Monthly Archives: March 2012

Mailbox Monday

Welcome to Mailbox Monday, a meme started by Marcia of  A Girl and Her Books.  The host for March’s Mailbox Monday posts will be Anna from  Diary of an Eccentric.

Mailbox Monday is a gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week and explore great book blogs.

Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists.

Here are the books I got in the mail this week:

Horten’s Miraculous Mechanisms by Lissa Evans from Sterling Children’s Books

“When ten-year-old Stuart stumbles upon a note daring him to find his great-uncle’s hidden workshop full of wonderful mechanisms, trickery and magic, he sets out on a Willy Wonka-like adventure of a life-time.  In order to find the place, Stuart must believe the unbelievable – while dodging the annoying prying eyes of his triplet neighbors, April, May and June.  With clues to follow, puzzles to solve, and the quirkiest of characters, this uniquely charming fiction debut by comedienne Lissa Evans is sure to enchant middle-grade readers – and believers – everywhere.”

Chomp by Carl Hiaasen from Random House Children’s Books

“Wahoo Cray’s life is a zoo – literally.

His father, Mickey, is a professional animal wrangler, so Wahoo’s backyard is crawling with gators, snakes, raccoons, monkeys and turtles.  The critters, he can handle.  His dad is the unpredictable one.

When Mickey Cray takes a job with a reality-TV show called Expedition Survival!, Wahoo knows he’ll be doing some wrangling himself – to keep his father from strangling Derek Badger, the show’s outrageously inept and egotistical star.  The job gets off to a harrowing start when Derek stages a near-disasterous scene with Alice, the Cray’s gigantic gator.

Then things get even hairier after Derek, who foolishly believes his own PR, insists on using only wild animals in his stunts.

Meanwhile, Wahoo has acquired a shadow named Tuna – a girl who’s sporting a shiner courtesy of her father and needs a place to hid out.  Wahoo doesn’t know what else to do but bring her along on their Everglades adventure.

The TV crew is on location for barely a day before Derek gets chomped by a bat and goes missing in a storm.  Then, as search parties gather at the edge of the swamp, Tuna’s dad shows up waving a gun…

Will anyone survived Expedition Survival!?”

The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen from Scholastic.

“A bold plt leads an orphan on a terrible journey…to the brink of treason.”  (Yes, that’s all there is!)

The Blind Spy by Alex Dryden from Ecco Books by Harper Collins

“Ukraine’s independence is a wound that won’t heal for the seasoned elder statesmen who now control Russia.  Under Vladimir Putin’s leadership, they will stop at nothing to return the crown jealous of the USSR to it’s rightful place: under the boot heel of Russian power.  Operatives from the controversial and clandestine forces of the dark heart of the KGB, Department S, are engaged to destabilize the young nation and dominate it.

But not before Anna Resnikov can unravel their plans.  With the help of Cougar, the powerful private intelligence company that overshadows even the CIA in its reach, she races against time to stop the KGB before hundreds of innocent lives are lost.  But it seems she has an unlikely ally from the enemy country she once fled, whose gifts for espionage are as extraordinary as her own.”

Yes, Chef by Marcus Samuelsson from Random House

“It begins with a ritual: Every Saturday afternoon, a boy who loves to cook walks to his grandmother’s house and helps her roast a chicken for dinner.  The grandmother is Swedish, and a retired domestic.  The boy is Ethiopian and adopted, and he will grow up to become the chef Marcus Samuelsson.  This book is his love letter to food and family in all its manifestations.

Yes, Chef chronicles Samuelsson’s remarkable journey from his grandmother’s kitchen to his arrival in New York City, where his outsize talent and ambition finally come together at Aquavit, earning him a New York Times three-star rating at the age of twenty-four.  But Samuelsson’s career of chasing flavors had only just begun – in the intervening years, there have been White House state dinners, career crises, reality show triumphs, and, most important, the opening of Red Rooster in Harlem.  At Red Rooster, Samuelsson has fulfilled his dream of creating a truly diverse, multiracial dining room – a place where presidents rub elbows with jazz musicians, aspiring artists, and bus drivers.  it is a place where an orphan from Ethiopia, raised in Sweden, living in American, can feel at home.

Here are the ARC e-books I received this week:

Innocent Darkness by Suzanne Lazear from Flux Books

“A steampunk faerie tale with romance, danger, and a strong-willed heroine.

When spirited sixteen-year-old Noli Braddock and her best friend Steven “V” Darrow take a flying car out for a joyride, neither expects Noli to be sent to reform school to mend her hoyden ways. While at the dreadful school, Noli’s innocent mid-summer’s eve wish summons Kevighn, a mysterious man who takes Noli with him to the Realm of Faerie. At first Noli believes she has been rescued. But the sinister reason behind the handsome huntsman’s appearance quickly become clear—he wants to use Noli as a blood sacrifice to restore his dying world. V, who has secrets of his own, shows up to help Noli escape and return to the mortal realm—but first, they must navigate the dangerous intrigues of the Otherworld.

