Wednesday, April 30, 2014


HarperCollins|April 29, 2014|Hardcover|ISBN: 978-1-44341-601-6

Have you ever wondered what doctors and nurses are really saying as they zip through the emergency room and onto elevators, throwing cryptic phrases at one another? Or why they do it? Do you guess at the codes broadcast over the loudspeaker, or the words doctors and nurses use when speaking right in front of patients?

In THE SECRET LANGUAGE OF DOCTORS, bestselling author Dr. Brian Goldman opens up the book on the clandestine phrases doctors use to describe patients, situations and even colleagues they detest. He tells us what is means for someone to suffer from incarceritis, what doctors mean when they block and turf, what the various codes mean, and why you never want to suffer a horrendoma. Highly accessible, biting, funny and entertaining, THE SECRET LANGUAGE OF DOCTORS reveals modern medical culture at its best and all too often at its worst.

Goldman's second book is very different from his first titled "Night Watch". Although I enjoyed reading this second, I was finding myself a bit bored after a while. There were too many quotes from other books, too many statistics and not enough "secret language". I thought the book was going to be packed with more slang than it contained and less statistical information. To be honest, by three-quarters of the way through the book, I found myself skipping page after page after page just to hurry the book along. I felt too mired down in quotes from this person or that, or this book or that. Although I learned a few things, it wasn't what I thought it was going to be which is a bit disappointing.

Monday, April 28, 2014


Thomas Nelson|January 20, 2014|Trade Paperback|ISBN: 978-1-59554-783-5

Elegance and wealth. Privilege and politics. The extravagance of the Butterfly Palace overwhelmed Lily's senses and nearly smothered her painful memories. She pushed away her misgivings...She was perfectly safe in this huge house.

Austin, Texas--1904: Abandoned by the love of her life and still mourning the loss of her mother, Lily Donaldson has turned her back on the pain and come to Austin for a fresh start, working for the Marshall family as a kitchen maid in their luxurious mansion, the Butterfly Palace. The tasks before her are legion, and her mistress less than pleasant, but at least Lily's new life will be, if nothing else, distracting.

But one night, while serving at a dinner party, Lily recognizes the man who abandoned her, Andy, her liaison from the livery stable, the blacksmith's son...sitting among the distinguished guests. Though he recognizes her, Andy does not acknowledge her aloud, and Lily is left reeling, flabbergasted, and irate.

But before she can get an explanation, the path of the Servant Girl Killer swerves very close to the Butterfly Palace, sowing terror among the maids. Having come to Austin to start anew, Lily suddenly feels trapped in a spider web. How can she know who to trust in a house where lies come dressed in fine suits and deceit in silk gowns the colors of butterfly wings?

If you love historical fiction, you'll love BUTTERFLY PALACE. I couldn't put it down and promised myself that I'd pace my way through to make it last longer but I just couldn't do it. Before I knew it, I was turning the last page!

There was so much mystery, suspense, intrigue, and guesswork throughout this entire novel and I thought for sure I had the culprits pegged several times but I was dashed every single time. This was an excellent novel that is highly recommendable.

Sunday, April 27, 2014


HarperCollins|March 31, 2014|Trade Paperback|ISBN: 978-0-06-228314-6

It's summer, and after ten years away, Allie Beckett has returned to her family's cabin beside tranquil Butternut Lake, where as a teenager she spent so many carefree days. She's promised her five-year-old son, Wyatt, they will be happy there. She's promised herself this is the place to begin again after her husband's death in Afghanistan. The cabin holds so many wonderful memories, but from the moment she crosses its threshold Allie is seized with doubts. Has she done the right thing uprooting her little boy from the only home he's ever known?

Allie and her son are embraced by the townsfolk, and her reunions with old acquaintances - her friend Jax, now a young mother of three with one more on the way, and Caroline, the owner of the local coffee shop - are joyous ones. And then there are newcomers like Walker Ford, who mostly keeps to himself - until he takes a shine to Wyatt...and to Allie.

Everyone knows that moving forward is never easy, and as the long, hazy days of summer take hold, Allie must learn to unlock the hidden longings of her heart, and to accept that in order to face the future she must also confront - and understand - what has come before.

