Wednesday, September 7, 2011

~Short Reviews~

I'm still here....lots of personal problems right now that seem to be trying to take over my life. I am doing my best to not let them take over. It is exhausting, to say the least.

I have read a couple of books since my last are their short reviews:

The Reapers Are The Angels by Alden Bell

Zombies have infested a fallen America. A young girl named Temple is on the run. Haunted by her past and pursued by a killer, Temple is surrounded by death and danger, hoping to be set free.

For twenty-five years, civilization has survived in meager enclaves, guarded against a plague of the dead. Temple wanders this blighted landscape, keeping to herself and keeping her demons inside her heart. She can't remember a time before the zombies, but she does remember an old man who took her in and the younger brother she cared for until the tragedy that set her on a personal journey toward redemption. Moving back and forth between the insulated remnants of society and the brutal frontier beyond, Temple must decide where ultimately to make a home and find the salvation she seeks.

My Thoughts:

I received this book from a Secret is definitely not the type of book that I would have chosen for myself. I really liked it!! I was so surprised. I think what held my interest most was the main character...a fifteen year old girl named Temple. She was one tough little cookie, and could really kick some zombie ass. Along in her journey from Florida towards the west coast, she meets a variety of non-meatskins (normal people) a colorful cast of characters that are for the most part, likable. If you are a Zombie novel fan, then I recommend this one.

Very Good!!!

Project 17 by Laurie Faria Stolarz

High atop Hathorne Hill, near Boston, sits Danvers State Hospital. Built in 1878 and closed in 1992, this abandoned mental institution is rumored to be the birthplace of the lobotomy. On the eve of the hospital’s demolition, six teens break in to spend the night and film a movie about their experiences. For Derik, it’s an opportunity to win a filmmaking contest and save himself from a future of flipping burgers at his parents’ diner. For the others, it’s a chance to be on TV, or a night with no parents. But what starts as a dare quickly escalates into a nightmare. Behind the crumbling walls, down every dark passageway, and in each deserted room, they will unravel the mysteries of those who once lived there and the spirits who still might.

My Thoughts:

I wish I could say that I liked this but it was a big disappointment for me. I was prepared to be really spooked by this creepy-sounding novel of 6 teens who spend the night at the old abandoned Danvers Mental Hospital one week before it is to be demolished. The premise of this book definitely did not deliver what I expected. To be fair, it is a YA Novel, so maybe that explains the "teeny-bopperish" atmosphere of the story. Like I said, I was expecting more. If you want to be truly scared....I recommend the movie Session 9. It is also about Danvers, and I promise this movie really delivers. Sorry, Project 17 -

Do Not Recommend

Friday, August 19, 2011

~Some Reviews, Short and Sweet~

I have been reading at a decent pace lately, I am pretty proud of myself. Although, I should not take any is the books themselves who carry me through their pages quickly, anticipation growing as I need to know more about the stories. I have read a few more since my last post:

By Accident by Susan Kelly (From Goodreads):

A grieving mother finds solace from her son’s death in a relationship that quickly blurs the line between friendship and intimacy. By Accident portrays a year in the life of a woman after the accidental death of her teenage son. Laura Lucas is numbed by the loss, a loss that is paralleled in the spate of upscale construction—and attendant destruction—in her starter-home neighborhood. It’s about Laura's relationship with a young tree surgeon who slowly becomes a replacement for her son—but also an object of desire.

The story reveals the delicate nexus where solace becomes sex; the role of men and women as unmarried friends; and examines grief in a marriage. It portrays the pain of change and the poignancy of acceptance through Laura's eyes, and occasionally, through the quirky outlook of her ten-year-old daughter. And before the story ends, another brutal, random accident will redefine Laura's life once again.

My Thoughts:

I expected this story to have more lust and desire between the two main characters,
Laura and Elliot. Instead, it focuses more on how the Lucas Family deals with the loss of their teenaged son, Whit. Laura is unable to let go, her husband grieves in his own way, and Ebie, their ten year old daughter, watches as her family starts to unravel. That is, until Elliot moves in next door. He is a tree surgeon by trade, a fun-loving, good-looking single 28 year old guy, who slowly begins to bring Laura out of her grieving state. Laura's husband is distrustful, Ebie is delighted, and Laura has mixed feelings. As I said, this story did not go in the direction that I thought it would, but, it was a good read!

