I won't tell any secrets, but there were a couple of parts in the story that really caught at my heart. Unlike the usual fluff romance, I found the depth of the characters and situations to be more complex. We have a strong, independent, successful and self-sufficient woman, and an equally successful, caring, charming man. They have believable conflicts and resolutions and yet there is also all the romance, seduction and heat one would want in a romance.
For all those who love a good, light romance, this is one I'd recommend.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Hot & Bothered by Susan Andersen

Another great story by Susan Andersen. The only thing I'm disappointed in, is that this is Book 3 of 4, and I don't have 2 0r 4 yet! The characters are so well developed in this story that I almost felt like I knew them. They were real, and well balanced. Victoria comes from a life of privilege and a corrupt family. She gets drawn back into the family circle when her father is found murdered, and her half-brother Jared the prime suspect and on the run. Victoria is left to pick up the pieces of her father's life, but first she needs to find Jared. Enter John, the man she had a "no strins, no last names" fling with 6 yrs ago. As a private eye, what he does best is find missing kids and despite their unresolved past, Victoria hires John to help her find her missing brother and solve her father's murder.

This is the kind of book that you just want to keep reading. It's addictive and the further into it I got, the less I wanted to put it down. I'm just going to have to go out and find the other two books in this series now!

Head Over Heels by Susan Andersen

This was a fun, intelligent read! In the words of Jayne Ann Krentz, "Bright, smart, sexy, thoroughly entertaining". I felt this book to be a more grown-up, sassy romance and deserving of the name 'chic-lit' over 'fluff'. Veronica is an independent, caring professional with a career and a great life-style. Then she has to return to the town she couldn't wait to leave and take care of a family crisis. Of course when she gets there, she meets the dangerous Cooper Blackstock and the sparks start flying! Solving a murder and taking care of family business keep Veronica busy, but not so busy she can't fall in love.

I really enjoyed Head Over Heels, and of course had to continue with the next in the series. If you like light-hearted, intelligent romance, with a little mystery thrown in, then this book is for you! By the way, this is Book 1 in a series of 4, so be prepared to be hooked!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Letters From New Orleans by Rob Walker

What a treat this was! To re-visit New Orleans through Rob Walker's eyes was a wonderful experience. I enjoyed every part of this book. It had me wishing I had explored more and gotten to know more of the local people during my short stay there. Not to worry, tho, as I'm already planning a trip back.

Rob Walker spent about 3 years living in and exploring New Orleans, but he didn't just do the touristy things. He delved into a little of what makes New Orleans tick. A little history, a little politics, and a lot of day to day experiences.

And as they say in this quote from his book, quoting The Time Out Guide to New Orleans: "Orleanians are proud of their culture. Visitors are expected to be as enthusiastic about the city as the natives are. If you like the city, tell everyone; if you're not happy in New Orleans, keep it to yourself." I loved the city, and loved this book!

Monday, February 2, 2009

I read this book awhile ago, and quite enjoyed it. It is so well written and so enjoyable, that it's easy to disregard the innocent ignorance of our married leading lady, Lady Emmalene Eberhart. One would expect a woman living in those times, who has been allowed to learn the bow and arrow, and who has had the freedom of her father's castle, who has been running her husband's castle and even seeing to the training of his men in his absence, to be less ignorant of the ways between a man and a woman, but therein lies the crux of the problem.

How Lady Emmalene approaches becoming a good wife and mother, which is after all what any good wife should aspire to, makes for an interesting twist in the story. Throw in a feudal struggle for the property and dowry that come with her, and a ruggedly handsome, landless knight, and you have the makings for a wonderfully medieval who-dun-it/romance.

For sheer enjoyment and a love of romances set in medieval times, this book is a great read! If you're looking for more history and weight to your reading, tho, I'd give this a pass.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Jumble Pie by Melanie Lynne Hauser

Jumble Pie is the story of a pie, and it's position as a metaphor in the lives of two girls. Jumble Pie is also a coming of age story. Starting out with two young girls who meet in school, become friends, and grow up together, we follow their story of coming to terms with their differences and what makes them friends. Although we move between the two girls, it is mostly about Em, and her view of their relationship and how she feels about things. Occasionally we see Juliet's viewpoint, although it also revolves around Em. The continuing thread in the story, and the piece de resistance that holds them together is 'the pie'. Hmmmm....I wonder if it tastes as good as it sounds???

Updated note: I received an email from the Green Apple Team who publish Melanie Lynne Hauser's books and they very kindly provided me with a cover for the book, along with a link so that you can download your own copy of Jumble Pie! How nice of them! :) Here's the link:

Diary of a Blues Goddess by Erica Orloff

First of all I have to say I enjoyed this book for it's setting in New Orleans and the memories provoked. It did however bring back a wish that I had been able to go to The House of Blues while I was there. This book is just a little taste of New Orleans and the music it is famous for.

Diary of a Blues Goddess is a little bit romance, a little bit chic lit, and a little bit paranormal, but what else would you expect in New Orleans! Of course there has to be blues, jazz, ghosts, beignets, a little bit of plantations, a lot of the French Quarter and loads of wonderful characters. It is well named as a Diary and revolves around Georgia and the events leading to her realization that yes she can sing the blues....and she is a 'Blues Goddess'. That's not really a spoiler, tho, as it's nothing more than what's implied in the title.

