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Thursday, December 22, 2016

Patty Pick for My One Word Resolution for 2017 is........

It's that favorite time of year for most of us! Between Thanksgiving and Christmas and 
on into New Years, we are all in festive moods, ready to spend time with our family
and friends. This time of year also bring memories of Holidays past. We seem to turn back to the childhood traditions that we loved when we were growing up. In my family we bake the same cookies, make the same time-tested and delicious recipes for our big meals, and never forget those traditions like movies on Christmas Day. This time of year can also lead us to turn the attention to our inner selves to think back over our year and assess what we did and where we went and the relationships we have. 

I always like to read a book with a Christmas theme and had picked out a good one from what I hear - "A Lowcountry Christmas" by Mary Alice Monroe. I wanted a pick-me-up and this heartwarming story and the author's lovely writing style seemed to fit the ticket perfectly. Unfortunately this year for too many reasons to mention, I failed to even do that. In fact, I seemed to have failed to read much at all. I could blame this on my writing, but I am not sure that is the complete reason. 

Our lives are constantly being challenged with electronic devices. Yes, we can read our 
book on our Kindles, Nooks and whatnot, but that is not what I am talking about. I seem 
to find myself online in some form or fashion and neglecting the very thing that I champion and work hard to be a part of - being an author. I write books, I am part of a book club, I usually read a couple of books a month. I blog for heavens sake about books! The point being that what is so mesmerizing that I am not reading as much -that darned internet. I am spending so much time trying to learn my craft, learn how to connect with my readers and other writers and yes, just having fun, that I am not writing or reading nearly enough.  

So my one word resolution for 2017 is Simplify.  I want to simplify my life, enjoy the
little things, read more, enjoy time with my family more and stop trying to do it all. 
I want to clean out the debris that is cluttering my desk, my store, my closet, and yes, 
my brain. I want to clean out, so to speak, manage to "spring clean" myself and my 
surroundings. I am hoping that this does not mean I clean up and then cannot find anything at all as has happened in the past. I plan to simplify what I do and stop trying to do everything and accept some help when I need it. I plan to simplify my writing and go back to what I love - long hand. I know that seems odd since you are reading my blog on a computer of some kind, but when I write a book or story, I need time for my brain and 
fingers to sync and often with a computer keyboard that syncing just seems hard to do. So back to my pen and paper style, that allows me to think at the same time. Eventually it will make it to the laptop but not until I have the first draft. 

I don't plan to just simplify my writing, I want to simplify my whole life so I can truly enjoy it. I hope I am successful but if not I will not beat myself up. Life can be hard enough without that. So let me hear what your one word resolution or your multi-word
resolutions are for 2017. And if you have any wonderful tips to share with me on ways to simplify my life, by all means please pass those along. I am going to need them!! 
Can't wait to hear from you all.
Merry Christmas & Happy New Year, 

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Best Books of 2016

Here we go, another list of Best Books of 2016 and I am so far behind in reading them! 
These books are pulled from multiple internet sources and my own personal 
"To Read" lists. I am going to include some of the best books that I have read this 
year too in a separate list. Please read my reviews for more information on these books. The fact is there seem to be more books out there that I want to read and less and less time to do so! 

I know you are all eagerly awaiting my own book, The Distance Between Us, to come out and hopefully 2017 will be the year. Keep your fingers crossed! There is also a fiction book in the works and a non-fiction book that I am writing with Lisa Satterfield Shank. She is a walking, talking miracle! If you liked Brain on Fire:My Month of Madness by Susannah Cahalan, you are going to want to read this book! Our tentative title is One in A Million
Now on with the lists: 

2016 Books Not to Miss: 
When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanthi
The Mothers by Brit Bennett
Commonwealth by Ann Patchett
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
small great things by Jodi Picoult
My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout
Lily and the Octopus by Steven Rowley
The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware
Redemption Road by John Hart 
The Whistler by John Grisham 

Best Book Choices of what I've Read this Year: 
Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty
Before I Go To Sleep by SJ Watson
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
The Gates Manor Band by Jan Hemby
Just Mercy:A Story of Justice & Redemption by Bryan Stevenson
Pretending to Dance by Diane Chamberlain
Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki 

I know there are others that need to be on this lists but browsing for your own 
books is always part of the fun! Happy Reading and here's to a wonderful 2017 
of books. Happy Holidays to all!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016


There are many things to be thankful for on this glorious Thanksgiving Day, but today I want to
thank my family. My husband and my daughter who make this day and every day before
and after this one very special. They not only give me the most joy but they are my biggest cheerleaders.

