Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Feeling sick

Feeling sick these days, ever since I got back from the city.
Sore throat. Fatigue. Aches. Sniffly Nose.
My BEA posts are on hold for a few days until I get my energy back.

Thanks for your patience and I hope to get back to reading all of your blogs when I get my strength back.

Happy Reading and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child

Monday, May 30, 2011

BEA/NYC: Day 1

Last year I did a day by day post of my week in NYC for BEA and it turned out to be a lot of fun. It also helps to organize all the things I did to share them with you all.
I don't want to miss anything!

BEA officially started on Monday of last week but in an effort to save money I chose to fly in on Tuesday. I arrived in the city around 12:30.
I mastered the Air Tran and the subway to find my way to my hotel for only $8. Now that beats a $50, nausea inducing, 50 minute cab ride!

My roomie, Stacy from A Novel Source, was to be arriving around that time so I camped in the lobby and prepared for my time in the big city! I had been up since 3:45 am and after traveling all morning, I was pretty pooped.

After furious texting back and forth, poor Stacy urged me to just head over to the Javits Center. She, unfortunately, was on a 2 1/12 hour shuttle ride from hell.

I was determined to get a peak at Ice-T and Coco. I knew I wasn't going to meet them or get their book since I wasn't able to get a ticket.
Ice-T and Coco

Oh well, a picture will do. This is how close I could get.

I got my bearings and checked out what else was going on. Lines were long at the Autograph area and I didn't have a ton of energy to start walking the floor. Soon enough Stacy texted me that she had arrived and we finally met face to face!

The rest of the afternoon was spent slowly walking around gathering up a few books. Pictures to come when I get my boxes. I had plans to meet my pal Christine from The Happily Ever After for dinner. She met me at Javits and we headed back to the hotel so I could freshen up.

Christine and Michelle

I had been invited to a cocktail party from Simon and Schuster to celebrate the release of one of their children's books. I was so pooped that we opted to go for dinner first. We had a blast! We talked and talked and because I was so tired and dehydrated,
one martini kept me feeling just fine.

Christine and I popped over to the event and circled the floor but honestly I was really zonked. I needed my rest for my big day tomorrow.

We headed back to the hotel around 8:00 and after some settling in, fell asleep.

More to come.

Happy Reading and as always, thanks for stopping by.

red headed book child

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Dead of Wynter by Spencer Seidel (Guest Review)

I am pleased to welcome Cheryl one more time as Guest Reviewer. She was nice enough to read and review this new mystery author since I didn't think I would be able to squeeze it in before BEA. Thank you Cheryl!

Dead of Wynter by Spencer Seidel

From the back cover:

“Dolly, It’s Your Mother.”

Dolly. Jackie Ruth Wynter had called Alice that for years. Alice hated it. Almost as much as she hated her old life as Alice Wynter when she lived with her torn up family in the small town of Redding, Maine. Her twin brother Chris had been fading fast, transforming into a mirror image of their drunken, violent father. Now Jackie Ruth was telling her that Papa was dead and Chris was missing.

Alice resigns herself to return, helping her mother and the local police with the mystery surrounding the crime. But there are some family secrets her mother would sooner take to the grave than reveal. As the authorities come closer to solving the mystery of the men in her family, she begins to realize her past life as Alice Wynter is the missing part of the puzzle. But who is searching out the former Alice?

Wynter family secrets run deep, and they all have something to hide in the bone-chilling cold of Maine lake country. The mystery of her father’s murder and brother’s disappearance will capture your attention well past when the fire has gone out.

Cheryl's Review:

I always enjoy a mystery rife with family secrets. Seidel slowly and expertly reveals Alice’s remembering and discovery of those secrets. Though her twin brother Chris is missing and the prime suspect in her father’s death, Alice never quite believes him capable of murder. Seidel flips back and forth between the past and the present so the pieces eventually culminate into a dramatic conclusion.

Seidel delves into the emotional lives of Alice and her family. You understand their pain and difficulties. Members of the family, including Alice, all had deeply buried parts of their pasts that they never expected to uncover. This family drama is an important aspect of how the mystery unfolds.

