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Monday, December 28, 2015

My One-Word Resolution for 2016 is Appreciate

Appreciate is the word I chose to be my One-Word Resolution for 2016. I want to slow down and appreciate every minute of my life. It takes time to get to a certain age and realize that your life is not infinite on this earth. All though I anticipate being reunited with the ones I love in Heaven someday, I really want to slow down and enjoy the moments that I have here on this earth. Because when you appreciate what you have, contentment and happiness will follow,

Also I need to appreciate the moments that I find to write. Sometimes I find myself getting frustrated with the time I do not get to write my book or other writing. But how lucky am I to finally have any time to enjoy this pursuit that I love. It has taken me quite a few years to get back to this thing I love to do and I need to appreciate the time I have to do it - no matter the interruptions or length of minutes I can sneak in at one sitting. My family was thoughtful enough to provide me with a brand new, very comfortable chair to use at our desk and after our Holiday trip I can't wait to get home and use it!

I also want to appreciate the time I have with my husband, daughter, and extended family. So many times I have said that I wish I could stop time and enjoy the moment longer. But that is not possible, the one thing you can count on is the evitable movement of time. I want to appreciate all the moments that I have during my life - the good, the bad and the ugly. Unfortunately we lost too many wonderful people in our family this year, 2015. One of these people was one that I wanted to write a book with of the enduring story of my husband's amazing father and his 11 siblings. Six of the brothers were in World War II and some went on to serve  our nation in other wars. My fingers are itching to tell that story but as time marches by the stories are harder to find. 
I also plan to stop being frustrated over what I can not change and appreciate what I can change. I will probably never get back the body I had at 22, but I want to appreciate the one I have now. I plan to appreciate the health I have and treat it with dignity, so hopefully it will continue to treat me well also. 
I also want to appreciate my food in moderation but not cheat myself from enjoying treats as they 
are presented to me without guilt. No easy feat. 
Appreciate - something that I plan to learn how to do better in 2016. That old saying about 
slow down and appreciate the little things in life is just what I plan to do. Please share with me 
the words you choose for your One-Word Resolution! Hope you can appreciate your wonderful families, good health, and each and every moment of your lives.  --Patty

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Just started "A Tale for the Time Being" by Ruth Ozeki!

This is the book I received at my Book Club Christmas Dinner! Or rather that I stole to take home as we do during our book exchange.😄
I am loving the writing but this part made me and my husband, who I had to share it with, laugh out loud! 
"He wants me to go Canada. He's got this thing about Canada. He says it's like America only with health care and no guns, ....."
Sad but true! Can't wait to keep reading! Hope you all got lots of books for Christmas too! 

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas!

Wishing you all a very, Merry Christmas! May your wishes come true, your gifts be filled with books, and your family be well. 2016 promises us all 365 days to read, spend time with our families, and write! Or read.... did I mention there are some many books on my To-read list! Thank goodness for GoodReads so I can keep a list! Have a wonderful rest of Christmas and wish you all a happy and healthy New Year! 

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Patty Pick for Favorite Books of 2015!

There are so many good choices to make the favorite book list this year, out of the books 
I've read. There were also quite a few that I planned to read, but never made time for. Hopefully next year will bring my first book an agent and it will be in the published group of books for 2016!

This is by no means a complete list, just the favorite books that I read this year and if you want a review, please feel free to look them up on my blog. 

1)  A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman. 
          By far the best book that I've read! 
2) All the Light You Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. 
          Close book choice for Number 1!
3) The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. 
          This one needs no introduction. 
4) After You by Jojo Moyes; Sequel to Me Before You - a really good book!
5) To Kill A Mockingbird & Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee. 
          These two books are classics. Loved them both but still have some 
          reservations about Go Set a Watchman. 
6) This Dark Road to Mercy by Wiley Cash. 
           Another great new author from North Carolina. 
7) Every Fifteen Minutes by Lisa Scottoline - Definitely Lisa Scottoline is tops in her field 
            with psychological thrillers. This is a good one that will keep you guessing. 
8) My Sunshine Away by M.O. Walsh - FirstRead winner by a new author and fresh voice               with a male point of view.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Blog Post for "After You" by Jojo Moyes