UP AT BUTTERNUT LAKE was a story I could sink my teeth into. I totally fell in love with Allie, she was such a good mother and Wyatt was her entire world. I could picture Butternut Lake in my mind's eye and see the glistening water and Walker's cottage across the bay from Allie's dock. It was a peaceful, serene read and I was just absolutely lost in the pages of this novel. Very well done! I totally loved it and had such a peaceful feeling when I turned the final page.

Saturday, April 26, 2014


My Review:
Kensington|April 1, 2014|Trade Paperback|ISBN: 978-0-7582-7342-0

Welcome to the quirky town of Cherico, Mississippi, where potluck meetings at the local library provide a feast for mind and stomach alike...

If some folks had their way, the Cherico library would have shut down long ago. Councilman Durden Sparks aims to divert funding to a cause dear to his heart - and his wallet. With the aid of gumption and good friends, librarian Maura Beth Mayhew has finagled a one-year reprieve, and the burgeoning book club is raising the library's profile one mouthwatering meeting at a time. But more members mean more opinions...

While the Forrest Gump-themed shrimp dishes are a universal hit, meetings don't always go according to plan. Between spirited debate over book choices and surprising revelations and relationship hiccups - including Maura Beth's fledgling romance - there's a lot to discuss. And just when bad luck threatens to finish the library for good, the Cherry Cola Book Club may learn that the best stories have twists - and heroes - you never expected.

I despised Durdin Sparks, a selfish man who didn't do anything unless there was something in it for him. I just wanted to slap that man up side of the head! Maura Beth on the other hand, was a sweet and honest woman who just wanted her library to be saved from destruction and she was willing to do everything in her power to see that through to conclusion. This was a great light read and one that I enjoyed very much.

Friday, April 25, 2014


HarperCollins Publishers|February 4, 2013|Trade Paperback|ISBN: 978-1-44341--353-4

Virginia, 1852. Seventeen-year-old Josephine Bell decides to run from the failing tobacco farm where she is a slave and nurse to her ailing mistress, the aspiring artist Lu Anne Bell. New York City, 2004. Lina Sparrow, an ambitious first-year associate in an elite law firm, is given a difficult, highly sensitive assignment that could make her career; she must find the "perfect plaintiff" to lead a historic class-action lawsuit worth trillions of dollars in reparations for descendants of American slaves.

It is through her father, the renowned artist Oscar Sparrow, that Lina discovers Josephine Bell and a controversy roiling the art world: are the iconic paintings long ascribed to Lu Anne Bell really the work of her house slave, Josephine? A descendant of Josephine's would be the perfect face for the reparations lawsuit - if Lina can find one. While following the runaway girl's faint trail through old letters and plantation records, Lina finds herself questioning her own family history and the secrets that her father has never revealed: How did Lina's mother die? And why will he never speak about her?

Moving between antebellum Virginia and modern-day New York, this searing, suspenseful and heartbreaking tale of art and history, love and secrets, explores what it means to repair a wrong and asks whether truth is sometimes more important than justice.

A gripping tale if I ever did read one. A page turner at it's best.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

50 CHILDREN: One Ordinary American Couple's Extraordinary Rescue Mission into the Heart of Nazi Germany (STEVEN PRESSMAN)

Harper Collins Publishers|April 11, 2014|Hardcover|ISBN: 978-0-06-2237-47-7

The astonishing and inspiring true story of the 1939 rescue mission of fifty Jewish children from Nazi-occupied Austria to America - the single largest group of children allowed into the United States during that period - told for the first time in book form.

Two ordinary Americans.

Fifty innocent lives.

One unforgettable journey.

In early 1939, few Americans were thinking about the storm clouds gathering in Europe. Nor did they have much sympathy for the growing number of Jewish families that were increasingly threatened and brutalized by Adolf Hitler's troopers in Germany and Austria. Public opinion polls revealed overwhelming support for America's rigid immigration laws, which made it virtually impossible for European Jews to seek safe haven in this country. Neither President Franklin Roosevelt nor Congress was interested in coming to their aid. In fact, anti-semitism was so rampant throughout the United States that even Jewish community leaders were reluctant to support widescale refugee rescue efforts for fear of fueling an even greater backlash.

Despite all of these challenges, a Jewish couple from Philadelphia decided that something had to be done.

In 1939, Gilbert Kraus was a successful 42-year-old lawyer in Philadelphia, whose business and social life revolved around the city's well-heeled German-Jewish community. Gilbert's wife, Eleanor, was a 36-year-old beauty with a penchant for stylish cocktail dresses and fashionable feathered hats.

