April Morning, by Howard Fast

Cover ImageFinished 4-23-09, rating 4/5, ya historical fiction, pub. 1961

For myself, I had the feeling that I was looking at my father for the very first time, not seeing him as I had always seen him in the vague wholeness of age and distance, but looking at the face of a surprisingly young man, his wide, brown face serious and intent upon me, his dark eyes shadowed in their inquiry, his broad full-lipped mouth tight and thoughtful.  How was it, I wondered, that I had never noticed before what a strikingly handsome man he was?  How was it that I had seen in him only the strength of overbearance and not the thewed strength of those massive brown arms spread on the desk with the white shirt sleeves rolled high and carelessly?  It was no wonder that men listened to him and heeded his words.

Chapter – The Night

It’s 1775 and the Battle of Lexington is about to take place in Adam’s backyard, but he doesn’t know it.  He is still hung up on feeling anger toward his father, unappreciated by his mother, and maligned by his younger brother.  He is a typical 15 year old, caught between wanting to grow up and needing to hold on to his childhood angst.  When their small community is warned that the British are headed their way, the men arm themselves, but hope that diplomacy may rule the day.  Adam is in the second line of defense when the British come through, guns firing and the blood flowing.  Adam started that April morning as a boy, but by the end of the day he had grown up witnessing murder, feeling despair, vowing revenge, and realizing that family is the most important thing. 

I loved this book.  I thought Adam’s adolescent relationship with his overbearing father was so real that it is really the heart of the book.  The battle and the rag tag way the men fought back that day at Lexington was a wonderful view into the ways of war over 200 years ago and it is interesting to contrast it with what we do to each other during war today.  This slim novel takes place over that one April day when Adam was forced into adulthood too soon, as was the case with many boys in 1775.

This book is told with such poignant honesty that it will touch your heart.  Although it is about life in the 1700’s, I think teens will recognize the feelings in this book and it may help them put their own feelings into perspective.  I’m glad I was able to watch Adam on his journey to manhood.

Storm Rider, by Cassie Edwards

Cover ImageFinished 4-22-09, rating 2/5, romance, pub. 2002

Storm Rider was that man!

Soon the Snake’s evil deeds would be a thing of the past.  Then, and only then, could Storm Rider think of other things…most important, having a woman in his blankets to love, to cherish.

And then there would be children!

Chapter 2

Tabitha Daniel became Talking Rain the day her parents were killed and she was taken in by the Chief of the Crow tribe.  She was accepted as a member of the tribe, even though her blonde beauty and independent spirit set her apart.  Then Chief Storm Rider shows up wanted to reach a compromise with the Crows and Talking Rain finds herself drawn to him.    When a stunt goes too far Talking Rain finds herself a captive of Storm Rider and she is at his mercy. 

I found the story melodramatic and the writing tedious.  They were obssessed with one another at the very first look and there were pages and pages filled with alternating lustful and resisting thoughts and feelings without any real action.  And, while  I love a good exclamation point ! there were so many that it was distracting.  (Have you ever watched the Seinfeld episode where Elaine edited a book and used an ! every other sentence?  Then you know what I’m talking about.)

Cassie Edwards is a New York Times Bestselling Author, so I have to think I just read one of her less successful titles.  I don’t think I’d read another by her, but if you have a favorite, leave a comment.

Teaser Tuesday – The Hiding Place

teasertuesdays31  Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers! ;)

It never occurred to any of us children that we ourselves were poor; “the poor” were people you took baskets to.  Mama was always cooking up nourishing broths and porridges for forgotten old men and pale young mothers – on days, that is, when she herself was strong enough to stand at the stove.

from the Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom, chapter 2

Cover Image

Just finished this a few hours ago and am still thinking about it.  Many of you may know that this is Corrie’s story of her family’s plight when the Nazi’s occupied Holland.  She and her family ran the underground operation of finding places to hide Jews, including their own home. 

What are you reading this week?

Monday Movies Meme- Some Like It Hot

This week’s movie topic is all about Steamy Love Scenes…

This weekend in Boston a heat wave arrived. Usually the only things this hot here in April come from a steamy love scene. You know the kinds I’m talking about – where the screen just sizzles with passion and you would be embarrassed to watch it with your parents. Sometimes they are key to the plot development, and other times you know the director just threw it in there to be “titillating.” (ha ha) Hopefully this warm weather spell will stick around for a while, but just in case here are some steamy scenes that came to mind should we need them to warm up. What ones have fogged up your screen?

hosted by the Bumbles

Here are my choices-

Body Heat (1981) William Hurt & Kathleen Turner

Mulholland Drive (2001) Naomi Watts & Laura Herring

Fatal Attraction (1987) Michael Douglas & Glenn Close

Unfaithful (2002) Oliver Martinez & Diane Lane

A History of Violence (2005) Viggo Mortensen & Maria Bello

and if you like Diane Lane and Viggo Mortensen a sweeter, hotter love scene  – A Walk on the Moon (1999)

So what do you think?  Did I miss a good one?