The mystery kept me in suspense. As more and more of the family’s past was revealed, the mystery became more complex. Without giving anything away, the ending was both resolved and unresolved. This was the type of mystery that would have been less believable if everything had worked out perfectly. Instead, a purposeful and tenuous resolution enhanced the story. Overall, it was a fairly quick, though not light, read. I was caught up in the suspense and read it in only a few days. Seidel has one other novel that I will definitely read at some point.

Author Website:

Happy reading and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Gideon's Sword By Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child (Guest review)

Gideon's Sword by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child
Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Tonight's Guest Review will be written by my dear old husband. He has been kind enough to write a few others for me in the past and it's fun to have him hop over and share my blog spotlight. The publicist was kind enough to send me another copy of this book after we...ahem...lost the first copy. We have NO idea where it went too. Classy, huh?
Real book lovers. You bet.
I guess we have some ditzy moments now and then :)

Description from Goodreads:

Gideon Crew has a lot on his mind. His mother has died, but only after revealing on her deathbed the true story of his father's murder. Reeling and thirsting for revenge, this talented operative must confront an even more pressing matter: He was been enlisted to steal plans for a Chinese megaweapon from a defecting scientist. Trademark Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child action and suspense in a new series starter.

The Husband's Review:

"Gideon's Sword" was a fun, fast paced read. Many of my favorite novels feature a protagonist who knows of a vast conspiracy, usually resulting from the death of a family member. To a point, I felt this book to be formulaic and somewhat predictable. Having never read any other Preston and Child novels, I can't say if this is par for the course, but it read like a YA novel to me. That being said, I did enjoy the characters as none of them are perfect; each having their own rather significant flaws. Also, the plot moved nicely; throwing in some humor to offset all the killing.
All in all, fun but far fetched, dark but goofy, fast but formulaic. Much like early Stephen King, I would give it a C+. Unless it was written for the Young Adult audience, then I would give it a A-

Thank you, my dear, for sharing with us your thoughts on this book. I hope you, dear readers, enjoyed a different voice tonight.

Happy Reading and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Welcome to Red Headed Book Child

Welcome to Red Headed Book Child book review site.

Most of you know that I will be in New York City this year for BEA and the Book Blogger Convention. I am very excited to be a part of it again this year.

For my readers, I will have a review up for Save Me by Lisa Scottoline later this week and a guest review for Gideon's Sword by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child
up later this week as well.

For anyone stopping by new to my site this week, welcome! Please visit my About page and Contact page for more information on me!

To sum it up, I am a book lover with over a decade in book selling and currently work at my local library. I love all genres but my favorites are literary fiction, mysteries and memoirs.
I spend most of my days desperately trying to potty train my toddler. Luckily I have lots of books to keep me company when I am sitting on the bathroom floor waiting for "it" to happen.

Forgive the cheesy photo of me but it is baseball season after all. Though we should not talk about how the Minnesota Twins (my team) are doing...

I look forward to my week in NYC meeting more wonderful bloggers,
authors, publicists and publishers.

Happy reading and as always, thanks for stopping by!

Red Headed Book Child

Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Little Women Letters by Gabrielle Donnelly (review #123)

The Little Women Letters by Gabrielle Donnelly
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Touchstone (Simon and Schuster)
Format: Review Copy

First off, let's start with the unfortunate confession that I have not read Little Women. I don't think seeing the movie with Winona Ryder and Claire Danes counts, does it? No, I didn't think so.

But that didn't stop me from wanting to read this book or getting a little excited about it. Why not throw in a contemporary spin to the story of the March sisters? Sounds like fun.

The story centers around the Atwater family, mostly the three sisters, who are "imagined descendants" of Jo March, the strong-willed, tomboy second sister in Little Women.
It takes place in London and a discovery in the attic of the Atwater home. Lulu, the middle Atwater sister, is sent on a mission to find some family recipes for her aunt and comes across a collection of letters written by Jo.
Feeling a bit adrift with not much of a future, Lulu finds herself getting quite involved in the life of her great-great-grandmother.

Through these letters you get to experience a little of the world of the March sisters and I'm guessing the feel of Little Women. I did enjoy these parts. I am a sucker for a past and present story that holds a connection of some sort. If it's done well, it's a joy to read.

