Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Reading Journal ... Wednesday, 2/27/08

Reading The Huntress by Susan Carroll, page 328

Up next Ask Again Later by Jill A. Davis

I blew through 153 pages yesterday. These books are so addicting I can't seem to put them down for long which is a good thing. It's much better than slogging through a book. There's nothing more torturous than struggling to read a book that just isn't entertaining or interesting for whatever reason. I employ the 50 page rule unless it's a favorite author and then I'll probably double that to 100 pages. But if I'm not interested by page 100 by the wayside it goes. There are just too many books that need my attention as evidenced by the TBR piles in my house.

The mail delivered yet another gift ~ Ask Again Later by Jill A. Davis arrived. It's a book I was offered through Authors On The Web. Actually it was one I was thinking of for book club in '09 but now the ladies will miss their chance as I have it in my hot little hands. So the non-fiction books up next have moved down a notch on the reading post and Ask Again Later takes top spot. Whenever a book that was offered to me through Authors on the Web or Early Reviewers at Librarything arrives I always move them to next in line. I receive these books in return for my thoughts about them so I feel that I should honor that request by reading them soon as I can. It's a privilege to be offered these books and not one I intend to abuse.

Update: Today's mail brought another book ~ Strangers in Death by J.D. Robb. Now my dilemma is which to read first: Ask Again Later or Strangers in Death. I'll probably read Ask Again Later first so that I have the pleasure of looking forward to Strangers in Death. Though I'm such a huge J.D. Robb/Nora Roberts fan it's torture not to dig right in to Strangers in Death.

I'll be away for a few days so I'll be checking back in early next week.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Reading Journal ... Tuesday, 2/26/08

Reading The Huntress by Susan Carroll, page 174

I'm absolutely loving this author's work. I did notice that the author mentions that Meg's room was "tricked" out. While I'm sure her room was "tricked" out I'm not sure it is a term they would have used in the late 1500s. I chuckled a bit when reading that.

It's good thing she has a back list of books. As the Twilight Queen doesn't come out until early '09 I'll have to read some of her other works every couple of months to tide me over. I'm hoping her earlier works as a good as her "Daughters of the Earth" series. It's not like I don't have a large selection to choose from in the mean time. Those TBR piles are populating like bunnies and now that spring is here...

I just love coming home to mail that is something besides junk or bills. I got A Rose for the Crown by Anne Easter Smith. I bought this at Amazon with gift $$$ so I'm not guilty of spending hard earned money on this one. Actually I feel like I stole it. I paid .75 cents for the book itself + $4 shipping, originally a $17 book. The book is in great condition. The person before me treats their books the same way I do ~ with loving care. Dog-earred corners and other harsh treatment drives me nuts. I guess that's probably why I buy books new. I like to leave my books looking pristine when I'm done. I believe in treating books with great care. No breaking spines, no dog-earring pages, no spills or stained pages, no bent or torn covers. They are my treasure and should be treated as such.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Reading Journal ... Monday, 2/25/08

Finished Secret of the Scroll by Chester D. Campbell

Reading The Huntress by Susan Carroll, page 45

Finished the Secret of the Scroll last night. It was decent for a first book by the author. I'm not raving about it but I would read the 2nd in the series and go from there.

I'm back with some favorite characters again in The Huntress. So far Catriona O'Hanlon and Martin le Loup along with Ariane Deauville (Cheney) have made appearances though many other characters have been mentioned. Cat is out to protect Meg, Martin's daughter, from the coven of the Silver Rose so there's sure to be plenty of action and friction. This is a wonderful series and I'll be sad to finish this book as the next one is not out until early next year.

I'm thinking of moving back into non-fiction when I finish The Huntress. Usually I try to mix fiction and non-fiction though I haven't been very good lately in doing so. I have Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community and War by Nathaniel Philbrick and The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey by Candice Millard in the TBR piles so one of those is most likely up next unless one of my ARCs arrives. Truly I can't wait to get my hands on Strangers in Death by J.D. Robb but I'm practicing patience as it should be the hands of the postal service to be delivered at their whim.