If they are successful, Noli will live. But if Noli lives, the entire Otherworld civilization will die.”

The Vanishers by Heidi Julavits from Knopf Doubleday

“Is the bond between mother and daughter unbreakable, even by death?

Julia Severn is a student at an elite institute for psychics. Her mentor, the legendary Madame Ackermann, afflicted by jealousy, refuses to pass the torch to her young disciple. Instead, she subjects Julia to the humiliation of reliving her mother’s suicide when Julia was an infant. As the two lock horns, and Julia gains power, Madame Ackermann launches a desperate psychic attack that leaves Julia the victim of a crippling ailment.

Julia retreats to a faceless job in Manhattan. But others have noted Julia’s emerging gifts, and soon she’s recruited to track down an elusive missing person—a controversial artist who might have a connection to her mother. As Julia sifts through ghosts and astral clues, everything she thought she knew of her mother is called into question, and she discovers that her ability to know the minds of others—including her own—goes far deeper than she ever imagined.

As powerful and gripping as all of Julavits’s acclaimed novels, The Vanishers is a stunning meditation on grief, female rivalry, and the furious power of a daughter’s love.”

The God Box by Mary Lou Quinlan from Greenleaf Book Group

“The transformational story of one woman’s care and compassion: When Mary Lou Quinlan’s beloved mother, Mary Finlayson, dies, her family is bereft—until Mary Lou finds her mother’s “God Box,” or rather, boxes. These simple containers are stuffed with tiny notes written by Mary, praying for everything from the right flooring for her daughter’s new home to a cure for her own blood cancer. Mary’s petitions for friends, family, and even strangers are presented with love and without expectation—the ultimate expressions of letting go. Note by note, Mary Lou unearths insights into her mother’s compassion, faith, and perseverance. And through the journey, she discovers her own more empathetic, more engaged self—the woman her mother had believed in all along.”

What books made it into your house this week?



Filed under fiction books, Mailbox Monday, reading

Sunday Stories

I did this last Sunday, and enjoyed challenging my imagination and hearing what others thought!   Here are some of the pictures I’ve come across that just beg for a back story.  There must be other people that see a picture, and imagine a fantastic story (or part of a story) around the photograph or scene.  I’d like to challenge you to choose one, and write me back a couple of lines or so of what you think might be the history in that photo….

(None of these photos are mine)

To me this looks like a fairy stair case (although its larger than the fairies you may think of).  I can only imagine where this staircase leads.

This is what the staircase looks like from the inside.

Château Clochard, France – this looks like an abandoned lair for vampires or something other worldly.

This photo didn’t turn out as big as I hoped, but with the fallen cross on top of the organ, it looks like it belongs in an abandoned church.

This is the kind of urban exploration I want to do.  I want to find a beautiful building like this.  I have no idea what it used to be, but the structure is absolutely beautiful, and begs to be written about!

This makes me think of medieval times – not knowing what is outside those doors, but being brave enough to go find out.

I would love to hear your thoughts on some of these photos….


Filed under photos, Sunday Stories

Saturday Snapshot

Saturday Snapshot is hosted by Alyce of At Home With Books.  It’s easy to participate – just post a picture that was taken by you, a friend, or a family member and add your link on Alyce’s site.   Photos can be old or new, and be of any subject as long as they are clean and appropriate for all eyes to see. How much detail you give in the caption is entirely up to you. Please don’t post random photos that you find online.

I’m a day late – I know it’s not Saturday (at least not here), but I was gone almost all day yesterday, and the part I was home, I was baking and getting ready for a friend’s birthday party.  So…although I knew exactly what I wanted to post about I didn’t have time to sit down and do it.

I’ve recently become interested in my family genealogy, and have been tracking down photos, documents and grave sites.  I thought I’d share some interesting photos I’ve come across in my research.

This is a photo of Charles W. Talley, he’s about four generations back.  He looks like an interesting person.

This is a photo of my great-grandmother, Florence, and her youngest daughter, Cleo.

This is a gravestone of one of my ancestors – B. H. Noble.  The inscription on the stone says, “Another link is broken, in our household band, but a chain is forming, in a better land.”



This last photo is a picture of the Enumeration of Confederate Soldiers residing in Alabama from 1907.  Jalah Williams is a part of my family tree.


Filed under Saturday Snapshot

Wondrous Word Wednesday

Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme from Bermuda Onion where we share new (to us) words that we’ve encountered in our reading.  If you want to play along, grab the button, and write a post.