When I told them I really wanted to write down the books and stories I had stored in my head over the years, they encouraged me to do it. My daughter suggested I start with a blog, find something else I love and just write and write. Thus this blog, bookreaderforlife, was born. How did she get so smart?

When my husband watched me write my first book longhand while using anything available to me - like an upside-down tray, while sitting in the bed, and just about anywhere else I could find a quiet
spot, what did he do? Buy me one of the most comfortable leather chairs and suggested I change our
old "computer room/extra bedroom" into my writing room. How do you compete with these two?

Yes, I am very blessed. The world is not perfect and everything does not always go the way you plan,
but at the end of the day if you have a family like mine you are very lucky indeed. Sometimes the news this world brings you and the meanness of people around you may be hard to bear, but just look around at your family and know that you are one lucky human being. So when life gives you lemons, hard knocks, or blessings, remember who to share them with. Your family will always be in your corner.
At least mine will, and I am very thankful.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Patty Pick for 11/18/16 is "Truly Madly Guilty" by Liane Moriarty

Liane Moriarty's latest book, "Truly Madly Guilty" was a good read! 
The book centers around an incident that happens at a neighborhood BBQ one afternoon on an ordinary street with ordinary people. Ms. Moriarty has a nice way of dancing around what really happened and keeping you in suspense until well into the book. You must keep reading to find out what the incident was and to see the effect on the characters as the chapters go by.  

One thing about her novels that I have thoroughly enjoyed is her 
character development. She has a way of writing, that most of the 
good writers do, that helps you live inside the character's head - to really imagine these people as someone you know. You develop a relationship with them and you get invested in their lives. In this book, I had a hard time finding one character that I liked at first, but by the end I like most of them.

You would think that tragedy would bind people together, but from personal experience I agree with the direction of this book that hardship and tragedy usually pushes people apart. Don't ask me to explain this strange human truism but it does work out that way more times than not. With 
Clementine, Sam, Ruby, Holly, Erika, Oliver, Vid, Tiffany & Dakota all in attendance at the meal in question, you get different points of view of the accident and different reactions. 

Not to spoil the plot for you, but it does take a while to get to the what actually happened. Along the way, you get to know the ends and outs of their lives and how they all ended up there that afternoon, but I really, really wanted it to get to the point. But 
by the end of the book, I got the point finally. The "getting there" is the story. It's really 
the story of all of us, how we cope, react, and go on after the bumps in our lives. 

So while this one doesn't use a sledge hammer to make the point, hang on until the 
end and you will get it. A solid 4 Stars!

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Patty Pick for 11/10/16 is "Before I Go to Sleep" by SJ Watson

"Before I Go To Sleep" by SJ Watson engendered a lot of discussion among my book club members. We wanted to read a scary book for October, but a lot of us don't like bloody and scary. We once read a very scary book by Dean Koontz called, "Intensity". My advice is only read this one if you are not easily scared and serial killers don't bother you. I will never look at an RV the same again, on the highway or anywhere for that matter. But I digress, back to 
"Before I Go to Sleep." 

Christine is always on rewind. Every night as she sleeps, her memories are erased and she wakes up thinking she is a young 
woman with her life ahead of her. Instead, due to a traumatic accident, she is a forty-seven year-old woman with a husband she does not know or remember. As she wakes each morning, she is terrified and looks in the mirror at a person she does not know. Her husband has placed pictures and clues around the house to help her remember as she goes through her normal routine. Since the accident, she 
can not work, or barely leave the house.  

What her husband does not know is that Christine is meeting with a doctor most days 
to help her remember. His advice is for her to keep a journal as they go along and he 
calls her each morning to remind her to read the journal and then they talk or meet. As Christine reads the journal each morning, she begins to remember some of the same things. She is confused over what memories are true and what memories are just her imagination. Her husband tells her conflicting versions of what she wrote in her journal. 
Who is telling her the truth? And how did she get this type of amnesia in the first place? 

