Friday, July 30, 2010


Here's what I found while browsing this week:

Sins of the Seventh Sister by Huston Curtiss:

Nestled in a web of murder, rape, abuse and adultery is the often happy and always loving home of Huston ("Hughie") Curtiss. His memoir, which roots itself in the events of 1929, when he's only seven years old, reveals a slice of the eccentric life of one white West Virginian family. Hughie's mother, the powerful, progressive and indefatigable Billy-Pearl, heads the family and has a knack for attracting the desperate and destitute. She adopts a motley crew, including a castrated orphan who becomes a successful opera singer, a black family running from the KKK and a homeless schoolteacher. The seventh of 11 daughters, Billy tries her best-with the help of her ever-expanding extended family-to eradicate prejudice, abuse and poverty. Together the extended family struggles through the '29 stock market collapse and the dangerous racism plaguing the South, resorting to measures as drastic as murder to keep themselves safe. Hughie's seven-year-old's perspective-from which much of the book is written-often colors the tale. Like other children his age, Hughie sees his mother as larger than life and capable of saving the world. But this bias is tempered by Hughie's slight resentment toward her as he vies for her attention. The author draws himself as a sometimes selfish but caring child who has to learn that the world needs Billy as much as he does. This vibrant and unsentimental account intertwines the fates of dozens of unique characters and moves smoothly from one remarkable-and often unbelievable-story to the next.

Billie Standish Was Here by Nancy Crocker:


Billie Standish has pretty much no one. Her parents are too caught up in their own lives, and the only two girls in town her age want nothing to do with her. When it looks like a nearby levee might break, and Billie's elderly neighbor, Miss Lydia, is the only other person besides her family to stick around, a friendship is born out of circumstance. What happens during that time, in that empty town, is a tragedy that Billie can't bear alone. Can the love of one woman nearing the end of her life save the life of a young woman just at the beginning of living hers?

The Water Dancers by Terry Gamble:

A stunning debut novel from a new voice in literary fiction, set on Lake Michigan following World War II, The Water Dancers limns the divide between the worlds of the wealthy elite "summer people" and the poor native population who serve them–and what happens when those worlds collide.

When Rachel Winnapee first comes to work at the March family summer home on vast and beautiful Lake Michigan, she quickly learns her place. Servants are seen and not heard as they bring the breakfast trays, wash and iron luxurious clothes, and serve gin and tonics to the wealthy family as they lounge on the deck playing bridge. Orphaned as a poverty–stricken young girl from the nearby band of Native Americans, Rachel is in awe of the Marches' glamorous life–and quite enamored of the family's son Woody.

Rachel is soon assigned the task of caring for Woody, a young man whose life has been changed utterly by his experience as a soldier in WWII. The war has cost Woody not only his leg, but, worse, the older brother he loved and admired. Now back at home, Woody cannot bear to face the obligations of his future – especially when it comes to his bride–to–be Elizabeth. Woody finds himself drawn to Rachel, who is like no one he's ever known. The love affair that unites these two lost souls in this Great Gatsby–esque portrait of class division will alter the course of their lives in ways both heartbreaking and profound.

What books did YOU find this week?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Book Review - With Friends Like These by Sally Koslow

Have you ever been a less than perfect friend? To whom does your first loyalty belong—your best friend or your husband? With her trademark wit and empathy, Sally Koslow explores the entangled lives of women in this candid, fast-paced novel.

Quincy, Talia, Chloe, and Jules met in the early nineties after answering a roommate ad for a Manhattan apartment. Despite having little in common, the women became fast friends. A decade later, their lives have diverged, though their ties remain strong.

Quincy, a Midwestern introvert, is trying to overcome a set of tragedies by hunting for the perfect home; Talia, a high-energy Brooklyn wife and mom with an outspoken conscience, is growing resentful of her friends’ greater financial stability and her husband’s lack of ambition; timid Chloe, also a mother, is trying to deflect pressure from her husband, a hedge fund manager, to play the role of trophy wife; while Jules, a fiercely independent actress/entrepreneur with a wicked set of life rules, is confronting her forties alone.

