Read: Sept 29-30
Category: Leaders
Pages: 392

Do you love Harry Potter? Are you interested in mythology? Then you will enjoy this book.

This story takes the best parts of Harry Potter and mixes it with classic Greek Mythology (could this get kids interested in the classics?), adds a bit of a mystery and a good deal of action with strange creatures like a Minotaur, Satyrs, and Furies.

Percy Jackson, the central character who is ADD and dyslexic, is in the 6th grade at a boarding school for difficult children and has little inclination of his parentage until he accidentally(?) vaporizes his math teacher. At the end of the school year, he returns to his home and while taking a day trip with his mother, he is attacked by strange creatures. The story continues to expose Greek Mythology and reveal Percy's parentage and what he is needed to do.

The tale is fast-paced and entertainingly moralistic pitting good against evil, light against dark, weak against strong. There is definitely a strong similarity to the Harry Potter stories, so if you didn't like Harry, you won't like Percy. Another Harry Potter, not quite, but definitely a fun read.



Read: Sept 22-28
Category: Followers
Pages: 254
Being a wine lover is the main reason while I started reading this series, but the stories and wine education have brought me back for more.

Lucie Montgomery is the owner of a vineyard in northern Virginia where after a political fundraiser Georgia Greenwood is found murdered in one of the fields. Georgia's husband (a doctor) is Lucie's trusted friend and so she sets to work trying to prevent his arrest for his wife's murder. While Lucie endeavors to solve Georgia's murder, she has family problems and personal issues that she has to deal with.

The twists and turns that Lucie traverses in this mystery are cleverly interwoven with details of the wine making processes along with historical references. The solution was a surprise but when you reflect on the clues, you could see that it was in plain sight. The story was filled with solid writing, interesting characters, and entertaining plot twists. Interesting points of reference were maps of the vineyard and surrounding areas that were in the front of the book.


Read: Sept 25-26
Category: AudioBooks
Pages: 356

Do you believe in dragons? This book is set at the time of the Napoleonic wars between Britain and France and center around the relationship and development of a dragon and his captain.

During a sea battle a British frigate captures a French sailing ship and discover part of their prize is a dragon egg. When the egg hatches the person to whom the dragon attaches himself, is thereafter his handler and basically gives up any chance at a normal life. This dragon attaches himself to the ship's captain. The book tells the tale of how the Captain and the Dragon Temeraire develop into a fighting team in the Aerial Corp for Britain.
It is delightful to see these wars from an alternate perspective which includes aerial attacks and transports by dragons of different species. The dragons which are treated as "bombers" in the Aerial Corps are separated in somewhat of a caste system according to their breed.

For children, I see this as a marvelous moral tale which not only shows the cruelty of war but of how mistreatment and prejudice toward others can be perceived. The surprise of the book, is that the dragon's species turns out to be a CELESTIAL, a very rare and magical species. This is the first in the series and I will be looking for the next one in the future. Delightful for children.


Weekend Wonderings

This week I got to thinking, why is it that I can't be happy with the books that I have on my shelf waiting to be read?  Why am I always looking for another book to read? 
Feel free to play along, just post a link to your blog or comment here and we can all wonder together.

It's not like a book is going to disapear off the face of the earth and I will never get another chance to read it.  Granted, maybe it will be harder to find if it is not a new book but then again maybe it will be easier to acquire at the library or book store if it has some time to sit on the shelves.  And if I really want to read it sometime in the future all I need to do is make myself a note or add it to my wishlist and it won't be completely forgotten in the rush to another book.  So why can't I wait?


