Thursday, April 30, 2009

~Books Read in April 2009~

April's Books

~Half Mast~ by Christopher Null
~ The Days Between The Years~ by Sherry Austin
~Tender Graces~ by Kathryn Magendie

~How Sweet It Is~ by Alice J. Wisler
~Forgive Me~ by Amanda Eyre Ward

~Fade~ by Lisa McMann
~Mysterious Skin~ by Scott Heim

  • ~The Last Bridge~ by Teri Coyne
  • ~My Cat Spit McGee~ by Willie Morris (Non-Fiction Five Challenge)
  • ~Phoebe~ by Diane Noble
  • ~Somebody's Someone~ by Regina Louise (Non-Fiction Five Challenge)
  • ~They Cage The Animals At Night~ by Jennings Michael Burch (Non-Fiction Five Challenge)
  • ~Silent Cry~ by Julie Veazey

~Booking Through Thursday~ Which Is Worse?

Which is worse?

Finding a book you love and then hating everything else you try by that author, or

Reading a completely disappointing book by an author that you love?

I would have to say finding a book that you love, then hating everything else that you try by that author. That has happened to me, unfortunately, more than once. I might completely fall in love with an author's first novel, only to be bitterly disappointed in their second. Or any of their others, for that is just sad. I have had that experience with author Kristin McCloy. Her first novel, Velocity, just blew me away. I own it, and have read it several times. Her second novel, Some Girls, was such a let down. I couldn't read it. I tried, several times, thinking maybe it was just me. Well, it could actually be a combination of me and the story not being very appealing to me, I guess. To my knowledge, she has not written another book since Some Girls which was published in 1994. I keep checking periodically to see if she has something new in the works, that maybe will be as good or even better than Velocity.

Which is worse for you?

I'm Very Honored

I love this cute little panda bear who graces the "You Don't Say" award. This award was given to me by Bev at Merry Weather...she is so sweet! Please pop over to her page to browse a bit...I absolutely love her blog!

This award is given to those who take the time to make a comment. I love getting comments! I also love leaving them...which makes me feel very honored to win this award. Thank you so much, Bev.

If you decide to pass the award on to others who you enjoy hearing comments from then:
1. blog about the award
2. choose 1 or more - up to 5 other bloggers to pass the award on to
3. link to your nominees within your post
4. and be sure to link back to the person you won the award from
5. leave a comment after their last post on their blog to let them know to pick up their award

I am happy to pass this award on to:

The Forgetful Librarian
Barneys Book Blog
Library Queue
Small World Reads
Wrighty's Reads

Thank you to everyone who takes the time to leave me a comment or two...all of you are special!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

~Book Preview~ Mysterious Skin by Scott Heim

From the back cover: At the age of eight Brian Lackey is found bleeding under the crawl space of his house, having endured something so traumatic that he cannot remember an entire 5-hour period of time. During the following years he slowly recalls details from that night, but these fragments are not enough to explain what happened to him, and he begins to believe that he may have been the victim of an alien encounter. Neil McCormick is fully aware of the events from that summer. Wise beyond his years, curious about his developing sexuality, Neil found what he perceived to be love and guidance from his baseball coach. Now, ten years later, he is a teenage hustler, a terrorist of sorts, unaware of the dangerous path his life is taking. His recklessness is governed by idealized memories of his coach, memories that unexpectedly change when Brian comes to Neil for help, and ultimately, the truth.

About the Author: Scott Heim's fiction and poetry have appeared in many leading magazines. He is also the author of a collection of poetry, Saved From Drowning. He holds degrees from the University of Kansas and Columbia University. He lives in New York City.

~One Literature Nut's First Giveaway~

To enter her giveaway, please click HERE.

MJMBecky says:
This is my first, official book giveaway! I read A Hopeless Romantic earlier this year (here's the link to that review) and LOVED IT so much that I had to have a keeper copy. Having said that, back in February I ordered a copy for myself, and as a gift to give my friend Doc. Well, after a MAJOR UPS debauchle, I ended up with three copies. I decided awhile ago that I would give this extra copy away, but wanted to wait to do it as a celebration of my students taking the AP exam next week on May 7th. I know that seems silly to many of you, but to me, it's consuming my waking days and nights! (Yes, I've started dreaming about it.)

Anyway, in celebration of my students finishing up and taking the AP test next week, I'm going to give away my extra copy of the novel. On Sunday, May 9th, the giveaway will close at midnight MST. Sorry, only resident of the U.S. and Canada at this time.