Secret of the Scroll by Chester D. Campbell

As I got to my feet, dusting myself off, I saw two women beside a car across the parking area staring in my direction. One appeared to have a cell phone planted against her ear. I shoved the pistol back under my jacket and hurried toward my Jeep. If they were calling 911, I needed to get away from here fast. ~ Secret of the Scroll, page 115 ~

Deadly groups of Palestinians and Israelis struggle to gain possession of an ancient parchment that was unknowingly smuggled from Israel to the U.S. by a retired Air Force investigator. Colonel Greg McKenzie finds himself mired in the duplicitous world of Middle East politics and religion when his wife, Jill, is taken hostage to the return of the first century Hebrew scroll. Hounded by a Metro Nashville detective when he fails to report his wife missing, Greg is forced to mount his own black operation inside Israel in an attempt to save Jill's life. Hanging in the balance is the secret of the scroll, which has the potential to fan the already flaming Arab-Israeli dispute into a raging holocaust.

This is a new-to-me author. While for the most part I enjoyed this book things just fell into place too easily for our main character. He didn't hit any bad spots, didn't have to make any u-turns, never struggled, plot-wise, to get his wife back. Whatever he needed to do he did and nothing got in his way. Everything just went like clock-work and that was the down fall for me. As far as I know this the author's first published book so I expected it to be a bit rough around the plot edges. There was action along the way and, for the most part, the story flowed so I'm willing to try book two in this series before I make a definite go or no go decision.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

The Silver Rose by Susan Carroll

"No, Your Grace," Simon murmured. Alarmed as he was at the thought of the Book of Shadows being in the Silver Rose's possession, other equally disturbing thoughts raced through his mind. For a woman who insisted she was not a witch, the queen knew a damnable lot about both the Book of Shadows and what had transpired at the Charters Inn that night. ~ The Silver Rose, page 227 ~

France, 1585. She is the youngest and most powerful of the "Sisters of Faire Isle," women known far and wide for their extraordinary mystical abilities. Skilled in healing and able to foretell the future of those around her, Miri Cheney has returned to her ancestral home to take refuge from a land devastated by civil war ~ and to grieve for her family, driven to exile. But she cannot hide from the formidable new power threatening to seize control of France from Catherine de Medici, the dreaded Dark Queen ~ a diabolical woman known only as the Silver Rose. Miri has no choice but to turn to the one man she distrusts as much as she desires: Simon Aristide, the charismatic witch-hunter who is now himself the hunted, and who has reluctantly made an unholy pact with Catherine. Miri must defy throne and family to save all that she loves most ~ and command a future greater than she could ever imagine.

Another solid story in the Cheney sisters trilogy. This books deals with the power of unconditional love, forgiveness and redemption. Woven throughout the story are characters from previous books that I've come to love and despise. Once again intrigue, mystery, scandal, love, etc. all make appearances. This has been one of the better trilogies I've read in a while. I never felt let down and kept turning pages just to see what would happen next. This author has quickly become a new favorite and her books will go on hold at library as soon as they hit the reserve list.

Reading Journal ... Saturday, 2/23/08

Reading The Silver Rose by Susan Carroll, page 483

Starting Secret of the Scroll by Chester D. Campbell

Ok, so I didn't finish The Silver Rose yesterday. I got within 20 pages of the end and kept nodding off (it was 1am) so I decided to put it down for the night. This is another good book by Susan Carroll. I was going to read The Huntress next but have decided to give myself a break from these characters and move on to something else. I'll be reading Secret of the Scroll by Chester D. Campbell. He is the featured author at Mystery Lovers Corner this month. While Mystery Lovers has chosen a different book of his I like to read series from the start so I've elected to this start with this one. I get a bit frustrated when I pick up and start reading a book only to realize that it's x in a series. I like knowing the characters and their place in the series instead of just barging in on them. I've taken to reading back covers and book jackets a bit more carefully to make sure I'm not stumbling in to middle of a series.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Reading Journal ... Friday, 2/22/08

