February 26, 2013

By: Therese Anne Fowler

A look at the relationship between Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Zelda's family was a very prominent one in Montgomery, Alabama. Her ancestors even had a street named after them. Yet, at 17, the town could barely hold her. One night, at her ballet dance recital, she would see a soldier in the front row. Scott Francis Fitzgerald and Zelda would never be the same again.

Married in a ceremony that had only 3 witnesses, the couple set off on the roller coaster ride of marriage and success. For the rest of his life, Scott would see his money spent on booze and one party after another. Chasing his dream of being successful by the time he was 30 would prove to be more dangerous than ambitious.

Z  is an intriguing look into the life of one of America's most treasured authors. The man who brought us The Great Gatsby and This Side of Paradise pulled much his fictional work from personal experience- with Zelda always there by his side. Within it's pages, you see the good and bad side to both this couple. You see how demons can drive you to the brink of insanity and the depths of yours darkest fears.

Therese Anne Fowler does a great job of telling this story. She paints a picture through thorough research. She shows the good and bad within both Zelda and F. Scott. The end result is a story that is engrossing, tragic, intriguing, moving, and a captivating.

When This Blonde gets Auto-Corrected...

February 25, 2013

The ability to spell check your work was a great invention. Being able to do so while you're on Twitter, Facebook, or texting is even better. So imagine my surprise when I got my first iPhone and discovered, not only the spell- check feature, but the auto-correct feature!! This is genius!! I can't tell you how many times I've been wanted to type something, but was doing it wrong. Then, low and behold, my little iPhone angel comes along and magically supplies the correct word. I love it!! Usually...

Yesterday I was sending a tweet to one of my favorite children's book authors. She asked her followers to tell her ways our children were creative. In my attempt to respond- and quickly- I raced through my tweet. I realized what auto-correct did a second too late. 

My oldest loves to write her own stories. My youngest loves to
act out her own stories while playing with her weenies.

Yeah. That's not what it was supposed to say. Apparently, auto-correct has never heard of Weebles. And it was sure my 3 1/2 year old loves to play with weenies. Fabulous! The only thing I could do was re-type the tweet the way it was supposed to be and delete the wrong one once I got to it in my timeline.

So, while spell-check and auto-correct are convenient, they are not flawless. Turns out, Apple can't read minds after all. Yet.

Blast from the Past by Lauren Carr

February 22, 2013

This was the 2nd book I read by Lauren Carr and just like the last book, I wasn't disappointed! This book left you sitting at the end of your chair on its hinges as you were flipping the pages, trying to go faster and yet, not wanting the book to end! Ms. Carr was amazing and generous enough to send me a signed copy of this book that I will proudly display on my bookshelf!

Blast from the Past is the next installment in a series of Mac Faraday mysteries. It all started one night when Kendra Douglas, who just left from closing up at the Campus library, witnesses a murder while she was walking to her car.

Fast Forward 12 years - Mac, a retired homicide detective, and his love interest, Archie Monday, are once again in the middle of a mob-filled crime scene. One day as Archie is driving Gnarly (her crime-busting canine German shephard) to the groomers for his grooming, she notices a police car following her, and becomes immediately suspicious since she is aware of the local police procedures (having lived in the area for some time). Out of instinct, she reaches for her pink gun and shoots the mobsters posing as police officers. At this moment, news of Archie's true identity gets out. Mac is finally told the truth: that Archie (Kendra Douglas) has been in the witness protection program under the watchfall eye of U.S. Marshall, Randi Finnegan. Shortly after this shooting, Randi and David O'Callaghan, Spencer's police chief, discover that the leak in the news of Kendra's whereabouts was a secretary at the Marshall office. After arriving on-site to confront the secretary, they get involved in a shootout and find the secretary brutally murdered.  Following in the line of murders, the owner of a B&B is found dead at the bottom of her steps, while a shoot out at a local coffee shop happens, ending with one more shooting at another local restaurant. Mac and everyone else now involved are kept busy with hit men, mobsters, and people who aren't who they appear.

Getting to the bottom of these murders is what's on everyone's mind right now: trying to decide if some are connected, motives behind the shootings, and are all people that are meant to be protected, really the ones you should be protecting? Even though the long last of characters might be a bit much at first, the transitioning from story to story, and from character to character is really planned out very well!