To enter:
  • Leave me a comment, telling me about a test that you took in high school that gave you nightmares! :) Please include your email address so that I can contact you if chosen.
  • For another entry, include this giveaway on your blog (sidebars count), and post another comment letting me know that you've posted this.
  • For another entry, Twitter the giveaway and then post a comment, letting me know you twittered!
  • For another entry, follow me, and post a comment letting me know you are a follower! :)

~Book Review~ Fade by Lisa McMann

Fade by Lisa McMann is book 2 in the Wake Series. The story centers around Janie, a high school student who has the ability to "Dream Catch", which is getting pulled into other people's dreams and/or nightmares. Janie and her boyfriend Cabel are helping the police track down a sexual predator at their high school. The police have been tipped off that it is a teacher. Janie is used as a decoy to try to lure the suspected teachers into a situation where they will be caught. Janie's dream catching exhausts her, and Cabel is always there afterward, to help her re-adjust when she finally makes her way out of a dream. He is her support system, her rock. Janie gets no support from her alcoholic mother, whom she takes care of, although the mother is not mentioned much in the story. I didn't care for this book as much as I enjoyed Wake. It was a little slow to start, but it did pick up the pace. The chapters seemed disjointed somehow, and I didn't feel as if I was as close to Janie as I was in the previous novel. Janie and Caleb's relationship in Fade took on a somber note. Caleb develops hang-ups about Janie's participation in the sting operation, and when it is all over, refuses to talk to her. This added distraction to the story. In the end, I didn't feel that I had gotten to know all of the characters very well. Also, the scenes with the teachers and students were a little disturbing. I wouldn't recommend this book to anyone under the age of 16. Two Stars
Reading level: Young Adult
Publisher: Simon Pulse (February 10, 2009)
256 pages
ISBN-10: 1416953582

For a different point of view, please check out Book Muncher's Review!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

~Book Review~ Tender Graces by Kathryn Magendie

From the back cover: The death of her troubled mother and memories of her abused grandmother lure a woman back to the Appalachian hollow where she was born. Virginia Kate Carey, the daughter of a beautiful mountain wild-child, and a slick Shakespeare-quoting salesman, relives her turbulent childhood and the pain of her mother's betrayals. Haunted by ghosts and buried family secrets, Virginia Kate struggles to reconcile three generations of her family's lost innocence.

My thoughts on this book: For me, reading this book was like curling up under a soft blanket, with a hot cup of tea, and feeling totally satisfied. Kathryn's portrayal of Virginia Kate is perfect and beautiful....everything that you would want from the main character of a story. She is the glue that tries to hold her family together. You suffer along with her when her mother is drunk and verbally abusive to her husband and her children. The children take in stride their mother's moodiness and alcoholism. Their father decides he can't take anymore and moves out. He starts a whole new life for himself. He goes to school and gets remarried, and one by one, their mother abandons them and sends them to live with their father. Virginia Kate and her siblings like Louisiana, but Virginia Kate longs for West Virginia and her mountains, and only wishes her mother would stop drinking.

Excerpt, page 269~"I miss my mountain so much when I'm in Louisiana. When I'm in Louisiana, I mourn for West Virginia. When I'm here, I miss my family so much. I'm Virginia Kate Carey and I'm a crazy girl."

Virginia Kate comes to the realization that she has been carrying a heavy burden for far too long. With the help of the spirit of her Grandma Faith, she learns to finally let go.

Kathryn takes you into Virginia Kate's world, so that she may share her life experiences with you.
You will laugh and cry while reading this heartfelt story that only Kathryn can tell. This book is a is going on my bookshelf to stay.

Five Stars

Publisher: Bell Bridge Books

315 pages

ISBN: 978-0-9821756-2-0

~Teaser Tuesday~

Teaser Tuesday is hosted by MizBe at ShouldBeReading.

  • Grab your current read. Let the book fall open to a random page. Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12. You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
    Please avoid spoilers!
"Janie is in Stacey's car, and Stacey is driving like a maniac down a dark street near the woods. From the backseat, a growl, and then a man appears, and grabs Stacey around the neck from behind." ~Fade~ by Lisa McMann Page 43

Monday, April 27, 2009

~Mailbox Monday~

I got 2 books on Saturday...not in the mail, I bought them. Of course, I felt very guilty, because my TBR stack is totally out of control! Hubby and I went to a store called Ollies...they just opened one here. It is a big discount store, kind of like Big Lots. Well, wouldn't you know it, they had books. And I HAD to browse the books. AND of course there were a couple that I could not resist. Hey! I will get around to reading them some time, just like all of my others, that I dust off on a weekly basis! I got:

Re-Constructing Natalie by Laura Jensen Walker~ "Natalie Moore is about to lose what little cleavage she had. She'll shave her head. Leave her church. Fall for a man in scrubs. Learn to tap, and flash a room full of women. Natalie needs to know with or without her breasts she is more than the sum of her parts."~

Twisted by Laurie Halse Anderson~ FROM AMAZON.COM~Socially inept Tyler Miller thinks his senior year of high school is going to be a year like no other. After being sentenced to a summer of character building physical labor following a graffiti prank, his reputation at school receives a boost, as do his muscles. Enter super-popular Bethany Milbury, sister of his tormentor, Chip, and daughter of his father's boss. Tyler's newfound physique has attracted her interest and infuriated Chip, leading to ongoing conflicts at school. Likewise, Tyler's inability to meet his volatile father's demands to be an asset, not a liability adds increasing tension. All too quickly, Tyler's life spirals out of control. In the wake of an incident at a wild party that Bethany has invited him to attend, he is left feeling completely isolated at school and alienated at home, a victim of twisted perception. Tyler must tackle the complex issues of integrity, personal responsibility, and identity on his own as he struggles to understand what it means to be a man. His once humorous voice now only conveys naked vulnerability. With gripping scenes and a rousing ending, Anderson authentically portrays Tyler's emotional instability as he contemplates darker and darker solutions to his situation. Readers will rejoice in Tyler's proclamation, I'm not the problem here…I'm tired of feeling like I am. Teenage concerns with sex, alcohol, grades, and family are all tackled with honesty and candor. Once again, Anderson's taut, confident writing will cause this story to linger long after the book is set down.–Erin Schirota, Bronxville Public Library, NY
What was in your mailbox today?