Very Good!

Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks:

When a mysterious young woman named Katie appears in the small North Carolina town of Southport, her sudden arrival raises questions about her past. Beautiful yet self-effacing, Katie seems determined to avoid forming personal ties until a series of events draws her into two reluctant relationships: one with Alex, a widowed store owner with a kind heart and two young children; and another with her plainspoken single neighbor, Jo. Despite her reservations, Katie slowly begins to let down her guard, putting down roots in the close-knit community and becoming increasingly attached to Alex and his family.

But even as Katie begins to fall in love, she struggles with the dark secret that still haunts and terrifies her . . . a past that set her on a fearful, shattering journey across the country, to the sheltered oasis of Southport. With Jo’s empathic and stubborn support, Katie eventually realizes that she must choose between a life of transient safety and one of riskier rewards . . . and that in the darkest hour, love is the only true safe haven.

My Thoughts:

I have read some Nicholas Sparks books, but not all of them. Some of them I have started, and had to put down...too predictable, some characters unlikable. The ones that I have read all the way through, I loved (Message In A Bottle, Nights In Rodanthe, A Walk To Remember)....even though they were predictable. I fell in love with the characters and their stories...sometimes it is just nice to get lost in a sweet romance novel. Safe Haven took me by surprise. It was a definite change from Spark's other was a nice change. It was not just a woman and a man falling in love, over-coming obstacles that lead to a happily ever after. It was so much more. I fell in love with "Katie" a.k.a. Erin, an abused woman on the run from her psychotic husband. I loved the setting of the story, Southport, NC, a small coastal town, very historical and picturesque. The story moved along at a fast pace. I read in in a day, and lov
ed every minute of it. If you haven't read it yet, and are a Nicholas Sparks fan, you're in for a wonderful surprise.


Best Friends Forever by Jennifer Weiner:

Some bonds can never be broken...
Addie Downs and Valerie Adler will be best friends forever. That's what Addie believes after Valerie moves across the street when they're both nine years old. But in the wake of betrayal during their teenage years, Val is swept into the popu
lar crowd, while mousy, sullen Addie becomes her school's scapegoat.

Flash-forward fifteen years. Valerie Adler has found a measure of fame and fortune working as the weathergirl at the local TV station. Addie Downs lives alone in her parents' house in their small hometown of Pleasant Ridge, Illinois, caring for a troubled brother and trying to meet Prince Charming on the Internet. She's just returned from Bad Date #6 when she opens her door to find her long-gone best friend standing there, a terrified look on her face and blood on the sleeve of her coat. "Something horrible has happened," Val tells Addie, "and you're the only one who can help."

Best Friends Forever is a grand, hilarious, edge-of-your-seat adventure; a story about betrayal and loyalty, family history and small-town secrets. It's about living through tragedy, finding love where you least expect it, and the ties that keep best friends together.

My Thoughts:

I didn't expect to love this book as much as I did! I have not read any other Jennifer Weiner novels, and now that I've read this one, I am excited to try her others. I picked this one up solely because I loved the cover! I was pleasantly surprised! Not only is it about two girls who vowed in elementary school that they would be BFF's, it is also a mystery and adventure story with a romance on the side. It is definitely a chick lit book, but so much more. The characters are likable and believable, and this story is definitely not predictable. Worth reading!!

Very Good!

I am currently reading Fiction Ruined My Family by Jeanne Darst, and Over And Under by Todd Tucker.

Happy Friday everyone ~ Have a fun-filled reading weekend!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Various Reviews ~ Long Time No Post

Hi All!

I am still here....just have not been blogging in awhile. I have read a few books, here are some short reviews:

From May to December by Pat MacEnulty:

Jen Johanssen is a former porn actor trying to fit into the world of academia. Her sister, Lolly Johanssen, is a cancer survivor. Nicole Parks is in prison for loving the wrong guy. And Sonya Yakowski, also in prison, is a member of a family of traveling criminals, desperately missing her young son. The lives of these four women converge in a Florida prison, where Jen and Lolly have joined forces to put on a grant-funded drama production. Despite their remarkably divergent histories, these women come together in unexpected ways, each beginning to confront and forgive her own past.