The first word I found in an online post on

mellifluous – mel·lif·lu·ous adj \me-ˈli-flə-wəs, mə-\

1 : having a smooth rich flow <a Mellifluous voice>

: filled with something (as honey) that sweetens

“I have no idea why rhyming books are more fun, but they are. If a book rhymes, then I can really get into the performance of reading it to my kid. I can figure out the rhythm of the text (though it can take a couple pages to sort it out—”Oh, I see! It rhymes every THIRD line! TRICKY!”). I can sing it. I can do voices. I can become mellifluous. I can PERFORM. It’s really a parent’s time to shine when the text rhymes.”


I found this word in Insatiable by Meg Cabot

uxoricide  ux·or·i·cide  noun  \ˌək-ˈsȯr-ə-ˌsīd\

 1 [Medieval Latin uxoricidium, from Latin uxor wife + -i- + -cidium -cide] : murder of a wife by her husband
2 [Latin uxor + English -i- + -cide: a man who murders his wife
“Whether that was because he’d seen his father murder his mother before his very eyes – it had been a different time and place, when uxoricide hadn’t been all that uncommon, but still, Lucien hadn’t approved  – or because he’d been turned too young, Lucien had never been sure.”
The last word I found in my newest ARC, Horten’s Miraculous Mechanisms by Lissa Evans (you’ll hear more about this in my upcoming Mailbox Monday)
sylvan   1syl·van  noun \ˈsil-vən\

: one that frequents groves or woods
“‘When I was a youngster,’ his father told him as they walked, ‘there weren’t any houses in this part of Beeton at all.  This whole area was sylvan.'”
What new words did you come across this week?


Filed under reading, Wondrous Word Wednesday

Teaser Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of  Should Be Reading.  Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

“‘I love the symphony,’ Meena said in protest.  ‘I happen to be extremely cultured.  I played the clarinet in sixth grade.’

‘Um, badly, if I remember,’ Leisha said.  ‘You were like twentieth chair.  Out of twenty-one.'”

Insatiable by Meg Cabot


Filed under other blogs, reading

Mailbox Monday

Welcome to Mailbox Monday, a meme started by Marcia of  A Girl and Her Books.  The host for March’s Mailbox Monday posts will be Anna from  Diary of an Eccentric.

Mailbox Monday is a gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week and explore great book blogs.

Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists.

Here are the books I got in the mail this week:

1. Walter’s Muse by Jean Davies Okimoto – received from the author

“It’s the first summer of her retirement and librarian Maggie Lewis is relishing the unfolding of sweet summer days on Vashon Island: walking on the beach, reading the classics, and kayaking.  But in June when a sudden storm hits the island, Maggie’s summer becomes about as peaceful as navigating white water.  Not only does her wealthy sister arrive uninvited with a startling announcement; but Maggie finds herself entangled with her new Baker’s Beach neighbor, Walter Hathaway.  A famous children’s author and recovering alcoholic, Walter has a history with Maggie they would each like to forget.”  This is the second book in Jean Davies Okimoto’s island trilogy.  Released Feb. 2012

2. The Thirteenth Sacrifice by Debbie Viguie’ – from Penguin Publishing

“Samantha Ryan is plagued with nightmarish memories of magic and fear…of strange chants and blood spilled.  Because Samantha Ryan grew up in a coven that was seduced by power and greed.

With a cross around her neck and a detective’s shield in her pocket, Samantha has struggled to put her horrific childhood behind her.  But as the last in a long line of ruthless witches, she should know that such talismans are no match for the power of a coven that’s gone rogue.  And when young women start dying, only Samantha knows what the archaic symbol carved into their flesh means: the witches have returned to Salem.

And now she’s going undercover, into a town obsessed with black magic, into her past – and into the dark, newly awakened heart of evil.”  A Witch Hunt Novel – releasing April 3, 2012

3. The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker – from Random House

“On a seemingly ordinary Saturday in a California suburb, twelve-year-old Julia and her family awake to discover, along with the rest of the world, that the rotation of the earth has suddenly begun to slow.  Amidst this altered environment, Julia also faces a new kind of transformation – growing up.  Coping with the normal disasters of everyday life (the loss of old friends, struggles in her parent’s marriage, and the anguish of first love) she grapples to find her way in a changing world.”  Releasing June 26, 2012.

