Apr 29, 2009

"Waiting On" Wednesday: The Last Child

"Waiting On " Wednesday is a weekly even hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine where we talk about upcoming book releases that we're excited about.  

My can't-wait-to-read book this week is John Hart's THE LAST CHILD due to be released May 12th. 

From Publishers Weekly:

A year after 12-year-old Alyssa Merrimon disappeared on her way home from the library in an unnamed rural North Carolina town, her twin brother, Johnny, continues to search the town, street by street, even visiting the homes of known sex offenders, in this chilling novel from Edgar-winner Hart (Down River). Det. Clyde Hunt, the lead cop on Alyssa's case, keeps a watchful eye on Johnny and his mother, who has deteriorated since Alyssa's abduction and her husband's departure soon afterward. Whena second girl is snatched, Johnny is even more determined to find his sister, convinced that the perpetrator is the same person who took Alyssa. But what he unearths is more sinister than anyone imagined, sending shock waves through the community and putting Johnny's own life in danger. Despite a tendency to dip into melodrama, Hart spins an impressively layered tale of broken families and secrets that can kill.
Doesn't that sound like a great book? What new release are you waiting on?

Apr 27, 2009

Musing Mondays: Non-Fiction

Today’s MUSING MONDAYS post is about reading non-fiction…

Do you read non-fiction regularly? Do you read it in a different way or place than you read fiction? (question courtesy of Diane)

I do read non-fiction, but not as often as I used to. I like to read biography's and current event books, but since I started my blog I've focused mainly on fiction. I've only read four or five non-fiction books in the last year. One that really left an impression on me was INFIDEL by Ayaan Hirsi Ali. [Review here]. Currently, I'm reading THE AUDACITY OF HOPE. My non-fiction reading isn't as regimented as it is with novels, therefore it takes a lot longer to finish them.

I don't read non-fiction any differently than fiction. I like to read sitting up - mainly because if I lay down or get too comfy I fall asleep! That makes reading in bed very difficult even though I love it. My favorite place to read is in the recliner in my bedroom between two corner windows. The lighting is perfect.

Musing Mondays is graciously hosted weekly by Rebecca at Just One More Page.

Apr 26, 2009

The Sunday Salon: New Beginnings

This certainly has been a strange week. This is my first post since Tuesday. My last day at the job I've had for the past nine years was Friday. It was a job I loved and I worked for a man I respect, who is a good friend, so needless to say, its been a tough week. As I've mentioned before, the crashing economy has been especially hard on Florida in the construction industry and that's where I've made my life. Since 1983 I've worked in all aspects of the business. Unfortunately, New Colony Homes is taking a hit and can no longer afford to keep the office open. So its time now for me to explore other things. Because of my retinal disease and low vision, I'm now going to take the step I've been putting off for some time now and will file for disability, with the hope of maintaining a small bookkeeping business from my home as a supplement. The upside is that I'll be gaining lots of reading and blogging time! Yay!

I did manage to do a few bookish things in the early part of the week. For one, I finished ETTA by Gerald Kolpan. [Review here] It's a western-themed novel about Etta Place, the girlfriend of the "Sundance Kid" and member of the Hole-In-The-Wall Gang. Very enjoyable storytelling from a debut author.

I picked up TRUE COLORS by Kristin Hannah at the library on Monday. I had to wait two months for this one!! But it is worth the wait. I'm halfway through it and if it weren't for other things going on, I'd have finished it already, but my mind hasn't been on reading the last several days. This is the first book I've read of Ms. Hannah's and I am loving it. Her writing just flows fom page to page and I love the premise of the story. Three sisters, raised on a ranch in a small town in Washington state, and the bonds of family loyalty. It has a little bit of everything, even a murder. It's a great story! I'll definitely be picking up more of her books if they're anything like this one.