My Thoughts:

This is the second Pat MacEnulty book I've read, and I enjoyed it. I liked Sweet Fire better than this one, but I still liked it.....enough to order her other books that I have not read. This story is bittersweet....a tale of two sisters, who have never been very close, who become close in a matter of months. It also portrays women in prison....good women who made mistakes...and choose to better themselves and prepare for life outside prison walls. Great story, in my opinion.

Babylon Rolling by Amanda Boyden:

Ariel May and her husband, Ed, have just moved to New Orleans with their two small children. Their neighbor, Fearius, is a fifteen-year-old just out of juvenile detention. Across the street, an elderly couple, the Browns, are only trying to pass their days in peace, while Philomenia Beauregard de Bruges, a longtime resident and “Uptown lady,” peers through her curtains at the East Indian family next door.With one random accident, a scene of horror across front lawns, the whole neighborhood converges on the sidewalk and the residents of Orchid Street are thrown together, for better and for worse.

My Thoughts:

I couldn't wait to see this....I loved Pretty Little Dirty, so I had high expectations for Babylon Rolling. I had some difficulty with it in the beginning, but once I got going, it was a roller-coast ride! Told in alternating voices of the neighbors of Orchid Street, it is a tale of love, deceit, drugs and alcohol, and redemption. I felt so many emotions while reading Babylon Rolling...and it was one of those books that I thought about when I was not reading it. I looked forward to my lunch hours and evenings when I could pick it back up and see what was happening with Ariel, Ed, Prancie and Joe, and the others. The story takes place just days before Hurricane Ivan is due to hit New Orleans, and during Mardi Gras time. I learned a lot about Mardi Gras that I didn't know, too. Babylon Rolling is not a cut and dried story. It begins with a neighborhood in turmoil, and ends with the aftemath of destruction....and Hurricane Ivan never even makes it to New Orleans. Recommended!

Like Mandarin by Kirsten Hubbard:

It's hard finding beauty in the badlands of Washokey, Wyoming, but 14-year-old Grace Carpenter knows it's not her mother's pageant obsessions, or the cowboy dances adored by her small-town classmates. True beauty is wild-girl Mandarin Ramey: 17, shameless and utterly carefree. Grace would give anything to be like Mandarin. When they're united for a project, they form an unlikely, explosive friendship, packed with nights spent skinny-dipping in the canal, liberating the town's animal-head trophies, and searching for someplace magic. Grace plays along when Mandarin suggests they run away together. Blame it on the crazy-making wildwinds plaguing their Badlands town. Because all too soon, Grace discovers Mandarin's unique beauty hides a girl who's troubled, broken, and even dangerous. And no matter how hard Grace fights to keep the magic, no friendship can withstand betrayal.

My Thoughts:

I was a little disappointed in Like Mandarin. I am not sure what I expected, but I found Mandarin's character a little weak. I guess I was expecting a more shocking idol in her. The premise was very promising, but the story did not deliver.

Willow by Julia Hoban:

Seven months ago, on a rainy March night, sixteen year- old Willow's parents died in a horrible car accident. Willow was driving. Now her older brother barely speaks to her, her new classmates know her as the killer orphan girl, and Willow is blocking the pain by secretly cutting herself. But when one boy - one sensitive, soulful boy - discovers Willow's secret, it sparks an intense relationship that turns the "safe" world Willow has created for herself upside down.

Told in an extraordinary fresh voice, Willow is an unforgettable novel about one girl's struggle to cope with tragedy, and one boy's refusal to give up on her.

My Thoughts:

I liked the story of Willow well enough, but it is not one that will stay in my thoughts for long. I found myself getting aggravated with her throughout the story, especially with how she treats Guy, a boy who clearly adores her, and wants to help her. I am not a cutter, and have never known anyone who is, but I do have an ocd that is somewhat similar, so her descriptions of her disease struck home with me. Julia Hoban did a wonderful job describing the feelings of shame and self-worthlessness of someone who is unfortunate enough to suffer with something as devastating as self-mutilation.

I am now looking forward to starting Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks, and I am half-way through Fiction Ruined My Family by Jeanne Darst.