The dramatic events that unfolded next in their lives provide the rich narrative of a never-before-told story of personal courage and triumphant heroism. It is a story of two ordinary individuals who, at a critical moment in history, rose above themselves to become extraordinary heroes, traveling to Nazi-controlled Vienna and Berlin in Spring 1939 to save fifty Jewish children from an unimaginable fate.

Shockingly, fewer than 1,200 unaccompanied children were allowed into the United States throughout the entire Holocaust, in which 1.5 million children perished. The fifty children saved by the Krauses turned out to be the single largest group of children brought to America.

50 Children grew out of a one-hour documentary of the same name that Steven Pressman wrote, directed, and produced about the Krauses, which aried on HBO in April 2013. The film and the book are based on extensive research including interviews conducted with nearly a dozen of the surviving children and members of the friends and family, as well as Eleanor Kraus's unpublished memoir.
The story description is so well-written that I don't really have anything else to add to the above except to say that I read this book in record time. It amazes me the generosity, compassion, strength, and courage some people have for others. Gil and Eleanor took up this endeavour under great potential harm to themselves but that didn't matter to them whatsoever. There is a lot to learn for all of us in the pages of this book which I highly recommend for everyone.


My Review:
Hyperion|January 21, 2014|Trade Paperback|ISBN: 978-1-4013-4194-7

Recently widowed and rendered penniless by her Ponzi-scheming husband, Julia Bishop is eager to start anew. So when a stranger appears on her doorstep with a job offer, she finds herself accepting the mysterious yet unique position: caretaker to his mother, Amaris Sinclair, the famous and rather eccentric horror novelist whom Julia has always admired...and who the world believes is dead.

When she arrives at the Sinclairs' enormous estate on Lake Superior, Julia begins to suspect that there may be sinister undercurrents to her "too-good-to-be-true" position. As Julia delves into the reasons of why Amaris chose to abandon her successful writing career and withdraw from the public eye, her search leads to unsettling connections to her own family tree, making her wonder why she really was invited to Havenwood in the first place, and what monstrous secrets are still held prisoner within its walls.

I fell in love with Amaris and Julia both. One minute, Amaris was acting like an old frail woman and the next she was out horseriding. Depending on the day, you just never knew what to expect from her.

Julia was a sweetheart but very intelligent and she knew something was amiss in this house of horrors she entered but didn't know what exactly. How she stayed in that house is way beyond me because after my first sighting of a ghost I would have been long gone. Just the description of the old house was enough to put some trepidation in me and I doubt very much I could sleep in a room, on one floor by myself. Maybe with heavily armed guards but not alone.

This was a very fast paced book that kept me turning the pages faster and faster. I just couldn't put it down and couldn't turn the pages fast enough. This is definitely a keeper and I'll be looking for more of Wendy Webb's work for sure. Great book!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014


Create Space Independent Publishing Platform|January 22, 2014|Trade Paperback|ISBN: 9781495268373

Randy Dingwall has written this book in memory of his best friend, "Grizwall". Grizwall, adopted from the S.P.C.A. in Salmon Arm, British Columbia was a gorgeous looking dog with "a lion's man protecting his throat and a white coat that took on a creamy colour along his back" and he was one huge dog.

The adventures that Randy and Grizwall had together will make you laugh and cry. Grizwall certainly had a mind of his own and knew what he wanted. He was an intelligent animal except when it came to meeting porcupines!

The story is told in alternating voices between Randy and Grizwall himself and Grizwall tells a good story.

GRIZWALL is one of those "feel good" books that will leave you yearning for more. And, Grizwall is a dog you won't soon forget, you'll remember him and his antics long after the last page has been turned. I'll definitely be recommending GRIZWALL as a book not to miss.

I look forward to more novels by Randy Dingwall in the future.

I would like to thank Mr. Dingwall for sending me a copy of his book in exchange for a fair and honest review. The words above are purely my own.

Monday, April 21, 2014


Harlequin|August 27, 2013|Mass Market Paperbound|ISBN: 978-0-373-77773-0

It is a time of celebration in the Pingkang li, where imperial scholars and bureaucrats mingle with beautiful courtesans. At the center is the Lotus Palace, home of the most exquisite courtesans in China.

Maidservant Yue-ying is not one of those beauties. Street-smart and practical, she's content to live in the shadow of her infamous mistress until she meets the aristocratic playboy Bai Huang.