I received an ARC of THE LAST BRIDGE by Teri Coyne from LibraryThing on Thursday that I'm very anxious to start reading. I think it's going to be a real page turner from what I've read about it. I also got Jodi Picoult's HANDLE WITH CARE that I won from BookClubGirl last week. That's another author I've never read before. But that one is going to have to wait a bit. I've got a few ARC's to get through first.

I'm planning to get back into reading today and hopefully finish TRUE COLORS. And I'm also going to spend some time catching up on my blog reading. I'm scared to even look at my Google Reader!!! I hope you are having a pleasant Sunday - what book has your attention today?

Apr 21, 2009

Etta by Gerald Kolpan

Whenever you decide to read a 'fictionalized' story about a real person you never really know what to expect. I came across this debut novel on a few blogs and since I like reading books with a western theme, I was drawn to it.

Etta Place was known as the Sundance Kid's girlfriend and a member of the Hole-In-The-Wall-Gang from the late 1800's. Not much is known about this mysterious woman other than her striking beauty, her taste for fine clothing and apparent privileged family lineage.

Here's what Random House says about the book ~

Beautiful, elusive, and refined, Etta Place captivated the nation at the turn of the last century as she dodged the law with the Wild Bunch, led by Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Her true identity and fate have remained a mystery that has tantalized historians for decades. Now, for the first time, Gerald Kolpan envisions this remarkable woman’s life in a stunning debut novel.

Kolpan imagines that Etta Place was born Lorinda Jameson, the daughter of a prominent financier, who becomes known as the loveliest of the city’s debutantes when she makes her entrance into Philadelphia society. Though her position in life is already assured, her true calling is on horseback. She can ride as well as any man and handle a rifle even better. But when a tragedy leads to a dramatic reversal of fortune, Lorinda is left orphaned, penniless, homeless, and pursued by the ruthless Black Hand mafia.

Rechristened “Etta Place” to ensure her safety, the young woman travels to the farthest reaches of civilization, working as a “Harvey Girl” waitress in Grand Junction, Colorado. There, fate intervenes once more and she again finds herself on the run from the ruthless Pinkerton Detective Agency. But this time she has company. She soon finds herself at the legendary hideout at Hole-in-the-Wall, Wyoming, where she meets the charismatic Butch Cassidy and the handsome, troubled Harry Longbaugh, a.k.a. the Sundance Kid. Through a series of holdups and heists, Etta and Harry begin an epic and ultimately tragic romance, which will be the greatest of Etta’s life. Then, when Etta meets the young and idealistic Eleanor Roosevelt, her life is changed forever.

Throughout reading this adventurous story, I had to keep reminding myself that most of it, even though some of the characters were real, never really happened. I was fully entertained by the antics of Etta and her cohorts in crime, but the fuzzy line between reality and fiction was always there. That's not to say I didn't enjoy the book. I really did. The author makes it very clear in the back of the book what parts are from actual historical accounts and what he made up for the purpose of this debut novel.

The book is made up of narrative storytelling, diary entries supposedly written by Etta herself, telegrams and letters from various other characters and wanted posters with arrest warrants for the infamous bandits. All of this combined makes for a quick read and keeps the timeline of events clear to the reader.

For readers who enjoy stories from the wild west, like myself, this is a book you will be entertained by. For me, personally, I liked the author's storytelling and clever wit which kept this a light, sometimes humorous account of his vision for the tales of this most mysterious horsewoman.

Author: Gerald Kolpan
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Published: March 2009
Pages: 336
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 (I liked it)

Teaser Tuesdays

It's Tuesday and that means its time to pick two sentences from my current read and try to entice you into wanting to read it without giving any spoilers. We call it Teaser Tuesday and it's hosted each week by MizB at Should Be Reading.

My teasers this week are from TRUE COLORS by Kristin Hannah. I've just started reading last night so I really don't know what's happening here, but here goes...