~The Lemonade Award~

This wonderful award has been given to me by Blodeuedd of Book girl of Mur-y-castell. These awards are very special to me, and I am honored to receive them from my blogger friends. So, I am passing this award on to some new friends that I have met recently~

1) Put the Lemonade Award logo on your blog or post.

2) Nominate at least 10 blogs that show great attitude or gratitude.

3) Link to your nominees within your post.

4) Let the nominees know that they have received this award by commenting on their blog.

5) Share the love and link to the person from whom you received your award.

Thank you so much! I enjoy reading all of the blogs of the new friends that I have made, and even ones who will become future friends...all of you are special to me!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

~The Sunday Salon~

I am almost finished with Tender Graces by Kathryn Magendie and I have to say, I just don't want it to end! I have enjoyed this story so much! I love it when a book grabs me from the first sentence and doesn't let go.

The first part of the story takes place in West Virginia, where I went to college and spent a great deal of time, and I have relatives that still live there, so it holds a special place in my heart. Her characters are very likeable, and her descriptions are wonderful...they come to life in your mind. In clear and concise prose, Kathryn weaves the threads of her story beautifully throughout each chapter....leaving you wanting more as each chapter comes to a close.

I will be sorry when the story ends, only because I could read writing like Kathryns' forever.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

~Carrie's Blogwarming Giveaway~

Carrie over at Books and Movies is hosting a Blogwarming Giveaway! Six books, six winners!
The books up for grabs are:

  1. Sea Changes by Gail Graham

  2. The Love Letters by Madelein L'Engle

  3. Land of Marvels by Barry Unsworth

  4. The Terminal Spy by Alan S. Cowell

  5. The Night Country by Stewart O'Nan

  6. The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kid

The rules for her giveaway are as follows:

~ For one entry, leave a comment on this post. Tell me which four of the above books you would most like to win.
~ For a second entry, blog about this contest and leave a link to your post.
~ For a third entry, follow my blog on Google Reader, Bloglines, or your RSS reader of choice, and then tell me that you did so. If you’re already a follower, tell me that, because it counts, too.
~ For a fourth entry, post a link to this giveaway on Twitter or Facebook, and then leave me a comment telling me you did so.
~ For a fifth entry, Stumble or Digg this post (see those handy buttons at the bottom of the post?) and then tell me you did so.
~ You can leave everything in one comment if you prefer - I’ll tally up everybody’s entries.
~ Because I’m broke and paying for shipping myself, this giveaway is open to US and Canadian readers only. I hope someday I can have a giveaway that includes my foreign readers, but I just can’t afford the postage right now.
~ All entries must be received by 11:59 pm PST, Friday, May 1st. On Saturday, May 2nd, I will total everyone’s entries and use to draw six winners. I will then try to match the winners with one of their top four choices.

Click HERE to enter her contest...and best of luck to everyone!

~Smiley Saturday~

Please meet Peanut and Lilly! My husband and I live with them (they own the house) here in North Carolina. Peanut is 4 years old, Lilly is a year and a half. We adopted them as babies - there is nothing cuter than a Chihuahua puppy!

When my husband and I first met, I owned "Sheltie" (a sheltie, of course). Actually, her name was Katie, but I already had a cat named Katie so I started calling her Sheltie. I adopted her at six years of age from Middle Tennessee Sheltie Rescue. She was a very special dog. We lost her two years ago due to liver failure - she was 15. While she was still alive, we adopted Peanut. Of course, Sheltie would have nothing to do with him...she would curl her lip back and show her teeth (it was a very funny face!). Peanut so wanted to be friends with her! Sheltie was ALWAYS by my side. She followed me everywhere. If I had to get up and go into the other room for something, she would haul herself to her feet, even if she didn't want was almost like she felt it was her duty to be by my side. One of the funnier things that she did, was "herd" my cats into another room while I would run the vacuum.

A year and a half after Sheltie was gone, we adopted Lilly...(or rather I did, THEN told my husband!). I missed having a buddy. Peanut had become Steve's baby.