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes was one of the best books I read last year.
Jojo Moyes just tells a good story and the characters of Will and Lou will
resonate with you if you have a heart of any size. :)
Will is a brilliant, handsome man who became a quadriplegic in a freak
accident one day crossing the street for a taxi. When we meet him he wants to end his life through assisted suicide. The fallout will effect Lou and his family in ways they did not see coming.
After You , Jojo Moye's new sequel, begins with Lou after Will's death, after the news reports, judgement of her by everyone good and bad, and after time has passed to some extent. She is living in London with the help of the money that Will left her. Lou is dissatisfied with her life and feels she is breaking her promise to Will to "Live", but she can not break out of the day-to-day existence she has chosen.
After drinking too much one night, she has her own strange, life-changing accident. Looking at the
world that Will faced she understands some of what he was going through. After recuperating back
home with her parents for months, she returns to her empty apartment to start over in the job she hates. She joins a support group for grieving family members and runs into the ambulance worker
whose voice she remembers from the her accident.
Their turbulent relationship along with surprising entries from Will's family will keep Lou struggling to help them sort out their grief and to work through her own. It's hard not to spill out the secrets in this book but you want to discover them for yourself. Jojo Moyes builds the story well and you deserve to discover Lou's story one page at a time. Bring the kleenex box!!

Patty Pick for 9/24/15 is "Take Me With You" by Catherine Ryan Hyde

August, a science teacher, is struggling with many different issues when we meet him at the start of this novel. His vacation is not off to a good start with the breakdown of his RV barely after the start of his trip. He is stranded in a small town while a local mechanic fixes the problems, with what August hopes will not be too large a cost. August is an alcoholic who has taken steps to seek help and is currently sober. His teenage son, Phillip, has died in a car accident and he is carrying some of Phillip's ashes to Yellowstone Park. This trip was supposed to be one they made together.Now August will be scattering Phillip's ashes along the way with only his loyal dog, Woody, for company. Woody does tend  to steal the show when he can. 

As August waits in the heat, he meets the mechanic's young sons, Seth and Henry. In an amazing turn of events our mechanic asks August to take his sons for the summer because he has to serve a prison sentence and no one else can help. He is also an alcoholic but has not come to terms with his disease. August decides to take them with him against his better judgment. The descriptions for the various national parks they visited are vivid and you can feel the healing take place for them all as the summer advances. 

When August has to take them back to their father, he tries to figure out a way to keep them so he can remove them from the situation they have. But the reality is, they must stay. August tries to find ways to stay in touch through skype and telephone calls over the years, but they all drift off into their own worlds. As the boys age, they find ways to survive. When Seth calls to visit, August has changed. He has aged and can no longer take his annual summer trips in the RV. He offers to give it to Seth and both boys surprise him with a visit and trip. This will be a different trip due to Augusts' health but the boys surprise him with a special destination. This is a good solid read.   

Patty Pick for 11/19/15 is "Betrayed" by Lisa Scottoline

Image result for betrayed by lisa scottoline

Lisa Scottoline has perfected the mystery genre. She mixes 
well-rounded characters with plenty of action to keep you involved in the storyline until the end. With this Rosato & DiNunzio novel you will be invested from the beginning with Judy, her family, and her crazy life. As Judy is adjusting to the facts of life around her, such as her best friend getting married and making partner before her while they are at the same firm, she also finds out that her favorite Aunt Barb has cancer. And if that is not enough, she is having doubts that she wants to stay with her live-in boyfriend who never seems to be there when she needs him. 

While Judy is visiting her aunt to discuss the cancer, Iris Juarez drops in for a visit. 
Judy has heard many good things and her Aunt Barb and Iris are close friends. Later that night Iris is found dead in her car. The authorities believe it is natural causes, but Judy is suspicious. Iris was a healthy person and it does not add up that Iris would drop dead hours later. 

Now you should be get ready for non-stop action. It takes off and you need to hold on. There are drug gangs, cancer, and stupid boyfriends everywhere. Judy tries to solve the mystery of Iris' death while helping her aunt deal with Iris' death and have surgery for cancer. When Judy finds ten thousand dollars, she begins having doubts in Iris' innocence. As she searches for the truth, Judy struggles to work out her personal life. This one will be a quick read but worth every page. 

Patty Pick for 11/5/15 is "All We Had" by Annie Weatherwax

Ruthie & Rita have struggled their entire lives. As  Ruthie introduces us to the pair, we learn some of the hardships they have faced as a homeless mother and daughter. Rita has never told Ruthie who her real father is and she herself is a product of a foster home childhood. Rita treats Ruthie as an adult and Ruthie is allowed to know all the intimate details of what Rita will do to just continue to exist on this Earth. 

