Another Mailbox Monday!!! Mailbox Monday is hosted by Marcia at The Printed Page. This is a feature where we all share with each other the exciting books that showed up at our doors this week. WARNING: Mailbox Mondays can lead to extreme envy and ever-growing wishlists!!

Turkey Day Murder
by Leslie Meier
There's murder on the Thanksgiving menu when hardworking mom and amateur sleuth Lucy Stone investigates the violent death of a Metinnicut Indian activist killed in Tinker's Cove. Barnes & Noble synopsis

The Magician's Book
A Skeptic's Adventures in Narnia
by Laura Miller
I loved the Chronicles of Narnia and when I saw this book being offered at Libby's Library News Blog and entered the giveaway, I won! Now I just have to figure out how to fit it into the reading schedule.


God of the Hive by Laurie R King

Read: May 21 - May 30
Format: Advanced Uncorrected Proof 354 pages
Source: LibraryThing ER program free for review
Subject: Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes
Challenges: 101020, 75 Book, Thriller,
Category: Books found - Internet/thru LT/library/bookstore
Genre: Mystery
Stars: 4

The mystery and characters that were remaining at the end of The Language of Bees are front and center with this sequel. Holmes is desperately trying to keep his son, Damien Adler, alive and out of Scotland Yard's custody while Russell is responsible to keep Damien's daughter, Estelle, safe. While they escape from Rev Brothers' fiasco in different directions, the reader knows that they will eventually meet up and resolve the issues.

Rev Brothers' attempt to become a god are thwarted in the Language of Bees but in the God of the Hive we see that Brothers was just a cover-up for more sinister motives by those seeking power. Mycroft is threatened, Holmes protects and Russell investigates finding out things she wished she hadn't.

Having read all the previous Russell/Holmes mysteries I had no problem following the plot, however, I do believe that for this book to make sense to the reader The Language of Bees is a necessity.

I really enjoyed this book and look forward to the continuing saga of Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes

E-reader Giveaway

Monica at Bibliophilic Book Blog is celebrating Memorial Day by having a giveaway of an E-reader of your choice. What's the catch you say? No catch but when you win so does a deployed servicemember. That to me is a win-win situation.

So go on over and enter - you know you want to.


Weekend Wonderings - Memorial Day

This is Memorial Day Weekend and everyone is planning trips to the pool and barbecues on the patio but are we forgetting the reason for this holiday? It's not just to officially acknowledge that Summer is upon us, but to acknowledge that there are brave and generous men and women who dedicate their lives literally to protecting us and our loved ones.

So next time you see someone in uniform, thank them for their service. They may not have made the decisions that lead to fighting a war, but they are the ones that fight it and we should show our gratitude for their service. I, for one, wonder where we would be without them and hope that we never have to find out.


Plant a Tree and go Carbon Neutral!

Everyone who knows me well, knows that I am not an outdoor person. Mosquitoes seem to know as soon as I step outside my door and I am swarmed upon and am bitten to death in less than 5 minutes. That said, that doesn't mean that I don't think that our environment can't or shouldn't be watched over so if I can do something as simple as ask for a tree to be planted in my blogs name to reduce carbon emissions, I'll do it.

carbon neutral coupons with kaufDA.de

“My blog is carbon neutral” was started in Germany by the “Make it Green” programme, and their goal is to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. They will plant a tree for any blog and the tree will help neutralise carbon footprint generated by your blog over the next 50 years! Help the environment in a small way and make a big difference. Every tree counts!

So if you are reading this - Go green on your blog too! Grab the button and find out how easy it is to go Carbon Neutral!

Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger

Read: May 10 - May 27
Format: Audio 12 CDs equivalent of 637 pages
Source: Public Library
Setting: London, England
Category: Surprise - Books I find and want to read /group reads
Challenges: 101020, 75 Book, Chunkster, Audio, SYLL
Stars: 2½

In the strange world of this story, twin sisters Elspeth and Edwina are estranged at the time of Elspeth's death. But Elspeth has ways of getting back at her sister when she leaves her entire estate including her London flat to Edwina's twin daughters Julia and Valentina Poole with the stipulation that they must live in the flat for one year before selling it and that their parents cannot enter.

When they move in, we meet some other strange individuals - Martin with severe, shall I say extreme OCD, Elspeth's lover who is working on a thesis for the history of a cemetery directly beside the apartment building, and the twins themselves , who seem to be drifting aimlessly through life. Just as the reader is adjusting to all these unusual characters, Elspeth herself comes back as a ghost and wreaks havoc.