I saw Lilly on the internet...she looked like a little gremlin. I called about her, then set up a time to go visit with her. She was tiny! She weighed less than 2 pounds, and wouldn't eat puppy food. They were boiling chicken breasts for her (the queen that she was!). We brought her home, and she has been glued to me ever since. She eats dog food now, she and Peanut are big buddies, and most of all, she is my dog. She's on my lap while I read, nestled next to me while I sleep. She is my constant companion and love of my life. She will never replace Sheltie, but she is mine. :)

Friday, April 24, 2009

~Friday Finds~

Have you ever read a book that grabbed a hold of that has stuck in your head even though you haven't read it in over 20 years? And somewhere along the way, you lost the book, then tried to find it and couldn't? Maybe it went out of print? Verrrrrrry frustrating! In 1982 when I was in 11th grade, I read a little mass market paperback by author Christopher Fahy. The name of the book was Nightflyer. The story was so unique, that it stuck with me...I never forgot about it. It was a great read...I think I read it 2 or 3 times. Then the book got lost! We were selling our house that year, and I left for college. The book probably wound up in a garage sale that my mother had. I started looking for a copy of that book around 12 years ago. I looked on the internet and couldn't find it for sale anywhere. I prowled used book stores, flea markets....anywhere that sold old used books. Then one day I googled it and lo and behold! had it! It was reprinted and re-released in 2000. I ordered it, of course! The reprinted version is a larger book, with the print being very small...its kind of hard to see. It is almost like they took the print from the small paperback and just copied it into a larger book. I was so glad to finally have it! It sits proudly on one of my bookshelves, along with other horror novels. It is there whenever I want to just pick it up and read it.
A brief synopsis from an reviewer: "A young boy, who leads a kind of tortured existence at the hands of schoolyard bullies and a cruel father, discovers an amazing talent: He can leave his body. As the boy's life begins to fall apart, he is lured towards the dark side of his new power and the hunger for revenge... This was a great read and Fahy did a fantastic job with it. Do yourself a favor and track it down. A must for horror/thriller fans."
IUniverse (September 12, 2000) Paperback: 304 pages ISBN-10: 0595006930

Thursday, April 23, 2009

One Lovely Blog Award~

I have been awarded "One Lovely Blog Award" by NotNessie at Todays Adventure. Thank you so so much! (BIG SMILE!) Please pop on over to her blog and pay her a will enjoy her page.

I don't think I can come up with 15 bloggers to pass this award on to, so I will just say that everyone deserves this award! All of the blogs that I visit are terrific and deserve this award. Congratulations to all of you!! :)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

~My Very First Giveaway~ April 23, 2009

I have 3 gently used books that are gathering dust on my over-crowded shelves that I would love to give away. This is my first giveaway, so bear with me, and hopefully I can figure out how to do this! The 3 books that I have to find new homes for are:

Time Lottery by Nancy Moser: "If you could go back in time, what would you change? After winning the Time Lottery, people will answer that question for themselves. "

Sanibel Scribbles by Christine Lemmon: "In a single, shocking moment, Victoria Brightman learns that life doesn't always go the way she planned, and this haunting realization turns into insomnia, a preoccupation with her own mortality and full blown panic attacks. She struggles through nights, weeks, months - the kind of struggle that either lays to rest the dreams a woman has for her life or inspires her to re-evaluate those dreams and stride out on a new path."

Innocence by Kathleen Tessaro: "It is 1986, and eighteen-year-old aspiring actress Evie leaves Eden, Ohio, to study theater in London, England. Almost immediately she falls in with new female chums Imogen (born-again Laura Ashley poster child, frustrated virgin) and Robbie (gorgeous wild-child bohemian, far from virginal). The world is thrilling and new, and anything is possible . . . until love intervenes.
It is 2001, and Evie's a single mother teaching drama to night students. Robbie is dead, killed in a car accident. And Evie is doing her level best to forget the past, the lost opportunities, and the dreams that exploded . . . until an old friendship comes back to haunt her.

I will pick three winners! The rules are:

1.For one entry, leave a comment on this blog with an email address so that I may find you.
2.For two entries, leave a comment on this blog, and follow my blog. If you are already a follower, please let me know.
3. Blog about this giveaway on your blog or post on Twitter for three entries.

This giveaway is open to everyone......

If I have missed anything, please comment and let me know. This is my first giveaway and I want to make sure I don't miss anything....thanks!

That's it! You have until 6:00 pm on Thursday, April 30th to enter. The winners will be announced on Friday, May 1st, at 7:00 pm. Good luck!

Eight Is Enough Meme

The Eight Is Enough Meme is being hosted by Kitten at the Bookkitten. She has tagged me to participate!

Here's the rules--mention the person that tagged you. Complete the lists of 8's. Tag 8 of your wonderful blogger friends. Go tell them you tagged them!

8 Things I Am Looking Forward To:
1. Warmer weather
2. Summer vacation at the beach
3. Going home this evening and seeing my cats & dogs
4. Getting my hair done next week.
5. Reading some really good books
6. Paying off my car next month
7. Shopping for new summer clothes
8. Giant library used book sale in June

8 Things I Did Yesterday:
1. Went to work
2. Read a book at lunch time
3. Came home from work
4. Played outside with my dogs
5. Cooked dinner; BBQ pork chops and sweet potatoes
6. Watched the news
7. Read my book at bedtime
8. Went to sleep

8 Things I Wish I Could Do:
1. Ice Skate
2. Grow a garden
3. Fit into a size 6 again
4. Buy a house at the beach
5. Quit my current job and pet groom full time
6. Win a game of trivial pursuit
7. Run a mile
8. Stay caught up on laundry

8 Shows I Watch:
1. Nightly News
2. 60 Minutes
3. 30 Minute Meals with Rachel Ray
4. Law and Order
5. Family Guy
6. Dr. G Medical Examiner
7. The First 48
8. Forensic Files