When Jules gives her new boyfriend the inside scoop on the real estate gem Quincy is lusting after, and Talia chases a lucrative job earmarked for Chloe, the women are forced to wrestle with the challenges of love and motherhood. Will their friendships and marriages survive? And at what price? Punchy yet tender, a high-five to sisterhood, this book will hit an emotional bull’s-eye for anyone who has had—or been—less than a perfect friend.

My Thoughts:

This is a fast paced read with a lot going on!

I enjoyed how each chapter was narrated by each woman. I got them confused at times, and would have to look back. Eventually after I was 1/2 of the way through the book, I had them all and their stories straight. So much went on between them and to each of them, I was surprised and pleased at how the story ended. I was expecting something totally different.

I love Sally Koslow's writing style and her characters and most of all, her NYC story settings.

This was a good read - Not to be missed!

Photobucket Good!

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (August 10, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345506227
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345506221

Monday, July 26, 2010

Mailbox Monday!

Mailbox Monday is hosted by Marcia at The Printed Page.

Tweaked by Patrick Moore:

So begins Patrick Moore's unforgettable account of life as a crystal meth addict- a "tweaker". Like a wild ride down Alice's rabbit hole with a guide who is darkly funny and heartbreakingly honest, Tweaked chronicles a twenty-year trip that stretches from Moore's lonely childhood in Iowa with his grandmother, Zelma- and alcoholic artist who, when loaded, turns frozen food into craft projects- to the day he sits, naked, in a Los Angeles rental, hallucinating about psycho-robbers while talking to a possum he's sure is God.
Along the way, there are acid trips at V.F.W., Dexetrim study halls with his Bad Girl Posse in the seventies, teeth-grinding nights of dancing and anonymous sex in New York City's hottest eighties clubs, taking pictures of Andy Warhol, losing friends and lovers, and navigating a Byzantine underworld of cookers, users, club kids, dealers, and colorful characters as i
ntense as the drug itself.
Candid, gripping, and ultimately triumphant, Tweaked is that rarest of memoirs- a tale so vivid and personal in the telling it feels like fiction, but every word is true.

Ghostbread by Sonja Livingston:

"When you eat soup every night, thoughts of bread get you through." Ghostbread makes real for us the shifting homes and unending hunger that shape the life of a girl growing up in poverty during the 1970s.

One of seven children brought up by a single mother, Sonja Livingston was raised in areas of western New York that remain relatively hidden from the rest of America. From an old farming town to an Indian reservation to a dead-end urban neighborhood, Livingston and her siblings follow their nonconformist mother from one ramshackle house to another on the perpetual search for something better.

Along the way, the young Sonja observes the harsh realities her family encounters, as well as small moments of transcendent beauty that somehow keep them going. While struggling to make sense of her world, Livingston perceives the stresses and patterns that keep children--girls in particular--trapped in the cycle of poverty.

Larger cultural experiences such as her love for Wonder Woman and Nancy Drew and her experiences with the Girl Scouts and Roman Catholicism inform this lyrical memoir. Livingston firmly eschews sentimentality, offering instead a meditation on what it means to hunger and showing that poverty can strengthen the spirit just as surely as it can grind it down.

Finding Alice by Melody Carlson:

Sliding into the Rabbit Hole, Would She Ever Return?

On the surface, Alice Laxton seems no different from any other college girl: bright, inquisitive, excited about the life ahead of her. But for years, a genetic time bomb has been ticking away. Because of Alice's near-genius intelligence, teachers and counselors have always mad
e excuses for her little idiosyncrasies. But during a stress-filled senior year at college, a new world of voices, visions, and unexplainable knowledge causes Alice to begin to lose her grip on reality.

As Alice's schizophrenia progresses, she experiences a disturbing religious awakening, believing that God and angels and demons are speaking to her. When others attempt to intervene, Alice is subjected to a wide range of treatments even more frightening and painful than her illness.

Powerfully raw and brutally honest, Finding Alice is a story of individual suffering and hope, a family's shared ordeal, and a search for true mental and spiritual healing.