The farther I got into this book, the less I liked it and that was a big disappointment to me because I really loved The Time Traveler's Wife. The storyline was just a little too freaky for me and I would have abandoned it 2/3 in if I wasn't part of a group read. It may have been well-written, I don't know, because I had a hard time staying with it.


Mailbox Monday

Another Mailbox Monday!!! Mailbox Monday is hosted by Marcia at The Printed Page. This is a feature where we all share with each other the exciting books that showed up at our doors this week. WARNING: Mailbox Mondays can lead to extreme envy and ever-growing wishlists!!

I received a few months ago Lumby Lines by Gail Fraser to review. I loved it so much when I finished it that I got right on my computer and ordered the next two books in the series,


So how happy to you think I was when I got an e-mail asking if I was interested in reviewing the 5th book in the series? And how amazing that they all arrived the same week in the mail?

YES! Now all I need is book #4 and I have the entire set.



Read: May 15 -May 22
Format: Audio 9 CDs equivalent of 361 pages
Source: Public Library
Subject: Greek Gods,
Category: I Heard them!
Genre: Fantasy
Challenges: 101020, 75 Book, Audiobook, SYLL
Stars: 3½

The Battle for supremacy between the Titans and the Olympians is coming. Camp Half-Blood is threatened by an entry from the fabled labyrinth which would allow the enemy to enter and destroy all the young demigods. Percy along with Annabeth, Tyson, and Grover set out on a quest to find Daedalus and stop the invasion.

Many ancient myths are included in this story - Daedalus and Icarus, Calypso, and all different types of creatures and monsters. It's action-packed and a highly entertaining. Can't wait for the next one.


Mr. and Mrs Fitzwilliam Darcy: Two shall become One by Sharon Lathan

Read: May 17 - May 20
Format: Trade Paperback 295 pages
Source: Prize, Bookin' with Bingo Blog
Subject: Pride & Prejudice Sequel
Challenges: 101020, 75 Book, BOSC, TIOLI
Category: Miss Austen and Her Relations (P & P lives on!)
Stars: 3

Yes, Elizabeth Bennet married Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy in Pride & Prejudice but that is where Jane Austen left the reader never giving us the fulfillment of knowing how the marriage fared.

There have been several productions for film and television which have used Pride & Prejudice the book as inspiration but never before have I heard of a book being inspired by the film. In this story, Ms. Lathan has taken the most recent production and used it as the inspiration of the continuing tale of Lizzy and Darcy.

We are voyeurs to their wedding night and the early days of their marriage seeing how they relate not just to themselves but to their home with its staff at Pemberley. We see adjustments that Elizabeth needs to make to be Mistress of the House as well as Darcy's adjustments to being a happy and loved individual.

I have to admit that though the plot of this book is very thin, I still enjoyed seeing that the love affair that was so beautifully written by Jane Austen can be seized by another author and given life again. Seeing the progress of the relationship unwind to a beautiful crescendo while reminding us of the roots of the story, is very entertaining.

As much as I enjoyed the book, I did feel that some of the dialogue was a bit overdone with the "I love yous and you are my heart and soul" lines. But all in all a good book for a Pride & Prejudice lover.


Spring Book Exchange - JACKPOT!

Yesterday was a Jackpot day! Tina, my oldest sister, of Tutu's Two Cents and I had arranged that on her next trip south from her home in Maine we would exchange books. Here's the pile I got from her.

Map of True Places
Any Bitter Thing
Fireworks over Toccoa
South of Broad
Bone Collector
Singer's Gun

Then for my Civil War reading she brought me...

Days of Defiance
Coming Fury
A Country of Our Own
Worth Fighting For

Who needs the library when you have a sister like Tina (who's also a librarian)!

I gave her close to 40 books from my library - some were for her to keep, some just to read, others to donate to her little library in Maine.

Mom came with Tina yesterday. We had a lovely lunch (I actually got to cook - making something new from one of my cookbooks) and we had a great time checking our lists - it was like Christmas in Spring! Next time we'll have to try to get sister Maureen into the mix because then it would be SUPERJACKPOT!


Oyster Wars of the Chesapeake Bay by John R. Wennersten

Read: May 15 - May 16
Format: Paperback 136 pages
Source: Public Library
Subject: Oysters
Challenges: 101020, 75 Book, SYLL, TIOLI
Category: Full Course Meal
Genre: History
Stars: 3

In the state of Maryland, oysters rank along with the blue crab as a state treasure. So it's not surprising that in the 19th century there were disagreements over the ownership of the oyster beds along the shores of the Chesapeake Bay.