Bai Huang lives in a privileged world Yue-ying can barely imagine, let alone share, but as they are thrown together in an attempt to solve a deadly mystery, they both start to dream of a different life. Yet Bai Huang's position means that all she could ever be to him is his concubine. Will she sacrifice her pride to follow her heart?

I don't know why, but I so enjoy any novel that is set anywhere in Asia. They are always so well-written and such interesting stories. This was no exception.


Pocket|February 25, 2014|Trade Paperback|ISBN: 978-1-4767-6737-6

Once a year, Scoutmaster Tim Riggs leads a troop of boys into the Canadian wilderness for a weekend camping trip - a tradition as comforting and reliable as a good ghost story around a roaring bonfire. But when an unexpected intruder stumbles upon their campsite - shockingly thin, disturbingly pale, and voraciously hungry - Tim and the boys are exposed to something far more frightening than any tale of terror. The human carrier of a bioengineered nightmare. A horror that spreads faster than fear. A harrowing struggle for survival with no escape from the elements, the infected...or one another.

Whoa! This was a page-turner and a story that was certainly written for teens. It's a great book for adults as well but teenagers would especially appreciate this brand of novel for sure. All you teens out there who don't like to read, pick this one up and give it a go, I think you'll be very happy that you did and it might just get you interested in scoping out other similar novels. Very well-written. Intense and fast-moving.


My Review:
Random House Children/Teen Books|February 11, 2014|Hardcover|ISBN: 978-0-449-80997-6

From a former CIA officer comes the riveting account of a royal Middle Eastern family exiled to the American suburbs.

When her father is killed in a coup, fifteen-year-old, Laila, flees from the war-torn middle east to a life of exile and anonymity in the U.S. Gradually she adjusts to a new school, new friends, a new culture, but while Laila sees opportunity in her new life, her mother is focused on the past. She's conspiring with CIA operatives and rebel factions to regain the throne their family lost. Laila can't bear to stand still as an international crisis takes shape around her, but how can one girl stop a conflict that spans generations?

J.C. Carleson delivers a fascinating account of a girl-and a country-on the brink, and a rare glimpse at the personal side of international politics.

Something about the cover of this book drew me to it. I had no intention of purchasing it but something told me to buy it anyway. I'm glad I did as I ended up reading it in one sitting and just couldn't put it down. It was an attention grabber from the first word to the last and I was lost in Laila's story totally immersing myself in her feelings and emotions. A young girl of only fifteen-years trapped and feeling useless she finds ways to help her country become what it should have been. Through snooping while her amother was out she was able to locate some odd looking numbers and didn't know what they meant until she typed them into her computer. Laila had some very hard truths to face in this story about her father, a man she idolized and grieved for since his death. Now, learning he wasn't what she thought he was, she doesn't quite know how to handle her emotions and doesn't want to believe that what she finds is really truth.

THE TYRANT'S DAUGHTER was an extraordinary story!

Sunday, April 20, 2014


My Review:
Hyperion|April 8, 2014|Trade Paperback|ISBN: 978-1-4013-1089-9

When Dr. Cyrus Mills returned home after inheriting his estranged father's veterinary practice, The Bedside Manor for Sick Animals, the last thing he wanted was to stay in Eden Falls, Vermont, a moment longer than absolutely necessary. However, the previously reclusive veterinarian pathologist quickly found that he actually enjoyed treating animals and getting to know the eccentric residents of the tiny provincial town - especially an alluring waitress named Amy.

So Cyrus is now determined to make Bedside Manor thrive. Not an easy goal, given that Healthy Paws, the national veterinary chain across town, will stop at nothing to crush its mom-and-pop competitor. And the rival pet practice isn't Cyrus's only competition; a handsome stranger shows up out of nowhere who clearly has a mysterious past with Amy. To top it off, Cyrus finds himself both the guardian of a very unique orphaned dog and smack in the middle of serious small town drama.

This charming sequel to THE PATRON SAINT OF LOST DOGS is a wild and delightful ride through one jam-packed week, where Cyrus must figure out how to outsmart the evil veterinary conglomerate, win back Amy's heart, solve several tricky veterinary cases, find a home for an orphaned dog, and detangle himself from an absurd case of mistaken identity. DOG GONE, BACK SOON brims with Nick Trout's trademark humor, charm, and captivating animal stories, and is proof that all dogs, lost or not, on four feet or two, deserve a second chance.