Hidden in Plain View

Tina  at  Tutu'sTwoCents decided to start a new meme.... Feel free to play along, just post a link to on her blog, so we can all stay in touch. This is a chance to dig a little deeper into our personal libraries to find books that may be languishing on the shelves and bring them out for a better look. We will do this weekly on Thursdays. To join in:

1. Pick a random book from your library (I used random.org to pick mine from my LT catalog).
2. Tell us
  • title
  • author
  • #of pages
  • edition
  • tags, and collections (if LT)
  • why that book is in your library
  • whether you've read it or not
  • if so did you like it and why;
  • if not, do you plan to read it?
  • how and when you acquired the book
I have 335 books in LT that I own, so this week Random.org chose book #249. How ironic since this book just came into my library this week.  It is:

A Separate Country

by Robert Hicks
432 pages
First Edition
Collections - OWNED, GroupReads, MyUnread, ToRead
I have this book to read in the Group read in the Highly Rated Book Group.
I have not started it yet since I am waiting for the Group Read.
I won this book during the group read of A Mistress of the Art of Death.

Library Loot

I hit the jackpot at the Library again!

I had been notified of the arrival of two ILLs and when I went to pick them up, a third one had come in.  I had been waiting about two weeks for all of them.  I also found a book that I had had to previously return unread because I lost at Library Russian roulette.  Finally, I got two other books on CD.

My jackpot winnings were:
  1. Wreath of Deception - first in the Craft Corner Mysteries
  2. Stamped Out - first in the Stamping Sisters Mysteries
  3. Cooking up Murder - first in the Cooking Class Mysteries
  4. Pane of Death (Library Russian Roulette)
  5. 19th Wife - (CD) by  David Ebershoff
  6. Empire of Ivory (CD) by Naomi Novik (Magic Dragon Series)
Now if I can just learn to read as fast I get books, I'd be in book heaven!



Read: Sept 23-24
Category: New writer
Pages: 127

I received this ARC book from Academy Chicago Publishers requesting a review. So I dutifully read it. I can honestly say that it is not a book I would have picked up at the bookstore or library because it is not my normal type of reading matter.

The premise of this book is a man writes notes while he's in the men's bathroom. That said, it is not short stories or anecdotes, mainly it is a montage of sentences that are disjointed and jumbled with a miniscule sense of an underlying story. David, (the guy in the bathroom) can't decide if he wants another job, a better job, an easier job, or if he wants a commitment with his girlfriend, if she deserves better, if she wants out.... It goes on an on like this and the only entertaining part was one blurb where I laughed. It was:

"Frederick Baker doesn't really care for his wife. I wonder what it's like to wake up every morning with someone you're not happy to see."

Overall, it was extremely depressing mainly because David was depressed and everything that he thought and wrote were from, what I believe is, that depressed point of view.
If you are overly happy and excited and need something to bring you down or put to sleep, this is your book. Just let me know and I will mail it you tout suite.



I'm very excited to be hosting my first Giveaway! Caitlin Price of FSB Associates is presenting me with a copy of The Recipe Club: A Tale of Food and Friendship. I read an excerpt and I wanted more so I knew that it would be a delight to read.

The website for The Recipe Club: A Tale of Food and Friendship describes the book as a “novel cookbook,” a deliciously funny, touching story of friendship, loss, and the ties that bind—with more than 80 recipes that keep the plot cooking. Compellingly readable, this heartfelt story celebrates the resilience and power of women’s friendships. It’s a charming pastiche of e-mails, hand-written childhood letters, third-person narration, photographs, illustration, and more than 80 delicious recipes.

Read an excerpt from THE RECIPE CLUB: A TALE OF FOOD AND FRIENDSHIP and see for yourself.

So let's make this fun... to enter, click on comments below and:
  1. Leave a comment - let me know the name of your favorite recipe and where it came from. Be prepared to give the entire recipe if asked. The holidays are coming and everybody always wants something new!
  2. Leave another entry if you're a follower (or become a follower and tell me.)
  3. Blog about the contest and leave me a link in a third comment. (sidebars are OK).
  4. No PO Boxes, US residents only. (sorry non-US residents)
  5. One of your entries (or your blog profile) must have an email address so I can contact you.

Contest ends October 15th. If I cannot contact the selected winner, I will choose again.

THE DOLL PEOPLE by Ann M. Martin and Laura Godwin

Read: Sept 22
Category: Leaders
Pages: 256

How many of us, as children, believed that our toys, dolls or stuffed animals, came to life at night when we were asleep or out of the house? The Doll People takes that childish faith and breathes life into the Doll Family and Funcraft family in this delightful tale.

