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Thursday, September 14, 2017

Pattys Pick for 9/14/17 is "The Marsh King's Daughter" by Karen Dionne

The Marsh King's Daughter, Helena, is a product of her birth between a sadistic rapist who kidnapped her mother when she was a teenager and the mother she never understood until it is too late. Helena loves her father but the realization that he does not love her or her mother all most comes too late. He only loves himself. Helena knows that she has to escape before it's too late. 

At the beginning of each chapter Karen Dionne gives us a small piece of the Hans Christian Andersen tale. We meet the adult version of Helena. We find out that she is married with children and has a husband who does not know her story. We find out how she got to this point in her life and how she plans to go forward until word of her father's escape from prison reaches her. 

Her father, Jacob Holbrook, has escaped prison after murdering two guards and she knows he is heading her way. She is determined to catch him and turn him in. He taught her everything she knows about the marsh, how to track and hunt. She can shoot and she's not afraid to track him and bring him in. Now her whole life just blew up because of him. Her husband did not know her story and now she has two precious daughters to protect. She will do anything to keep them safe from her father. 

We follow Helena on the trail of her father with only her tracking abilities,  her guns, 
her faithful dog, Rambo, and her will to survive and put him back behind bars. She has no idea what she is up against. This is the suspenseful and well-written novel that is "The Marsh King's Daughter" by Karen Dionne. Needless to say there are many twists and turns for you discover as Helena and her mother's story unwinds through the chapters. Read this one with the light on and quickly!! 4.5 Stars!

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Patty Pick is The Forgotten Room by Karen White, Beatriz Williams & Lauren Willig

I really liked this book! Karen White is one of my favorite writers anyway, so when I saw this book written by her and two other terrific writers, I was definitely interested. Karen White has a really nice way of introducing female characters you can relate to and her female characters are usually facing some type of emotional crossroads. In this book, "The Forgotten Room," we meet three, interesting strong women who seem to have a connection from the start.

It took me a while to get used to going back and forth from one
generation in time to another and that relationship between the main characters. I guess my old brain just doesn't keep ahold of the facts like it used to! Once I had them down, the jumping back and forth with the characters made more sense, and I loved seeing how they were related. The intertwining relationships were fascinating to watch/read. The novel revolves around Olive, Lucy and Kate. Their lives, connections, families and the world around them unwinds to show us the effects of the decisions from the women and men in the earlier generations and how those touched the life of their daughters and granddaughters.

Our tale opens with Kate saving the leg of Captain Ravenel against the judgement of her boss. She is a doctor working in the old Pratt mansion that is now a hospital. Needless to say, a female doctor during this time in our history, World War II, was rare. Kate had to fight hard for the respect she deserved as a doctor in a man's world and she had to suffer through discrimation for being a woman doctor from her fellow male doctors and female staff. She is drawn to Captain Ravenal and he to her. Copper Ravenel has her image in a portrait belonging to his grandfather, but it couldn't possibly be
Kate, right?

The story revolves around the choices each woman made over the years, going back to the first character Olive. Olive's father was a well-respected architect and built the house for the Pratt family who lived in the house. The house later became a rooming house, which rented a room to Lucy later to live in and was now the hospital that Kate works in. We watch how each woman makes choices that effect later generations and themselves, all the time this house plays a part in their lives. I enjoyed very much reading this historical fiction. Thinking about the ways my mother and grandmother's choices effected my life, made this story resonate with me. I don't want to ruin
the story for anyone, but this well-written book deserves a read! 4.5 Stars!!

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Patty Pick for 8/17/17 is "Making It Work" by Kathleen Glassburn

I am very lucky to have a wonderful friend who sent me this book by Kathleen Glassburn to read. Don't you just love friends who love books as much as you do?! To make it even better, she unknowingly sent it during one of my more difficult times of the year - the anniversary of my Dad's death. Every year it makes me sad and I think about all the times I wish that he were still here. So what an awesome treat to open up this package and find "Making It Work" from my dear friend, Amy. If you have a good friend, you are blessed. Let's just say that I am blessed many times over. 

In "Making It Work" we grow to know Sheila Gallagher as she makes her way from a struggling home life to marriage and then unto divorce and living on her on. Sheila is a product of her turbulent 60's generation. She 
yearns to head out on her own and start life. She is a smart, talented girl who is studying for a music career when she decides to marry her high school sweetheart, Jim. With her college plans on hold she follows her new husband to Long Beach. Jim joined the Navy during the Vietnam War and they must move to California for his first assignment. 