Cry Me a Quiz

You guys rock!  Thanks for playing 🙂

I avoid books that I think will make me cry, but occasionally one will sneak up on me 🙂  These are all books that have caused me to shed a tear or two. See full size image

Here’s how to play…Identify the book and leave a comment with the # and the title and I’ll cross it off the list. No Googling, that’s cheating and no fun!

1.  My sister is sick, really sick, and my mom expects me to do whatever necessary to make her well.  But no one has ever asked me what I want.    My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult, Kathy

2. I didn’t know that a boy and a girl could be best friends and I didn’t know nine year olds could die.  Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Patterson, Megan

3. Even though I’m gone, those I left behind are still struggling to come to terms with my murder.  The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold, Heather

4. Harry would never be the same after watching me die and neither would my faithful friends reading back home.  Harry Potter & the Halkf-Blood Prince by JK Rowling, Barbara

5. Every animal should be so lucky to live on a farms with friends.  Especially one who can weave a message.  Charlotte’s Web by EB White, Heather

6. Many lovers in the doghouse have tried my famous line, “Love means never having to say your sorry.”  I wonder if anyone would have paid attention if I hadn’t died.  Love Story by Erich Segal, Margot

7.My Dad slaughter pigs to support me and my family.  I had to grow up way too soon on that Vermont farm way back when.  A Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert Newton Peck, Mark

8. For a little while it looked like I had died and my human parents were distraught, but they should have known that a dog intelligent enough to be named Einstein would find a way to live.  Watchers by Dean Koontz, Debbie

9. Dobby’s death snuck up on me and I was surprised at how much his sacrifice would mean to me.  Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling, Barbara

10. None of us wants to face our own mortality, but this college professor did it with dignity and a desire to leave his mark.  The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch, Thoughts of Joy

Is there a book that has made you cry?

It’s Award Day

Harvee over at Book Bird Dog has bestowed this beautiful award to me.  Her blog is fabulous and you should check her out.






About the award

“One Lovely Blog Award is given to new blogs and blogging friends. The rules to follow are:

1. Accept the award, post it on your blog together with the name of the person who granted the award and his or her blog link.
2.Pass the award to 15 other blogs that you’ve newly discovered.”

My two recipients of this lovely award are

Sally at Books & Musings from Down Under

Debbie at Wrighty Reads


2009-friendly-blogger-thumbAnd Fleur over at Fleur Fisher Reads presented me with this award.  Her blog is always fun and she likes lists too 🙂


My two recipient for this award are

Gautami at Reading Room

 Dawn at She is Too Fond of Books

Thank you so much, ladies, for thinking of me and taking the time to present me with an award.  It means a lot coming from such great bloggers!  If you haven’t checked out these 6 wonderful blogs, then you should.  Like, right now 🙂

The Man Who Ate the 747, by Ben Sherwood

The Man Who Ate the 747 by Sherwood Sherwood: Book CoverFinished 4-21-09, rating 4.5/5, fiction, pub. 2000

It wasn’t the easiest thing in the world, watching your best friend eat an airplane.  Some days you suspected he wasn’t all there in the head.  But then, on other days, he was the smartest. most insightful person you ever knew.

Chapter 3

 J.J. Smith is the Keeper of the Records for The Book of Records (a Guinness-like book).  He is your average man who witnesses greatness, but never acquires it.  His last assignment was to verify the world’s longest kiss, 30:45:00, and the couple misses it by 4 seconds.  He is under pressure from his boss to find the next great record or he could be downsized.  As luck would have it he receives an anonymous tip from someone that a man is eating a Boeing 747.  He catches the first plane to a small town in Nebraska.

Wally Chubb has been in love with Willa Wyatt since his ninth birthday and he figures by eating the 747 that crashed into his field he will finally get her attention.  He has made pretty good progress by the time J.J. shows up and he is excited when television outlets show up to record his feat.  He must find help for the black box, but executives from Boeing show up to help him out.  Unfortunately, Willa seems to take no more notice of him than she did before.

Willa knows why Wally is eating the plane, but figures if she ignores him he will eventually stop.  Then this handsome man shows up asking questions and spouting records that he has witnessed all around the world and she is hooked.  Against her better judgement she finds herself drawn into J.J.’s orbit.

I adore this charming  and original love story.  It is full of small town warmth and spirit and it is sure to inspire you, at least a little.  I wouldn’t want anyone to eat a 747 for me, but I had to admire Wally ingenuity.  It’s amazing to find out what foods you can put ground up metal  into.  It should have included a few recipes in the back 🙂

The quirky characters and plot will bring a smile to your face.  This was not at all what I expected, but I cannot recommend it enough.  At only 250 pages it is a quick, worthwhile read.  It’s my favorite book so far this year.