I must say, I truly enjoyed reading this book! I found myself waking up slightly early for work just to finish a couple chapters! Not only was this book captivating, I found myself laughing at Gnarly, the ever so lovable and rambunctious German Shephard! I look forward to reading the next book by Lauren Carr!

Escape To Mulberry Cottage

February 20, 2013

Escape To Mulberry Cottage
By: Victoria Connelly
Kindle Editions

The phrase "You can take the girl out of the country, but not the country out of the girl" truly applies to author Victoria Connelly. After spending 11 years living in London with her husband, they trade city life for the country. Escape to Mulberry Cottage is their story of finding their country home and takes you through the village they now live in.

Victoria has lovely memories of her childhood living in the Norfolk countryside: strawberry picking & "making dens from derelict barns". While she moved away when she was 9, she always wanted to go back. So, after 11 years of marriage, she and her artist husband, Roy, begin looking for that country gem to live out the next chapter of their lives in. Eight months into their search, complete with the usual disappointment & heartbreak house hunting brings, they find Mulberry Cottage. After going to see it, they knew this cottage in a Suffolk village was where they were meant to be. 

Getting the cottage is only the beginning of this wonderful adventure. Victoria takes you through the village and lane they now call home, introducing you to the neighbor cottages, animals, and sights. By the time you finish the book, you feel like you are among the residents. 

Many readers often wonder where the books they love are written. And while not all of Victoria's have been done at Mulberry Cottage, you get to see where future books are born and brought to light. Victoria does an amazing job of making you feel welcome and included. You love her rescue hens, and feel the sadness with her when one leaves earlier than planned. You find the fun in the quirkiness of country life- like getting your Internet connection through a satellite on the pub half a mile away. Mostly, you come to know why the author and her husband fall in love with their cottage and the village, and you come to love it, as well. The peaceful feeling that they feel while there overcomes you, too.

I loved reading this book and look forward to her next one involving Mulberry Cottage. I loved looking at the photos included that gave little glimpses into her country life. It was nice to see the world one of my favorite authors lives in. Having lived in both the country and the city before, there were so many things I could relate to. Victoria also includes a question & answer section regarding their cottage and new life, which was so fun to read. For some, country life is a gem meant to be loved and shared, and I thank Victoria for doing just that with her readers.

The House I Loved

February 10, 2013

I had not planned on writing a review for this book. This was a book I read for my own pleasure during a break in my review calendar. However, as I neared the end, I came to realize I had to to share this remarkable read. Every once in a while a reader is gifted with a book that does the unexpected. Every once in a while a reader is taken by surprise when a book leaves an impression they didn't think it would. Today, I share such an experience with you.

The House I Loved
By: Tatiane De Rosnay
222 Pages

During the 1860s Paris underwent a modernization. Houses, roads, businesses were destroyed to make room for a new "modern city" complete with straight roads. One woman fought for her house to not be destroyed. She lost. Yet, she refused to vacate her property- even as it was being demolished. This is her story. 

When Rose married her beloved husband, Armand, she also married his family and into his house. She may not have shared the same history with the house he loved, but she came to love it as he did. Upon his death, Rose promised him she would not let the Prefect have their house. She would do everything and anything to prevent that from happening.

Rose hides out in the cellar of her house on rue Childebert with every intention of being in the house when it is demolished. While there, awaiting the inevitable, she writes letters to Armand telling him of life since his death 10 years before. She tells him of their neighbors, their reaction to the official letter informing them of the street's fate, efforts made to save their home, and the people who have been there for her since he died. Through these letters, she tells him of things she never told him when alive. 

The House I Loved is a haunting story that grips onto your heart and soul without you realizing it has done so. The cover is what originally caught my attention, but when I read the description I was more than intrigued. I have never read a story of a woman's fight for a house she loved more than anything. I had a feeling this would be a story that would stand out, but I had no idea how it much it would.

This was a story that I could not walk away from. It wasn't a page turner in the typical fashion, but in an emotional one. The story is one that is driven through sheer emotion and love. I will never forget this book and have been changed after reading it. While there is not the happy ending I long for when I read a book, there is a deep love that has held you close and will never let you go.

Thank you, Tatiana De Rosnay, for giving readers the world over a story that reaches into their heart. Thank you for writing a novel that holds onto you to the bitter end. Thank you for crafting an amazing, unforgettable story that is unlike any other out there. This was the first book of yours I have read, but it will not be the last. 

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