As we read along with Christine down her path to memories, we start to question
everything. I did not see the twist or the ending coming. Very good and it will keep you 
guessing until the final pages. 5 Stars!!

Reading Laine Moriarty's latest, " Truly Madly Guilty" now and not sure it's going to be one of my favorites. Love her writing, but these people are driving me crazy. And she usually 
leaves you one character to like, but I'm not sure if there is one in this novel for me. We 
will see.....

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Patty Pick for 10/27/16 are Some Interesting Political Books for the Season

During this election year, we have seen our political process at its best at times, and sometimes at its worst. This will not be the most contentious election ever fought in our country, but it will definitely be written about and remembered for a very long time, no matter your political persuasion. On that vein, I have collected a list of some of the more well-known nonfiction and fiction books on politics and/or our country's presidency. The fact that I can even write this blog openly about our election system and we can all choose who we want to vote for is one of the most cherished and valued parts of being an American.

We, Americans, are a hardy breed. We have survived countless wars and tragedies during the years as America grew into a country and aged into the nation we have now. Through it all we would come together to fight sometimes even each other, but always to mend ourselves back into a united group for the good of all. The one thing that we all have in common is our love for this country we call home. Let's hope that we never forget the citizens that have fought for this right and the struggles our country has endured to find it's way to becoming the greatest country in the world. Why do countless people around the globe try their best to find their way to our shores and become part of the American dream? 

So enjoy these fiction and nonfiction choices if you like. That is our God-given right, that we have fought for over countless generations, choice. And please Vote for the candidate(s) of your choice, be part of the solution. Our country is an amazing place and my hope is that we all remember that going forward. 

There are many good political books and fiction books following political story lines, so I have chosen some of my favorites and some on my to-read list to share with you all. Hope you find some of your new favorites on the list. 

1)  Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin
2)    Primary Colors by Anonymous
3)    The Lucky Ones by Doris Mortman
4)    All the King's Men by Robert Penn Warren
5)    The Run by Stuart Woods
6)    Hartsburg, USA by David Mizner
7)    Game Change by John Heileman & Mark Halperin
8)    Middlemarch by George Eliot
9)    The Race by Richard North Patterson
10)    The Last Election by Gary H. Collins
11)  Transfer of Power by Vince Flynn
12)  Almost anything by Brad Thorr & Tom Clancy

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Patty Pick for 10/20/16 is "The Nightingale" by Kristin Hannah

Image result for the nightingale by kristin hannah                                                                                                                         I've heard so much about this book and it definitely lived up to it's reputation! At first, I thought,

"Oh, no, another World War II book." My book club and myself have read so many over the last
few years, but this is not another World War II book. The characters are believable and full. The setting of the war from the view of the French people makes for a mesmerizing look at history.

Isabelle and Vianne are two sisters that are trapped in their lives due to the war and due to their individual circumstances. You will understand by the end of the book that the war in which they are embroiled, does not define their entire lives. They both rise above their doubts and fears to create new, but incredible lives, memorable lives. But war is not easy nor pretty and this novel by
Kristin Hannah does not cut out the ugly parts.

Vianne Mauriac is a young wife living in the quaint town of Carriveau with her husband and daughter. She is a school teacher and they live an idyllic life together in her parents old house.
Vianne is afraid of everything and when her husband, Antoine, go off to war she is left to handle
things on her own. As the war advances and the town is invaded by the Nazi's, she finds herself
living with a Nazi officer. She is trying to walk a tightrope through the war, not giving aid but not
allowing herself, her friends, and her daughter to suffer too much damage. Her younger sister has other ideas.

Isabelle has rebelled her entire life. Since their mother passed away, their father has pushed away
the two sisters. Fighting her way through boarding school after boarding school, she has finally
found her way home to her father and his book store at the start of the war. With the looming
Nazi invasion, her father sends her off with family friends to go stay with her sister, but the pampered
Isabelle faces some of the most harrowing days of the war just trying to get to Carriveau. She meets
Gaetan, a young man determined to fight back, who helps her arrive at her sister's house. Isabelle becomes determined to fight back also and she usually gets her way.

From that start the two sisters fight the war in their own ways. Neither is better or easier for their survival but they bravely fight anyway. With help, love and determination, they fight the Nazi
invasion of their country in their own way. You will not feel how they can survive, but you must
read this book to find out if they do. The story is told in beautiful language that flows across the page and builds vivid pictures of their stories. A huge thumbs up!!