1959 by Thulani Davis:

Thulani Davis's 1959 is a powerful, poignant coming-of-age novel that captures a dramatic moment in American history as clearly as a photograph. It's the summer of 1959 and Willie Tarrant of Turner, Virginia, is twelve. Her father and other adults in the town are worried about integration -- how it will affect their children's safety and the quality of their education -- but for Willie it's just another problem she's going to have to deal with, like her chores and beginning to go out with boys. Willie and her friends -- kids from good families with good grades -- are being groomed to be sent in the first wave. Before this can happen, though, eight black college students, wearing suits and fresh haircuts, go into the Woolworth's lunch counter -- changing everything. In 1959 one of the most talented writers of her generation has written a book that will become a classic of civil rights literature.

What was in YOUR mailbox today?

Friday, July 23, 2010

Sacrifice Stack - Part One

OK, here is how I have decided to do this. I have listed the books that I have to trade. I have also posted a list of books that I currently want. If you see a book on my Swap that you would like, please take a look at what I have on my wishlist. I am always open to suggestions, so please feel free to ask me any questions. Send me an email at k9kutter64ATyahooDOTcom.

For Swap:
My Wish List:

  • After River by Donna Milner
  • Eating Heaven by Jennie Shortridge
  • Feathered by Laura Kasischke
  • Dirty Little Secrets by C.J. Omololu
  • Jumping Off Swings by Jo Knowles
  • Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler
  • Sugar by Bernice McFadden
  • The Girl She Used to Be by David Cristofano
  • Earthly Pleasures by Karen Neches
  • Going Down South by Bonnie Glover
  • Losing Everything by David Lozell Martin
  • Love, Janis by Laura Joplin
  • The Miner's Daughter by Gretchen Moran Laskas
  • Slow Motion by Dani Shapiro
  • Summer of the Apocalypse by James Van Pelt
  • The Unnamed by Joshua Ferris
  • Good Things I Wish You by A. Manette Ansay
Please let me know if you'd like to swap!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Teaser Tuesday

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! ;)

My teaser today comes from Fragile by Lisa Unger:

~For a while, she'd held on to some illusion of control. And then, right about the time Ricky gave up his afternoon nap, she finally understood that for all the schedules and consistency, the rewards and reprimands, ultimately it's the child who chooses how to behave.~ pg. 44

What's YOUR teaser today?

Monday, July 19, 2010

Book Review - Die For You by Lisa Unger

Isabel Raine thought she had everything–a successful career, a supportive family, and a happy marriage to the man she loved. Then one ordinary morning, her husband, Marcus, picks up his briefcase, kisses her good-bye, and simply vanishes.

That day, all her calls to him go straight to voice mail; the messages she leaves at his office go unreturned, too. Panicking after finally receiving a call from his cell phone in which all she can hear is a man’s terrified cry, Isabel calls the police. But they aren’t interested. Men leave, they tell her. They leave all the time. Desperate to find her husband, Isabel races to his office. But instead of finding him, she finds herself in the middle of an FBI raid. Hours later, she awakens in the hospital with a severe concussion and a homicide detective by her bedside waiting to question her about Marcus Raine–the real Marcus Raine.

Now the only thing Isabel knows for sure is that her husband of five years is gone. Where is he and who is he are questions no one seems able to answer. But Isabel will not rest until she discovers the truth about the man she loves, even if it means risking everything–including her own life.

Bestselling author Lisa Unger takes us on a nightmarish journey from bustling, glamorous New York City to the murky, twisted streets of Prague, seeking the answer to one bone-chilling question: What if the man you love, the one sleeping beside you, is a stranger?

My Thoughts:

The suspense in this novel was rich, the storyline believable. I looked forward to my reading sessions, wanting to know more....uncovering the mystery of the man that Isabel had known as her significant other for 5 years....only to discover that she really did not know him at all.

I first discovered Lisa Unger when I read Beautiful Lies, and fell in love with her writing. I have since read everything she has written. I am presently reading her newest novel, Fragile, which is another page-turner! If you're in the mood for a fast-paced mystery/thriller, then I suggest Die For You. If you haven't read any of her previous novels, then you are definitely missing out. Add them to your wishlist today!

Photobucket Outstanding!

  • Mass Market Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (July 27, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307476340
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307476340

Mailbox Monday

Mailbox Monday is hosted by Marcia at The Printed Page.