After they leave Rita's current boyfriend, they take what they can to sell and survive. As their money runs low on the way from California to Boston, they pull off to find a place for gas and to steal some food. They run smack into Fat River and that lucky or divine decision saved them, at least for a while. 

Fat River is your average small mill town slowly dying off in small pieces but still living off the money generated by the mill. Industry is dripping slowly out of America and heading to Mexico and China but the mill is still providing income for Mel and the diner/gas station combination business he runs. Lucky for Ruthie and Rita, their car breaks down here because kind-hearted Mel gives them a job and a place to live. 

Ruthie and Rita finally have roots and stability for one of the first times in their lives. They have friends in the small community they live in and coworkers who look out for them. Rita waitresses at the diner and Ruthie washes dishes. Peter Pam and Arlene become the glue and laughter that Rita and Ruthie need to survive. Ruthie strives to keep her impulsive mom on the straight and narrow but life has a way of throwing curve balls when you least expect them. When they get in financial trouble again, their lives take another desperate turn. Rita tries hard to provide for her daughter the only way she knows how and plans out Ruthie's future attending an Ivy league college. Will Ruthie make it, is the question? As we meet all the "family" they make along the way, we have hope. 

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Full-on Panic Mode

Image result for panic over the holidays
Here it is December and I am in full panic mode! My blog, the editing of my book, Christmas shopping, ..... The list could go on and on. Reading time, much less writing time has been at a premium during the last few weeks.

Right now I am in the middle of Nicholas Spark's new novel, 
See Me. Well, not exactly in the middle, more like at the 
beginning. Every year I forget how hectic this time of year 
becomes no matter how much I plan ahead. There is this special time continuum that speeds everything up between 
Thanksgiving and Christmas each year! 

Hope you all are feeling less panicked, and having a wonderful start to your Holiday season! I will be back on Thursday, 12/10/15, with a great review of After You by 
Jojo Moyes. She is definitely an author you want to read and this sequel to one of 
my favorite books, Me Before You, will not disappoint. Happy shopping, cooking, and 
celebrating, and definitely reading !!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Patty Pick for 1/28/16 is "Tell the Wolves I'm Home" by Carol Rifka Brunt

"Tell the Wolves I'm Home" is aptly titled in many ways. The story starts with our two sisters, Greta & June, sitting for a portrait being painted by their Uncle Finn. He titles it "Tell the Wolves I'm Home" and hides a outline of a wolf between the two girls in the painting. As we meet our characters, we find out that our family has its issues. Finn, a famous artist, is dying of of AIDS and this will be something he can leave for his nieces after he is gone. 
June is devastated. Her family keeps Finn's homosexuality and impending death a secret from her. She and Finn have a special relationship. As she and Greta grew apart, Finn fills the void. June thinks she might be a little in love with her uncle. She hopes no one knows. June wants to live in a medieval world and has difficulty relating with kids her own age. Finn filled the need of support in her life and their many shared outings and places in the city they go together, feel the void of no friends. 
As our story advances, we are pushed into the lives and difficult relationships of many of the couples in our story. Junes's mom, Danni, and Finn were very close as siblings of a military family but as 17, Finn left and their realtionship is strained at best. Greta and Danni used to be inseprable but they now do not talk at all or if they do it's to cut each other down in some way. Neither one realized they are jealous of the other until the painting hits the fan so to speak.
This dysfunctional family comes together and we watch them all grow up a little. You will be pulling for June. But don't count out Greta just yet. 

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Patty Pick for 10/22/15 is "The Last Season" by Stuart Stevens

Image result for the last season book

I was lucky to receive an early e-book of this novel through the wonderful First To Read Program from Penquin Books. The book 
was published in September 2015. It seems that Stuart Stevens loves politics all most as much as he loves Ole Miss football, all  most. As the book opens, he has finished a long, tough campaign and is hoping to spend more time with his parents. At times this book reads like a fiction novel and I had to remind myself that it is non-fiction. You will find out that he worked for Mitt Romney during one of his runs for the presidency. That has taken a lot out of him. He is nostalgic about his life and remembers the good times he and his father spend attending Ole Miss football games beginning when he was a little boy.

During the 2012 race, Stuart realizes that he has lost his zeal for politics and winning. He can remember true happiness he felt when he and his Dad attended those exciting football games together. The sadness of facing the losing candidate and his family is the last thing he wants to do. After his 60th birthday and with the tough campaign behind him, he proposes a special series of trips to his parents, to attend every Ole Miss football game played during the season that they can make it to. They drive to them all since 
his mom does not fly. They do miss a few but not many. As he visits old haunts, memories return of the good times and the way things have changed from then to now. 