She found Dallas in the bathroom, dripping wet, wearing a towel slung low on his hips. "Where's your gun?" she asked, watching him closely. ~ page 170

Apr 19, 2009

Musing Monday: Favorites So Far

Coming towards the end of April, we’re a third of the way through the way through the year. What’s the favourite book you’ve read so far in 2009? What about your least favourite? (question courtesy of MizB)

My favorite book so far this year is THE THIRTEENTH TALE by Diane Setterfield with THE HELP by Kathryn Stockett extremely close behind. I absolutely fell in love with Setterfield's writing and the story just kept going and going. I was never bored with it and loved the ending. THE HELP was southern fiction at it's best! Being a southerner myself, I was smitten by this book even before I read it.
As far as least favorite, nothing really comes to mind. I've been fortunate to have read some really good books this year. That being said, if I had to list them in order from 'ok' to 'most loved', I would probably say 90 MINUTES IN HEAVEN by Don Piper would be it, only for the fact that I didn't care for all the medical details of his injuries sustained in the car crash. But that's not to say I didn't like the book.
I think 2009 is going to be a fabulous reading year for me as there are so many great books out there I want to read. What are your thoughts on this musing? Do you have a favorite or a least favorite to share? For more responses to this question visit Just One More Page.

[TSS] The Heretic's Daughter by Kathleen Kent

For Sarah Carrier's family life was always hard. As it was for most people living in Andover, Massachusetts in 1690. For nine year-old Sarah, her two older brothers, her baby sister and her parents, hard times seemed to follow them. They fled their home in Billerica to escape smallpox which was spreading rampantly throughout the villages killing entire families. In cover of night, they traveled to Andover to live with Sarah's maternal grandmother with the hopes of starting a new life there. What they would learn later is that their oldest boy, Andrew was already carrying the deadly virus and bringing it to Andover with them.

To say the townspeople didn't take to the Carrier family is an understatement. Martha Carrier, Sarah's mother, was an extremely strong-willed woman who wouldn't back down from anyone. She had a wicked tongue and a way with words that left people speechless and sometimes a little scared. Especially with all the talk of witches in nearby Salem Village.

With the local minister fanning the flames of witchery, the rumors grew and Martha Carrier became the main target of his fury. Sarah and her mother didn't share the closeness many mothers and daughters do and the talk of spells and witchcraft made Sarah as much of an outcast as her mother. She tried not to, but she blamed her mother for how their family was treated. Sarah, herself had questions, but was too afraid of the answers to ask them. There was also the mysterious red book her mother wrote in and kept hidden away that supposedly contained the story of her father's previous life. Perhaps the book would explain why people seemed to be afraid of her father and always avoided him.

Once the arrests for witchcraft began in and around Salem, it was only a matter of time before Martha Carrier would be arrested. Sarah and her family tried to prepare themselves for the inevitable, but nothing they imagined could have prepared them for what would soon happen to their family.

THE HERETIC'S DAUGHTER begins with a letter written in 1752 from Sarah Carrier to her own granddaughter, in the final days of her life. She wishes to explain their family's heritage so that this new young Sarah will have an understanding of where she comes from and the legacy she carries. After the letter, the first chapter starts in 1690 with Sarah as the narrator and continues as such throught the rest of the book.

When this book first came out last September, I had never read anything about the Salem Witch Trials and I was very curious about the story. In the last year, I've become very attached to historical fiction and this book is a perfect example of why I've come to enjoy this genre so much. THE HERETIC'S DAUGHTER is rich in history and the characters are so well developed and believable. Some may think the book a bit slow in the beginning, as I did at first. But in further thinking, I changed my opinion. I think it was important to establish the tone of the story and to get to know the characters, which makes the story what it is. A fascinating, sometimes unfathomable tale of a very strange time in our country's early history.

Sarah Carrier was my favorite character in the book for her strength and courage along with her yearning to be loved as all little girls want to be loved by their mothers. I believe Kathleen Kent did a fantastic job of recreating this part of history and weaving into it a story of the family she is descended from. If you like historical fiction, you will most assuredly enjoy reading this book. And after reading it, I feel it couldn't have been titled anything else. THE HERETIC'S DAUGHTER is perfect.