Reading The Silver Rose, page 206

No book club last night. So after screaming my way through The Guardian and not particularly liking it I didn't have to have it finished on time. No big deal. It's just one more out of the TBR pile that grew again. This time I added 2 for 1 so I'm not making progress on depleting the TBR piles. I knew I shouldn't have gone to Hastings yesterday before heading next door to the DMV. I'll blame this on hubby as I was buying tabs for his car. I picked up 2 books that look good for book club next year. Yes I know, this year is only 2 months old and already I'm stacking up books for we girls to read next year. I also bought new instead of used so I was really on a roll. The new additions are: They Did It with Love by Kate Morgenroth and Peony in Love by Lisa See. We read Snow Flower and the Secret Fan last year for book club and really enjoyed it so I thought we'd read another one by Lisa. They Did It with Love just sounded interesting so in to the TBR piles it goes.

I should be able to finish The Silver Rose today as it's snowing outside, it's my day off from work and I'm house sitting so no distractions.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Format ... Booking Through Thursday, 2/21/08

All other things (like price and storage space) being equal, given a choice in a perfect world, would you rather have paperbacks in your library? Or hardcovers? And why?

Trade-sized paperbacks. ~ They're the perfect size ~ The type is not too small nor too large; the dimensions of the book make it easy to carry in a purse, backpack, briefcase, etc. without taking up too much space. They're always my first choice when buying books.

Reading Journal ... Thursday, 2/21/08

Finished The Guardian by Nicholas Sparks. Review posted on this blog.

Reading The Silver Rose by Susan Carroll, page 73.

Finished The Guardian yesterday and posted my thoughts under Book Reviews 2008. Not his best work. I've started reading The Silver Rose which is the final book in the Cheney Sisters trilogy. I'm very much enjoying this series and will be reading a 4th book by this author next. The Huntress is not a Cheney Sisters book but is related and has characters that have been introduced in her other books. Once more I'm back in the historical fiction mode that started last year and I haven't been able to break away from. In the past historical fiction made up next to none of my reading and now I can't seem to get away from it. If you looked at my TBR piles you'd swear it's the only genre I'm reading!

Thursdays are one of my days' off and you'd think I'd spend my time reading. No such luck. I actually spend Thursdays updating my yahoo book group info, my blog with things like book reviews and other tidbits, my Librarything library and the Booking Through Thursdays meme which I haven't even gotten to yet.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Guardian by Nicholas Sparks

As she approached the house an hour later, she heard the phone ringing. Hurrying inside, she let the screen door close with a bang behind her. Probably Emma, she thought. Emma had been calling a lot lately ~ she loved what was happening with Mike and couldn't wait to talk about it. And to be honest, Julie kind of liked talking about it, too. Just for perspective, of course. ~ The Guardian, page 184 ~

Julie Barenson's young husband left her two unexpected gifts before he died ~ a Great Dane puppy named Singer and the promise that he would always be watching over her. Now four years have passed. Still living in the small town of Swansboro, North Carolina, twenty-nine-year-old Julie is emotionally ready to make a commitment to someone again. But who? Should it be Richard Franklin, the handsome, sophisticated engineer who treats her like a queen? Or Mike Harris, the down-to-earth nice guy who was her husband's best friend? Choosing one of them should bring her more happiness than she's had in years. Instead, Julie is soon fighting for her life in a nightmare spawned by a chilling deception and jealousy so poisonous that it has become a murderous desire...

This book did absolutely nothing for me. It was very predictable from start to finish. I found the writing style stilted. I've read other works by this author and loved them, especially The Wedding. I thought going into this I'd be reading a romance with possibly a few wrong turns on Julie's part until she realizes who is really the man for her. After the reading the author's note at the end of the story I understood why I didn't like this book. He was writing a romance story with a thriller aspect secondary to the main story line. He stated it went through 8 major revisions, maybe it should have gone through nine. For me it didn't work. Hopefully in the future he will write what he's very good at ~ true romantic, get out the hankie tear jerkiers.

Reading Journal ... Wednesday, 2/20/08

Reading: The Guardian by Nicholas Sparks, page 305

I got in more reading then I thought I would due to a raging migraine. I read 105 pages which leaves only 77 to go. I'll be glad to finish this one and move on. Not his best work. I'll be joining the Cheney Sisters again in the last of their trilogy, The Silver Rose by Susan Carroll.

