Monday, September 24, 2007

Way Off The Road by Bill Geist

Bill Geist shares his dry sense of humor with viewers on Sunday mornings. When reading the Author's Note at the beginning of this book you realize, while laughing, that a treat is waiting for you. There are many unique and some quite off balanced people in towns across America. Bill Geist found a few and shares their stories with us. If you enjoy laughing outloud while the other person in the room wonders what on Earth is so funny, read this book-starting with the Author's Note. Now everyone reading "Way Off The Road" will know about the wonders to be found in Scottsboro, Alabama. Do you know how the lost baggage business began? Bill tells us. And about many of the things people have taken "with" them on a trip only to "not" have them along. Bill Geist has a way of seeing funny things and sharing them. Like "Bad Motel Warning Signs". Who words those signs? Just read the book and you'll relax and be happy.

Knots and Crosses By Ian Rankin

The setting is Edinburgh, Scotland – late 1980s. Several young girls have been kidnapped and murdered in the city. It seems to be a case only Detective Sergeant John Rebus can solve as the killer is sending him cryptic notes containing a knotted piece of twine or two crossed matches. But his dedication is split as he is fighting to keep his home life together. To solve this case, Rebus must confront aspects of his past that he has tried to forget.

This is the first book of the Rebus series and they just get better and better. I would recommend if you are going to buy them to get a British copy as I have been told that the colloquialisms in American ones has been changed. However, don’t let this spoil your enjoyment of the books as they are still excellent reads.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Promise, Texas by Debbie Macomber

Jane came to Promise to work off student loans for med school. When she fell in love with Cal Patterson, rancher, they were married and she stayed on as the town doctor. So when Jane's friend, Annie, had her world fall apart in California it was natural for Jane to suggest a move to Promise. Annie moved to town and opened a bookstore as the people there were ready for one. Hollie and Heather Porter attended the story hour and became book lovers. Soon they looked to Annie for the attention their widowed father, Lucas, could not give. Lucas and Annie have become good friends which fills a need for each of them.
Adam Jordan became sheriff after twelve years in the military. He is trying to attract Jeannie French's attention but she makes him so nervous that he keeps causing disasters when near her.
Phil and Mary Patterson opened a B&B when Phil quit ranching. Mary and Dovie Hennessey are good friends who chat daily. Recently Dovie has been uneasy about the successful proprietors of the B&B. She does not know what it is but something feels wrong.
Dovie and Frank went on European holiday and Nessa is running the antique shop. When Gordon stopped to see Dovie in her shop, he met Nessa instead. Now they are great friends who keep the long distance phone lines busy since he lives in Toronto. They are two lonely people who enjoy each other. For some reason they decided not to tell their children about their new friendship.
Savannah and Grady are trying to guess what their misguided brother wants from prison. And then his lovely lawyer appeared for a stay in Promise-at the dude ranch of her ex-husband, too. Richard's interest has something to do with the ghost town, Bitter End. but what does he want unless it would be money? No one in Promise wants to be stung by Richard again. How can they avoid the possibility?
Of course, the town gossip, Louise, is more than happy to share all the news with everyone who will listen. Especially when she learns of love interests and pregnancies.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Heart Full of Soul by Taylor Hicks

If you are looking for a great biography, I can not recommend this one. Let’s face it, Taylor is too young to have a really juicy biography. However, if you are a Taylor Hicks fan, an American Idol fan or simply a music fan this is the book for you. This book has some great pictures of Taylor and the other contestants from the fifth season of American Idol. Taylor talks about the music that influenced his life and devoted an entire chapter of the book to his top ten list of favorite music.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Mail-order Husband by DiAnn Mills

When Lena Walker's husband died in the Nebraska of 1880, she was faced with a huge goal: to raise her two boys as Christians and run her farm successfully. Some of the men in the area thought she needed a man so they tried to advise her and a couple even proposed marriage. She was horrified to think of being married to those unkempt, foul-mouthed and irresponsible men. They certainly would not have been the example she wanted for her sons. One day it occurred to her, if a man can advertise for a wife why can't a woman advertise for a husband? So she did just that. From several responses, she decided to correspond with Gabe Hunters in Philadelphia. He would be happy to be a moral guide and educator for her sons and do his best to run the farm. When he arrived in Nebraska with his luggage and portly physique the new life for Lena and sons began. Gabe was in a new world from that of a sedentary accountant. Lena, Gabe and the boys were in for lots of give and take in their new family with some unexpected surprises.