This was done fair enough. Unfortunately, I didn't really like any of the Atwater sisters. The book starts off with a very in your face, back and forth bickering dynamic between these women. I found it to be a tad annoying. Each sister had their stereotypical role; the responsible, perfect Emma, the wayward middle child, Lulu and the flighty, attention seeking baby, Sophie.

It was hard for me to really get invested as I read. Overall, it was written well enough as far as style and story. I am just such a character gal that if I don't care for you, it can ruin it for me. And that's not really anyone's fault.

I am a sentimental fool so I did like the concept of seeking wisdom from your ancestors. I certainly have done that with my own grandma. We can all learn a thing or two about finding our way and learning about ourselves, just from looking at those that came before us.

Review: 3/6
This one does not come too highly recommended by me, which doesn't happen too often. But I do think it was just me and my preference for more likable characters. They just didn't stick with me. I think there is an audience for this book whether you are a curious Little Women fan or just wanting a bit of a family drama.

Book Club Pick?
I think the tie to Little Women could generate some good conversation. I know there are certainly many fans of that book and I'd be curious to see what fans would think of this fictional tale.

Happy reading and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child

Friday, May 20, 2011

Things that are going through my head before BEA.

Last year I was really super organized when I went to BEA and the BBC. I had everything planned to the "T" and you know what? It all ended up in the air anyway. All for the best really.
This year I am taking a casual approach because I know a little bit what to expect and I don't really want to rush. I know I have to wear comfy shoes. I know that I should have business cards in hand. I know to be polite and professional because this year I'm going completely as a blogger and I know that it is a privilege.

But I have to admit, my head is still spinning with all the stuff that is going on and though my approach may be more casual, I can't shut my darn mind off.

So, here is a glimpse of what is going through my brain in anticipation of BEA.
(I warn you. I'm random and weird and I get distracted VERY easily)

- Crap, my hair is so not red right now. I have WAY too much grey.
- Do I have TIME to color my hair?
- Are they going to think I'm a fraud?
- Note to self: squeeze in hair appointment.
-Whew. Done.
- Where are my Keens? I need them for my trip. Oh dear, they are really worn out.
-I really should send that giveaway book out to Jenny from Take Me Away before the 4th of July.
- What a bad blogger I am. I haven't even posted about BEA yet really.
- I am so bummed that I will not get to meet Ice-T.
-It's weird that I'm most excited about him and Mo Willems. What range I have.
- What if I'm not nearly as interesting in person as I am in the blogosphere?
-Do people really think I'm interesting?
- Will I be able to talk that much to strangers?
-Gosh, I hope I don't drink too much out of anxiety.
-I wonder if Stacy from A Novel Source snores.
-I wonder if I'll snore.
- I really need to pack.
- I can't believe we still have to take off our shoes at the airport. yuck.
- I hope I can figure out how to get to the hotel from the airport.
- Boy, I really need to stop thinking so much.

You get the idea?

I can't wait to meet all of you!
I hope my mind will be calm by then :)

red headed book child

Monday, May 16, 2011

Book Blogger Hop

Jennifer from Crazy For Books is the fabulous hostess of this Blogger Hop. I have not participated in a little while but because of the question she has posed, I thought it would be a good time to hop on by!

"Are you going to Book Expo America (BEA) and/or the Book Blogger Convention (BBC) this year?"

My Answer:
I AM! I am going again this year. I am sad that Jennifer is NOT. I met her last year and she is a delightful person, very sweet and kind and funny.
I will be staying with Stacy from A Novel Source and can't wait for it all to begin!!

One thing I will be bummed I'll miss though, is Ice-T. He will be at BEA on Tuesday early afternoon and I will not get there in time to see him. Silly, I know but how cool would it be to meet him??!!

If anyone IS going to BEA and will be there Tuesday afternoon, anyone willing to snag me his memoir???????????????? Anyone??? Bueller??

Happy Reading and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child

Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Ladies Book Club: May 2011

Book Read:

Ladies in Attendance:
5 regular members

Treats shared:
YUM! YUM! What a good spread we had this time around. Crackers with cream cheese and salsa. Hummus and Pita Chips. Baguettes with Mozzarella cheese, tomatoes, balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Olives. Chocolate cookies. Brownies. Fruit Torte. Red Wine.