Yeah happy book day! I snagged an Early Reviewers book ~ The Forgery of Venus by Michael Gruber. Also the Secret of the Scroll by Chester D. Campbell arrived in the mail yesterday. He is the featured author at Mystery Lovers Corner this month. No guilt book buying here as I had Amazon dollars to spend.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Reading Journal ... Tuesday, 2/19/08

Reading: The Guardian by Nicholas Sparks, page 200

I read more the I anticipated I'd be able to yesterday. I'm 2/3 of the way through The Guardian. Book club is Thursday night so I should be able to get it finished and started on another before then. Now that I've dropped the idea of reading challenges I don't feel the pressure to have to read and the enjoyment is back.

This isn't exactly the book I thought it would be. I thought it would be much more of a romance. I've read 3 other books by this author and especially enjoyed The Wedding. The writing is stiff almost forced, maybe to meet a publishing deadline, instead of flowing. This story is very cliched and right from the start you know the ending. I picked this originally because I thought it would make a nice romantic read as this is the month of love but it's not turning out that way.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Reading Journal ... Monday, 2/18/08

This is something different for me and I thought I'd give it a try. I'm going to track my daily progress, and other things bookish in my life this year, just to see where the reading road takes me.

I just finished The Courtesan by Susan Carroll. I read the last 169 pages yesterday. It seemed like this book took a while to get through. I usually finish a book in 3 or 4 days but this one actually took an entire week. I started reading it on 2/11 and finished 2/17. Life seemed to have intruded on my reading time. I'm looking forward to reading the last book in this trilogy, The Silver Rose, but have step away to read my f2f BC book.

Speaking of...I'll be starting The Guardian by Nicholas Sparks for my f2f BC which meets Thursday this week. I should be able to finish it if I can just carve out the reading time. Oh well if I don't have it done the world won't end. I'll have given it my best shot. We don't really spend a lot of time, if any, discussing the book selections. We use the selections as more of a way to expand our reading horizons and try authors or genres that we wouldn't normally read on our own.

The Courtesan by Susan Carroll

The grounds of the Louvre had been transformed into something out of the tales of Camelot, colorful tents erected, pennants snapping in the breeze. Knights sprouted instead of flowers, stalwart young men in various stages of donning armor called greetings and taunts to one another while their squires flew about polishing weapons. ~ The Courtesan, page 287 ~

Paris, 1575. The consort of some of Europe's most influential men, Gabrielle Cheney is determined to secure her future by winning the heart of Henry, the Huguenot king of Navarre. As his mistress, Gabrielle hopes she might one day become the power behind the French throne. But her plans are jeopardized by Captain Nicolas Remy, a devoted warrior whose love Gabrielle desires - and fears - above all. She will also incur the malevolence of the Dark Queen, Catherine de Medici, whose spies and witch-hunters are legion, and who will summon the black arts to maintain her authority. With the lives of those she loves in peril, Gabrielle must rebel against her queen to fulfill a glorious destiny she has sacrificed everything to gain.

This is the 2nd book in the Cheney Sisters trilogy. I enjoyed this one as much as I enjoyed book 1 and book 3 which I'm currently reading. Where the 1st book was much more of a romance this book is filled with intrigue, danger, daring and evil. Gabrielle is more of a risk-taker than Ariane. Her actions and motives place her in harms way on a regular basis. Of course we shouldn't fear for her because where Gabrielle is, Remy is. While Gabrielle and Remy finally get their act together there's plenty of action to keep them, and the readers, occupied along the way. I love the cast of characters this author has created from the sisters to sinister, yet redeemable, Le Balafre. I'm looking forward to reading more from this author in the future.