For over 100 years the Doll Family has resided in the antique doll house and been playmates for four generations of young girls. When the family isn't at home or are asleep, the Dolls come to life and experience the same activities over and over. They have sing-along's at the old wooden piano, wonder around their own house. They cannot be caught moving or out of position because if they are, their punishment is 24 hrs of doll state - that's being unable to move. If there is a major offense they could end up in a permanent Doll state, OH NO!

Annabelle Doll, 8 years old, has not seen her Auntie Sarah doll in 45 years (these dolls don't age - we should all be so lucky). She finds her aunt's journal one day when she is in the library of the doll house and after reading it, decides that Auntie Sarah must be somewhere "blending"(that's trying not to be noticed).

Annabelle decides that she wants to go looking for Auntie Sarah. Persuading her Uncle Doll to go with her, they sneak out in the night and discover that a new family is moving in next door. The story of the two families - one antique dolls and one modern dolls and the cultural differences is just perfect to make the reader smile with delight. The adventures that they get into are truly amusing - just what a child would dream up for their dolls.

I loved this book and it is going into a list of my favorites. I have to thank Whisper1 for the recommendation of this book. After the chunky reads I've done this month, I needed something light and playful and this fit the bill perfectly. This story was uniquely imaginative and thoroughly creative for everyone who as a child always imagined that their toys really were alive and had spirit. I still believe that my Teddy Bear talks to me even with the threat of a permanent stuffed state.

We should never lose that childlike faith in our toys - isn't it a shame so often we do.


GRAVE GOODS by Ariana Franklin

: Read: Sept 9 - 21
Category: Follower

This murder mystery, set in 1176, is the third installment of the Mistress of the Art of Death series. As in the previous books were are introduced to the mystery first then the characters who will solve it.

In 1176, Glastonbury Abbey is virtually destroyed by a fire and during the efforts to clear the debris, a box is revealed with two skeletons who are widely believed to be Arthur and Guinevere. The superstitions surrounding Arthur have been reeking havoc for Henry II in Wales so he sends for Adelia Aguilar - a Mistress of the Art of Death (forensic pathologist of the age) currently living in England, at a time when she is fleeing her old home and has just joined Lady Emma of Wolvercote's entourage. Dragged away from Emma, Adelia is rushed to Henry in Wales only to receive instructions to return to where she was, to determine if the skeletons are truly Arthur and Guinevere.

Upon her return to the area of Glastonbury, Adelia is plunged into a threefold mystery - determining the identity of the skeletons, discovering the origin of the fire, and finding Lady Wolvercote and the rest of her entourage who seem to have vanished into the mist.

What Adelia and Rowley (her old lover and currently the Bishop of the region) discover about all the mysteries is revealed through fast-paced dialogue and strong character growth which spurs the reader with a sharp and concentrated sense of time and place. The reader can actually sense the awe that the characters feel.

The multiple mysteries are interwoven so ingeniously that the reader just goes along with the flow as Adelia is buffeted from one question to another until all the answers are exposed for all to see. I really liked this edition of the series because it seemed to tie the other books together and holds true more closely to the premise of the first book. I will definitely keep an eye out for the next one.


Read: Sept 10 - 21
Category: Histories/Bios
Pages: 1,040

Andrew Jackson had an impressive résumé - he fought in the Revolutionary War, was an explorer, frontiersman, lawyer, judge, duelist, congressman, planter, military leader (Battle of New Orleans), President.

Yet with all his accomplishments, I'm not sure that he was a great man. He was extremely flawed. His quickness to anger and take offense, on many occasions threatened his life and propelled him into numerous duels one of which he carried the bullet close to his heart for most of his life. He was definitely not ambivalent, rarely considering anyone else viewpoint but his own.