Here's what I received last week:

Fragile by Lisa Unger:

Everybody knows everybody in The Hollows, a quaint, charming town outside of New York City. It’s a place where neighbors keep an eye on one another’s kids, where people say hello in the grocery store, and where high school cliques and antics are never quite forgotten. As a child, Maggie found living under the microscope of small-town life stifling. But as a wife and mother, she has happily returned to The Hollows’s insular embrace. As a psychologist, her knowledge of family histories provides powerful insights into her patients’ lives. So when the girlfriend of her teenage son, Rick, disappears, Maggie’s intuitive gift proves useful to the case—and also dangerous.

Eerie parallels soon emerge between Charlene’s disappearance and the abduction of another local girl that shook the community years ago when Maggie was a teenager. The investigation has her husband, Jones, the lead detective on the case, acting strangely. Rick, already a brooding teenager, becomes even more withdrawn. In a town where the past is always present, nobody is above suspicion, not even a son in the eyes of his father.

“I know how a moment can spiral out of control,” Jones says to a shocked Maggie as he searches Rick’s room for incriminating evidence. “How the consequences of one careless action can cost you everything.”

As she tries to reassure him that Rick embodies his father in all of the important ways, Maggie realizes this might be exactly what Jones fears most. Determined to uncover the truth, Maggie pursues her own leads into Charlene’s disappearance and exposes a long-buried town secret—one that could destroy everything she holds dear. This thrilling novel about one community’s intricate yet fragile bonds will leave readers asking, How well do I know the people I love? and How far would I go to protect them?

Fireflies In December by Jennifer Erin Valent:

Jessilyn Lassiter never knew that hatred could lurk in the human heart until the summer of 1932 when she turned 13. When her best friend, Gemma, loses her parents in a tragic fire, Jessilyn's father vows to care for her as one of his own, despite the fact that Gemma is black and prejudice is prevalent in their southern Virginia town. Violence springs up as a ragtag band of Ku Klux Klan members unite and decide to take matters into their own hands. As tensions mount in the small community, loyalties are tested and Jessilyn is forced to say good-bye to the carefree days of her youth.

A Pearl In The Storm by Tori Murden McClure:

"In the end," writes Tori McClure, "I know I rowed across the Atlantic to find my heart, but in the beginning, I wasn't aware that it was missing."

During June 1998, Tori McClure set out to row across the Atlantic Ocean by herself in a twenty-three-foot plywood boat with no motor or sail. Within days she lost all communication with shore, but nevertheless she decided to keep going. Not only did she lose the sound of a friendly voice, she lost updates on the location of the Gulf Stream and on the weather. Unfortunately for Tori, 1998 is still on record as the worst hurricane season in the North Atlantic. In deep solitude and perilous conditions, she was nonetheless determined to prove what one person with a mission can do. When she was finally brought to her knees by a series of violent storms that nearly killed her, she had to signal for help and go home in what felt like complete disgrace.

Back in Kentucky, however, Tori's life began to change in unexpected ways. She fell in love. At the age of thirty-five, she embarked on a serious relationship for the first time, making her feel even more vulnerable than sitting alone in a tiny boat in the middle of the Atlantic. She went to work for Muhammad Ali, who told her that she did not want to be known as the woman who "almost" rowed across the Atlantic Ocean. And she knew that he was right.

In this thrilling story of high adventure and romantic quest, Tori McClure discovers through her favorite way—the hard way—that the most important thing in life is not to prove you are superhuman but to fully to embrace your own humanity. With a wry sense of humor and a strong voice, she gives us a true memoir of an explorer who maps her world with rare emotional honesty.

What was in YOUR mailbox today?

Sunday, July 18, 2010

~The Sunday Salon~

Wow, it's been a LONG time since I have posted anything on the Sunday Salon. I go through spells where I don't blog as often as I would like to (like right now). It's not that I am too busy, I just have other things that I'm involved in, such as an Ebay infatuation phase that I am going through right now. Hopefully it will burn itself out soon!