To Read or Not to Read:
4 ladies read the whole book.
1 lady did not.

My Reaction:
I was very happy when the ladies picked this book for our May pick. I threw it out there because it was what I was reading at the time and I thought it would be a nice pick for Mom's Day. We also have had some nice conversations about our grandmothers and I know that many of us have or have had a very special bond with them.

I also adore Adriana Trigiani's books. I read and reviewed Very Valentine and Brava, Valentine last year and loved them.

This book is part memoir, part self-help book. Combining stories of both her grandmothers, Trigiani shares bits of wisdom and lessons from these two women from food, family, fashion and business.

I enjoyed it overall. I was touched by the warmth in which she writes about these women. Her love for them is evident in her writing. I enjoyed more of the stories she shared then some of the lessons. I really enjoyed these women. They were strong, passionate, smart and hardworking. I thought of my own beloved Grams during many moments of this book and that is what I will share with you all.
I had many little blue post it notes sprinkled throughout and shared each moment with the club. Here are some that I enjoyed.

Adriana explaining the joy she brought to her Grandma Lucy:
"Whenever I came into the room, she'd light up, so happy to see me. No one ever in the course of my entire life was ever as happy to see me as she was. Looking back, now, I realize that you only ever need one person who lights up that way when you enter a room. One person is all it takes to give a kid confidence."
I identified with this because my Grams and my Mom were like this with me growing up. I always felt important when I walked in any room.

Adriana explaining the Italian term Sprezzatura:
"Elegance that is neither forced nor dictated, that comes from within, effortless like zippy dialogue, and is an extension of the person, not words for the sake of them."
I just want to be like this. :)

Adriana's Grandma Viola's morning ritual:
"Viola prepared her version of a latte, a bowl of steamed milk with half a cup of strong coffee in it. Viola added sugar, and then would take the heel of the bread from the day before and dip it into the milk and coffee."
I love morning traditions. I have my own and without it I am toast. :( I enjoy the simplicity of it and cherish it.

Grandma Lucy's take on love:
" If you find yourself dissatisfied, constantly angry, agitated, frustrated, and emotionally spent, if he does not bring out the best in you, no matter how much you love someone, no matter how many lovely moments offset the low points, if you are exhausted, you are not being fed. And if you are not being fed, you will not grow."
Simple. To the point. How true.

A trip past a yard sale, Adriana and Viola:
"She (Viola) backed up in front of it and handed me a five-dollar bill. "Go and get the Infant of Prague," she said. "Gram, this is the worst Infant of Prague I have ever seen." "A sacred relic in a yard sale is NOT right."
This is something my Grams would do. :)

Grandmothers and faith:
"I found rosary beads tucked in their pockets, and prayer cards in their wallets, and small books of wisdom, dog-eared and marked up, on their night stands. They owned the destiny of their souls, knowing that there was very little of the physical world that they could control. Loved ones would die, money would come and go, friends would disappoint, family would burt, disaster would strike but nothing that ever happened to them would catch them unaware and render them helpless, because they knew how to pray."
This was one of my favorite parts of the book. The generation of her grandmothers held so strongly to their faith, just like my parents and my grandparents. I envy that so much. The quiet strength my Grams always seemed to have, even though I knew she was suffering inside from all that she had lost. I can only hope I can achieve that level of calm and faith at some point in my life.

Words of the wise:
"Apologize when you are wrong"

So overall, I really took to the book. There were moments that I felt were a bit repetitive but it didn't bore me or bother me too much. It was definitely filled with a lot of lessons to learn and live by. I certainly appreciated that and though I expected a bit more of a memoir, I still enjoyed it. Her love for her Grandmothers really came through and I have to honor that. It would be hard to edit my own memories of my grandmothers too.

Ladies' Reaction:
Overall, the Ladies enjoyed it. They admitted that it did seem a bit wordy and repetitive at times but that, once again, the author's love for her grandmothers really came through. That feeling made them forgive a bit of that. They enjoyed the lessons mentioned, especially the ones about relationships. They were a bit surprised that Adriana's mother didn't show up too much in the stories and they were curious about that. A few didn't enjoy the home lessons as much as others (like me!) or the child rearing lessons (like me!) but the business and faith portion were interesting to them.

