Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Death of Bees by Lisa O'Donnell

TLC Book Tours 
by Lisa O'Donnell

If you ever wondered what a dysfunctional family was, read THE DEATH OF BEES, and you will no longer be wondering.

Marnie and Nelly lived with their parents who were not married and who never paid attention to them.  They were too busy being on drugs and selling drugs.  The girls had to take care of themselves and were always left alone. Then one day they were truly alone...their parents went missing and never returned.  The girls knew what happened to them, but they couldn't tell anyone.  Their neighbor Lennie saw their parents had been gone for a long time and instinctively knew they wouldn't return so
he stepped in to help.  Lennie had issues of his own.

The book was somewhat disconnected and shared all the awful things that normally occur in a dysfunctional family.  The author portrays scenes very vividly and leaves nothing to the imagination.  She lets every detail of the family's life out in the open for all to see and does it cleverly by having each chapter's contents be the voice of one of the characters.  I believe she was making the reader aware of how often this type of life happens more than we know and what many children live with on a daily basis.  She was also showing that the cycle continues from generation to generation.

Despite the author's attempt of trying to enlighten what we as a civil society do not want to face, this book definitely would not be good for young adults.  There is a lot of vulgarity, sexual situations, drug situations, tension between parent and child, and even murder.  On a positive note, it does touch on strong friendships.  If this book were being rated as a movie, I would give it an R rating.

It did get a little more interesting as the book continued, and there were some funny parts.  You can't help laughing at the absurdity and utter
unbelievability of some of the circumstances, but the book's disconnection with following the plot, the vulgarity, and the unpleasant, but informative topic makes me give the book a 3/5.

This book was given to me free of charge without compensation in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Truth About Love & Lightening by Susan McBride


Did the storm really bring Sam along with it....the Sam who disappeared 40 years ago?  As much as Gretchen wanted it to be Sam, she was worried that his return may mean that 
her secret/her lie would be exposed.

Regardless, it couldn't be anyone but Sam especially since it was well known that his ancestors were famous for storms, lightning, and unusual things happening when lightning struck.  Could it really have happened again no matter how strange....rain, lightening, and walnuts?    

Strange things do and have happened at the farmhouse where Sam grew up and where Gretchen and her sisters now lived.  Strange things such as ghosts knocking on the front door and now the farmhouse being the only place that had electricity when the entire town had none because of the storm that blew through town the day before with Sam on its coattails.

The Truth About Love & Lightening is a book that has lovable, appealing characters with interesting backgrounds.  The characters are the basis, the wonder, and the root of what made Ms. McBride's book a marvelous read.

Ms. McBride always pleases her readers with a mixture of splendid characters, great story lines, and a little bit of mystery.  Waiting for the answer about Sam and also the answer about Gretchen's secret/lie was cleverly and expertly carried out with flashbacks and details of the current lives of the characters.  The unhurried way Ms. McBride melts the reader into the suspense of Sam and his family's past and also into each character's feelings and believability makes you turn the pages not in an unhurried pace but at a hurried, curious pace.

I really enjoyed the book because of Ms. McBride's smooth, splendid writing style.  She glides seamlessly from one period of time to the other and gives you just enough information that you keeps you involved.  

Don't miss this marvelous read by Susan McBride which also teaches us about love and the wisdom of living our lives where we are now, being happy with what we have now, and not living in the past.  5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher and author in exchange for an honest review. 

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Dough, Rolls, Bread, and Pasta Topped With my Homemade Sauce


This is a very YUMMY post.  Hope you have had your lunch.  :)

The first one is the dough I made in my bread machine.

The second one is showing the rolls I made out of the dough.

The third one is a loaf of bread still in the oven. It was crusty on the top when it came out.

The fourth one is dish of pasta topped with my homemade sauce.  

The noodles took FOREVER to cook, but it was worth the wait.

I bought the noodles in New York City, and they had come from Italy.  :)


 We had a YUMMY dinner!!!