Happy Friday Everyone!!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Review - Sweet Fire by Pat MacEnulty

From Goodreads:

"While most people Trish's age are listening to Led Zeppelin and watching Starsky and Hutch on TV, Trish spends the 1970s stealing and cheating to score. Heroin, pharmaceuticals, whatever's available. She travels from Florida to California and Mexico, hustling all the way, and always in the company of the wrong kind of men, whom she attracts wherever she goes. There's not a rehab unit in the country that hasn't thrown her out at least once." With her habit spiralling out of control, it won't be long before Trish hits rock bottom. How low will Trish have to go before she can find the courage to fight her way free of her spiral of self-destruction?

My Thoughts:

I genuinely liked Trish in this fictional novel that reads like a memoir. Trish becomes addicted to heroin at a young age, and by the time she turns nineteen, she is in prison.

Trish's life is a difficult one. She grows up without a father, and always wonders who and where he is. Her mom is a composer and concert violinist, and travels all over the country. Trish is particularly close to her older brother. But when he leaves home, she is on her own. As Trish begins to come-of-age, she takes up with a different crowd, and happens to find the one thing that makes her life a little less painful....a sweet blissful escape....drugs.

I couldn't put this book down, and hated to do so when my lunch hour was up, or it was time to go to bed. Pat writes with her heart, and I believe that Sweet Fire is loosely based on her life, growing up in Jacksonville, FL.

I have one of her other novels waiting for me on my TBR shelf, and I can't wait to get started on it.

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Serpent's Tail (January 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1852424559
  • ISBN-13: 978-1852424558

Friday, July 15, 2011

About Me

This is a test post....thanks!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Pretty Little Things by Jillian Hoffman

From Goodreads:

Special Agent Bobby Dees knows what grief feels like. He understands the pain of losing a child. And he'll do whatever he can to prevent it from happening again. The phone call that comes on a Sunday morning will take him away from his insular world of grief and sleepless nights - and into a far darker place. A young girl, Elaine Emerson, has gone missing and only Dees has a chance of finding her.It seems that Elaine was last seen waiting to meet her boyfriend - a mysterious figure she met secretly on the internet, who goes by the name of "El Capitan", and whose reality is as cruel and chilling as the worst thing Dees can imagine.

My Thoughts:

I loved Retribution and Last Witness....Pretty Little Things rates right up there with them. I finished this book in 2 days, was unable to put it down. Fast-paced and daring, it kept me guessing until the very end. I love Jillian Hoffman's writing, and I look forward to reading many more of her novels... I hope that she keeps them coming!

Photobucket Very Good!

Friday, July 8, 2011

WINNER OF AFTER RIVER!!! has chosen a winner for my After River Giveaway!!!

is the winner!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Congratulations!

I have sent an email to Gwendolyn. If she does not respond within 24 hours, I will choose another winner.

Thanks to all who participated ~ More giveaways will be coming up soon, so stay tuned!

~Happy Reading~

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Girl from Charnelle by K.L. Cook

From Goodreads:

It's 1960 in the Panhandle town of Charnelle, Texas—a year and a half since sixteen-year-old Laura Tate's mother boarded a bus and mysteriously disappeared. Assuming responsibility for the Tate household, Laura cares for her father and three brothers and outwardly maintains a sense of calm. But her balance is upset and the repercussions of her family's struggles are revealed when a chance encounter with a married man leads Laura into a complicated relationship for which she is unprepared. As Kennedy battles Nixon for the White House, Laura must navigate complex emotional terrain and choose whether she, too, will flee Charnelle.

A heartfelt portrait of a young woman's reckoning with the paradoxes of love—eloquent, tender, and heart-wrenching—K. L. Cook's unforgettable debut novel marks the arrival of a significant new voice in American fiction.

My Thoughts:

I was surprised to learn that the author of this book, K.L. Cook, was a man. The story is told from a 16 year old girl's point of view, and he does an excellent job with it. This is the bittersweet story of a young girl growing up in the Texas panhandle in the early 1960's, who falls in love with a married man almost twice her age. A chance encounter brings them together on New Years Eve, 1959, and as that decade ends and a new one begins, they begin an affair that neither one of them could imagine the course that it would take. Laura's life at home is not one of a normal teenage girl, as she has taken on the roll of mother and caretaker to her brothers and her father, after her mother leaves one day, and never comes back. Dealing with the emotional shock from losing her mother and wanting to feel loved and appreciated, the affair that she has with John Letig fills the void of loneliness and loss for her. As anticipated, no affair can end without heartache and grief. Neither one of them is prepared for what the future brings.