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Patty Pick for 10/6/16 is "Dear Carolina" by Kristy Woodson Harvey

What would you do if you were asked to take a baby from one of your
young relatives who realizes that she can not raise it? What drives a
mother to give up her child so it can have a better life than she can give it?
These are some of the hardest questions anyone can ever answer. In "Dear Carolina" two women must face those very decisions. Jodi makes her alone
and Khaki makes her with her loving husband, Graham.

Khaki and Jodi are "cousin-in-laws" and both have their crazy lives. This novel is woven with Southernisms and terms only a Southerner can comprehend at times. Khaki seems to have it all, a wonderful husband, a full and productive life, a child and a successful career. Jodi is her husband's young cousin who has struggled through life with an alcoholic mother and a rash of wrong decisions to her credit. Her father, Graham's brother, has died. When she ends up pregnant by her abusive boyfriend, she decides to have the baby and make a family with Ricky.

Unfortunately Jodi's boyfriend has other ideas. As she realizes what lies ahead for her child, she makes the most difficult decision a mother can make. After Jodi asks Khaki and Graham to adopt her child, life unfolds in different directions for each mother. Khaki worries that Jodi will change her mind and want this new, beautiful baby back from her care. Jodi is torn wanting to be a mother and
overcome her own demons but knowing she made the right decision for Carolina.

Told to us from each woman's perspective as letters to Carolina, we read the story of her life as told to her from the two mothers. This story weaves a distinct flavor of Kinston and North Carolina with a douse of New York decorating culture for good measure. Your feelings will be pulled into the story and the unique way the tale is told will make for a special read. You know how this ends but getting there will be the treat! Thumbs UP for this one!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Patty Pick for 9/29/16 is #BannedBookWeek2016

How in the world did we compile a list of classic Banned Books like the list below! Our country was born on the right of individual freedoms. To think that people are out there fighting for the removal of books from our library shelves today, just blows my mind. If you don't like the subject matter or theme of a book, then by all means do not read it. You have control on what your children read so check out what they are looking at or have picked and talk with them about why they are appropriate or not. Be involved. :)

Books are stories and even though some are better than others they all have a place in this world. There are some very amazing classics on the list below that are some of my favorites, but if you don't like them or want to read them, that's ok. America was formed because our founders wanted to have the freedom to make their own laws and have the freedoms they deserved in life, religion, and all other areas. Check out the full lists of banned books and tools to help you make informed choices at :

So please read these or not, but just read!  

1. The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
2. The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
3. The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck
4. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
5. The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
6. Ulysses, by James Joyce
7. Beloved, by Toni Morrison
8. The Lord of the Flies, by William Golding
9. 1984, by George Orwell

11. Lolita, by Vladmir Nabokov
12. Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck

15. Catch-22, by Joseph Heller
16. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
17. Animal Farm, by George Orwell
18. The Sun Also Rises, by Ernest Hemingway
19. As I Lay Dying, by William Faulkner
20. A Farewell to Arms, by Ernest Hemingway

23. Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston
24. Invisible Man, by Ralph Ellison
25. Song of Solomon, by Toni Morrison
26. Gone with the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell
27. Native Son, by Richard Wright
28. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, by Ken Kesey
29. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
30. For Whom the Bell Tolls, by Ernest Hemingway

*Some of my favorites. Choose your own!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Patty Pick for 9/21/16 is "The Gift of Reading to your Children"

They say with age comes wisdom, but I think we just get a perspective on life that 
you have a harder time seeing when you are younger. I have always loved to read and 
write so you know I'm a big proponent of reading to your children. There are tons of articles on the importance of doing this for their development and language skills, but 
the real reason is much deeper. There is not a more special moment with your 
child or children than sitting or lying beside them and totally immersing yourselves
together in a book. Sometimes you will smell, visualize, and become the story you are reading. The bond that you will share during these times is irreplaceable.

The quiet times, the funny times, the times you laugh and the questions that books will inspire will be events with your children that benefit you as much as it benefits 
them. There are, of course, other very important times that you will and can spend with your children, nieces, grandchildren, or just kids of friends. But the quality 
time that comes from sharing a book, a story with or without pictures are some of the most special. 