Saturday Snapshot is hosted by Alyce of At Home With Books.  It’s easy to participate – just post a picture that was taken by you, a friend, or a family member and add your link on Alyce’s site.

Friday, January 18, 2013

The Lost Art of Mixing by Erica Bauermeister


Food, family, relationships, recipes....a wonderful combination, and a marvelously wonderful book.

THE LOST ART OF MIXING makes you feel cozy inside and out.  After being with Lillian, you are relaxed and happy...she is just someone who makes you want to be where she is and where you want to stay.

In fact, most of the characters mixed well with each other just like a perfect recipe.  Each character blended together to make an unforgettable book about family memories, misunderstandings that turned sour or proved to be a good thing, the heartache of aging parents, and also everyday situations we mostly likely are dealing with or will deal with one day.  

The book also had so many wonderful hints at recipes that it made me want to put the book down and get out my pots and pans and start immediately on a variation of Lillian's recipes.  The characters in the story did the same thing.  They made you want to stop what you were doing, they made you want to join in the conversation, and they made you want to become long-time friends with everyone involved.  I enjoyed every character no matter whether they were causing trouble or dealing with trouble.

If you need a comfy, relaxing read don't miss THE LOST ART OF MIXING.  Ms. Bauermeister has such a soothing way with her words that you will feel as though you just had the most wonderful massage ever when you are done reading the book. Your body and your brain will not be on overload after reading this book but will be in a splendid slow motion mode.

ENJOY!!!  5/5

I won this book from LibraryThing and received it from Putnam Books without compensation in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

A Beautiful Explanation of SEVEN LOCKS by Christine Wade

I read and reviewed SEVEN LOCKS in December, but I was somewhat confused about the title and its true meaning and also the meaning of the book itself.  

I wrote to the author, and she graciously agreed to allow me to use her comments made on my review as a separate post so that others  would not miss her true meaning.

Let's welcome Christine Wade.  If you are moved by her words as I was by her book, you will find yourself making SEVEN LOCKS your next read.

Christine's Explanation:

"Thanks for asking about the title !!!!
You are right in that the meaning of the proverb "The future is a book with seven locks." is not patently obvious. I take it to have a meaning such as "Que sera, sera" or "What ever will be will be, the future is not ours to see."

Personally, I think the beauty of a proverb is that some you get right away, like "Speak of the devil, and you trip on his tail" not because its meaning is so literal and obvious, but because you have heard them so many times repeated in context that you just get what they mean. Unfamiliar ones from other cultures are more mysterious and ambiguous. You know people have said them for ages, so they kinda roll around in your brain but you are not quite sure what they mean.

So "the future is a book with seven locks" has an authentic old world ring that evokes the forward march of time by referencing the future. Time, anxiety about time passing, lost time, and memory are all themes of the book that are developed (but not explained) by this proverb.

So glad you enjoyed Seven Locks and glad you found that it has secrets. I wanted to write a book with some cards up its sleeves that an attentive reader could ponder after they put the book down.. The beginning epigraph and the last sentence challenge the reader to unravel the secrets of the book."

Monday, January 14, 2013

A Rendezvous To Die For by Betty McMahon

Who would have thought that taking pictures at a Prarie Rivers Trappers' Rendezvous would make you a suspect in the murder of one of the attendees.

Cassandra Cassidy found a dead body in a tent at the Rendezvous, and then a day later found another person dead when she stopped by his home.  She was now a suspect in not just one murder, but two...was it a coincidence or purposely done?  When she came upon a third body and then had a fire bomb thrown at her house, she seriously began to wonder what was going on.  Taking pictures was turning out to be deadly and also a threat to her life. 

A RENDEZVOUS TO DIE FOR had well developed characters and scenes that were quite vivid.  You could visualize the scenes and countryside of the small town of Colton Mills, Minnesota, and enjoy the small town atmosphere and stores despite murder hanging over the head of its famous photographer.