The eight people I will tag are: (*please only participate if you want to, no pressure!)
1. Dar
2. Lori
4. Jo-Jo
5. Scattie
6. Anna
7. Jessica Marie
8. Joy

~Book Review~ How Sweet It Is by Alice J. Wisler

Deena Livingston wants nothing more than to move on with her life and forget the past. Still healing emotionally from a bad break-up with her boyfriend, and bearing physical scars from a terrible car accident that she was in, Deena leaves her chef's job in Atlanta and moves to a cabin in the North Carolina Mountains. Her grandfather, recently deceased, has left Deena the cabin on one condition; that she teach a group of middle school students how to cook. Flustered at first, Deena is apprehensive about teaching a classroom full of kids. However, she tackles the job head-on, and grows fond of her students. She also makes new friends; there is Jonas, the Eagle-song-singing handyman, Miriam, her supervisor at The Center, and then there's Zack. Zack, a social worker at The Center, with his curly brown hair and sparkling blue eyes. All of the kids love Zack. Deena's life is about to make some unexpected changes in a very special way.

This is a special story about being able to heal emotional and physical pain, finding the good within, and learning to love again.

Four Stars
Publisher: Bethany House (May 1, 2009) 320 pages ISBN-10: 0764204785

~BOOK PREVIEW~ The Last Bridge by Terri Coyne

Publisher: Ballantine Books (July 21, 2009) Hardcover: 240 pages ISBN-10: 0345507312

I received an ARC copy of this book through's Early Reviewers.

Product Description from For fans of Jodi Picoult and Sue Miller, a dark, edgy, page-turning debut about the lengths one woman will travel to escape her past After a ten-year absence, Alex “Cat” Rucker returns to her Ohio hometown because of a letter left on her mother’s kitchen table—a suicide note, carefully preserved in a Ziploc® bag, that reads: “He isn’t who you think he is. Love, Mom” Thus opens this stunning debut novel from author Teri Coyne, who, with wry humor and sharp wit, follows Alex’s journey through the traumatic experiences of her youth and the haze of her adult life. While Alex tries to repress the memories of her brutal childhood—an abusive father, her estranged (and possibly illegitimate) brother, and the first love who would do anything to save her—she must face just how shattered she still is. At each step Alex confronts her biggest fears, realizes the impact of her choices, and inches closer to redemption. Can she embrace her vulnerabilities, talents, and desire for love, or will the revelations of her mother’s cryptic note prove too overwhelming for her to bear? The Last Bridge is a perfect blend of suspense, despair, and romance—and at its heart lies the question: are we a product of our experiences or our choices?
Many thanks to Kathleen at Random House publishing for sending me this book.

~Peeking Between the Pages Giveaway~

Dar at Peeking Between the Pages is hosting an awesome giveaway! The book being given away is Scattered Leaves by Richard E. Roach. Why don't you check out her page today, as she has interviewed the author himself! Click HERE to enter in the giveaway! For more information about the author, go to:


I have 2 copies of Scattered Leaves by Richard E. Roach to share with my readers. First copy is brand new and it will go to the first name chosen by and the second is my gently read copy which will go to the second entrant chosen. Rules are...

  • For one entry leave me a comment. Leave me an email address if I'm not familiar with who you are.
  • For two entries follow my blog. If you already do, let me know, you still get the entries.
  • Blog or tweet this giveaway to spread the word for 3 entries.

This giveaway is open internationally and I will draw for the winners on Friday, May 8, 2009. Good luck everyone!



Cover Attraction is hosted by Marcia at The Printed Page. She says "I'm a very visual person and love beautiful or interesting cover art. It entices, and invites me to stop and take a peek, instead of walking right on by."

I just love the cover of this book! As soon as I saw it, I immediately read the really does sound good! The book is currently on my wish list on The title is not due to be released until June 9, 2009.

Why I like the cover: It reminds me of being a child again, going to the Dairy Queen for a Dilly Bar on a warm summer evening, while the crickets and frogs chirp in the distance.
Here is a peek at the first chapter, courtesy of

Chapter One In the Beginning

My daddy always said that if the good Lord can take the time to care for something as small as a baby sparrow nesting in a tree, then surely He could take the time to listen to a little girl in Ringgold, Georgia. So every night before I went to bed I got down on my knees and begged the Lord to find me a way out of this town. And every morning, I woke up in the same old place.

It was a place that I, Catherine Grace Cline, never wanted to call home, even though I was born and raised here. It was a place where everybody knew everything about you, down to the color of underwear your mama bought you at the Dollar General Store. It was a place that just never felt right to me, like a sweater that fits too tight under your arms. It was a place where girls like me traded their dreams for a boy with a couple of acres of land and a wood-framed house with a new electric stove. It was a place I always planned on leaving.

When I was no more than nine years old, a tornado tore right close to my house. I remember yelling at my little sister to run and hide in the basement. “Martha Ann,” I warned her, “if that twister hits this town, nobody’s even going to notice it’s gone.”

She started crying for fear she was going to be swept up in the clouds and carried away, and nobody, not even our daddy, would be able to find her. Turned out the only thing of any importance swept up in the sky that day was Mr. Naylor’s old hound dog. People said that Buster Black flew some fifteen miles, those long lonesome ears of his flapping like wings, before landing in the middle of some cornfield over in the next county.