When my daughter and I would read before bedtime together, those moments were some of the most memorable and singularly important times we spent together. The questions and discussions that books can and should lead to with your children will amaze you. You had better be ready for some tough ones. That old saying, "Children say the darnest things!" will bear out during your reading sessions over and over again. So start early and often is my motto. You don't have to spend tons of money to read to your child. You can go to the library together and pick out some books to read. Be sure to include your own childhood favorites. I know I did. I saved our favorite ones that made it through the rigors of childhood for my daughter to read to her children someday. 

Some of our favorites were Goodnight Moon, Charlotte's Web, Corduroy, The Polar Express, The Cat in the Hat & Oh, the Places You Will Go - basically anything by Dr. Suess. Others include 
Rainbow Fish, Winnie the Pooh and Guess How Much I Love You
You may not make your child become the most prolific reader in the world, but you can be sure that they will enjoy the time you spend together. They will learn along the way, but the most important lesson is that you are interested in spending time with them. If you can give your children anything, just give them some of your time. That gift will come back to you fourfold over the years. 

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Patty Pick for 9/15/16 is "Brain on Fire" by Susannah Cahalan

Brain on Fire is a scary but true tale by Susannah Cahalan in which she describes to us, through her own recollections and those of the people around her, the story of her harrowing experience with a strange, rare disease. As Susannah's behavior and health takes a strange and quick descent to disaster, we are drawn along for the ride. 

Susannah writes that a large portion of the time from her days of illness she can not remember herself and sometimes the memories are false ones. She eloquently describes how her parents and loved ones search for answers as Susannah continues to spiral downward. This true story will read like a medical thriller but unfortunately it is a true one. 

This bright, smart college graduate has her first job with the New York Post but she starts to feel strange. She continues to display unusual symptoms. Her symptoms point to schizophrenia and then epilepsy. Doctor after doctor struggles to find out what is changing this woman into a vegetable. Finally she is seen by Dr. Souhel Najjar, known as a real life "Dr. House". He has discovered a new, rare disease called Anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis. This auto-immune disease commonly attacks young women and the only way currently to diagnose is to do a brain biopsy to look for inflammation. Through treatment and rehab some patients make a full recovery. Susannah's physical outlook is good, it was caught in time. 

She is sharing this story in her book to make us all aware that this is a disease to be tested for and treated progressively. Through her own words, her "Month of Madness" is very hard to read at times, but important to understand that there are dangerous and unknown disease forms out there and we need to educate ourselves and the medical professional which are our first line of defense against these. You will be touched by her and her family's struggle to find out what is happening to her and her will to find her way back to her life. A definite thumb's up! 

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Patty Post for 9/1/16 is "The Value of a Book Club"

Are you members of a book club? I love my book club! Being part of a book club helps me to read books that I would not have otherwise chosen. We have good discussions that usually present different aspects of the book to me. It's amazing to me how 15 people can read the same book and remember different parts or arrive at different conclusions. 

We usually get together and enjoy snacks and drinks provided by the hostess. Some of the time, the member hosting will tie the food choices into the theme of the book. The imagination of some of these wonderful women is amazing to me. Over all, the food is delicious and we share in a few glasses of the beverage of our choice while catching up on the latest news with each other. 

Watching my book club interact a few nights ago, made me realize that as a woman I really need time spent around other women. Don't get me wrong, I love my husband and family and enjoy my guys at work, but being around other women will usually uplift me in a special way. There is some sort of acceptance and ease that comes from the common cause we share. We have been together 12 years so there is a special bond there, but beyond that we have shared alot with each other over the years. We have watched each other's children grow up and go off to careers or college. We have watched our daily lives change and adapt to the place in time we inhabit now. Just aging from your 30's to your 40's, or like some of us from your 40's into your 50's, bring big changes to a woman's life - 
to anyone's life. 

Women just need other women friends. I'm not some huge feminist but the opportunity to bond with other women can not be overrated. I wish everyone could have this experience in their life. Maybe I feel this way because I love to read and write more than most things I do, but I think it's deeper than that. Women just need other women to share thoughts with and bounce ideas off of along with our spouses, partners, families and loved ones. 
If I ever do move on from my current house into a new phase in a new location, I will miss this special group of women. 