He was, however, always extremely honest in business and even though he was a slave holder, he endeavored to keep negro families together and rarely mistreated his slaves. Jackson early in his business life rather than go into debt sold most of his property to pay his debtors.
Jackson, who rode the wave of his popularity from the Battle of New Orleans for the remainder of his life, was the first "people's President. "Like most of his predecessors, Jackson was extremely aware of the need to neutralize threats to the ongoing existence of the new United States but he also saw the need to protect the interest and liberties of the common man of which he was one. His devotion to his family and their peace of mind was always foremost in his thoughts.

Jackson, frustrated by his loss to JQA in 1824, after his election in 1828 recommended eliminating the Electoral College. His major term events surrounded nullification in SC and the battle he waged with Nicholas Biddle about the Bank of the United States. He also worked on expansion of the nation in Florida, Texas, and the Louisiana.
The book lack details of the controversial decisions that were made during his presidency or were lost in all the details that it did cover. The Trail of Tears and the Petticoat Affair got very little coverage.

I think that this was a good book for details of his life but found it lacking in certain areas. Maybe less time devoted to the duels he fought and more to issues during his presidency could have made it great.

Mailbox Monday

Mailbox Monday is a book meme hosted by The Printed Page.

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

I only received one book this past week:

Across the Endless River from FSB Associates/Doubleday

I'm very excited about though, because it is an historical novel about the son of Sacagawea. I think it should be very interesting.

Giveaway at Pudgy Penguin Perusals!

Pudgy Penguin Perusals is giveaway a book titled Supreme Courtship by Christopher Buckley, a comedy about the Washington institutions most deserving of ridicule. Check it out.


Library Loot

What great books did you find at the Library?
Here's ones I picked up.

Bundle of Trouble - first in a new cozy series
A Share in Death - first in a new cozy series
Round Robin - second in the quilter's series
Roots of Murder - first in a new cozy series


I won, I won!

I won a copy of Sand Sharks by Margaret Maron over on Tutu's 2¢ where if you go now you could win a copy of Ted Kennedy's True Compass.

Good Luck!


Read: Sept 13-17
Category: New Writer
Pages: 336

I received this book courtesy of Authors on the Web where I requested 4 books and this is the first that I read. The synopsis of the plot caught my attention.

How would you like to be living the good life and without any warning have it all snatched away from you? The idea of this book is that Nora Banks has the good life. She has a Mercedes SUV, big house in the rich neighborhood in the suburbs, country club membership, travels wherever and whenever she wants, a nanny to watch the 3 kids, and a husband who makes big bucks and adores her. What more could a woman want? Nora finds in this book that those things are fleeting when her husband is arrested and convicted of securities fraud, and that security, honesty, and loyalty are more important. The women who had been her companions and professed their friendship abandon and ignore her in her time of need. The only person who is steadfast is Beatriz her nanny. Somehow, Nora finds the strength and fortitude to prevail in a hostile environment and build her own success story.

I was really looking forward to an opportunity to a read a story about a strong woman, who was able to make it on her own despite horrendous circumstances. Unfortunately, that didn't happen. IMO, this story was badly written. It had poor pacing, slow in some parts and too fast in others and way, way too wordy. It's as if the writer was being paid by the word. The premise was good, execution, poor. I gave it 1½ stars.


A ROYAL PAIN by Rhys Bowen

Read: Sept 12 -13
Category: Follower
Pages: 462

Georgie, Lady Victoria Georgiana Charlotte Eugenie, returns in the second installment of this series still needing to work as a specialty domestic because of her lack of funds. The Queen, not knowing her dire circumstances, asks her to play hostess to the Princess of Bavaria that she wants to catch the eye of the Prince of Wales and get him out of the clutches of Mrs. Simpson.

Georgie has to have "staff" at Rannoch House so she enlists her Grandfather and his next door neighbor to play butler and cook. The princess arrives with her maid, Irmagardt, and chaperone, Baroness Rottenmeister and proceeds to wreak havoc wherever she goes being on site of three apparently unconnected deaths.

Georgie eventually discovers that there is a plot in the works by Communists but figuring out the details gets her into a few scrapes and threatening situations.
This book was just as enjoyable and entertaining as the first and I'll be sure to stop at the library for the next installment.