Photobucket Very Good!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

After River by Donna Milner


Before River, everything was perfect. . . .

Growing up on a Canadian dairy farm less than two miles from the American border, fifteen-year-old Natalie Ward knows little of the outside world. But her loving, close-knit family is the envy of young and old alike in the nearby town of Atwood. Natalie adores her three brothers—especially Boyer, the eldest, whom she idolizes. But everything changes one hot July afternoon in 1966 when a long-haired stranger appears at their door—a soft-spoken American, a Vietnam War resister, who will test the family's morals and beliefs, and set in motion catastrophic events that will shatter Natalie's relationships with those she most dearly loves.

My Thoughts:

I didn't want this story to end. This is a beautiful coming-of-age story about Natalie, who lives on a dairy farm with her family in beautiful British Colombia in the 1960's. She is closest to her older brother, Boyer, whose love for knowledge and books mirrors her own. When a stranger shows up one summer day in 1966, Natalie's secure life is turned upside down, with feelings and emotions that she has never had before. The whole Ward family is taken with the stranger, and for awhile, things were good.

The story is narrated by Natalie as an adult, who is preparing to return home to Atwood, to her mother's bedside. She is dying of lung cancer. I was not disappointed in the end of After fact, I felt at peace.

Photobucket Outstanding!!

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Harper (April 8, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061462993

I loved this story so much, I'd like to share it with YOU! I'm giving away my gently used copy of After River! To enter, please leave a comment below. Let me know if you are a new follower (1 extra point) and old follower (2 extra points) and if you blogged or tweeted about my giveaway ( 1 extra point). Giveaway ends on Thursday, July 7, 2011. I will announce the winner on Friday, July 8th. Good Luck!

Friday, June 24, 2011

We Have A Winner!!!!

The winner of my recent giveaway for my gently used copy of Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers is:


I have already contacted Abi by email, and have heard back from her.

Thank you to everyone who participated in my giveaway. Please stay tuned for another contest, coming up SOON!!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Leftovers by Laura Weiss

From Goodreads:

A devastating novel of desperation and revenge from one of today's most compelling new voices in fiction. In this follow-up to her heartbreaking debut, Such a Pretty Girl, Laura Wiess once again spins a shattering tale of the tragedies that befall young women who are considered society's Leftovers.

Blair and Ardith are best friends who have committed an unforgivable act in the name of love and justice. But in order to understand what could drive two young women to such extreme measures, first you'll have to understand why. You'll have to listen as they describe parents who are alternately absent and smothering, classmates who mock and shun anyone different, and young men who are allowed to hurt and dominate without consequence. You will have to learn what it's like to be a teenage girl who locks her bedroom door at night, who has been written off by the adults around her as damaged goods. A girl who has no one to trust except the one person she's forbidden to see. You'll have to understand what it's really like to be forgotten and abandoned in America today.

Are you ready?

My Thoughts:

I enjoyed this story about two best friends with very dysfunctional families. Blair's parents are very well to do, and are never there for her....physically or emotionally. Ardith's parents are party animals, who behave just as badly as the teenagers that hang out at their house, partying by the pool. Blair and Ardith have no one, except each other. When their relationship becomes comprised, the girls must figure out a way to conquer the obstacles in their way that threaten to ruin their friendship for good.

Paperback, 256 pages
Published January 1st 2008 by Simon Spotlight Entertainment
1416546626 (ISBN13: 9781416546627)

Photobucket Outstanding!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

~Review and Giveaway~ Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers~

From Goodreads:

Climbing to the top of the social ladder is hard--falling from it is even harder. Regina Afton used to be a member of the Fearsome Fivesome, an all-girl clique both feared and revered by the students at Hallowell High... until vicious rumors about her and her best friend's boyfriend start going around. Now Regina's been "frozen out" and her ex-best friends are out for revenge. If Regina was guilty, it would be one thing, but the rumors are far from the terrifying truth and the bullying is getting more intense by the day. She takes solace in the company of Michael Hayden, a misfit with a tragic past who she herself used to bully. Friendship doesn't come easily for these onetime enemies, and as Regina works hard to make amends for her past, she realizes Michael could be more than just a friend... if threats from the Fearsome Foursome don't break them both first.