Friday, February 15, 2008

The Dark Queen by Susan Carroll

Shadows lengthened along the walls of the stone house in the countryside just beyond the suburbs of Paris. The place bore a gloom-ridden aspect and was shunned by its nearest neighbors. Monsieur Vachel Le Vis might be deemed a great and holy man, appointed by God to rid the world of witches, but even honest citizens dreaded to have his dark eye turn in their direction. Especially when he was in one of his black moods, as he had been ever since his return yesterday. ~ The Dark Queen, page 281 ~

She is Ariane, the Lady of Faire Isle, and one of the Cheney sisters, renowned for their mystical skills and for keeping the isle secure and prosperous. But this is a time when women of ability are deemed sorceresses, when Renaissance France is torn by ruthless political intrigues, and all are held in thrall to the sinister ambitions of Queen Catherine de Medici. Then a wounded stranger arrives on Faire Isle, bearing a secret the Dark Queen will do everything in her power to possess. The only person Airane can turn to is the comte de Renard, a nobleman with fiery determination and a past as mysterious as his own unusual gifts.

This is a new author to me so I didn't know what I'd be getting into reading this book. I originally bought The Silver Rose as I was attracted by the title and cover art so I had to back track to the beginning of the story with The Dark Queen, first in the Cheney Sisters trilogy. I found it be a pleasant mix of romance, intrigue, and magic - both white and black. While this book has an element of fantasy I found it to be much more of a love story. Not only Ariane and Renard's but Ariane's love for her sisters and her willingness to defy the Dark Queen for their safety. I was immediately drawn into their story. The need to protect themselves from evil and, possibly, the men who will be their destinies. I enjoyed the story line, historical setting and writing style of the author. I'm currently reading book 2 in this trilogy, The Courtesan.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

The Darkest Evening of the Year by Dean Koontz

The severed limbs, the headless torso, the eyeless head, and the pried-out glass eyes of the doll are arranged beside the lunch tray on the desk, where Moongirl carefully placed them. ~ The Darkest Evening of the Year, page 179 ~

Amy Redwing has dedicated her life to the southern California organization she founded to rescue abandoned and endangered golden retrievers. Among dog lovers, she’s a legend for the risks she’ll take to save an animal from abuse. Among her friends, Amy’s heedless devotion is often cause for concern. To widower Brian McCarthy, whose commitment she can’t allow herself to return, Amy’s behavior is far more puzzling and hides a shattering secret.

No one is surprised when Amy risks her life to save Nickie, nor when she takes the female golden into her home. The bond between Amy and Nickie is immediate and uncanny. Even her two other goldens, Fred and Ethel, recognize Nickie as special, a natural alpha. But the instant joy Nickie brings is shadowed by a series of eerie incidents. An ominous stranger. A mysterious home invasion.

And the unmistakable sense that someone is watching Amy’s every move and that, whoever it is, he’s not alone.

Someone has come back to turn Amy into the desperate, hunted creature she’s always been there to save. But now there’s no one to save Amy and those she loves.

What can I say I'm a big fan of this man's work. I've read just about everything he's written and always put his newest release on hold at the library. While I don't always finish some of his newer works with the writing style changed he adapted around 2000 I knew before ever starting this book that it would be one I wouldn't put down. When I read the story outline provided by Amazon and saw that it involved rescuing animals I was hooked. It didn't matter was else was going to happen in this suspense filled page turner, I was there. I can honestly say this was an emotional roller coaster of a book for me. The passages referring to puppy mills, animal shelter walk-throughs and rescuing pets from cruel owners drove me to tears but I knew in the end from reading previous novels by Mr. Koontz that everyone would get exactly what they deserved both animal and human.

There were parts that kept me on the edge of my seat though it wrapped up a bit too neatly in the kitchen of the house. I would have preferred a bit more touch-n-go right up until the very end. Overall I enjoyed this solid story and I'm glad I didn't put it down before finishing.

After The Honeymoon ... Booking Through Thursday, 2/14/08

Here’s something for Valentine’s Day.

Have you ever fallen out of love with a favorite author? Was the last book you read by the author so bad, you broke up with them and haven’t read their work since? Could they ever lure you back?

I have broken up with some of my favorites and others I continue an on-again, off-again relationship. Most of my break ups aren't painful and have evolved over time.

I find this the case when it's a series with the same character or group of characters. Over time they've done all they can do and the writing becomes a bit stale. I tire of them and go looking for someone new to spark to my interest. Or I find it hard to keep track of which story line belong to which character(s). I have several favorites who write story lines, let's say about lawyers, and those lawyers have on-going relationships with other characters from past books in the series. It's hard to remember whose been doing what in which story with the lag time in writing and publishing new books. Also, I read so much that my memory cells tend to go on overload and short circuit.