Mr. Naylor walked for miles looking for that dad-gum dog till finally my daddy and the sheriff had to go pick him up. And just when that poor man finished planting a wooden cross by Buster’s little house, darn it, if that four-legged fool didn’t come limping back home, wagging his tail and acting like he’d found the Promised Land. Mr. Naylor was crying, praising the Lord, holding Buster Black in his arms. The local newspaper ran a color picture of them both right on the front page, like that dog was some kind of prodigal son.

“You know, Martha Ann,” I told her after reading about Buster’s triumphant return, “a tornado like that just might be our ticket out of here, but unlike that stupid old hound dog, we are not going to limp back home.”

My daddy said I was a little girl with a big imagination. Maybe. Or maybe I was a patient girl with a big dream, or a despairing girl waiting for her divine deliverance. But either way, I was going to hitch a ride out of Ringgold, whether it was on a fiery twister ripping a path through the Georgia sky or on a Greyhound bus rolling its way down Interstate 75.

Truth be told, I never even liked the name Ringgold. I mean, there’s nothing in these green rolling hills that even faintly resembles a ring of gold, a ring of anything for that matter. And believe me, me and Martha Ann looked, somehow figuring that if we could find a ring of trees or ancient rocks, then just maybe our living here would have some kind of meaning. But after years of searching, the best I could figure was that it was just these darn hills that I had stared at every morning from my bedroom window that formed the ring, the ring that had kept me hostage for the first eighteen years of my life.

Nobody much ever bothers to visit this town except the truckers who stop to fill their fuel tanks because they can get some of the cheapest gas in the state here and Mrs. Gloria Jean Graves’s second cousin, who has come up from Birmingham every year for the Thanksgiving holiday since before I was born. She always said it was refreshing to get away from the big city for a few days.

One time the governor came by for about twenty-five minutes to cut a ribbon at the new elementary-school library. Everybody in town came out to see him. Daddy made me wear a dress and tie my hair back in a ribbon, just like I was going to church. Six days a week my daddy didn’t care too much how I looked, but on Sunday mornings there was no negotiating the dress code. My sister and I wore our very best dresses with a fresh pair of cotton panties underneath, out of respect for the Lord, Daddy said.

I really didn’t think Jesus cared what I wore to Cedar Grove Baptist Church, or to see the governor for that matter, considering the fact that in every picture I ever saw of the King of Kings, He was wearing sandals and bundled up in nothing more than a big, baggy robe. But I figured this governor must be the most important person I was ever going to meet if Daddy was making me wear my navy blue Sunday dress with the white lacy collar and my patent-leather Mary Janes.

Martha Ann pitched such a fit about wearing her Sunday clothes that Daddy ended up leaving her at home with a neighbor. My little sister is a couple of years younger than I am, but she has always been a couple of inches taller, my guess from the time she came into this world. She has thick, dark brown hair and deep brown eyes like our mama. I have blue eyes like my daddy and straight brown hair that looks more like the color of a field mouse.

Martha Ann was a pretty baby and a pretty girl. Everything on her face just fits together so perfectly. When we were little, people said we looked just like twins for no better reason than we might have been wearing the same color shirt. You had to wonder if they were truly looking at us. But one thing was for certain, Martha Ann hated putting on her Sunday clothes even more than I did. She’d have much rather been in the library picking out a new book to read than waiting to look at some strange man cut a ribbon.

I told her that if she didn’t stop all that stomping and snorting, she was going to get left behind. And sure enough, she did. She had to spend the entire afternoon with Ida Belle Fletcher shucking eighty-four ears of corn for Wednesday-night supper over at the church.

Ida Belle said she cooked for the Lord, but all I knew was that she smelled like an unsavory combination of leftover bacon grease and Palmolive soap. She kept her big, round tummy covered with a tattered, old apron permanently stained with the meals of another day. The only time I saw her without that apron was when she was sitting in church, and then she kept it folded in her pocketbook.

My patent-leather shoe rubbed a blister on my big toe, but it was worth it. The governor turned out to be, if nothing else, the most handsome-looking man I’d ever seen. He wore a dark navy suit and a crisp white shirt that must have been starched so stiff, it could’ve stood up on its own. A red-and-blue-striped tie was pulled around his neck, and the tip of a white handkerchief was peeking out of his suit pocket. I had never seen a man dressed so fancy. He was in Ringgold for only a few minutes, and then he jumped in the back of a long, black car and sped off down Highway 151. I wanted to go with him so bad that for weeks after that, when I went to bed at night, I got down on my knees and begged the Lord to make me the governor’s daughter.

But He didn’t bother to answer that prayer either, not that I really thought that He would. God put me here for a reason, Daddy kept telling me; I just hadn’t figured it out yet.

Now I know my father was a certified man of God, but at a fairly young age, I decided that when it came to my destiny, he did not know what he was talking about. He certainly did not understand that there was nothing for me here in Ringgold, Georgia. Sometimes I wondered if he had noticed that this town had only one red light, one part-time sheriff, and one post office, which was nothing more than a gray metal trailer perched on a bunch of cinder blocks in the back of the Shop Rite parking lot.