I will be finished reading Die For You by Lisa Unger today. It's been a great read...I've really enjoyed it. I'm looking forward to starting her new book Fragile! Last week I finished Jan's Story by Barry Petersen. I should have a review for that posted some time later this week. Also, I am reading the last few pages of Belly of the Whale by Linda Merlino....a review for it will be posted soon.

My book situation here at home is really getting out of control. My bookshelves are full, and I have stacks of books on my desk, dresser, and night table. I need some organization! What I really need is another bookshelf, but there is no room in the house for it. Unfortunately, I am having to let some books go without reading them. I am currently going through my shelves and familiarizing myself with what I have, reading the back covers to see if I am still interested, and making my "sacrifice" stacks. If anyone else is in the process of doing this and wants to swap some books with me, I will post my Sacrifice Stack on my blog. If you see something you are interested in, and would like to swap, let me know!

I hope that everyone enjoys their, relax and READ.


Friday, July 16, 2010

Friday Finds

Friday Finds is hosted by Should Be Reading.

Lucy Unstrung
by Carole Lazar:

Teens who get pregnant and raise their babies are often in the news. But what about those children who are growing up with parents scarcely half a generation older than themselves? In this wise and funny first novel by Carole Lazar, Lucy is a sensible, perhaps even rigid, thirteen year old who is convinced that Grandma, God, and the Catholic Church are on her side. She tries hard to make her twenty-eight-year-old mother see the error of her ways. It's not that her mother is wild - in their household even a fancy coffee causes a scene - but she has had to put off her own teenage years and she's chaffing at the restraints on her life. Lucy is faced with the loss of her family, her home, her school, and even her best friend. As she struggles to preserve what she can from her past life, she finds that while Grandma, God, and her church are still there for her, there are problems she has to solve for herself.

The Blessings of the Animals by Katrina Kittle:

Veterinarian Cami Anderson has hit a rough patch. Stymied by her recent divorce, she wonders if there are secret ingredients to a happy, long-lasting marriage or if the entire institution is outdated and obsolete. Couples all around her are approaching important milestones. Her parents are preparing to celebrate their fiftieth anniversary. Her brother and his partner find their marriage dreams legally blocked. Her former sister-in-law—still her best friend—is newly engaged. The youthfully exuberant romance of her teenage daughter is developing complications. And three separate men—including her ex-husband—are becoming entangled in Cami's messy post-marital love life. But as she struggles to come to terms with her own doubts amid this chaotic circus of relationships, Cami finds strange comfort in an unexpected confidant: an angry, unpredictable horse in her care. With the help of her equine soul mate, she begins to make sense of marriage's great mysteries—and its disconnects.

What did YOU find today?

CSN Stores - More Than Furniture

Last week I was contacted by CSN Stores to do a review on one of their products from any one of their 200+ websites. I had initially chosen a bedroom vanity. However, after browsing around ALL of their other websites, I also fell in love with shoes, lamps, bedding....there was SO much to choose from.

I narrowed my choices down, until I made my final decision.....a handbag. They have luggage, handbags, tote bags....the list is endless.

A new handbag was just what I needed to add to my 20+ collection. I have 2 infatuations.....books and handbags. Had they have had books, I really would have gone wild.

The handbag I chose is the Canea/Poppy Satchel by designer Donald J. Pliner. This is a beautiful handbag. It has lots of room for everything I need; wallet, cosmetic case, BOOKS. The outside of the bag has two small compartments on either end, perfect for my cell phone and keys. The bag is made of the softest leather. This is hands-down the nicest handbag that I have ever owned.

My next purchase is going to be a pair of shoes!

Visit CSN Stores online and browse their products. You will be pleasantly surprised!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Mailbox Monday

Mailbox Monday is hosted by Marcia at The Printed Page.

Here's what showed up in my mailbox last week:

The Uninvited by Steven LaChance:

Its screams still wake me from sleep. I see the faceless man standing in the basement butcher shower washing away the blood from his naked body. He turns, and his eyes sweep across me. The room begins to spin...

What kind of evil lives at the Union Screaming House?