The characters came to life, and there were quite a few who could have been suspects.  I know I had my decision made, but then something happened to discount that choice. With her storytelling talent, Ms. McMahon made it tricky to figure out who the real murderer was.  

It took a few pages to get into the plot, but once you passed that stage of the story, you were hooked and were rooting for Cassandra who had struggled all her life as a foster child and had finally made something of herself.  Could someone have been jealous of her success and set her up to be a murder suspect or was it something more sinister? 

I enjoyed the book...good mystery along with some small-town romance.  5/5

I received this book free of charge without compensation from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Saturday Snapshot - 1/12/13

Saturday Snapshot

I have two photos today.  They don't have any connection, but I thought everyone would enjoy them.

The first photo was taken last night from inside the car as we were enjoying an unusually warm January day that was melting the snow along with 100% humidity.

One part of our street was very almost looks like the streets of London way back when.  :)  

Any thoughts on what you think the foggy street looks like?


The second photo was taken when I was in New York last year in early October. 

The weather was beautiful, and I luckily captured the skyline with a double rainbow.  :)  

It isn't the best skyline of New York, but a skyline nonetheless.

 Saturday Snapshot is hosted by Alyce of At Home With Books.  It’s easy to participate – just post a picture that was taken by you, a friend, or a family member and add your link on Alyce’s site.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Dead On Ice by Lauren Carr

When poor Albert was found dead in his house under piles and piles of magazines and other things he couldn't throw away, an investigation began.  The investigation didn't begin just because of Albert's death but because a dead body was found in the freezer of his basement.  A body of someone who disappeared more than 20 years ago.

The investigation went from one character to another, and when I thought I had it figured out it turned out I was wrong each time....I didn't even guess the real murderer in the end.  That being said, there were so many characters in this book that I really couldn't keep track of who was who. 

The characters were comical in their own ways and likeable, though.  I would consider this book to have more of a theme of comedy and love along with an embezzlement going on in the middle of everything instead of a murder.

I like Ms. Carr's books about Mac Faraday much more than these characters, but perhaps they need to grow on me.  3.5/5

I received this book free of charge without compensation from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Black and White and Dead All Over by Michael Bradley

Jealousy, love triangles, high-profile politicians, reporters, and murder.  All of this put together made for a short, but excellent murder mystery.

You will be kept guessing
up until the very last pages who murdered Mary Fleming twenty-two years ago when her body ended up in the basement of a house being moved off its foundation. Brian, a reporter for the Newark Observer had covered stories in wars and political conventions, and was known for his thoroughness.  And...boy was he thorough...he was the one who solved the murder of Mary Fleming that the police hadn't been able to solve.

I read this book in one afternoon.  It was fast-paced, interesting, creative, and intriguing.  Great characters, great storyline, outstanding descriptions of scenes, feelings, and characters.  You could feel the drama as you turned each page.  This is a mystery writer I will keep an eye on.  ENJOY!!  5/5

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Saturday Night Widows by Becky Aikman


SATURDAY NIGHT WIDOWS was very well written and is perfect for those women who are experiencing this terrible part of life as well as anyone who needs a lift.  It may even help you know how to help someone in this situation.

Becky had the right idea about being a not sit around and dress in black and mourn.  Meet other women who share the same grief as you do, and when you meet, bring out the joys of life instead of constantly dwelling on the past.  The six friends in this book helped each other by telling their stories and then by helping each other move forward not backwards.  You will enjoy the dialogue and the excursions the friends shared.

I think anyone will benefit from reading this book because it helps the reader to understand grief, to know that there is help available, and that the best advice is to lift yourself up, meet others, and don't do it alone.  It is a quick, thoughtful read, and those who have actually experienced the loss of a husband will benefit the most.  It was a little difficult to connect with the content even though it could be applied to any grieving situation one may encounter, and  I honestly found myself skimming through the pages. 3/5

I received this book from the publisher with no compensation in exchange for an honest review.