For those I have an on-again, off-again relationship with it is usually a change in writing style that tends to make me stray. Over time in any career boredom tends to set in, day in and day out the same routine. I think this would be true with authors. So in order to keep their work interesting not only to readers but the writers themselves they might try a different style of writing or genre. Such is my relationship with a top horror/suspense author. I've read just about everything this man has written. Up until 2000 I can honestly say I enjoyed every book I read and looked forward to the newest release. Then his writing style changed and I found myself not finishing books and enjoying about every other new release. Now when I know he has a new release coming out I put it on hold at the library and give it try, no less than 50 pages minimum.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

But, Enough About Books ... Booking Through Thursday, 2/7/2008

Okay, even I can’t read ALL the time, so I’m guessing that you folks might voluntarily shut the covers from time to time as well… What else do you do with your leisure to pass the time? Walk the dog? Knit? Run marathons? Construct grandfather clocks? Collect eggshells?

Well considering I work for the world's leading provider of satellite entertainment TV runs a very close 2nd in our house. Our DVRs (upstairs and down) are always working overtime. We record 99% of what we watch and skip commercials. DVRs are a wonderful invention. I'm sure I'd watch a LOT less if we didn't have them. The hubby doesn't help either considering he's TV junkie, said with loving affection.

I haven't picked up a cross stitch project in over 2 years because the children (read: cats) get their noses out of joint when mom's lap is suddenly unavailable. It's been staked out as their private domain and they even have a hierarchy as to who sits where. Doesn't everyone know it's much easier to hold your book in a position that doesn't bother the furry lap rug then to try and read patterns and poke tiny needles in even tinier holes.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah

Kate received the first message from Johnny two days after he left. Until then, she'd walked around the house in a daze, never far from the new fax/phone they'd put on the kitchen counter. As she went about the business of her day - changing diapers, reading stories, watching Marah crawl from one potentially dangerous piece of furniture to the next - she thought: Okay, Johnny: let me know you're alive and well. He'd told her that phone calls could only be made with dire need (to which she'd argued that her need was dire, and why didn't that count?), but that faxes were not only possible but relatively easy. ~ Firefly Lane, page 252 ~

In the summer of 1974, Kate Mularkey has accepted her place at the bottom of the eighth-grade social food chain. Then, to her amazement, the "coolest girl in the world" moves in across the street and wants to be her friend. Tully Hart seems to have it all - beauty, brains, ambition. On the surface they are as opposite as two people can be: Kate, doomed to be forever uncool, with a loving family who mortifies her at every turn; Tully, steeped in glamour and mystery, but with a secret that is destroying her. They make a pact to be best friends forever; by summer's end they've become TullyandKate; Inseparable.

So begins Kristin Hannah's magnificent new novel. Spanning more than three decades and playing out across the ever-changing face of the Pacific Northwest, Firefly Lane is the poignant, powerful story of two women and the friendship that becomes the mainstay of their lives.

I just finished Firefly Lane last night and still find myself crying this morning. When your life is laid out before you it can be a bit of an emotional roller coaster. I was raised in Western Washington just like Ms. Hannah and during the same years as the characters. I identified a lot with the places, music and world events. The last 50 or so pages were like living my life again from 1995-1997 when my father battled cancer and eventually passed. I got caught up in the lives of Tully and Kate and it was interesting to see them change, or not, over the next 30+ years. For most of the book I wanted to rail and rage at Tully and a bit at Kate. For the most part I didn't really like Tully and wouldn't have wasted my time on her but in the end, like Kate, I forgave her because that's what true friendship and love are about.

For most readers this work of fiction is a story they'll enjoy or they won't. For me this story was a gift and I thank Ms. Hannah for that.