In this true and terrifying firsthand account, Steven LaChance reveals how he and his three children were driven from their Union, Missouri, home by demonic attackers. LaChance chronicles how the house's relentless supernatural predators infest those around them. He consults paranormal investigators, psychics, and priests, but the demonic attacks, screams, growls, putrid odors, invisible shoves, bites, and other physical violations only grow worse. The entities clearly demonstrate their wrath and power: killing family pets, sexually assaulting individuals, even causing two people to be institutionalized.The demons' next target is the current homeowner, Helen. When the entities take possession and urge Helen toward murder and madness, LaChance must engage in a hair-raising battle for her soul.

Fanny and Sue by Karen Stolz:

Twins Fanny and Sue Logan are born just before the Great Depression in St. Louis. While the sisters are identical in appearance, and frequently dress alike, as they grow, up, their distinct personalities emerge. One is often in trouble while the other is the good girl or, sometimes, her reluctant accomplice. Whereas one twin is boisterous and even pushy, the other is more introspective and cautious. One thing never changes, though, and that is the way they are profoundly connected, capable of anticipating each other's needs and feeling each other's joy and pain.

Little Face by Sophie Hannah:

The first time she goes out after their daughter is born, Alice leaves the two-week-old infant at home with her husband, David. When she returns two hours later, she insists that the baby in the crib is not her child. Despite her apparent distress, David is adamant that she is wrong. The police are called to the scene. Detective Constable Simon Waterhouse is sympathetic, but he doubts Alice's story. His superior, Sergeant Charlie Zailer, thinks Alice must be suffering from some sort of delusion brought on by postpartum depression. With an increasingly hostile and menacing David swearing she must either be mad or lying, how can Alice make the police believe her before it's too late?

Midstream: A Memoir by LeAnne Schreiber:

In her late thirties, Le Anne Schreiber left her position as Deputy Editor of the New York Times Book Review for a new and vastly different life in rural upstate New York. She wanted peace, the time to write and fish, and a chance to build into her life a different pace, different values. And then she learned that her mother had pancreatic cancer. This brilliant memoir bears witness, unflinchingly, to the wrenching details of her mother's illness and death and her own new beginnings. She brings to her observations of nature and her mother's death, precision, wonder, tenderness, speculation, and occasional outrage. Midstream is a compelling autobiography - deeply felt and unforgettable.

Die for You by Lisa Unger:

Isabel Raine thought she had everything–a successful career, a supportive family, and a happy marriage to the man she loved. Then one ordinary morning, her husband, Marcus, picks up his briefcase, kisses her good-bye, and simply vanishes.

That day, all her calls to him go straight to voice mail; the messages she leaves at his office go unreturned, too. Panicking after finally receiving a call from his cell phone in which all she can hear is a man’s terrified cry, Isabel calls the police. But they aren’t interested. Men leave, they tell her. They leave all the time. Desperate to find her husband, Isabel races to his office. But instead of finding him, she finds herself in the middle of an FBI raid. Hours later, she awakens in the hospital with a severe concussion and a homicide detective by her bedside waiting to question her about Marcus Raine–the real Marcus Raine.

Now the only thing Isabel knows for sure is that her husband of five years is gone. Where is he and who is he are questions no one seems able to answer. But Isabel will not rest until she discovers the truth about the man she loves, even if it means risking everything–including her own life.

Bestselling author Lisa Unger takes us on a nightmarish journey from bustling, glamorous New York City to the murky, twisted streets of Prague, seeking the answer to one bone-chilling question: What if the man you love, the one sleeping beside you, is a stranger?

What was in YOUR mailbox??

Friday, July 9, 2010

Bedroom Make-Over

I have just returned home after spending a relaxing 3 days at the beach. I stayed at a friend's beach house. She had just had it re-decorated and it was beautiful! I fell in love with her new bedroom vanity, and was thinking about purchasing one for myself! The first store that comes to mind is, which is a division of CSN Stores! CSN Stores.....the ones with the beautiful book cases and desk chairs have SO much more to choose from. With 200 + websites, it's overwhelming!

I am not sure what I will choose, but when I make my decision I will definitely post a review!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Book Review - Still Missing by Chevy Stevens


On the day she was abducted, Annie O’Sullivan, a 32-year-old realtor, had three goals—sell a house, forget about a recent argument with her mother, and be on time for dinner with her ever-patient boyfriend. The open house is slow, but when her last visitor pulls up in a van as she's about to leave, Annie thinks it just might be her lucky day after all.