Read: Sept 2 - 12
Category: Romance
Pages: 795

I have been an enormous fan of Gone with the Wind since I first saw the movie and then realized after reading the book how much had been missing, so when I saw this book on the Library shelves, and saw that it was authorized by the Margaret Mitchell estate, I had to read it. I'm certainly glad I did. All those nagging questions that made me read and re-read GWTW, were finally answered to my satisfaction and delight.

This is the story based on the character Rhett Butler from Gone of the Wind. Rhett is the dashing, witty, rogue who scandalizes Atlanta and yet manages to win every lady's heart. In GWTW, Rhett just appears at the Wilkes Barbecue at Twelve Oaks, and then proceeds to get involved with all the characters of that book. This book which runs concurrently with GWTW answers all the behind the scenes questions that are just innuendos in GWTW.

Why was Rhett at the BBQ, how did he know the Wilkes', why was he 'not received' in Charleston homes even his own, what's his relationship with Belle Waitling? All these questions and so many more are detailed and explained through a riveting and poignant love story that is seen in a new light.

It's as if Donald McCaig, the author, sat down with Margaret Mitchell and said, I don't understand this point in GWTW, how did this happen and she explained it - every last detail. This book is so intertwined with the story of Scarlett & Rhett that you'd think that there would be no room for anyone else, but no Mr. McCaig (amazing that a man can write with such feeling) manages to tell the tales of not just Scarlett and Rhett, but his sister Rosemary, his friends, Melanie and Ashley, and even Belle Waitiling.

I can understand if some Southerners do not feel that their area came off in a good light in this book, however, since Mr. McCaig was dealing with pre-existing characters and events, it would have been extremely bad form to try to change them beyond how they were originally written. I have read other sequels and they did not appear to be as well researched or written as this book when laid alongside of Margaret Mitchell's original masterpiece. Obviously, Donald McCaig studied and I definitely mean studied GWTW to find all the tiny incidents that reference Rhett, his family and his character so that he could expound on them and broaden Rhett's persona to where it would rival Scarlett. They truly were a pair that belonged together. This book, in the same regard, belongs with Gone With The Wind.


BBAW - Meme Participation

Today Book Bloogers Appreciation Meme is Setting Goals!

Write in 50 words or less…what do you like best about your blog right now and where would you like your blog to be a year from now?

50 words or less, I'll try....

I like the name the best. I changed around but now I'm satisfied. Chèli's (sounds like Shelly) Shelves is definitely me. Every room in my house has shelves jammed full with books.
In a year, I liked to have more visitors and hold some giveaways.


BBAW - Meme Participation

Today, the Book Blogging Appreciation Week is holding a Reading Meme. Please choose one or two questions to answer or try to answer all the questions in five words or less. Or choose a picture to answer a question! Brevity is the goal of today!

Here's Mine!

How do you keep your place while reading a book? BOOKMARKS DEFINITELY!

Are you the type of person that only reads one book at a time or can
you read more than one at a time? MORE THAN ONE

Do you prefer series books or stand alone books? BOTH


Don't forget to cast your votes during Book Blog Appreciation week!


Another Award!

I'm so excited! Kaye at Pudgy Penguin Perusals presented me with the ROCKING AWARD and I feel honored since there was no criteria for selection and Kaye's reasoning was a " very enjoyable and recently new-to-me blog". So, Kaye, I'm going to follow your example and present this to new blogs that I have "stumbled upon" and keep the rock rolling!

Here are my winners for blogs I have just started to follow and have enjoyed greatly.

  1. Barbara at Everything Victorian and more..
  2. Caspette at The Narrative Causality (hope you're feeling better)
  3. Darlene at Peeking Between the Pages
  4. Crystal at My Reading Room

Hope you all will go and visit them and come back here often.


A FATAL GRACE by Louise Penny

Read: Sept 1 - 7
Category: Audiobooks
Pages: 368

Chief Inspector Armand Gamache is once again sent to Three Pines to investigate a murder. CC de Poitiers is electrocuted while in the middle of a frozen pond watching a curling match on Boxing Day. How is that possible? Inspector Gamache sets to work determining the means, motive and opportunity of such a strange and intricate murder lead to unusual discoveries as well as bringing back painful memories of his previous time in Three Pines.