Tensions grow and the abuse worsens as the final days of senior year march toward an explosive conclusion in this dark new tale from the author of Cracked Up To Be

My Thoughts:

I found myself gasping out loud more than several times while reading Some Girls Are. about a group of MEAN girls, these gals take the cake. I felt so sorry for Regina, who deserved none of the treatment that she was getting from Anna and her crew of meanies. Having been bullied in school, I could relate to a lot of what she was going through, especially the dread of going to school on the mornings after something particularly bad had happened the night before. I love Courtney Summers writing style! I was drawn into the story, and felt as if I knew Regina personally. I am looking forward to reading Ms. Summer's other books ~ They're already on my wish list!

I am giving away my gently used copy of Some Girls Are! Please leave me a comment to enter the giveaway. If you become a New Follower, you will get an extra entry. If you are an Old Follower, you will get two extra entries. Blog or Tweet about my giveaway, you will also get an extra entry.

Please let me know in your comment if you are a new or old follower, and if you have blogged or tweeted about my giveaway....and please be sure to leave an email address where I can contact you if you win.

Winners will be chosen by on June 24, 2011.

Thanks and Good Luck!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Happy Memorial Day ~ Long Weekend Ahead~

I just wanted to wish everyone a Happy Memorial Day and to enjoy the long weekend ahead!

My weekend starts at 5:00 today. We are headed down to our cozy beach condo for the weekend for some R&R...we don't have internet access, so I will be in touch next week!

Happy Reading!!

~Booking Through Thursday~

Do you ever feel like you’re in a reading rut? That you don’t read enough variety? That you need to branch out, spread your literary wings and explore other genres, flavors, styles?

Most definitely, yes. For so long, I only read memoirs. Don't get me wrong, I love them passionately. But I began to feel the need to branch out, and try some new genres.

I tried Paranormal/Fantasy, which I quickly found out was NOT for me. I've never enjoyed historical fiction, but I have found a couple of novels that took place in the US during the Civil War that I really enjoyed. I am getting into more YA Fiction, and some Dystopian Novels.

I've never been one who was comfortable "branching out" and trying new things...but I'm glad that I have. It has opened up all kinds of new doors for me in the literary world.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

~Waiting On Wednesday~

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking The Spine.

The Summer I Learned to Fly by Dana Reinhardt:

Drew's a bit of a loner. She has a pet rat, her dead dad's Book of Lists, an encyclopedic knowledge of cheese from working at her mom's cheese shop, and a crush on Nick, the surf bum who works behind the counter. It's the summer before eighth grade and Drew's days seem like business as usual, until one night after closing time, when she meets a strange boy in the alley named Emmett Crane. Who he is, why he's there, where the cut on his cheek came from, and his bottomless knowledge of rats are all mysteries Drew will untangle as they are drawn closer together, and Drew enters into the first true friendship, and adventure, of her life.

Hardcover, 224 pages
Expected publication: July 12th 2011 by Wendy Lamb Books
0385739540 (ISBN13: 9780385739542)

What are YOU waiting for?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

~Book Review - Ghellow Road by T.H. Waters~


Ghellow Road is a literary diary of a young girl's journey through the tangled labyrinth that is her life. Theresa's story begins in a large midwestern city where she is born to loving parents in 1965. For a brief moment in time, her life is full, as is her heart, and the world is hers to receive without consequence. As time passes and Theresa grows, supernatural forces begin to shape her existence, no matter how carefully her father colors the empty spaces of her world. After a series of tragic events, Theresa and her family seek refuge in a small Minnesota town nestled near the shores of Rainy Lake. She creates a new life for herself there, sharing adventures with friends and riding the ups and downs of adolescence. Yet through it all, her mother remains forever lost in the prison of her own mind and forever lost to Theresa. The young girl feels as though she is leading a double life, one that no one else could possibly understand. She begins to peer at the world as if looking through a thick, black veil, never certain which pieces are illusion and which are not. Through the kindness and support of the townspeople, She eventually summons the strength to survive. This is a story of tragedy and triumph. This is the story of my life.

My Thoughts:

I have a fondness of memoirs. I have read some that have been pretty raw and gritty, heart-breaking and mind boggling....but....I have never read one quite like Ghellow Road. Others have skimmed the surface, where Ghellow Road digs deep down into itself, and fleshes out the story of the life of Theresa Waters and her troubled family when she was a teenager, during the 70's and 80's.