Interwoven with the story of the year Annie spent as the captive of a psychopath in a remote mountain cabin, which unfolds through sessions with her psychiatrist, is a second narrative recounting events following her escape—her struggle to piece her shattered life back together and the ongoing police investigation into the identity of her captor.

Still Missing is that rare debut find--a shocking, visceral, brutal and beautifully crafted debut novel.

My Thoughts:

This was one of those novels that I was constantly thinking about when I wasn't reading it. It was a very fast-paced edge-of-your-seat kind of story, keeping you guessing about what was about to happen next.

I loathed Annie's captor, whom she referred to as The Freak (not to him, only to herself) and the terrible nasty things that he did and made her do. When Annie gets pregnant and has a baby, her feelings soften a bit. She is still abused by The Freak, but has her baby to keep her somewhat sane. Until The Freak decides that he doesn't like to see Annie happy....about anything....

The story was a roller-coaster ride, the last chapters causing stomach-churning reactions to how this well planned tale played out. It kept me guessing until almost the end.....which in my opinion is the trademark of a great book!

I highly recommend Still Missing.....I will be on the lookout for more from this talented author. This is a fantastic debut novel by Chevy Stevens.


Photobucket Very Good!

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press (July 6, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312595670
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312595678

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Book List for Understand My Sorrow Challenge

These are the books that I have chosen for the Understand My Sorrow Challenge:

1. Manic by Terri Cheney

2. Urges by Gary Hennerberg

3. Marni; My True Story of Stress, Hair-Pulling and Other Obesessions by
Marni Bates

4. Saving Sammy; Curing The Boy Who Caught OCD by Beth Alison Maloney

Understand My Sorrow Challenge

Lilly's Message:

Depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, obsessive compulsive disorder.

I could go on and on. These are very real and very painful illnesses, and yet they are one of the most neglected, misunderstood, ignored and stigmatized ones as well. These are demons that destroy lives, break human spirits and annihilate happiness. Millions of people struggle with them, fight daily battles. Some are lost and some are won. I hope that one day none will be lost and that's why I decided to host this reading challenge. The purpose of it is to increase awareness and understanding of a mental illness. In my small way I wish to help people see through the stereotypes and the fog of ignorance surrounding the serious medical conditions under an umbrella of mental illness. These conditions are deadly when untreated and more often than not still pose a risk of death after a person receives proper medical treatment. The statistics are frightening and below I am providing you with a couple of links so you can read for yourselves.

Anyway, the rules for the challenge are pretty easy.

It starts today but I would like to make it an ongoing process, therefore there will not be a deadline in the nearest future. If I decide that the no deadline rule somehow doesn't work, I will let you know at least six months in advance. The only requirement is that you read a minimum of one book on the subjects provided below.

  • Depression
  • Schizophrenia
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
There are of course many more disorders that we could talk about but for now I'd like to focus on the four.

So, you have to read a minimum of four (4) books, one on each subject.

I am including a button on the side on my blog that you can grab just for this challenge and put it on your blog.

Also, when you write an introductory post about this challenge, please come back and sign up under McLinky.

Optimally, I would love for this to spark discussion. I'd like to talk with all and any of you. If you read a book or two, or more and they evoke strong emotions withing you, I'd love to invite you to write a guest post sharing them with me and other readers. If you have a story to tell, that's even better. I would be happy to read your story and invite others to do it as well. It doesn't matter if it's on my blog as a guest post or your own blog, as long as it's under the Understand My Sorrow banner.

Another important thing: you do not have to be a blogger to join in. If you don't have a blog, you can leave me a comment letting me know that you're joining and when you decide which books to read, when you read any of them and want to talk about them, email me and I will, with your permission spotlight your thoughts, stories, even book reviews on my blog.

***I am SO glad that Lilly has decided to host a challenge of this nature. I suffer from Depression and OCD. I feel that this will be a great help to me.....and hopefully others. To join in, please visit Lilly's on Lilly's Message above***

I'm Back!