The characters and setting are so beautifully detailed. Drawn within the mystery are 3 dimensional characters that are funny, true-to-life, and people that you want to take to your heart and name as your friends. The reader understands how much Armand adores his wife, feels the hesitation of the new team members, and wonder along with the inhabitants of Three Pines as they try to understand the behavior of the victim and how it was the cause of the murder,
Gamache instills loyalty and respect from his team while working to inspire all those around him.
It took me a while to get into this book because I had to think back to the first one and it took several chapters to get to the point where I felt comfortable again with the characters. We are given a glimpse into the farther reaching aspects of Gamache's life with some hints leaving the reader hanging and searching for resolution in the future. The series is entertaining with a beautiful setting and heartwarming characters.

Mailbox Monday

Mailbox Monday is a book meme hosted by The Printed Page.

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

Since I received this books last Tuesday, I almost forgot to identify them as coming in this week.

I got two new books in the mail:

My Name is Will was from a giveaway at Radiant Light and Karen Ukraine at Hachette. It's supposed to be very funny and as a Shakespeare lover I'm really looking forward to it.

The man who loved books too much was an ARC from the Penguin group. I love books and mysteries so this should be fun.

Monday Reading!

NEW MEME! It's Monday! What are you reading? (September 7, 2009)

I decided to try this new meme.

I'm almost finished the second Three Pines Mystery by Louise Penny A FATAL GRACE.

I'm also a few chapters into RHETT BUTLER'S PEOPLE.

I'm getting ready to start the third installment of the Mistress ofthe Art of Death series called GRAVE GOODS by Ariana Franklin for a group read at Librarything.

Finally, as soon as I finish A Fatal Grace, I am starting a chunkster - Andrew Jackson, his life and times for my Preisdent's Challenge.

These should keep me busy for at least a week.

Musing Mondays

Today’s MUSING MONDAYS post is about audio books…
hosted by Just One More Page

What is your preferred method of listening to audio books? Where and when do you listen to them?

I love to listen to audio books! I listen in the car, at the nail salon, while I work, while doing my cross stitch, watching a baseball game, cooking, vacuuming. They allow me to indulge my addiction to books while accomplishing other tasks. They remove that guilty feeling because I did actually accomplish something else while I was reading.


ONLY YOU by Deborah Grace Staley

Read: Sept 5-6
Category: ER Book
Pages : 207

This is a light-hearted romance set in the town of Angel Ridge, TN. The legend of the town has it that angels sit on the ridge and watch over the townsfolk and smile on true love.
Dr. Josephine Allen (Josie) grew up in Angel Ridge on the right side of Town. She was a bookworm and when she went off to college she was supported by the MacKay Foundation who also paid for her Masters and PhD education in Library Science and then she returned to her hometown to become the head Librarian.
Cole Craig is the town handyman who comes to Josie's rescue when a pipe breaks in her old home and floods her kitchen. Needless to say, Cole is from the wrong side of the tracks.
The developing relationship between the two is that of a typical small town with its prejudices and innocence fighting each other. Will angels smile on Josie and Cole or will they have to fight their own battles?

I enjoyed this book and will try to keep an eye out for the next one.

Sunday Salon

The Sunday before Labor Day has arrived. Does that mean the summer is over?

That is what is generally believed that Labor Day is the official end of Summer because the kids head back to school and vacations are rare.

I've decided today to reflect on my summer - it really seemed very short his year. Maybe that was because it wasn't as hot as it normally is - in my area it was seldom over 90° and the usual HHH (Hazy, Hot, and Humid) forecasts didn't occur often. I travelled in July, making my first trip to Myrtle Beach, SC where I got to visit with my new grandson, a week in Maine to visit with my sister and her granddaughter, and a few days at Deep Creek Lake.
I read 40 books while I participated in the 2009 Great Summer Read Off and did a little bit of freelance work.

As I look back, I wonder if it was very productive, I'm not sure, but it was fun.