She was a happy-go-lucky child, who was a "Daddy's Girl" and enjoyed living and growing up in her hometown of Minneapolis, MN. Her mother always seemed to be floating adrift in her moods, and became depressed easily. Her father was more grounded, and Theresa and her older brother looked to him for guidance and support.

When her father is suddenly gone, Theresa and her brother are thrown head-first into their mother's world of depression and schizophrenia. They are shuffled about, sent to live in foster homes, all the while wondering what they had done wrong, and why didn't their mother want them?

As time progressed, Theresa would shuffle back and forth between her mother's home, and relatives' homes. She was a teenager, and just wanted to fit it, have friends, have a boyfriend. My heart broke for her, especially when a boy she had a crush on hurt her feelings openly. It brought back many memories of MY own junior high school days. She and I shared similar junior high experiences.

Throughout the story, I held my breath, wondering when and if things were ever going to settle down for Theresa. Would she have a secure home? Would her mom get treated for her mental illness and be a real mother to her? Would she ever feel accepted? I yearned for "normal-ness" for her.

Ghellow Road is a painful and honest account of Theresa's life, and I applaud her for being able to pen her story for the world to read. To quote her, I admire her for being able to finally "Live Out Loud".

  • Paperback: 302 pages
  • Publisher: Verefor Publishing Company LLC (October 14, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0982893116
  • ISBN-13: 978-0982893111

Photobucket Outstanding!

*a BIG hug and Thank You to Theresa for contacting me, and giving me the opportunity to read and review her story ~ Theresa, you are awesome*

Saturday, May 21, 2011

~Book Review - How It Ends by Laura Wiess~

From Goodreads:

All Hanna's wanted since sophomore year is Seth. She's gone out with other guys, even gained a rep for being a flirt, all the while hoping cool, guitar-playing Seth will choose her. Then she gets him -- but their relationship is hurtful, stormy and critical, not at all what Hanna thinks a perfect love should be. Bewildered by Seth's treatment of her and in need of understanding, Hanna decides to fulfill her school's community service requirement by spending time with Helen, her terminally ill neighbor, who she's turned to for comfort and wisdom throughout her life. But illness has changed Helen into someone Hanna hardly knows, and her home is not the refuge it once was. Feeling more alone than ever, Hanna gets drawn into an audiobook the older woman is listening to, a fierce, unsettling love story of passion, sacrifice, and devotion. Hanna's fascinated by the idea that such all-encompassing love can truly exist, and without her even realizing it, the story begins to change her.

Until the day when the story becomes all too real...and Hanna's world is spun off its axis by its shattering, irrevocable conclusion.

My Thoughts:

How It Ends has been sitting on my shelf for months, so I am not sure what inspired me to pluck it off of the shelf Thursday evening....from the first page I was captivated. I totally connected with Hanna, and felt her anguish over longing for Seth. She envisioned them together as a couple, and it was idyllic. In reality, Seth was a hurtful, selfish jerk and unfortunately Hanna found this out on a very personal level. What she thought was going to be a loving relationship with him, turned into a heart-breaking situation for her. That, coupled with losing her special relationship with her Gran (her neighbor Helen) was almost too much for her to bear.

She called Helen "Gran" because they had been close since she was a tiny girl. Helen had looked after Hanna, while her parents worked at sorting things out in their marriage. Helen's house became a refuge for Hanna, and they had shared many special hours together.

You sidled close and touched my hand. "Are you going away too?" "Oh sweetheart, no," I said, and in that heartbeat the bond was formed, the promise made, and the emptiness inside of me was filled with the rush to comfort and protect, to earn this trust you put in me, ME, no blood relation, The Grandma Helen a courtesy title given by your parents to the childless lady in the neighboring farmhouse with a passion for books, stray cats and hungry deer, who fed the birds and loved a creaky old man named Lon who sang Beatles' songs and still had shoulders strong enough for a little girl's piggyback rides. "No, Hanna. Wild horses couldn't drag me away." pg 2

So when Helen's health begins to decline, Hanna doesn't want to face the fact that Helen will not be around forever. Hanna must complete 60 hours of Community Service as part of her school work, so she asks her guidance counselor if she would be able to take care of Helen each day after school. What is terribly sad, is that as a child, she had spent almost every day with Helen. Now, as a teenager, it had been years since her daily visits with her. Hanna was not prepared for what was in store for her.