Author: Kathleen Kent
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Published: September2008
Pages: 352
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 (Highly Recommended)

Apr 17, 2009

Friday Finds 4.17

Even though I didn't get as much blot reading done as I would've liked, I still found a few new-to-me books to add to my lists! Here's my finds for this week:

  • BONEMAN'S DAUGHTERS by Ted Dekker - I read Dar's terrific review on her blog, Peeking Between the Pages and I was hooked! This is a new author to me and I'm excited to venture into this genre. I haven't read many creepy, scary novels lately and I think this one will be perfect to get back into it with.

  • LOVE MERCY by Earlene Fowler - I love stories about family and after reading BookingMama's review, I knew this was one I shouldn't miss.

  • GEOMETRY OF SISTERS by Luann Rice - I came across this book at Breaking the Spine. This is yet another author who is new to me and I'm looking forward to hearing what Jill thinks about it when she's finished reading it.

Those are just a few of the books I've discovered this week. Friday Finds is hosted weekly by MizB at Should Be Reading so stop on over there to see what other readers have found this week.

Apr 16, 2009

Booking Through Thursday: Windfall?

Yesterday, April 15th, was Tax Day here in the U.S., which means lots of lucky people will get refunds of over-paid taxes. Whether you’re one of them or not, what would you spend an unexpected windfall on? Say … $50? How about $500?

(And, this is a reading meme, so by rights the answer should be book-related, but hey, feel free to go wild and splurge on anything you like.)

I was one of the lucky people to have received a refund and idealy I would be able to treat myself to something I wished for. My bookish answer is that I would buy whatever newly released book(s) I really wanted, or maybe some classics to add to my home library. Or maybe even a new bookshelf to get the stack of books off my floor!

Unfortunately, I will not be able to do that this year. My job is seriously in jeopardy due to the state of our economy and every week I go to work, I'm thankful I still have a job. The hard truth is that in all honesty, I don't expect it will hold out through the end of this month. New construction is at a standstill in Florida and when my company is fortunate enough to get a client, the banks requirements are such that no one can qualify. A fellow builder in our area lost 12 customers due to the homeowner's inability to get the construction loan. That builder, like so many others, filed bankruptcy last month after 30 years in the business. Hundreds of small businesses have had to close and whole family's are moving out of state to find work. I'm afraid that after 16 years, my boss stands to lose everyting he's worked for. I know I've gone off on a tangent here, but I felt I couldn't answer this week's question without mentioning it. And it kind of made me feel better to vent! Sorry!

Apr 14, 2009

It's Tuesday! Where Are You?

My name is Etta Place. Well, that's not my real name, but its been my name for almost two years now. Ever since my father committed suicide back in Pennyslvania in 1898 and I had to go into hiding from the people he owed money to. Really bad people. I was in Grand Junction, Colorado for awhile working as a "Harvey Girl", serving train passengers their meals until the son of a wealthy family thought he could have his way with me. I was able to get away, but not without shooting and killing him. No one believed my story though and now I'm on the run again - from the law. I've made some friends with some outlaws and they brought me to a place where the notorious Hole In The Wall Gang hides out. I've recently met Butch Cassidy, the leader of the gang and The Sundance Kid. I find Mr. Longbaugh (The Sundance Kid) very handsome, quiet and polite and I'm looking forward to getting to know him better. ~ ETTA by Gerald Kolpan

To find out where other readers are today, visit Raidergirl3 at Adventures in Reading.

I usually include a Teaser for Teaser Tuesday, however, I left my book in someone elses car yesterday and I won't get it back until later today! I was so upset with myself!! Anyway, I hope you all have a great Tuesday! Happy Reading!

Apr 13, 2009

Musing Mondays: Comments

Today’s MUSING MONDAYS post is about blog comments.