DOG GONE, BACK SOON was for me a comical, light romp through a hectic week in the life of Doc Mills. I laughed out loud at the antics that went on and couldn't help but slap my knee once in a while too. This book and the first would make great reading for teens, books that would be right up their alley. In my opinion, anyone from 10 to 90 would get a huge chuckle out of these two novels. I'll definitely be passing the word on.

Saturday, April 19, 2014


Hyperion||February 12, 2013|Trade Paperback|ISBN: 978-1-4013-1088-2

Dr. Cyrus Mills returns to his hometown after inheriting his father's failing veterinary practice. Cyrus intends to sell the practice and get out of town as fast as he can, but when his first patient - a down on her luck golden retriever named Frieda Fuzzypaws - wags her way through the door, life suddenly gets complicated.

With the help of a black Labrador gifted in the art of swallowing underwear, a Persian cat determined to expose her owner's lover as a gold digger, and the allure of a feisty, pretty waitress from the local diner, Cyrus gets caught up in a new community and its endearing residents, both human and animal. Sensing he may have misjudged the past, he begins to realize it's not just his patients that need healing.

THE PATRON SAINT OF LOST DOGS is a winsome tale of new beginnings, forgiveness, and the joy of finding your way home.

I laughed and shook my head through this book as I couldn't believe the antics that went on. Poor Dr. Mills has his hands full, not just with his four-legged friends but also their two-legged owners. Trying to keep up with everything going on proves at times to be too much for poor old Doc Mills but he somehow manages to gallantly push through to a conclusion to each problem he faces. THE PATRON SAINT OF DOGS is Book One. The follow-up book to this is titled: "Dog Gone, Back Soon" which I'll be reading next. Great book for people of all ages but teens especially would love this.

Thursday, April 17, 2014


My Review:
The Doubleday Publishing Group|February 18, 2014|Hardcover|ISBN: 978-0-307-73217-0

One woman's fight to provide hope for the hopeless...

Seven ex-cons who changed her heart forever...

For Brenda Spahn, entrepreneur and businesswoman, wealth was a lifestyle-until a brush with the law threatened to send her to prison. In those dark moments, Brenda made a promise to God.

Spared incarceration, a renewed Brenda glimpsed into the lives of women serving time in one of the worst places in America-the Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women in Wetumpka, Alabama.

What she saw prompted a God-inspired vision.

With a heart to help and a will that couldn't be crushed, Brenda fought the system and overcame tremendous obstacles to take ex-cons into her own home and help them navigate the alien world of life on the outside.

This is the story of Brenda's journey from rags to riches to redemption. It's the story of the first unlikely year of her "Whole Way House" and of the extraordinary lives of the first seven women who came to call her "Miss Brenda." It's a story that testifies to the power of faith and how God changes hearts every day.

Brenda Spahn is a lot braver than I would have been to take on the women that she did. However, not only did Brenda teach these hardened and often unfeeling women how to be sensitive, society worthy human beings, they also taught Brenda more about herself and life than she ever knew possible. Brenda's whole outlook on life changed after spending time with her "Loveladies" and what a time it was. I read this book in one sitting as I couldn't put it down.

I had no idea that Brenda's "whole-way house" even existed in the United States and have since been to their website and what a place it is! I can't believe the number of people she has rehabilitated. People who every one else had totally given up on and cast aside as mere garbage. Brenda offered them something they'd never had in their lives before and that was an unconditional love and a place to be heard and to be themselves without fear of judgement.

This was an incredible story from the first page until the last and I'll bet any of you who choose to read about the "Loveladies", will also want to read it in one sitting!

Thursday, April 10, 2014


My Review:
Other Press|January 31, 2012|Trade Paperback|ISBN: 978-1-59051-463-4

A poignant and inspirational love story set in Burma, THE ART OF HEARING HEARTBEATS spans the decades between the 1950s and the present. When a successful New York lawyer suddenly disappears without a trace, neither his wife nor his daughter Julia has any idea where he might be...until they find a love letter he wrote many years ago, to a Burmese woman they have never heard of. Intent on solving the mystery and coming to terms with her father's past, Julia decides to travel to the village where the woman lived. There she uncovers a tale of unimaginable hardship resilience, and passion that will reaffirm the reader's belief in the power of love to move mountains.