Helen had begun listening to books on tape. Hanna began listening to them daily, while visiting with her. She is drawn into "How It Ends"....the audio book that Helen is currently listening to. And with each new chapter, Hanna becomes more emotionally involved in the story.

How It Ends is an emotional roller-coaster ride story.....filled with love, sadness, and realization that life can be painful and beautiful at the same time~

"Stay Gran," I said and I wanted it to be an order but it came out a plea. "I need you. I do." I didn't even try to stop the tears. "Who am I going to talk to if you go? You said that you would never leave me, Gran. You said so. Please stay." pg 317

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: MTV; Original edition (August 4, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9781416546634

Photobucket Very Good!

Friday, May 20, 2011

The Rapture and Bad Dreams

Supposedly The Rapture is coming tomorrow....May 21, 2011. The first I heard of it was today. I was already feeling uneasy this morning, due to a bad dream I had last night.

How many of you have ever dreamed that one of your parents has passed away? You wake up shaken and scared, and it takes you a moment to get your bearings and realize that it was just a dream. That happened to me Thursday night/Friday morning. My mom had been on my mind because I hadn't been to the nursing home to see her yet this week, and I was planning on going to spend my lunch hour with her today. Maybe it was the guilt that I was feeling from not seeing her yet this week that brought on the dream, I don't know. Anyway, in the dream, I got a phone call, telling me that I needed to come right away. When I got there, a CNA was sitting on my mother's bed, holding her, and I just got there in the nick of time. I got to hold her and hug her while she passed on. Like I said, it was an upsetting dream, but, I was so glad that I had gotten there in time....

I have felt melancholy all day. When lunch time rolled around, I drove over to the nursing home, with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in tow. She wasn't in her room, so I searched the hallways, until I found her in the lunch line. The staff lines everyone's wheelchairs up outside the dining room right before chow time. When I got to mom's chair, and turned her around, I expected a smile and hello ~ she is usually always glad to see me nowadays. Today I got a scowl, and an "I'm not hungry!" grumble. " I brought peanut butter and jelly!" I sang out. Still, she scowled at me and said "You eat it." Terrific.

We went back to her room, and I set everything out on her tray table. I gave her her large print Readers Digest that comes to my house for her, and she opened it up and started reading. The nurse came in to give her medications, and she was grouchy once again. "I don't want that!" she snapped. "Mom, just drink it down, okay?" I cajoled, smiling at her. "What are YOU so happy about?" she glowered at me. The nurse and I just looked at each other helplessly. She took her meds, then settled back in to read. I watched her while I ate, pleased with the fact that she was reading. Mom had always been an avid reader, but since her stroke, she lost interest. I watched her mouth soundlessly form words, and thought "this is great...." Several long minutes passed, then when she turned the page, I saw what she had been reading:

"MAGNETIC KNEE BRACE!" the ad screamed.... "fits under clothes to support and relieve knee pain. Lightweight neoprene and nylon brace has 16 sewn-in-magnets that surround the entire knee. According to ancient Chinese healing principles, magnets may increase blood flow to sore, stiff joints. One size adjusts to fit all."

She hadn't been reading an article or story. She was reading an advertisement. For some reason, this made me terribly sad. My heart sank into my stomach. The way she was silently mouthing the words, and really concentrating hard I thought she was into a good story. This is a woman who had always loved Joy Fielding, David Balducci, and Anne River Siddons.

My lunch hour was about over, so I cleaned everything up. "I'm going back to work now, mom." I leaned over to kiss her on the head. She hugged me and said "I love you sweetheart. Please stop by again...."...all traces of grouchiness gone. Leaving her room and walking down the hall, hot tears spilled down my cheeks.

Even if the world DOES end tomorrow, my mom loves me. And I love her. And we were together today, no matter what the circumstances.

Proverbs 31:25: She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. 26: She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. 27: She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. 28: Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her:

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Thursday, May 19, 2011

~Cat Thursday~

Welcome to Cat Thursday, hosted by Michelle at The True Book Addict. Join in the fun by posting a favorite cat picture....LOl Cats, or your own personal photo....whatever strikes your fancy. It's all for the love of cats.....Enjoy!

This is a photo of my cat Mittens, when she was a kitten. She is a lot bigger now. She is very vocal and loves to climb....she is also a lap kitty!


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