How do you respond to the comments on your blog? Do you try to email individually or comment on post yourself answering the comments above? What do you think is the best way to respond to comments and do you respond to all of them? Do you feel slighted if you don't receive a response back from the blog owner? (question courtesy of Jenn).

I agree with Rebecca, I think this is a great question! Who doesn't love to get comments? It makes my day when I have a post that generates a lot of conversation and I've always wondered about commenting etiquette. It's been kind of a grey area for me. Here's how I handle them . . .

The only time I reply to comments via email is if there's a specific question that requires a lengthy response or if I prefer it to be private. But I don't do that too often. I usually leave a comment on my blog responding to each person individually. That way, other commenters can see my responses too. In this manner, if I respond to one, I respond to all. I may not comment back on every post I publish, but I don't feel that its expected. Therefore, no, I don't feel slighted in any way if my comment doesn't gain a response. We all know how time consuming blogging can be and I would never put such high expectations on replies to comments. Of course it is nice to get a response, but to me, if I do get one, that's just an added bonus! That doesn't mean I expect one every time.

How do you handle comments to your blog? For more answers to this musing, please visit Just One More Page.

Apr 12, 2009

The Sunday Salon: Happy Easter!

It is going to be a beautiful Easter Sunday here in Florida - a perfect day to give thanks for all of the blessings I have in my life. So I thought this would be the perfect day to say thank you for a few awards I've recently been given.

Jo-Jo from Jo-Jo Loves To Read gave me the Friends Award. This award is very special to me and it really means a lot that she chose me as a recipient. Here is what the Friends Award stands for:

These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated.

Now I will present this award to eight other bloggers who must choose eight more and include this cleverly written text into the body of their award.

I am going to pass this award on to eight amazing bloggers who I am happy to call my friends. And they are:

Please take the time to visit their blogs if you haven't already. Thanks again Jo-Jo for honoring me with this award!

I also received the Lemonade Stand Award from Tonya at Story Time With Tonya.

This is an award given to bloggers who display a great attitude and gratitude. The rules are that I'm supposed to nominate at least 10 bloggers to pass this award on to. However, it is impossible for me to pick only 10 because all of the bloggers whose blogs I visit regularly are most gracious and always show gratitude to their readers. For this reason, I'm going to accept this award on behalf of all of the book bloggers that I have come to know over the last year or so that I've been in their company. There are simply too many to list that possess these qualities. I am delighted and thankful for this award. Thank you so much, Tonya!


For the rest of today, I'll be reading a debut novel by Gerald Kolpan called ETTA. It's the fictionalized story of Etta Place, who was the notorious girlfriend of "The Sundance Kid". I only began reading it yesterday, but so far I'm liking it. I haven't read a western-themed book in quite awhile, so it's a nice change of pace.

Earlier this week I was thrilled to learn that I will be getting an ARC of THE LAST BRIDGE by Teri Coyne from LibraryThing Early Reviewers. That was the book I hoped for most when looking over the choices. I'm very anxious to get started reading it.

Later today I'm looking forward to reading the blogs to see what books have captured your attention this week. I hope you all are having a peaceful, happy Easter Sunday!

Apr 9, 2009

Booking Through Thursday: The Numbers

For something different, MizB is borrowing a question from ine of the very first questions ever at Booking Through Thursday. Back from 2005 when Laura owned the blog but, because it was so new, it didn’t get as many responses as it does now … so, why not revisit? Here’s the question:

Some people read one book at a time. Some people have a number of them on the go at any given time, perhaps a reading in bed book, a breakfast table book, a bathroom book, and so on, which leads me to…

Are you currently reading more than one book? Yes

If so, how many books are you currently reading? Two. One fiction and one non-fiction. Two is my limit.