The newlyweds find that life is hard in California and people are not always who you think they are. Sheila finds a job to help support them and makes friends with her co-workers. After Jim is deployed, she leans on them to help her endure the separation, but soon finds that her musical talent and drive will shape her future. This is a story of the times, the turbulent 60's and 70's as told by someone who shows that she understands the feeling of the nation during that time perios.  

This is also a story of Sheila and her quest to live, to be valuable and to have a voice of her own. As she matures, we watch the paths she will follow and the actions that her choices will force her to take. Sheila takes us on a visual tour of the times as she journeys toward her future. No matter the year, we are all taking this same journey everyday. "Making It Work" shares with us a new feminine voice in Sheila as she reaches for her dreams. This is a well written book that will allow us to follow Sheila's journey through ten years and to watch the choices she makes and her dreams, no matter where they take her. A solid 4 stars!

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Patty Pick for 8/3/17 is "Little Black Lies" by Sandra Block

Zoe Goldman has secrets, some she doesn't even know she has. The nightmares have returned with the pressure of residency. Zoe is a resident in the psych ward of a hospital, working her way to being a Psychiatrist. Her mother's death haunts her and she feels guilty wanting to know the details, since her adopted mom is dealing with dementia. Discussing that night always upsets her mom and Zoe knows that time is running out to find out the answers she wants to know about her real mother and the night she died. Her dreams make it seem like the answers are so close, but even with therapy Zoe can not discover what is right there in her memory and unlock the secrets to the past.
As the plot twist and turns, many secrets and lies will be revealed to Zoe. Zoe lives with her step-brother in the town where she grew up. She is separated from her longterm boyfriend, Jean Luc since they finished college and went their separate ways. Even though she can spend more time with her adopted mom, being back in Buffalo has made her nightmares return. The nightmares about the night her real mother died. Her 
brother is worried about her.  

One of her patients, Sofia, is trying to win her own freedom from her past. Sofia, a violent killer who has been locked away since she was a teenager, has been on her best behaviour for a while. Zoe's boss wants to set her free, but there's something about Sofia that does not set well with Zoe. All the while, Zoe is dealing with her own personal issues, like ADHD, and since her return all of her inner demons seem to be torturing her. With Zoe's family and the characters she works with at the hospital, you are going to like them all. Well most of them. Don't let the cover fool you, prepare to stay up and finish this one like I did. 

I know that the story of Zoe Goldman has been turned into a trilogy by the talented author, Sandra Block. I can't wait to read the next two as I loved this one and Zoe. You will, too but beware there are many scary twists and turns coming your way. "The Girl Without A Name" and the soon-to-be released, "The Secret Room" will give us more time with Zoe. I can't wait! All 5 Stars are shining or rather burning for "Little Black Lies"!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Patty Pick for 7/20/17 is "The Orphan's Tale" by Pam Jenoff


Lucky for me I found #TallPoppyWriters and #Bloom Groups 
on Facebook. I picked a good book, "Dear Carolina" by 
Kristy Woodson-Harvey for my book club choice a year or so 
ago. She is an author that is part of this terrific group of writers that support each other and write awesome books! Now I find 
amazing book choices to read and contests to participate in. 
I won "The Orphan's Tale" by Pam Jenoff in one of their contests. 
This book has been on my To-Read list for a while, even before it was published this year. I was so excited to win it and really appreciatative that this great group of writers sent it to me! 

"The Orphan's Tale" takes place in Germany during World War II, 
but the main setting is a circus that is still operating in Germany and France. A young girl estranged from her family, and the baby she rescues from a train car full of dead and dying babies heading to the camps, drop into the midst of the winter circus quarters. 
The owner of the circus and his confidantes save their lives from the snow storm they were trapped in. Now Astrid, the star of the flying trapeze and young Noa are thrown together and need each other to survive. They each bring secrets with them and they have each suffered at the hands of the Nazi's.

Unfortunately they will suffer more while they are trying to keep the circus operating. This honest look at the suffering of individuals during war and their struggle to just survive against the backdrop of a circus trying to continue on, will move you. How much can an individual take and still carry on? Noa and Astrid will show you. Will these two opposites thrown together survive? They have more in common than you think. Their friendship will have you in tears! You need to read the book to find out. A 5-Star Book!!  

    

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Patty Pick is "The Guest Room" by Chris Bohjalian

The Guest Room starts off with a bang, literally. This novel has several character paths to follow and the best action comes when they intersect. When Richard hosts a bachelor party at his quiet suburban home for his younger brother, he does not expect to have sex slaves and murder all in the same night. Phillip and his merry mates are quite the party animals so things quickly gets out of hand. Then Alexandra and her partner show up with their Russian bodyguards and it really gets heated.