I few years ago my sister-in-law gave me a documentary DVD on a group of women that have had a book club for in the Washington DC area by Hope Hartman showed how important a book club is to women. They shared much more than books they read.  They shared 70+ years of their lives together. I don't know that my book club will be together for 70 years but I do know that the friendships I have gained through my book club are 
irreplaceable. Spending time together doesn't let us change the world per se, but it does 
change our own worlds just a little bit. And that in itself is a miracle worth cherishing. 

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Patty Pick for 8/25/16 is "The Little French Guesthouse" by Helen Pollard

This little book will leave you laughing your head off with 
the adventures of the main character on her trip to France. The main character, Emmy, sets off for a holiday in France with her live-in boyfriend, Nathan. The first afternoon, while hunting for the wife of the guesthouse since Emmy found the owner having a heart attack in the kitchen, she finds more than she bargained for. Emmy stumbles upon her boyfriend shagging the owner's wife on the upstairs balcony! Needless to say this did ruin the trip for Emmy but she bravely stays on to help Rupert, the owner, deal with the loss of 50% of his staff.

Emmy's head in swimming and she is forced to look in the mirror and see the facts about 
their relationship and what she has been trying to avoid facing. This crossroads will lead her to look at her entire life path. She stays on in France for a while to re-access what she wants to do with the rest of her life and to avoid having to face her parents and friends. You will laugh and commiserate with Emmy as this brave new world unfolds in front of her. 

I found this book delightful and a great summer read. The characters are full and 
vibrant and you want to find out what happens as Emmy embarks on this new adventure. 
She is so likable that I plan to read the sequel, "Return to the Little French Guesthouse",
which is scheduled to come out this month. This was my book club's summer read and we all gave it a thumbs up! Let me know if you have or plan on reading it. 

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Patty Post for 8/11/16 - Books on My To-Read List

Just added another book to my Goodreads To-Read list and saw that I have 403 books on it! Do I have enough days left in my life to read all these? Ha! Ha! I keep finding new recommendations or one of my favorite authors publishes a new book and I want to add to my list all most every day. I know that I am falling behind a little. That's okay, hopefully some day you all will have one of my books on your to-read list which will make me extremely happy. I guess I understand how agents and publishers can get overwhelmed with manuscripts when I think about all the published books out there that I want to read alone. 

Since I am not ready to add a review for another book this week, I thought I would 
share with you some of the good ones I have on my To-Read list. If you have read or 
end of reading any of them, please share and let me know your thoughts. Here 
we go: 

1)  The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin
2)  Byrd by Kim Church
3)  Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin
4)  Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly
5)  Flight Patterns by Karen White (Anything by Karen White is good!)
6)  Memory Closet by Ninie Hammon 
7)  The Orphan Master's Son by Adam Johnson
8)  My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout
9)  The Opposite of Everyone by Joshilyn Jackson (Another wonderful author!)
10) Truly Madly Guilty by Laine Moriarty (Everything she writes!)

As you can see I do have my favorites, but these are a few that I am anxious to 
move to the Read list. If you get to any of them first, I would love to know your 
thoughts. Hopefully we can compare notes on some of these in the nearer future. 
Happy Reading!

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Patty Pick for 8/4/16 is "after her" by Joyce Maynard

     With references to some of the details from the true story of the Trailside Serial Killer, Joyce Maynard works her magic in this fiction tale of two sisters caught up in the midst of the tragedy. 
Rachel and Patty share a very special sister relationship. For many years, Patty, Rachel's younger sister only talks through Rachel. They lean and protect each other through life after their father left the marriage and home when they were young. Their mom lives in a deeply depressed state most of the time. She works a low wage job, but comes home to hide in her room with books from the public library for companionship. The sisters are often left to find their own food and explore the mountain trails behind their home. The fact that they use the back windows of their neighbors to watch TV 
shows that are popular during the time was a touching storyline. 
     Their father is a local police detective in Marin County, California who is picked to head the investigation of a murder on the mountain which turns into many murders.  
The charismatic officer, Anthony Torricello, leaves his daughters to move away and continue his unending affair with women when they were young. Once the murders happen, he is the face of the police department investigation. Watching him unravel, the girls try to find a way to help. 
     Rachel is a aspiring writer and continues to fill notebooks with her writing. She thinks 
solving the case will bring her father home again. Patty, the younger sister, is quiet 
and unassuming. She watches her lively sister grow up and their close relationship change. She finds out that she has athletic talent and continues to pursue her skills into adulthood. The story follows the years before the murders and what happens when Rachel tries to solve the murders and help her father. Told from the perspective of an adult Rachel, we are left to run through the slow unraveling tale to put the clues together and find out what happened. Part thriller and part coming-of-age story, I found it very interesting. It kept my interest and I will definitely by reading more by this author in the future. A definite thumbs up!  