I haven't disappeared.....I was on vacation for a few days! I'm back now, and will have a review of Still Missing by Chevy Stevens SOON!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Book Review - Crazy Love by David Martin

From Goodreads:

David Martin has proved to be an unusually versatile writer, both of acclaimed thrillers like Lie to Me and of love stories like The Crying Heart Tattoo. Now, in Crazy Love, Martin has created remarkable characters and his richest story yet: a chronicle of passion and heartbreak.

Joseph Long, known locally as Bear, is a farmer ridiculed by neighbors for his strangeness. Lonely nearly to the point of madness and so desperate for human touch, he leans against the hands of the barber giving him a haircut.

Katherine Renault is a successful career woman, wondering why, if she has the perfect job and the perfect fiancé, does she feel so hollow inside -- even before the illness, the disfiguring surgery.

They should have nothing in common -- though he has a magical touch with animals, he considers them property, while she can't tolerate their mistreatment. She's a sophisticated city dweller who can't abide violence, and he's never traveled beyond the local town and has blood on his hands. But love is crazy, and soon they are rescuing the injured of the world just as they rescue each other. Enduring violence and loss, they live in a domestic bliss wide and deep enough to dilute most of life's dramas, until fate tests them again.

Funny, erotic, emotionally powerful, yet surprisingly unsentimental about our relationships with each other and with animals in our care, Crazy Love will heal broken hearts.

My Thoughts:

I really liked this book! I am definitely adding it as one of my favorite books of all time. The story was so different than anything else that I have ever read before. Part love story, part animal rescue story, it held my interest throughout.

I became attached to Bear and Katie and their farm. Their love for each other was unique and intense. Bear won my heart with his ways with his animals on his farm, and in his relationship with Katie. Katie falls in love with the quiet and gentle Bear while she is engaged to someone else. She knows for sure that she and Bear are meant to be together. Together they turn the farm into a sanctuary for homeless/rescued/abused animals.

This was a book that I would race to read upon arriving home from work. I couldn't put it down! It has earned a spot in my personal library. I look forward to reading more of David Martin's novels.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Book Review - The Things That Keep Us Here by Carla Buckley

From Amazon:

How far would you go to protect your family?

Ann Brooks never thought she’d have to answer that question. Then she found her limits tested by a crisis no one could prevent. Now, as her neighborhood descends into panic, she must make tough choices to protect everyone she loves from a threat she cannot even see. In this chillingly urgent novel, Carla Buckley confronts us with the terrifying decisions we are forced to make when ordinary life changes overnight.

A year ago, Ann and Peter Brooks were just another unhappily married couple trying–and failing–to keep their relationship together while they raised two young daughters. Now the world around them is about to be shaken as Peter, a university researcher, comes to a startling realization: A virulent pandemic has made the terrible leap across the ocean to America’s heartland. And it is killing fifty out of every hundred people it touches. As their town goes into lockdown, Peter is forced to return home–with his beautiful graduate assistant. But the Brookses’ safe suburban world is no longer the refuge it once was. Food grows scarce, and neighbor turns against neighbor in grocery stores and at gas pumps. And then a winter storm strikes, and the community is left huddling in the dark.

Trapped inside the house she once called home, Ann Brooks must make life-or-death decisions in an environment where opening a door to a neighbor could threaten all the things she holds dear. Carla Buckley’s poignant debut raises important questions to which there are no easy answers, in an emotionally riveting tale of one family facing unimaginable stress.

My Thoughts:

This story was very unsettling because it could happen to us at any time. I was discussing it with my husband, and we both agreed that if this were to really happen, he and I would probably not survive.

Carla Buckley brings to life a very real and frightening event of the worst kind.....a pandemic. It happens quickly, and within days many people are sick and dying. While I was reading, I realized exactly how much I take for granted in life. Shaken to the core after reading this book, I won't take anything for granted any more....electricity, medical care, clean and safe water to drink.....and most of all, my family.

The Things That Keep Us Here is an engrossing read, that kept me thinking about it while I was not even reading it. I will remember it for a long time, and I will also be looking forward to more books by Carla Buckley.

Photobucket Very Good!
  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Press; 1 edition (February 9, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0440245095
  • ISBN-13: 978-0440245094
For more information about the author, please visit:


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