So, yes, I recommend that you join Georgia in her quest to sing the blues, and meet all her interesting and flamboyant friends, lovers and relatives, and while you're there, have a little taste of New Orleans!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Bitter Sweets by Roopa Farooki

An interesting book, not so much for it's look at Pakistani & Indian culture, as it is an exploration of the way in which human beings lie to and deceive each other and the consequences that can occur. This was not a difficult book to read and did hold my attention throughout. I had thought about halfway through that I 'knew' the ending but then there was a twist or two to the story.

This is a story of three generations of a family and the ties that keep them together. A story of keeping up appearances even when we are aware that everything is not quite what it appears to be. It is also a story of discovery in which the characters learn not only of the secrets each are hiding from each other, but also of the ones they hide from themselves.

I enjoyed this first novel by Roopa Farooki, and would definitely be interested in reading her future work. Bitter Sweets is colourful and full of characters one can both like and dislike. I recommend it to anyone who enjoys light reading.

Between A Rock And A Hard Place by Aron Ralston

I wasn't sure what I was going to think or feel about this book although just reading the back of the book astounded me. The strength of the human spirit and the will to survive are things we don't often think about until it looks us right in the face. This book is about that strength and will and what one person can do when faced with the ultimate need.

Aron has a history of facing challenges and throughout this book he illustrates this for us, along with the fact that he is accomplished in survival skills as well. He seems to live for the challenge of conquering mountains, snow and ice, the weather, and even whitewater. Some of us wouldn't even think of going there and don't even understand the need that mountain climbers or whitewater rafters feel. We have no desire to expose ourselves to the elements in this way. Some of us would call him crazy. Some would admire his courage to face these challenges. All of his training and experience comes into play when he finds himself in a most unpredictable situation and realizes that he is now totally on his own, dependent on himself for survival.

I read this book with a sense of envy for the ability to climb mountain peaks and be rewarded with magnificent views and a sense of accomplishment. With a sense of admiration for the bravery to do this in sub-zero weather facing the elements, and also the challenges of whitewater rafting. Yet also with a feeling of amazement at Aron's survivor skills. I have to say that I really don't think I could have survived had I found myself in the same place. I have to respect someone who can so courageously and honorably survive what Aron has been through and still come out of the experience with his spirit intact and continue on with his goals.

I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a story of survival. If books like 'Alive' are up your alley, then I feel certain that you will enjoy 'Between a Rock and a Hard Place'.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Gabriel's Angel by Nora Roberts

I loved this story! Who wouldn't? Nora Roberts knows romance and this was a wonderful, heart-warming story. A beautiful, independent pregnant woman provides a twist to the story. She encounters her handsome knight in an interesting way, and Mother Nature provides a snowstorm that keeps them confined in a cabin in the mountains, where events proceed as we know they will. These are just the basics to any great romance, tho. How the story proceeds from there, the strength of the characters, and the way in which they work through their difficulties and come to love and support each other is what makes this story special. I've never read a Nora Roberts book that I didn't love!

It Takes A Hero by Elizabeth Boyle

The beginning of this one started a little slow, but once all the characters found each other, it moved along quite quickly and satisfyingly with a little humour on the side. I enjoyed it and will be looking for other books by Elizabeth Boyle. This is apparently one of a series of books about the Danvers family, although it also works as a stand-alone book. I enjoyed it enough to want to read more of the Danvers family tree.

Rafe is not your modern day investigator, but investigating is what he does. And that is the reason he gets drawn into searching out the mysterious author of the 'Miss Darby' books. He's frustrated because this seeminly nonsensical task is interfering with a murder investigation which promises to bring him a sizeable sum if he can uncover who the culprit is. And being in somewhat dire financial straits, he could really use that money. The payment for finding the author turns out to be to attractive to refuse, however, and besides, who can refuse one of the leading ladies of English Society!

The characters are well portrayed and diverse. I especially enjoyed the humourous antics of Colonel Posthill, and the crotchety Mrs Wortling. I always like being as surprised as the characters when I find out who-dun-it when they do.

The Shania Twain Story: On Her Way by Scott Gray

An interesting book about one of Canada's superstar performers. This is an un-authorized biography quite obviously developed from available public information. Regardless, it is still interesting and gives us a bit of insite, all in one place, into Shania Twain and her rise to fame. And who wouldn't want to know more. After all, she appears to have it all! Beauty, great voice, savvy business sense, innovative songwriter. Although she has worked and struggled on her own to make it in the country music industry, she also has a husband who compliments her and is able to support and promote her strengths as well. The book is a good gathering of public facts, but is not current, having been published in 1998. A lot has happened since then, including the birth of their child, and the latest that Shania and Mutt have separated and are divorcing.

A lot of this book is familiar and although it doesn't mention it specifically, there is also an un-authorized biographical movie that is practically a mirror image of this book. Possibly the movie was developed from the book? Shania's story is every bit as interesting as any other country music star. I will be even more interested in reading the authorized biography whenever it comes out. Meanwhile, I continue to enjoy her music!

No Time For Goodbye by Linwood Barclay

What a twist this one turned out to be! I found it a bit slow getting started, but once it did, I was totally absorbed. Can you imagine??? What thoughts would be going through your mind if you woke up one day and your family was gone! Vanished in the night! How would that affect you? That's what happened to Fourteen-year old Cynthia Bigge. Then twenty-five years later, she's married with a daughter of her own, and the events of her past are coming back to haunt her. She participates in a Cold Case type TV show and odd things start to happen. Is she losing her mind? Is she somehow behind these events? Or is it something else altogether. You'll just have to read it to find out! I definitely enjoyed the different twists this one took and if you like a good mystery, you will too!