Is this normal for you? I suppose so. Typically, I don't like to read two fiction books at the same time. I end up getting torn between the two. I think I read more efficiently one at a time.That being said, I did recently read Jane Eyre at the same time I read another book. I chose to read Jane at bedtime. It was a great way to wind down and end my day. But I don't normally have a particular bedtime book. I think non-fiction books are a bit different though. I usually have a non-fiction book that I'll read from time to time, but I'm not as regimented with those. I won't necessarily read it every day.

Where do you keep your current reads? I have a reading table that my dad made me that sits in my living room in between the couch and the chair that I like to read in. It has shelves on one side (where I keep my dictionary) and a piece that pulls out with a tile that matches my floor to sit a drink on without the moisture discoloring the wood of the table. And when I'm not using it, it slides back in. I always keep my current reads on that table. I do take whatever fiction book I'm reading with me when I'm out, but when I'm home, that's where it can be found.
How many books do you read at a time?

Apr 7, 2009

It's Tuesday - Where Are You? & A Teaser

This week I thought I'd mix it up a bit with Raidergirl's It's Tuesday, Where Are You? along with MizB's Teaser Tuesday.

This week I'm in Andover, Massachusetts. The year is 1692 and my family and I just found out that a warrant has been issued for my mother for witchery. They are coming to take her to the jail in Salem Village in the morning. There have already been many arrests in neighboring villages and even as far away as Boston. My father has tried to persuade her to leave and go into hiding but my mother, being a very strong-willed woman, won't think of it. She plans to go before the magistrate and explain to them how ridiculous their claims are. If only they would believe her. My mother is not the kind of woman to back down and she has created tensions with many of our neighbors who claim she has cast spells on them.

Then another man said, "They say there is one true test for a witch. You throw 'em in the river. If they drown, their innocense is proved. If they float, they're a witch and you take 'em out and hang 'em." ~ page 218 of The Heretic's Daughter by Kathleen Kent

Apr 6, 2009

Musing Mondays: Your TBR List

Today’s MUSING MONDAYS post is about your to be read list…

As a follow up to last week's question, Joseph asked how you keep track of your tbr list. Do you have a paper list or on your computer? Do you take it with you when you go shopping? How do you decide what gets added to it?

Like most, I'm always adding books to my TBR list, so its ever-changing. Most of the books on that list were taken from book reviews I've read on the blogs that really grabbed me. I keep my main list on my computer, but I also have a wish list on LibraryThing, but come to think of it, I don't think it's up to date. I don't have the books listed in any kind of order because my reading choices change with my mood. I don't like to read too many of the same type of book back to back, so I like to mix it up. Since I don't have one of those fancy phones like Rebecca has to keep her list on, I just use a small notepad that stays in my purse. That way I always have it with me. I also have a list of authors that I want to read at some point. If I'm not looking for anything particular, I refer to that list and can always find something interesting that I've wanted to try.

For more musings visit Rebecca at Just One More Page.

Apr 2, 2009

Booking Through Thursday: Library Week

National Library week is coming up in April, and that led to some questions:

How often do you use your public library and how do you use it? Has the coffeehouse/bookstore replaced the library? Did you go to the library as a child? Do you have any particular memories of the library? Do you like sleek, modern, active libraries or the older, darker, quiet, cozy libraries?

This year National Library Week is April 12th - 18th and this years theme is

Worlds connect @ your library...

You may want to check with your library to see if they have any special events planned. In the last year, I've been using my library more than ever. I think for some people the bookstores with coffee shops have replaced libraries, but in these tough economic times, I think you'll see that changing, if you haven't already. I used to love to go to the bookstore, get a cup 'o joe and browse. I would always end up leaving with at least one book, but I'm watching my pennies closer now.

Although I did visit the library as a child, I don't really have any memories that stand out. I love the coziness of older, smaller libraries, but I really enjoy our new local library. It's very spacious and the lighting is amazing, which is important to me. There are lots of places to sit and many large tables and computer workspaces. This summer I'm planning to visit the library much more often and do a lot more browsing.

What do you like most about your library?