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Don't Give Up and Always Remember

     I was all ready to review another book this week, but as is usual lately in my life, 
I just flat ran out of time. Getting up at 5am to work out, then off to our small 
business, then home to eat, clean, write, etc. There really needs to be more than 
24 hours in the day to successfully complete what I wish I could get done in a day! 
I am very excited about the success of our business. My husband and I run a sign 
company in Raleigh and working with your spouse can have it's challenges. But I 
am proud to say, that we run like a well-oiled machine most days. Being together 
so much of your 24 hours may not work for other couples, but it has brought us even 
closer together and given me moments that are beyond priceless. 
     He supports my goals. One of my goals being to publish my first book and continue 
to write. He and my wonderful daughter, even brought me a comfy chair so I could turn our "computer room" into my new writing enclave. I have taken over the desk, the bed, and pretty much the whole room. I wish it had succeeded in finding me an agent for my first book, but I am continuing to plug along. That includes currently writing two books. I'm not sure how that is going to work out in the close future but have no doubt they will be finished. 
     I am very proud that an amazing woman, Lisa Shank, has chosen me to help her 
write her story. She is one of the strongest and most honest individuals I have ever had 
the pleasure to get to know. She and her husband, Doug, have been through hell and 
back and survived. She has beaten a terminable diagnosis with grace, strength, and 
courage that would boggle your mind as I hope to be able to help you read for yourselves in our book. When I say that her adult stem cell treatment saved her life, there are no truer words, but it took a toll on her and she is still recovering with that same smile and grace. 
     I do feel that my life is going by too fast. There are so many places, people, and things I want to see and do. But as a very smart person named Jim Valvano once said, "Don't give up, don't ever give up." He knew that his life was coming to an end but did he lay down 
and give up, never. I want that same attitude - that same attitude that drives Lisa and 
so many people I know and that I admire. So bear with me as we take this journey, 
and please help me find that agent!! I'll be back with a book review of "After Her" by 
Joyce Maynard next week!

Friday, July 22, 2016

Patty Pick for 7/21/16 is "Pretty Baby" by Mary Kubica

Loved Mary's debut novel, "The Good Girl." It had twists and turns that drove my book club and myself crazy! This one, "Pretty Baby," is also very good! Heidi, Chris, & Zoe have 
a nice, neat family. They work, live and go to school in the city and where Heidi rides 
the train to work every day. One day on the platform during a torrential rain storm, 
Heidi notices a young girl with a baby. A girl about the age of her own daughter. Heidi invites Willow home with her to dry out and intends to help her get on her feet by staying a few days. Her husband and daughter are shocked by her actions, but the twists and turns will keep coming after this. 
Willow's baby, Ruby, is sick and they both need food, clothes and help. Heidi becomes more and more involved in their lives and finds it hard to let them go. Heidi always wanted a large family and when she was pregnant with their second child, she was diagnosed with cancer and the child had to be sacrificed to save Heidi's life. Heidi still misses the unborn children she never had but planned for and sees Willow and her baby, Ruby, as a way to give back. As Heidi becomes more and more involved in their care and less in her own life, her husband is being tempted at work and her daughter is barely surviving on the little amount of food she eats. 
Willow has secrets of her own. She was an orphan that was placed in foster care when 
both her parents were killed in an automobile accident. Her sister was put into another home and Willow feels responsible for her. Joseph, her foster dad and his family have their own secrets. Let's just saw his twisted religious zeal forces Willow to do things that no child should have to do like, to clean, cook, and take care of his mentally ill wife. He refuses to let her go to school and Joseph finds other ways to torture Willow as well. 
Not to give too much away, but all of these characters need some help! How will Heidi 
let the baby and Willow return to a life on the street? Will Chris get fed up and turn to 
someone else? Why is Willow running from her foster home? Read this book when you 
have time to stay up because you will not want to put it down.