This book tells the history of the oyster harvests after the Civil War. There were two basic ways to harvest oysters at that time - dredging and tonging and the watermen fought viciously over the rights of the oyster beds. Legislation was passed where the dredgers were to stay away from the coastlines and rivers harvesting only in the main bay area while the tongers were restricted to the coastline. The State of Maryland commissioned the Oyster Navy of Maryland to patrol the bay and prevent infractions. Just as in a war, there were "blockade runners" who dredged at the coastline or tonged in the bay.

Besides the friction between the dredgers and tongers there were quarrels between Maryland and Virginia. In 1785 George Washington and James Madison had called together a conference between the two states which finally agreed on the Compact of 1785 where MD and VA were granted equal access to the Pocomoke Sound.

Twice the Supreme Court was called upon to settle disagreements between MD and VA concerning the oyster beds. In 1876, the decision in McCready v. VA the court stated that VA's right to exclude Marylanders from the sound was "based not on citizenship but upon the prerogative of her collective ownership of the oysters." Then in 1894 in Wharton v. Wise the court held that the Pocomoke Sound was a separate body of water not covered by the Compact of 1785 and that MD had no right to oysters on the VA side.

Today we hear about pollution and how it is affecting the harvests in the Chesapeake Bay. Even in the 19th century there were issues concerning the overharvesting of the oyster beds. But the watermen at that time wouldn't listen to the warnings. They harvested 10 times as many bushels as we do today and have threatened the future of the Chesapeake Bay oyster. Lets hope we can listen a little bit better.

Editorial: I really enjoyed learning more about my own state and something I enjoy eating. This book was written in 1978 so I think I will have to do a little research to see where the oyster beds stand today. So every time you gobble up one of those scrumptious little bivalves think about all the men who fought to keep them coming.


Chicken Soup for the Women's Soul

Compiled by: Jack Canfield
Read: May 13 - May 15
Format: Paperback 353 pages
Source: Public Library
Subject: Love, Motherhood, Marriage, Aging, Self-esteem, wisdom
Challenges: 101020, 75 Book,
Category: Full Course Meal
Genre: Short Stories
Stars: 3

Women have many roles in their lives - daughters, wives, mothers, sisters, aunts, grandmothers - well, you get the idea. This group of stories progress through those stages showing how a woman's spirit can change and grow with the "adventures" of time.

Never having been a mother, it amazed me that my favorite sections were those about motherhood. One story told of a woman asking her friend if she should have a baby? Her friend's thoughts ran the gambit of all she had been through with her own children in seconds and replied to her friend that she'd never regret it. The other story that made me laugh was made up of supposed want ads for the requirements of the job of "mother". Newborn mothers should like to rock, be light sleepers, early risers, willing to work all shifts with no vacation time. Mothers for toddlers should be athletes in top condition with quick reflexes and boundless energy, patience, knowledge of first aid, - a pediatric nurse with an Olympic background was deemed a perfect candidate for the position. The other ads were just as amusing.

There were also stories of how women adjust to the changes as we get older and lose those we love whether they are parents or other family members. Some are amusing, make you laugh while others cause your eyes to fill with tears as you empathize with the writers.

I have to admit that the last few months for me have been difficult but when I read the inspiring stories in this book, my spirit was lifted and I feel that I can go forward again. It was a perfect time to read this book and set me back on the path of life's joy and beauty.
This was absolutely perfect for my soup course!


Lumby Lines by Gail Fraser

Read: May 6 - May 13
Format: Trade Paperback 328 pages
Source: FSB Associates for review
Subject: Small towns, monastery, change in life goals
Setting: Pacific NW
Category: Books found - Internet/thru LT/library/bookstore
Genre: FictionChallenges: 101020, 75 Book,
Stars: 4½

I can't figure out where to start, I LOVED this book. The style was different but the same, the story was light-hearted but serious, the characters were ones you want to kick in the butt and give a big hug.

This is the story of Pam and Mark who decide to chuck it all and buy the burned out monastery in Lumby and convert it to an Inn. But along the way we meet the architect friend of Pam who is also taken with Lumby, the monks that had abandoned the monastery, and the residents of the town - There are a resentful codger who doesn't want the Monastery restored, a 90+ year old woman who is getting a prenuptial agreement for her 4th marriage, a plastic flamingo (Hank) who dresses for the seasons, and rambunctious teenagers that get into trouble. Then you have a dog for the mayor, cows that wander into a hidden marijuana field and eat it all, goats in a bank vault eating money, and chickens that escape from their crates and are hidden from recapture by heaven knows who.