I was so enamoured with this story that I just couldn't put it down. This is one of the best novels I've read in awhile. I was mesmermized and my eyes were glued to every single word on the page. The descriptive narrative was so well done that I could see, hear and smell the sights and sounds as I traveled around with Tin Win and Mi Mi. I totally fell in love with this couple and will remember them for a long time to come. Don't miss out on this one, it was really very, very well done.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014


My Review:
HarperCollins|March 21, 2002|Trade Paperback|ISBN: 978-0-06-251731-9

When five women from the Hope Springs Community Church in North Carolina form a committee to create a church cookbook, they embark on a project much more meaningful than they could have ever imagined. As novice pastor Charlotte Stewart, no-nonsense Margaret Peele, maverick Louise Fisher, steadfast Jessie Jenkins, and busybody Beatrice Newgarden meet to share recipes, they begin to open their lives and hearts as well.

For the amount of arguments they get themselves into, they really do maintain a bond of friendship like no other. And opinionated, Louise Fisher takes on a sick friend dying from dementia and has a very difficult time coping with her death. But, not to worry, her friends are ever at her side.

This was a cute and easy read and apparently there are two other books that follow this one which I plan to pick up so I can complete the trilogy. Very light, enjoyable read.

Sunday, April 6, 2014


My Review:
Gallery Books|March 4, 2014|Hardcover|ISBN: 978-1-4767-3152-0

I am a secret no one is able to tell.

Blythe Hallowell is sixteen when she is abducted by a survivalist and locked away in an abandoned missile silo in Eudora, Kansas. At first, she focuses frantically on finding a way out, until the harrowing truth of her new existence settles in-the crushing loneliness, the terrifying madness of a captor who believes he is saving her from the end of the world, and the persistent temptation to give up. But nothing prepares Blythe for the burden of raising a child in confinement. Determined to give the boy everything she has lost, she pushes aside the truth about a world he may never see for a myth that just might give meaning to their lives below ground. Years later, their lives are ambushed by an event at once promosing and devastating. As Blythe's dream of going home hangs in the balance, she faces the ultimate choice-between survival and freedom, a freedom she needs for herself and her son, Adam.

ABOVE is a riveting tale of resilience, bravery, patience, and the ultimate ability to survive. I don't know that I would of had the fortitude to survive what Blythe did. However, being locked away for seventeen years as she was, I suppose I wouldn't of had much choice. I don't think I could of handled it emotionally well. Great book which I'll be highly recommending.


HarperCollins Publishers|March 17, 2014|Hardcover|ISBN: 978-0-227032-0

At Hourglass Vintage in Madison, Wisconsin, every item in the boutique has a story to tell...and so do the women whose lives the store touches.

Yellow Samsonite suitcase with ivory, quilted lining, 1950s
A small-town girl with a flair for fashion, Violet Turner had always dreamed of owning a shop like Hourglass Vintage. But while she values the personal history behind each beautiful item she sells, Violet is running from her own past. Faced with the possibility of losing the store to an unscrupulous developer, she realizes that despite her usual self-reliance she cannot save it alone.

Taffeta tea-length wedding gown with scooped neckline and cap sleeves, 1952
Eighteen-year-old April Morgan is nearly five months along in an unplanned pregnancy when her hasty engagement is broken. When she returns the perfect vintage wedding dress to Violet's shop, she discovers a world of new possibilities, and an unexpected sisterhood with women who won't let her give up on her dreams.

Orange silk sari with gold paisley design, 1968
Betrayed by her husband, Amithi Singh begins selling off her vibrant Indian dresses, remanants of a life she's determined to leave behind her. After decades of housekeeping and parenting a daughter who rejects her traditional ways, she fears her best days are behind her...until she discovers an outlet for her creativity and skills with a needle and thread.

An engaging story that beautifully captures the essence of friendship and style, VINTAGE is a charming tale of possibility, of finding renewal, love, and hope when we least expect it.

The friendship these women forge is beyond beautiful. I totally fell in love with this story and didn't want it to end.

Saturday, April 5, 2014


Fitzhenry & Whiteside|October 17, 2007|Trade Paperback|ISBN: 978-1-55455-086-9

There is a lion in our village, and it is carrying away our children.