His Mom enjoys the trips visiting the old haunts from their earlier life and spends most
of her time in a comfortable hotel room. His 95-year-old Dad is adorable. I want to hear more of his wisdom. We are all lucky children to have our parents guide us through life. My Dad did not start a successful law firm but he served others well and he taught his daughter that your integrity is all you have in life. And once that is gone, it is a long, hard road to regain it if ever. 

This idea of a trip with your older parents back to familiar places made me wish that I could have done this for my parents before they both passed away. Reading this novel gives us a snapshot of the time period in which Stuart Stevens grew up in and the importance of football to us Southerners. Whatever you do, don't get in front of us on the way to the gate! Enjoy this trip down memory lane - it is a good read!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Jojo Moyes releases "After You" - sequel to "Me Before You" on 9/29/15!

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I've been waiting for this book since I finished the last sentence of "Me Before You" in August of 2014. Now that I have it in my hot little hand, I have a commitment to my Dansforth and Friends Book Club pick for October. I've really been looking forward to diving into the book pick of our hostess this month, Karen, for our Halloween month - Tana French's  "In the Woods." 
It starts off with a suspenseful opening and promises to keep me guessing throughout the book. I'll have to continue to look longingly at my copy of "After You" for a while longer. 
I have a feeling that Tana French is going to make me forget about it for a while. 
In honor of the publication, I am re-posting my blog of Me Before You! 
Get started reading both books today!

Sometimes when people write stories that include handicapped people you feel it's made up and not accurate. Not so with "Me Before You" by JoJo Moyes! All though the accident that changed Will's life is the main reason our two main characters come together, the story is really a love story. And Will and Louisa feel like real people with all their doubts, troubles, and faults. But be prepared with your kleenex box because I think you will need it. 

As we meet Louisa Clark, her own life is in transition. At the age of 26, she is living at home with her parents, grandfather, her sister and nephew. Her family is struggling with finances and depend on her wages to help keep the household together. Then the day comes when her boss tells her that he is closing the restaurant, gives her a severance and sends her on her way. After trying some of the jobs the Job Center sends her to, she is ready to give up. Then a job as the care assistant in a private home comes available and Louisa heads over for an interview that will end up changing her life. 

Will Traynor has it all - head of acquisitions for an international company and good-looking to boot. He grew up in a wealthy home and seems to have his life laid out for him. One day while heading to work, he is hit by a motorcyclist and paralyzed. It has been a hard transition and Will has become bitter and ready to die. 

When Will's mother hires Louisa to help with Will's care, they are both surprised by the other. She tries to break through his gruff exterior to make his life better. Along the way, they end up changing each other. As their relationship grows, you will not be able to put this one down! Start this book on a weekend so you have plenty of time to read it as you will want to cherish every word. 

Thursday, October 1, 2015

As we highlight National Banned Book Week this year, it is important to challenge the freedom to read and choose your own books. I have posted the list from the ALA site below of the top challenged books for the past decade in my blog this week. 

Books are definitely something I get excited about. 
Yes, parents should be able to guide their children to choose books they feel appropriate for their ages. That is what we do as parents - help our children learn to make decisions. As adults, we should be able to read whatever we want as long as we are not trying to cause harm. We can make up our own minds on what is appropriate. There are many classics on the list below that enriches our lives just by the act of reading. People just need to remember that a fiction book is a story and enjoy it , laugh along with it, cry sometimes and scream along with it if it scares you. Sometimes the story will transport you to another place or time, but it is still a story. And their are many beautiful, well-written stories on the list that I am glad I did not miss out on because my parents encouraged me to read everything. So enjoy!! And I feel you should read what books on this list that you want to and they should be available to you when you are looking for them. Choose for yourself! That is a integral part of being a human and an American. 