Add to that Police blotter entries with all the day to day happenings of the inhabitants as well as the newspaper articles telling of the town happenings. It amazed me how many times the windows in the church were shot out at the same time as a neighbor was scaring off deer and moose with a gun - do you think they may have been related?

Can you understand just a little why I loved this book? I can't wait to read the next installment - I think I have to go to the bookstore this weekend to find it.


President James Buchanan: A Biography by Philip S. Klein

Read: April 18 - May 11
Format: Hardback 429 pages
Source: Public Library
Subject: 15th President, secession, disunion, civil war
Setting: Lancaster, PA, Washington DC
Category: Who/What/When/Where/How/Why? - Bios/history
Genre: Biography
Challenges: 101020, 75 Book, USPC, SYLL
Stars: 3

Everyone has always said that Buchanan was the worst President we ever had so knowing virtually nothing about him, I began this book with hopefully an open mind to see if he really was as bad as people made him out to be. That said, I'm not sure that he wasn't the worst (I've only read 15 presidents so far), but I know definitely he wasn't the best.

When he entered the political arena he was desperate to achieve an 'Historical reputation" but his forte leaned more to the diplomatic corps than to legislative/executive. He was an accomplished diplomat. During his administration (acting basically as his own Sec of State) - negotiated trade rights on 3 continents, end the British search of ships at sea, & negotiated protection of American rights abroad.

James Buchanan was in no way shape or form a risk taker. Not wanted to appear to be in any one particular camp political (though an ardent Democrat) his cabinet was made up of members of all different factions as well as areas of the nation. While President, he was always looking for validation from his cabinet members but since the cabinet was made up of all factions, and they never could come to agreement therefore, Buchanan did nothing.

Buchanan tried to govern using policy and gentlemen's agreements - never with determination of idea or strength of purpose. When SC federal officers resigned after the vote for secession, Congress would not approve replacements preventing military intervention. As issues heated up, the SC forts requested previsions and manpower, but never received them because of issues between General Scott and the War Department. Cabinet members left one by one as they became unable to support the President's decision/nondecisions.

He fought bitterly with Congress who frequently tried to embarrass him by denying the necessary requirements for him to take action under the law. He was labeled a secessionist due to views expressed in the "Administration's' newspaper without his approval as his time in office came to a close. He also needed to reinforce the military presence in the capital to make certain that Lincoln's inaugural would take place without incident.

After reading this book, I have to admit that he wasn't a very good President, lacking, IMHO, a strength of character that is required for this momentous task. But, I do believe, that he was hampered by the political atmosphere and passions of the time. Would I have voted for him, NO, but I also can't see that all the blame for the Civil war should be laid at his doorstep. He wanted an Historical Reputation, he got it, just not the one I think he wanted.


Mailbox Monday

Just one book arrived in my mailbox this week.

Knit in Comfort
by Isabel Sharpe

In this wonderful new novel of friendship and knitting, a woman discovers that secrets can't be kept forever.

Megan Morgan traded the constant mobility of her childhood for a quiet, stable life in Comfort, North Carolina, with a handsome husband, lively children, and a group of longtime friends who've formed a weekly knitting club, Purls Before Wine.

Desperate to escape big-city anonymity and pressure from her marriage-minded boyfriend, a stranger, Elizabeth Detlaff, arrives unexpectedly, certain that fate has guided her to the Carolina mountains. She seems to think that in sleepy, unremarkable Comfort she's found paradise.
Soon, Elizabeth has eagerly invaded Megan's life, living in the apartment over her garage, befriending her mother-in-law and children, fawning over her husband, and joining the Purls. It's not long before Elizabeth brings to light legends of Megan's Shetland ancestors, leading her to stumble over a painful, long-buried secret.

Backed into a corner, Megan is forced to examine her choices and ultimately decide what kind of woman she wants to be.


Titan's Curse by Rick Riordan

Read: May 3 -May 7
Format: Audio 7 CDs equivalent of 312 pages
Source: Public Library
Subject: Greek Gods,
Category: I Heard them!
Genre: Fantasy
Challenges: 101020, 75 Book, Audiobook, SYLL
Stars: 3½

In the third installment of the tales of Percy Jackson, Percy is upset when Annabeth disappears because he doesn't know if she is still alive or not. He returns to Camp Halfblood and there he is teamed with Thalia, Grover, and 2 hunters (disciples of Artemis) to find the goddess Artemis and get her to the meeting of the Gods in time for the Winter solstice. Percy has dreams which show him Annabeth in trouble and throughout his adventures he is trying to find her while fulfilling his quest.