These are the ARC e-books I received this week:

1. Facing the Hunchback of Notre Dame – An Enchanted Attic Book – by L. L. Samson – Zondervan Publishing

“A hidden attic. A classic story. A very unexpected twist. Twin twelve-year-old bookworms Ophelia and Linus Easterday discover a hidden attic that once belonged to a mad scientist. While relaxing in the attic and enjoying her latest book, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Ophelia dozes off, and within moments finds herself facing a fully alive and completely bewildered Quasimodo. Ophelia and Linus team up with a clever neighbor, a hippy priest, and a college custodian, learning Quasimodo’s story while searching for some way to get him back home—if he can survive long enough in the modern world.” – Releasing May 1, 2012 – Watch the trailer here.


2. Halflings by Heather Burch from Zondervan 


After being inexplicably targeted by an evil intent on harming her at any cost, seventeen-year-old Nikki finds herself under the watchful guardianship of three mysterious young men who call themselves halflings. Sworn to defend her, misfits Mace, Raven, and Vine battle to keep Nikki safe while hiding their deepest secret-and the wings that come with.

A growing attraction between Nikki and two of her protectors presents a whole other danger. While she risks a broken heart, Mace and Raven could lose everything, including their souls. As the mysteries behind the boys’ powers, as well as her role in a scientist’s dark plan, unfold, Nikki is faced with choices that will affect the future of an entire race of heavenly beings, as well as the precarious equilibrium of the earthly world.” – Released Feb 1, 2012 – Watch the trailer here.


3. Aunt Dimity and the Village Witch by Nancy Atherton from Penguin Group, USA (Aunt Dimity Series #17)

“When Amelia Thistle moves to Finch, her new neighbors welcome her with open arms-and inquiring minds. Among them is Lori Shepherd, who isn’t fooled by Amelia’s unassuming persona. Amelia is, in fact, a world-famous artist with a rabid and eager-to-stalk fan base.

In order to keep peace in Finch, Lori must help Amelia conceal her identity. Amelia, meanwhile, sets about working on the riddle that brought her to town in the first place. A fragment of a family diary hints that one of Amelia’s ancestors might have been Mistress Meg, the Mad Witch of Finch. Following the clue, Lori hunts through Finch’s darkest and most secret corners, all the while dodging nosy neighbors and Amelia’s frantic fans. With Aunt Dimity’s otherworldly help, Lori inches closer to the true story of Mistress Meg-and Amelia.” – Releasing April 26, 2012


This e-book isn’t an ARC, it was released Dec. 28, 2010, but it just hit my radar, and I’m looking forward to reading it.

4. Yellow Crocus by Laila Ibrahim from Flaming Chalice Press

“Mattie was never truly mine. That knowledge must have filled me as quickly and surely as the milk from her breasts. Although my family ‘owned’ her, although she occupied the center of my universe, her deepest affections lay elsewhere. So along with the comfort of her came the fear that I would lose her some day. This is our story…

So begins Lisbeth Wainwright’s compelling tale of coming-of-age in antebellum Virginia. Born to white plantation owners but raised by her enslaved black wet nurse, Mattie, Lisbeth’s childhood unfolds on the line between two very different worlds. Growing up under the watchful
eye of Mattie, the child adopts her surrogate mother’s deep-seated faith in God, her love of music and black-eyed peas, and the tradition of hunting for yellow crocuses in the early days of spring. Yet Lisbeth has freedoms and opportunities that Mattie does not have, though the color of the girl’s skin cannot protect her from the societal expectations placed on women born to privilege. As Lisbeth grows up, she struggles to reconcile her love for her caregiver with her parent’s expectations, a task made all the more difficult as she becomes increasingly aware of the ugly realities of the American slavery system. When the inequality of her two worlds comes to a head during an act of shocking brutality, Lisbeth realizes she must make a choice, one that will require every ounce of the courage she learned from her beloved Mattie. This compelling historical novel is a richly evocative tale of love and redemption set during one of the darkest chapters of American history.”

What books made it into your house this week?


Filed under fiction books, Mailbox Monday, reading


Like so many of you, I’m constantly getting lost in the world of the book I’m reading.  When I’m not reading, it’s likely that I’ve taken a break to peep in on Facebook and Pinterest.  One thing I love about Pinterest is all the fabulous photos, recipes and ideas I might never have come across any other way.  I’ve noticed that some of these fantastic photographs make me think of a back story to go along with them.  Is it just avid readers that look at things a little deeper than the surface, knowing there is always more to something than just your initial view?  (other than writers, of course).

Here are some of the pictures I’ve come across that just beg for a back story.  I’d like to challenge you to choose one, and write me back a couple of lines or so of what you think might be the history in that photo….

(None of these photos are mine)

1. The Blue House (note the person silhouetted in the upper window)


2. Doorway (I want to know where this leads!)


3. Magical Tree Tunnel in Belgium


4.  Château Clochard,  France


5.Window in abandonment


6. Ghostly Staircase



Filed under reading