9 in ’09 with Sherryl Woods

This week I have the New Times Bestselling Author Sherryl Woods answering nine questions.  She writes wonderful romances and has a great website with a blog that covers some really fun topics.  You can visit her website here.  And she also happens to be a part-time neighbor and full-time friend to my Aunt Carol in Colonial Beach, Virginia.

1. You have written over 100 romance and mystery novels.  What is your secret for staying so productive after all these years?

I think my journalism background has been a huge influence on my ability to keep coming up with stories.  I’m always looking around at the world and wondering why this happened or what would change if somebody did this, instead of that.  As Mary Higgins Clark once put it, I spend a lot of time asking what if…?

2. You are my second featured author who earned a journalism degree from Ohio State (Go Bucks!).  Do you think aspiring authors should go to college or are there other avenues that can be just as helpful?

I don’t think college is ever a mistake.  However I certainly don’t think it’s necessary to have a degree in creative writing.  Lots of writers I know have wildly different backgrounds, everything from mine in journalism to drama and law.

3. When you first started your writing career you used a few different pseudonyms before using your real name.  Why did you decide to use one and why did you stop?

I was barely out of my newspaper job when I sold my first books and friends (mistakenly I now know) thought I should preserve my “real” name for “serious” writing.  When I went with my agent, she advised me to use my own name and stick with it, so I could build an identity as an author…and no publisher could ever let others use the name, which can happen if you’re not careful with pseudonyms.

4. It has always been a dream of mine to own my own bookstore and you actually did it!  What were the best and worst aspects of owning your own bookstore and would you recommend it to others, like me?

The ten years I spent owning a bookstore were absolutely wonderful in many respects.  I loved getting to read catalogues, order books and open the boxes every week.  Even better was getting to talk about books with my customers.  It was a book lover’s dream.  However, it was also so demanding, especially with a writing career, that I almost never had a chance to actually read.  And in this economic environment with even the big chains having difficulties, I don’t know that I’d try it unless the circumstances in your community are just right…meaning no major competition for miles and miles.

5. Who are your favorite authors?

I have a slew of them in many genres.  I love Carla Neggers’ romantic suspense, Heather Grahams’ suspense novels, Jayne Ann Krentz (and her Amanda Quick persona), Susan Wiggs, Nelson DeMille, Joan Mendicott, Jan Karon, Dorothea Benton Franks, just for starters.

6. I love quotes.  Do you have a favorite? 

No, not really.

7. What are you currently reading?

Maeve Binchy’s Heart and Soul.  She’s another of my favorites.

8.  If you were trapped in the life of one fictional character, who would you choose?

Just about any female in a book that has a happy ending.

9. And finally, what is your current project?

I’m now writing three more Sweet Magnolias books, beginning with a much-requested story for Ty and Annie.  I’m so delighted by reader enthusiasm for this series.  Writing more is like getting to visit with old friends.  These are scheduled to come out back-to-back in spring 2010.

Thank you so much for stopping by, Sherryl!

The Inn at Eagle Point, Sherryl Woods

The Inn at Eagle Point (Chesapeake Shores Series) by Woods Woods: Book CoverFinished 4-20-09, rating 4/5, romance, pub. 2009

“Come on, Trace, be reasonable,” Abby pleaded.  “I need to get back to New York.  I have a job.  Jess knows what has to be done.  I trust her.”

“You’re her sister.  I’m her banker,” he said.  “Unless you agree to my terms, we’ll proceed with the foreclosure.”

He looked from Abby to Jess, then back again.  “Well, what’s it going to be?  Will I see you tomorrow?”

Chapter 4

Book 1 in the Chesapeake Shores Trilogy

Abby O’Brien is a successful portfolio manager on Wall Street and the oldest of 5 siblings.  When their mother left them it was up to Abby to take care of the family.  The Dad, Mick, lost himself in travel for work and Gram moved in to help care for the kids.  Now Abby must return home to Chesapeake Shores to help her baby sister, Jess.  She has her twin daughters in tow and a torch for her lost love, Trace Riley.  Trace is back in Chesapeake Shores due to a summons by his father, but finds he wants to stay when Abby shows up.  He just has to find a way to keep her there.  Abby and Trace are wonderful characters full of strength and love.

Although this is the central story, there is so much more going on.  The O’Brien’s are a dysfunctional, but loving family and the town of Chesapeake Shores sounds like a great place to live or, at least, visit for a few weeks.  We get to know the feisty Jess and melancholy Mick as well as the mother who left them all those years ago. 

This was Abby and Trace’s story, but I am looking forward to the next installment about the O’Brien clan, Flowers on Main.  I took this to Mexico and it was the perfect beach read.  Now if I could only get back to the beach when the next one comes out next month…

Come back tomorrow for my interview with the author, Sherryl Woods.