** Please disregard spelling errors. Blogger spell check isn't working. **

Friday, February 1, 2008

Gardens of Water by Alan Drew

He had stopped to pray before going to the tent, stopped to gather his head before being confronted with an angry daughter, a frightened son, and a panicked wife. He needed a break: the double shifts at work, the upheaval in a home that wasn't a home, and the fear that he would be stuck here in this city was more than he could bear. A resentment was growing inside of him like a thorn bush, and he found himself acting out a fantasy in his head in which he broke down and screamed at his family. ~ Gardens of Water, page 213 [ARC, uncorrected proof] ~

In a small town outside Istanbul, Sinan, a struggling Kurd shopkeeper, is a devout Muslim whose fifteen-year-old daughter, Irem, dreams of escaping the confines of her family and the duties expected of a Muslim woman. In Dylan, the American boy who lives in the apartment upstairs, Irem sees the enticing promise of a different life.
After the earthquake of 1999 destroys Sinan's home, making him once again a refugee in his own country, the two families - Muslim and American - bond with a dangerous intimacy. As forbidden love develops between Irem and Dylan, Sinan finds himself faced with greater dangers; he is confronted by decisions with potentially grave consequences that push him inexorably toward the ultimate betrayal, one that will change both families' lives forever.

I love reading about cultures different from the one I was raised in. It's my way of traveling the world and educating myself without leaving the comfort of my own home. Mr. Drew draws, with words, a very intimate view into the lives of a modern, devout, conservative Muslim family and the struggles they face after their lives are destroyed by an earthquake and they move to a refugee camp set up and run Americans. While each member faces their own individual internal battle I believe the father, Sinan, faces the toughest of all. His experiences as a child deeply influence his actions as an adult and color his dealings with not only his own family but those providing aid. The further into this book you get the more complex and touching this story becomes.

I recommend this wonderful book. It's a gem.
** Please disregard any spelling errors. Blogger spell check isn't working **

Book Wrap Up - January '08

Books read this month
1. Leonardo's Swans: A Novel by Karen Essex (2007)
2. Secrets of a Summer Night (Wallflower Quartet, Bk. 1) by Lisa Kleypas (2004)
3. It Happened One Autumn (Wallflower Quartet, Bk. 2) by Lisa Kleypas (2005)
4. Pope Joan: A Novel by Donna Cross (1996)
5. Devil in Winter (Wallflower Quartet, Bk. 3) by Lisa Kleypas (2006)
6. Scandal in Spring (Wallflower Quartet, Bk. 4) by Lisa Kleypas (2006)
7. Victoria Victorious: The Story of Queen Victoria by Jean Plaidy (2005)
8. Pushing Up Daisies: A Dirty Business Mystery (Dirt-y Business Mysteries) by Rosemary Harris (2008)
9. Pick Your Poison: A Yellow Rose Mystery (Yellow Rose Mysteries) by Leann Sweeney (2004)
10. Mew is for Murder by Clea Simon (2006)

11. Stone Cold (The Camel Club) by David Baldacci (2007)

Harvesting the Heart: A Novel by Jodi Picoult (1995)

Early Reviewers/Advanced Readers Copy:
Pushing Up Daisies: A Dirty Business Mystery (Dirt-y Business Mysteries) by Rosemary Harris (2008)

# of pages read: 4,085

Challenge status:
From the Stacks Winter '07 - finished
Complete Series - 1 series read/The Wallflowers by Lisa Kleypas
'08 TBR - 1/12
Back Through History - 1/12
1st in a Series - 1/12
Romance - 4/5
What's in a Name 1/6
You Set It Paperback - 1/11
'07 Winter - 6/8
Royal Rules 0/3

TBR additions:
Secrets of a Lady by Tracy Grant
Silent in the Sanctuary by Deanna Raybourn
Mary, Mrs. A. Lincoln by Janis Cooke Newman
The Knitting Circle by Ann Hood
Pushing Up Daisies by Rosemary Harris (Early Reviewers)
Gardens of Water by Alan Drew (Early Reviewers)
Firefly Lane by Kristin Harris (Early Reviewers)
The Mapmaker's Wife by Robert Whitaker
Bump In The Night (Anthology)
Dead of Night (Anthology)
To Pleasure A Lady by Nicole Jordan

** Please disregard spelling errors. Blogger spell check isn't working **