At her father's funeral, Binti's grandmother utters the words that no one in Malawi wants to hear. Binti's father and her mother before him, dies of AIDS. Binti, her sister, and brother are separated and sent to the home of relatives who can barely tolerate their presence. Ostracized by their extended family, the orphans are treated like the lowest servants. With her brother far away and her sister wallowing in her own sorrow, Binti can hardly contain her rage. She, Binti Phirim, was once a child star of a popular radio program. Now she is scraping to survive. Binti always believed she was special, now she is nothing but a common AIDS orphan.

Binti Phiri is not about to give up. Even as she clings to hope that her former life will be restored, she must face a greater challenge. If she and her brother and sister are to be reunited, Binti will have to look outside herself and find a new way to be special.

Compelling and uplifting, THE HEAVEN SHOP, is a contemporary novel that puts a very real face on the African AIDS pandemic, which to-date has orphaned more than 11 million African children. Inspired by a young radio performer the author met during her research visit to Malawi, Binti Phiri is a compelling character that readers will never forget.

Binti is outspoken and not afraid to stick up for her rights and makes her opinions known. She is a brave girl.


My Review:
WW Norton|March 18, 2014|Hardcover|ISBN: 978-0-393-06928-0

"A perfect little figure," he says. "Our mannequin girl." She knows who mannequin girls are. They are in her grandmother's Working Woman magazines, modeling flouncy dresses and berets. "Bend," he tells her, and she does, so pliant, so obedient."

Growing up in Soviet Russia, Kat Knopman worships her parents, tempermental Anechka and soft-hearted, absent-minded, Misha. Young Jewish intellectuals, they teach literature at a Moscow school, run a drama club, and dabble in political radicalism. Kat sees herself as their heir and ally. But when she's diagnosed with rapidly-progressing scoliosis, the trajectory of her life changes and she finds herself at a different institution a school - sanatorium for children with spinal ailments. Confined to a brace, surrounded by unsympathetic peers, Kat embarks on a quest to prove that she can be as exceptional as her parents: a beauty, an intellect, and free spirit on a quest to prove that she can be as exceptional as her parents: a beauty, an intellect, and free spirit despite her physical limitations, her Jewishness, and her suspicion that her beloved parents are in fact flawed. Can a girl with a crooked spine really be a mannequin girl, her parents pride and her doctors and teachers glory? Or will she prove to be something far more ordinary and, thereby, more her own? An unforgettable heroine, Kat will have to find the courage to face the world and break free not only of her metal brace but of all the constraints that bind her.

Kat Knopman is a brave girl struggling to do what is right and what is best for her in her world. MANNEQUIN GIRL is rich, funny, humane, devastating, and beautiful. I fell in love with Kat.

Thursday, April 3, 2014


Story Description:
Baker Publishing Group|April 1, 2014|Trade Paperback|ISBN: 978-0-7642-1160-7

Powerful Retelling of the Story of Esther

In 1944, blond and blue-eyed Jewess Hadassah Benjamin feels abandoned by God when she is saved from a firing squad only to be handed over to a new enemy. Pressed into service by SS-Kommandant Colonel Aric von Schmidt at the transit camp of Theresienstadt in Czechoslovakia, she is able to hid behind the false identity of Stella Muller. However, in order to survive and maintain her cover as Aric's secretary, she is forced to stand by as her own people are sent to Auschwitz.

Suspecting her employer is a man of hidden depths and sympathies, Stella cautiously appeals to him on behalf of those in the camp. Aric's compassion gives her hope, and she finds herself battling a growing attraction for this man she knows she shosuld despise as an enemy.

Stella pours herself into her efforts to keep even some of the camp's prisoners safe, but she risks the revelation of her true identity with every attempt. When her bravery brings her to the point of the ultimate sacrifice, she has only her faith to lean upon. Perhaps God has placed her there for such a time as this, but how can she save her people when she unable to save herself?
My Review:
I believe the story description above is pretty self-explanatory as to what this story is about and don't really have much to add. I loved this book so much that I'm afraid of giving away too many details and don't want to spoil the story for other people.

Stella, or Queen Esther was an immensely brave woman who saved her people at great cost to herself but she never faltered in her belief that she would somehow accomplish this feat. I was glued to this book from the first page to the very last and read it in two sittings. If it hadn't been for interruptions from my dogs, I would have read it in one sitting.

I'm most surprised at the fact that FOR SUCH A TIME is Ms. Breslin's first novel for she writes as that of a well-seasoned author. I look forward to more novels in the future. Well-done!