Top 100 Banned/Challenged Books: 2000-2009

1. Harry Potter (series), by J.K. Rowling
2. Alice series, by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
3. The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier
4. And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson/Peter Parnell
5. Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
6. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou
7. Scary Stories (series), by Alvin Schwartz
8. His Dark Materials (series), by Philip Pullman
9. ttyl; ttfn; l8r g8r (series), by Lauren Myracle
10. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
11. Fallen Angels, by Walter Dean Myers
12. It’s Perfectly Normal, by Robie Harris
13. Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey
14. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain
15. The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison
16. Forever, by Judy Blume
17. The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
18. Go Ask Alice, by Anonymous
19. Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
20. King and King, by Linda de Haan
21. To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
22. Gossip Girl (series), by Cecily von Ziegesar
23. The Giver, by Lois Lowry
24. In the Night Kitchen, by Maurice Sendak
25. Killing Mr. Griffen, by Lois Duncan
26. Beloved, by Toni Morrison
27. My Brother Sam Is Dead, by James Lincoln Collier
28. Bridge To Terabithia, by Katherine Paterson
29. The Face on the Milk Carton, by Caroline B. Cooney
30. We All Fall Down, by Robert Cormier
31. What My Mother Doesn’t Know, by Sonya Sones
32. Bless Me, Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya
33. Snow Falling on Cedars, by David Guterson
34. The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things, by Carolyn Mackler
35. Angus, Thongs, and Full Frontal Snogging, by Louise Rennison
36. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
37. It’s So Amazing, by Robie Harris
38. Arming America, by Michael Bellasiles
39. Kaffir Boy, by Mark Mathabane
40. Life is Funny, by E.R. Frank
41. Whale Talk, by Chris Crutcher
42. The Fighting Ground, by Avi
43. Blubber, by Judy Blume
44. Athletic Shorts, by Chris Crutcher
45. Crazy Lady, by Jane Leslie Conly
46. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
47. The Adventures of Super Diaper Baby: The First Graphic Novel by George Beard and Harold Hutchins, the creators of Captain Underpants, by Dav Pilkey
48. Rainbow Boys, by Alex Sanchez
49. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, by Ken Kesey
50. The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini
51. Daughters of Eve, by Lois Duncan
52. The Great Gilly Hopkins, by Katherine Paterson
53. You Hear Me?, by Betsy Franco
54. The Facts Speak for Themselves, by Brock Cole
55. Summer of My German Soldier, by Bette Green
56. When Dad Killed Mom, by Julius Lester
57. Blood and Chocolate, by Annette Curtis Klause
58. Fat Kid Rules the World, by K.L. Going
59. Olive’s Ocean, by Kevin Henkes
60. Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson
61. Draw Me A Star, by Eric Carle
62. The Stupids (series), by Harry Allard
63. The Terrorist, by Caroline B. Cooney
64. Mick Harte Was Here, by Barbara Park
65. The Things They Carried, by Tim O’Brien
66. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, by Mildred Taylor
67. A Time to Kill, by John Grisham
68. Always Running, by Luis Rodriguez
69. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
70. Harris and Me, by Gary Paulsen
71. Junie B. Jones (series), by Barbara Park
72. Song of Solomon, by Toni Morrison
73. What’s Happening to My Body Book, by Lynda Madaras
74. The Lovely Bones, by Alice Sebold
75. Anastasia (series), by Lois Lowry
76. A Prayer for Owen Meany, by John Irving
77. Crazy: A Novel, by Benjamin Lebert
78. The Joy of Gay Sex, by Dr. Charles Silverstein
79. The Upstairs Room, by Johanna Reiss
80. A Day No Pigs Would Die, by Robert Newton Peck
81. Black Boy, by Richard Wright
82. Deal With It!, by Esther Drill
83. Detour for Emmy, by Marilyn Reynolds
84. So Far From the Bamboo Grove, by Yoko Watkins
85. Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes, by Chris Crutcher
86. Cut, by Patricia McCormick
87. Tiger Eyes, by Judy Blume
88. The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood
89. Friday Night Lights, by H.G. Bissenger
90. A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeline L’Engle
91. Julie of the Wolves, by Jean Craighead George
92. The Boy Who Lost His Face, by Louis Sachar
93. Bumps in the Night, by Harry Allard
94. Goosebumps (series), by R.L. Stine
95. Shade’s Children, by Garth Nix
96. Grendel, by John Gardner
97. The House of the Spirits, by Isabel Allende
98. I Saw Esau, by Iona Opte
99. Are You There, God?  It’s Me, Margaret, by Judy Blume
100. America: A Novel, by E.R. Frank

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Patty Pick for 9/10/15 is "Go Set A Watchman" by Harper Lee

This new book by Harper Lee, Go Set A Watchmanhas been surrounded by controversy since it was found by her longtime lawyer in a safety deposit box. Through an interview, Harper Lee stated she had actually written this book first, before To Kill A Mockingbird.  Her editor told her to go back and write something with Scout as a younger girl and we are all the richer for what followed. 