When Alexandra and her friend kill their handlers in the Richard's living room, things get even worse. With his house a crime scene, the police accusing them of having sex with underage sex slaves and his wife learning that Richard was "all most" unfaithful, the novel ramps up. Chris Bohjalian tells a haunting tale of sex slaves with Alexandra's back story and the other girls mentioned along the path. You can see how this tragedy could happen and the raw, gritty details will make you sick to your stomach.

At the same time, you are watching one man's life with his prestigious job and happy family go into a nosedive. Richard made a wrong decision, actually several wrong decisions that snowballed into one big live-changing mess. What does his wife and daughter think about this debacle? As we watch and read with horror, Alexandra is running for her life. The ending will be one you will not expect. Chris Bohjalian tells a great, but sad story. 4 Stars!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Celebrating My Dad & My Husband - Fathers Day 2017

I posted parts of this essay on my Dad last year, but I am going to expand and add more of my husband. He's not fond of it when I include him in online posts, but such a good man needs some celebrating too!

My memories of my Dad come stuck together with Gorilla Glue and duct tape. Those two things were the first line of defense in his tool box. My father could fix anything and he proved it many times, especially with my mom. He could have her laughing in an instant. Unfortunately, he could not save her in the end, but he never left her side during her decline. My Dad fixed my hurts, my broken hearts, my broken cars and my furniture in need of repair. He also taught me that kindness goes a long way and to also treat people with respect, as we do not walk in their shoes. He proved this many times over, going beyond the pale to help people he knew and he didn't know. And he always did this without expecting payment or even a thank you. 

My father was a extraordinary storyteller as was my father's father. He and Grandpa had us mesmerized during family events as we gathered around a churning freezer of homemade ice cream and listened to those two tell us stories of their youth and life. My Dad was one of five children and it sounds like they had a raucous time together growing up. Sadly only 2 of my father's sisters are left with us. It is so hard to bury those we love, but this is a celebration, Their lives have touched us and the memories of their love will live in all of us who came in contact with them. 

I could always count on my Dad to be there when I needed him. He encouraged me to go to college and luckily I listened. He helped me become the first one on my side of the family to graduate from college. He was a huge cheerleader in my life and I miss him every single day and I wish we had been lucky enough to have more time with him.  

I have heard that you marry your father and in my case that is true. I married my best friend, my biggest supporter and the right man for me. One thing that will never change is his large supply of integrity and honesty. He will never let you down and he is the first one I turn to for help when I need it. Of course, he is always close to me, as we work together in our small business. We have been doing that for 14 years now. I could not imagine doing it without him and even though we end up being together almost 24/7, we are still married. Ha! Ha!   

My husband is a wonderful father. He always wishes the best for our daughter. He feels her hurts deeply and wants badly to prevent them, while knowing that is not always possible. He will always be there for her and lead by example with respect. I know our daughter is lucky to have him and even though they don't always agree, they know the other one loves them and only wants the best for them. To love and be loved is such a precious value in this world. He always loves us and strives to do the best for his family and those he loves. 


My Father (and my mother) welcomed my husband into the family right away. They were good people who chose to see the best in people and knew I had been lucky enough to find one of the best. When our daughter was born, my parents were right there the next day helping out. One Christmas, we gave our daughter, Ashley, a PowerWheels Barbie Corvette. My dad and husband put it together on Christmas Eve. It took a little while, and when they were finished there were some parts left over. You see, my dad never read the instructions, he just studied the parts and assembled them as best he could. My husband tends to do the same thing. Of course, I sometimes read the instructions for him. That car lasted through our daughter's childhood and we finally gave it away when she turned seven and we were moving to Orlando. It's probably still running somewhere.

When God created kindness in this world, he had to be thinking of my Dad. He was the epitome of kindness and love. He would do anything for the three of us kids, Mom, or anyone else who crossed his path. I was so lucky and blessed to have him as a Father and to have two loving, wonderful parents. God broke the mold when he made my Dad. We talked almost every day after we lost Mom, and he was my connection to that side of my family. I miss those wonderful days of family rollerbat games and homemade ice cream, but mostly I just miss my Dad. But I am one of the lucky ones - I had him for a father. He taught me many things but most of all he taught me to love. They say you end of marrying someone like your father, Lucky for me, my daughter has a Dad that is just a wonderful! I hope she finds one like my Dad and her father. Thanks, Dad......