What I really enjoyed about this segment of the Percy Jackson series, was the inclusion of famous landmarks such as Hoover Dam and the Empire State building. It was so much fun to think of these places in a different ways.

The series is fun and reminds me of why, as a child, I was fascinated by mythology.

Weekend Wonderings

Where would we be without our Moms?
Happy Mother's Day to all!


Future Hope by David Gelber

Format: Trade paperback 93 pages
Source: PR by the book, for review
Subject: future
Setting: our solar system
Category: Abandoned
Genre: Science Fiction

Okay, I was trying to expand my horizons in the type of books that I read and so when this book was offered to me for review, I thought I'd try it. Unfortunately, after trying several times to get through, I have to admit, I can't handle it. It's just not my type of book.

I've read other reviews which I found that make it seem very interesting but I can't seem to get to that point in the book that I want to go on. Someone else with more futuristic tastes would probably really enjoy this book, it's just not me. Maybe if I every move on to that point in my reading, I'll try it again.

This is not a good way to start my reading in May.


Mailbox Monday

Bertrice Small is one of my all-time favorite romance writers and when I saw that the final book of the World of Hetar was coming out, I pre-ordered it. - I just had to have it. I also got the next in the Border lord series.

Crown of Destiny
Small's sixth and final World of Hetar erotic fantasy (after 2009's The Shadow Queen) wraps up the series. Lara, the half-faerie woman who has repeatedly saved the land of Terah in the past, is ready to do it again when her evil son, Kolgrim, becomes engaged to a woman whose magical powers will amplify his own. Small includes the plotting and intrigue, magic, and boatloads of sex that her readers have come to expect, but the story lacks the rich detail and captivating scenes of her older books. Lara's unfulfilled destiny and all the major plot points from the previous books are explained ad nauseam, and sex scenes take the place of conversations that might advance the plot. Only the most loyal fans will endure to the end. Publisher's Weekly

The Border Lord and the Lady

Lady Cicely Bowen, confidant of Queen Joan Beaufort at the Scottish court, is determined to marry only a man she loves. However, her plans are dashed when she meets rough Scottish border lord Ian Douglas, who is so captivated by her that he kidnaps her away to his lands, convinced that she will fall in love with him. Despite a tempestuous beginning, Cicely soon is intrigued by the uncouth but gentle Douglas. Ever-popular Small concludes her Border Chronicles (A Dangerous Love, etc.) with this sexy, albeit mostly predictable, romp along the Scottish borders. As readers have come to expect, heroine Cicely is tough, smart and wildly independent. Small manages to keep the romance fresh with fliratations, steamy scenes and political intrigue. Fans of her work will find it entertainingly familiar, which with a writer of Small's talent, is no small thing. Publishers Weekly


The Power of Half by Kevin Salwen

Read: Apr 29 - May 1
Format: Hardback 244 pages
Source: FSB Media for review
Subject: Charity, Ghana, donations
Setting: Atlanta, GA USA
Category: Books found - Internet/thru LT/library/bookstore
Genre: Non-Fiction
Challenges: 101020, 75 Book,
Stars: 3½

I used to think that I was a generous person until I read this book. I mean, after all, I gave to different charities, helped those in need, volunteered a little, and I even gave a home to a homeless person we knew. But when I read this book, I felt that I was falling short and wasn't sure that I had it in me to be as generous as this family.

This is the true life story of the Salwen family from Atlanta GA who sold their $2Million house so that they could take the proceeds and donate half to a charity which helped fight hunger in Africa. They donated $800,000 to this effort because their 14 year old daughter felt that they weren't doing enough to assist those that were less fortunate. I truly admire this family because I don't think that I or my husband would be willing to make this kind of sacrifice.

This book raised a lot of questions throughout especially from the journal of the young daughter, but the one that I don't know how to answer is…. How many lives would you be willing to save in exchange for the person that you love the most? I can't answer that, can you?

Weekend Wonderings

The Weather Channel and local forecasters are agreeing that this weekend the weather is going to be beautiful. I'm wondering does the weather affect how much and what you read?

I hear some people say that they are going to be out and about because the weather will be great and others who say they'll be jogging or sightseeing (I live in DC area) but for me, I'll maybe sit out on the porch with a good book but I won't allow the weather stop me from reading. Winter weather gives me a good excuse to just snuggle with a book and when the weather is too hot to do anything, reading is a nice cool activity.

So what about you...how do you adjust your reading with the weather?