In  To Kill A Mockingbird, Scout is 6-9 years old but in 
Go Set A WatchmanScout is now 26. She is looking at the world and the past from a different perspective. Scout still has her fresh, brave outlook 
on life but she has been effected by death and the events that happened after we left her in TKAM. 

While making a visit home to see her family during the mid 1950's, Scout is faced with a changing Maycomb and the world around her exploding with racial tension. Scout still adheres to the some of the town's expected norms but chooses to ignore what she wants to. As she attends church with her family, we catch a hint of the title's meaning when the new minister, Mr. Stone, opens his bible to read. He reads from Isaiah 21:6 - "For thus hath the Lord said unto me, Go, set a watchman, let him declare what he seeth." What we see, is an independent, intelligent young woman struggling to find her place in the world but not afraid to push her limits! Scout, our watchman, leads us through what has happened in the interim and we get to meet new characters like her sometimes boyfriend, Hank Clinton.   

I know everyone is up in arms over the rumors they have heard about Atticus and what type of person he has turned into during this book. He is aging and struggling with his health. As an old man in a changing world - he is uncertain to what is happening around him. Scout reiterates in GSAW, that whatever decision she makes in life,she asks herself, "What would Atticus do?" That will hold true through this entire story.

We are lucky enough to meet new characters and find out what has been happening to old characters. Go Set a Watchman definitely reads as a first novel, much more than TKAM. The world, all most 20 years after we first meet Scout, has changed radically. Maycomb and many of it's citizens are struggling to figure out what is the right direction to take. There will be parts you don't like and parts you love, but don't miss it. You need to read this for yourself. And you will love Scout, she always has an opinion and she will let you will know what it is.  

Friday, August 28, 2015

Patty PIck for 8/27/15 is "To Kill A Mockingbird" by Harper Lee

Harper Lee's classic, To Kill A Mockingbird, has always been one of my favorite books, as I am sure it is for many others. I can not count the times I have read and re-read it over the years, which is a rare thing for me to do. I had forgotten how much I liked it, until I read it again recently. It is a timely reminder that race relations have been effecting our lives in this country for many years unfortunately. 

Scout is one of the best female characters, which has been written into life by an author, in any decade. She is fearless, smart and vulnerable at the same time. Throw in Jem, Atticus, Dill and Calpurnia and the cast is one you will not be able to forget. 
Scout's father, Atticus, usually gets all the attention, but I feel that Scout steals the show. 

While Atticus, the small town lawyer and state congressman, is busy trying to raise his motherless children in small town Alabama, he is assigned the task of representing an innocent black man in a no-win trial. Parts of this book could have taken place in any small town in the South during this time period of our history. While many people concentrate on the lesson of fairness this part of the book relates, the empowerment of women and the discovery of one's true self should be the themes we discuss as much. Unfortunately this book too accurately portrays the truths of the South and other parts of our country during this time in our history concerning the color of one's skin.

But more importantly it shows us the special time of innocence many of us were lucky enough to experience in our youth. How many of you slept with your doors unlocked? Were you ever inside during your summer in daylight hours except to eat? School pageants that the whole town would attend were once standard fair in small town life.

I choose to concentrate on the well-written story of one family living through a special time in their lives, when the kids were innocent and walking to school was the norm. While the famous movie concentrates on the trial and the rescue of the kids by Boo Radley, I think the best part was Scout and her brave outlook on life. The thought of not studying to be a lawyer just because of the norms of the day, did not stand in Scout's way.

Next blog post on 9/10/15 will be on the recently released prequel by Harper Lee, 
"Go Set a Watchman".

Patty Pick for 8/13/15 is "Doughnuts & Deadly Schemes" by Janel Grandowski!

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Janel Gradowski has her third book out in her successful Culinary Competition Mystery series and it looks like Amy is at it again. Janel has brought us some memorable characters that make revisiting them again a must. Amy, Carla, Alex and Shepler will
be very busy in this third book in the series. Amy is trying to plan her best friend Carla's wedding, when she runs into a murder.

The killer is wreaking havoc on the retail center of her town and the business owners are running 
scared of the mysterious stalker. All during these crazy happenings, Carla and Shepler are trying to plan and get ready for their wedding. Shepler, a detective assigned to solve the murder, has his plate full with solving the crime.
Carla just wants it all to go away and let her and Shepler have a quiet, unique wedding.
The food in this book will make your mouth water as the action is taking place. Amy will work
to solve the crime as she struggles to give her friend the best wedding she can. The ending will be
full of surprises!

If you are interested in this or other Janel Gradowski books, you can contact her at:

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