Daggerspell by Katharine Kerr

Prince Galrion is arrogant, used to getting his own way and so taken with the dweomer (magic) that he defies his father and runs off leaving his betrothed Brangwen to her fate. Only when it is too late does he find out that his destiny (wyrd) was to study with Brangwen for her gift was just as strong as his. In a moment of foolishness, he vows not to die until he has set things right. Over the centuries Galrion, having taken the name, Nevyn, seeks the spirit of his beloved, reborn in the world to try to untangle her wyrd from the spirit that was her brother, Garraent and the other man who loved her, Blaen.

This is one of my favorite books of all time. It is the first book in a series. The main plot finishes in “Dragonspell” (known also as “The Dragon Revenant”). The story line does move between the different time periods so you will find the table of incarnations in the back very useful. There is also one on her website: There are two more series that run off from this series and are well worth reading. Katharine Kerr is still writing the very last book. I can’t wait to read it!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

It's never too early for Halloween stories

Most of my favorite picture books for Halloween all involve monsters, such as Go Away Big Green Monster by Ed Emberly and Leonardo the Terrible Monster by Mo Willems to name a few. My new favorite, however, is a book called When a Monster is Born by Sean Taylor with hilariously cute illustrations by Nick Sharratt. The book is cleverly written using different scenarios that involve things you expect a monster to do (i.e. hiding under the bed, eating people, shouting) and other scenarios that show a monster making friends, going to school, and falling in love. This is a great book for children who fear the "monster" under their bed by showing that monsters aren't so scary after all. I highly recommend this book for children ages 3 and up during the spooky month of October. Parents and children alike will enjoy the illustrations and the clever text.

Monday, September 10, 2007

The City of Ember By Jeanne DuPrau

The people of the City of Ember live in darkness. Darkness, illuminated by flood lamps that come on for 12 hours each day but more and more the lights have gone out leaving them in darkness wondering if the lights will ever come back on. There are rumors that the food in the storehouses is running out and light bulbs are becoming scarce. Lina Mayfleet’s only ambition is to become a messenger, but when she is assigned to the pipe works she feels like the world has ended. Doon Harrow only wants to work on the generator that runs the city. After being assigned the job as a messenger he and Lina switch places and renew their friendship. Doon soon learns the city, created for them by the Builders, is really dying and they have lost the technology to repair even the simplest things. Lina finds an old document her baby sister has chewed with “Instructions for Egress”. She and Doon pool their resources and begin puzzling out what it means for them and the rest of the people in Ember.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Black is the Colour of My True Loves Heart by Ellis Peters

When Dominic Felse and his girlfriend Tossa visit Follymead for the weekend folk music course it seems not all are there for the music’s sake alone. Passion runs high between performers Liri Palmer and Lucien Galt as Liri sings “Black is the colour of my true loves heart” and aims it straight at Lucien. Then, Lucien disappears and the search for him only turns up a broken necklace, churned up ground and drops of what might be blood on the river bank. Dominic calls in his father, Inspector Felse to begin a discreet investigation into what might be foul play, but the mystery deepens as the evidence leads to more unanswerable questions.

March by Geraldine Brooks

This is the story of Mr. March the shadowy father figure in Louisa May Alcott’s “Little Women”. We first encounter March working as a Union Chaplain during the Civil War trying to find ways of writing cheerful letters home while surrounded by the wanton cruelty, racism and ignorance of the war which he is helpless to prevent. Throughout this story weaves his early history as a peddler traveling across the South to make his fortune, his encounter with the Clements and their educated slave girl Grace, whom he meets again as the war takes him across the same path. His courtship and early married life with Marmee, a girl with a temper and frustrated by the role of women. His friendships with Emerson and Thoreau and the loss of his fortune. March becomes a school teacher for the black “contraband” on a plantation, but when the Confederates attack, the story is taken up by his wife, Marmee, who comes to find him in a Washington hospital. She gives us different eyes to view the past years as she uncovers the parts of her husband’s life of which he has never spoken.