There was one losing high-school football team and one diner, which has been serving pork chops on Thursdays since 1962. There was one fire station, but it burned down five or six years ago when the entire fire department, which amounted to the sum total of Edward and Lankford Bostleman, were spending the night at their aunt’s house over in LaFayette.

Publisher: Three Rivers Press (June 9, 2009)
304 pages
ISBN-10: 0307395022

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

~BOOK PREVIEW~ Innocence by Karen Novak

I received this book in the mail yesterday, from a PaperbackSwap member. Of course, I loved the cover! Here is a synopsis:
~The town of Swifton Woods has labored for decades under the stigma of an unsolved series of abductions and abuse and eleven young girls. Leslie Stone, a thirteen year old at the time the abductions began, is now a detective involved in a current scandal; following a party of eighth graders that got out of hand, five boys are being charged with the sexual assault of her daughter's best friend. As connections are made between the two events and the town erupts in anger and cries for justice, Leslie's daughter, Molly, takes the stand to claim that the boys are innocent. Leslie's own investigations show that although Molly may be right, someone is guilty. And she may have to relive her own childhood to find out who.~

Bloomsbury USA (2003), Edition: 1, Hardcover, 300 pages
ISBN158234356X / 9781582343563


Teaser Tuesday is hosted by MizBe at ShouldBeReading.

  • Grab your current read. Let the book fall open to a random page. Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12. You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
    Please avoid spoilers!
"I cannot imagine what it would feel like to have your feet burned on a hot stove. There are things in life you want to thrust into the Do Not Open drawer, and after doing so, conveniently forget that such a drawer exists."
(Page 119)
"How Sweet It Is" by Alice J. Wisler

What is your Tuesday Teaser?

Monday, April 20, 2009

I Have Received Another Award!

I have received the Lovely Blog Award from sweet Jessica Marie ~ Books Love Jessica Marie!

This award which is given to new blogs and blogging friends.

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. Remember to contact the bloggers to let them know they have been chosen for this award. I don't even know 15 bloggers (yet!) so I will award five bloggers with interesting pages that I visit every single day!

I will happily pass this wonderful award along to:

Molly at My Cozy Book Nook

Tricia at Library Queue

Teddyree at The Eclectic Reader

Alyce at At Home With Books

Anna at Diary of an Eccentric

Each day, I try to visit all of my followers blogs, and then some. I enjoy getting everyone's feedback on the books that they read, and what they are going to read.

Thanks again, Jessica Marie. Happy Reading!

I Received the Friendly Blogger Award!

Thank you so much, Scattie! Scattie has given me the 2009 Friendly Blogger Award, I am quite honored! Please check out Scattie's blog In My is a wonderful page!

I have met some great new friends since I have started blogging, and I want to pass this award on to them:

Kathryn Magendie at Tender Graces

Dar at Peeking Between The Pages

Jessica-Marie at Books Love JessicaMarie

Marie at Daisy's Book Journal

Avisann at She Reads and Reads

Please visit their pages, they are really wonderful blogs. I am grateful for my award and enjoy meeting new book-loving friends! Thanks Everyone!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

~Mailbox Monday~ April 20, 2009

Mailbox Monday is hosted by Marcia at The Printed Page.

Last week I received the following books:

Click on Titles and Authors below for more information on the books:

Tender Graces by Kathryn Magendie

What did you find in your mailbox?

~The Sunday Salon~ Rebekka's Children by Frank Marsh

Today I will be reading Rebekka's Children by Frank Marsh.

~SYNOPSIS~ : Brothers Esau and Jacob witness their mother perish, Esau in horror, Jacob with joy. After following their separate paths of destiny, they meet again by chance thirty-five years later.

The attack of a young college student is linked to a homeless drifter who goes by the name of Esau. Then, he mysteriously dies in the court house before the trial. After the incident, two homicide cases follow. Are they related? Who is the murderer? Is Esau guilty?

The case of Esau and the two brutal murders become the last crusade of justice for the twice divorced assistant attorney general Grove McVey as he is one step from retiring. A story shrouded in suspense and mystery, Rebekka's Children is the narration of long buried and forgotten misdeeds that are resuscitated to haunt a tragic and troubled family.

Strategic Book Publishing

236 Pages

ISBN: 978-1-60693-533-0

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Read-A-Thon Giveaway hosted by Teddyree!

Teddyree at The Eclectic Reader is hosting a great giveaway! She says "We have reached the half way point in the Dewey Read-a-thon & in celebration of the fact that I remain conscious in spite of a little over 12 hours of reading I am giving away a copy of -The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne"

Lines may divide us, but hope will unite us ...Nine-year-old Bruno knows nothing of the Final Solution and the Holocaust.He is oblivious to the appalling cruelties being inflicted on the peole of Europe by his country. All he knows is that he has been moved from a comfortable home in Berlin to a house in a desolate area where there is nothing to do and no one to play with. Until he meets Shmuel, a boy who lives a strange parallel existence on the other side of the adjoining wire fence and who, like the other people there, wears a uniform of striped pyjamas. Bruno's friendship with Shmuel will take him from innocence to revelation. And in exploring what he is unwittingly a part of, he will inevitably become subsumed by the terrible process.

If you'd like to win a copy of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas (open to international visitors) please:

1.Please click HERE for one entry.

2. Become a follower of my blog for another entry. If you already follow, let me know and you'll receive another entry.

3. Post about this give-away on your blog for another entry

4. Please leave an email address or ensure you are contactable via your blog.


Makes me smile every time I watch it!
Happy Smiley Saturday, Y'all!

~BOOK REVIEW~ Forgive Me by Amanda Eyre Ward

From the back cover: Nadine Morgan thinks she has the life she's always wanted. After fleeing her childhood home on Cape Cod, she chases down the world's most dangerous stories as a foreign correspondent, leaving each place before her ties grow too deep. But in Cape Town, South Africa, Nadine discovers a story-and a man-she can't forget.

A decade later, Nadine returns to South Africa to cover a murder trial. When she revisits the city where she left her heart, her story begins to converge with that of a young boy who dreams of stardom. When Nadine glimpses the possibility of a new kind of life, she is forced to determine who she really is, and who she wants to become.

To start my review off (on the wrong foot), I disliked this book. I suppose when you don't like the main character of a story, it kind of affects the whole book/story/other characters. It irritated me the way that Nadine would run from anyone who wanted to get close to her.

The story has a twist, which I will not disclose, I don't want to spoil it for anyone who hasn't read this book yet. It was unanticipated, but it really didn't help the story redeem itself in any way with me.

I enjoyed Sleep Towards Heaven and How To Become Lost, and I was excited when this book was released. I can only hope that her next book is much better than this one was.

Two Stars

Publisher: Ballantine Books

Pages: 238

ISBN: 978-0-345-49447-4

Friday, April 17, 2009

Lets Be Friends Award

Yay! I have received my first award and I am so honored! This award has been given to me by avisannschild at she reads and reads. Thank you so makes me so happy to know that people are starting to notice my blog. And I am so thankful to be part of this wonderful blogging community...and to meet others that love books as much as I do!

Blogs that receive the Lets Be Friends Award 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. Please give more attention to these writers. Deliver this award to eight bloggers.

I will happily pass this award on to:

Jo-Jo at Jo Jo Loves to Read
Blodeuedd at Book girl of Mur-y-castell
Kitten at The Book Kitten
Lori at Lori's Reading Corner
Scattie at In My Head
Marie at Daisy's Book Journal
Joy at Thoughts Of Joy
Wendi at Wendi's Book Corner

I enjoy these bloggers and their posts every day...Thanks, all of you!
Thank you again, avisannschild, you have made my day! BIG SMILE!


Friday Favorites is hosted by Lori at Lori's Reading Corner. She says "Every Friday I'm going to post my "Friday Favorites". Each week it might be something different. It could be your favorite author (new or old), your favorite genre, your favorite character or your favorite series. There are many possibilities!"

My Friday Favorite for today is "When Katie Wakes ~ A Memoir by Connie May Fowler.

This is the memoir of author Connie May Fowler. She tells the story of her traumatic childhood, which is followed by an abusive relationship as a young woman, and the dog that stayed by her side and helped her emotionally and physically cope with what she was going through.
Connie grew up in a very dysfunctional family. Her mother was a mean and manipulative woman. She verbally and physically abused Connie and her sister Deidre;

"We were, she screamed, fat whores. We made her life miserable.
We were all she had. She hated us. She loved us. We were angels
or devils. Sluts or saints. There were no gray tones in our
house. Only the extremes of the wretched." (page 70)

She and Deidre knew how to hide their bruises, what excuses to give when they missed school. They became masters of disguise.
As a young woman, Connie lives with a man who she thinks will take good care of her...a man who is exactly like her mother.

"Maybe that's why last night, when I asked him if he wanted
something to eat, he rabbit-kicked me from his throne
in front of the TV, hitting me square in the stomach, knocking
me onto the pine floor, and then kicking me repeatedly as
I crawled toward the kitchen, a safe place because I can
latch its door from the inside. His blows were rhythmic.
One, two, three - kick! One, two three - kick! We must have
looked like a sadistic version of Fred and Ginger." (page 6)

Connie adopts a black Labrador puppy whom she names "Kateland", Katie for short.

"I hold Katie closer, shut my eyes, and listen to the surf. In its infinite whisper, I find only comfort.
With Katie by my side, I rise to my feet and gaze out at the horizon. For the first time in years, I feel as though I can breathe". (page 256)

This memoir, as difficult and disturbing as it was to read, has left an imprint on me forever. After checking this book out at the library the first time that I read it, I bought a copy of my own. Upon returning the book to the library, I told the librarian that there needed to be a warning tag on this book. You will cry, laugh, cry some more, curl up in the fetal position and rock yourself to sleep (ok, maybe not that, but you will WANT to). So many mixed emotions while reading this! Bless Connie for being able to write this horrific story and share it with others.

Connie is now happily married. She and her husband are the cofounders of the Connie May Fowler Women With Wings Foundation, a non profit organization dedicated to aiding women and children in need.

If you read her story, you will never ever forget it.

Five Stars
Publisher: Doubleday
Pages: 271
ISNN: 038550201X


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