This prompted some conversation about our own families; how we grew up, who keeps traditions alive, what really stays with us from childhood, etc. It was fun to reminisce about my own childhood and to hear their stories as well.

Good Book Club Pick?
This was a nice change from our last pick (Anthony Bourdain's Medium Raw) and we admitted it was a simple, fun read. Being that it was around Mom's day, I thought it was a good pick for us. I think the lessons mentioned in here just bring up some good conversations and a trip down memory lane. That, for me, makes it a good book club pick.

Author Website:

Next Book Up:
The Midwife's Confession by Diane Chamberlain

*Read for 2011 Read From My Shelves Project

Happy Reading and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child

Friday, May 13, 2011

Imperfect Endings by Zoe Fitzgerald Carter (review #122)

by Zoe Fitzgerald Carter
Genre: Memoir
Publisher: Simon and Schuster

It's never easy losing someone you love. It could be from an accident or peacefully in their sleep from old age. It still hurts. You still grieve. You still feel regrets.
Imagine if your loved one, your mother, wanted to take her own life? What if she was ready to make that decision for herself and she wanted your help?

Well, that it what Zoe Fitzgerald Carter was faced with when her mother, suffering from a host of ailments, most notably Parkinson's, decides to end her own life. She enlists her three daughters to help her plan the day it will happen and the events leading up to it.

I was a little hesitant about reading this one because I knew it would bring up a lot of questions and emotions in myself. Who decides when we die?
Why is believing in God's hands more acceptable than your own?

Carter does a wonderful job giving the reader an idea of the absolute craziness she felt during this time. She shares with us her indecision, her fear, her anger towards her mother, her feelings towards her deceased father, her tension with her sisters and her absence from her own family. I never felt she was doing anything wrong but yet, I didn't feel like anything was right about the situation. I completely understood her mother's motive and her desire to take away all of her pain and be at peace. I also understood the incredible anger her daughters and family had towards her for putting them in this situation.

This made me think of my own Grandma, who lived until she was 94. Admittedly she had wanted to go about ten years before that but her faith kept her strong until the end. She believed that when it was her time, God would call her. How amazing and frustrating at the same time! To believe that strongly but still feel like you are ready in yourself. Did she ever have thoughts like Zoe's mom? Who knows? I doubt it but one never really knows.

Overall, this memoir was unique. It shared a very intimate and powerful story of Carter's family. Sprinkled in were scenes from her childhood and her relationships with each family members, which showcased her love for her mother even more and her need to be loved by her.

Review: 4/6
I do recommend this for fans of personal memoirs. It is a bit intense and gloomy but assisting your mother with her own suicide can't really be anything but that. But what I got from it was a little Q&A with myself on my beliefs and motivations towards family and death. A little self reflection is a good thing and when prompted by a well written memoir, even better.

Book Club Pick?
Yes, definitely. It would bring on strong emotion along with some pretty intense debate, I believe. Relationships between mothers and daughter are one thing that easily can get people talking but the added conflict of right and wrong surrounding death brings on so much more.

Author Website:

Happy Reading and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child

The Silenced and The Cleaner by Brett Battles: Guest Review

Let's try this one more time. I originally posted this on Wednesday but due to some technical difficulties not in my control, it was lost.

I welcome, once again, my good friend Cheryl as Guest Reviewer for these two mystery/thrillers by Brett Battles, both now out in paperback. When I read about them I knew they would be right up her alley and I am so glad she agreed to read and review them!

I hope you enjoy her take!

The Cleaner and The Silenced by Brett Battles.

I read a lot of thrillers and suspense novels, mostly because I like the action. I had not heard of Brett Battles before Michelle suggested them for review but I am glad I know him now. The two I read were the first and fourth in the series. I thoroughly enjoyed his books and especially his character, Jonathan Quinn. Quinn is a professional “cleaner,” which is “Nothing too violent, just disposing of bodies, doing a little cleanup if necessary.” He’s an independent contractor so he doesn’t work for just one person but accepts jobs from many. He travels the world, and understands many languages and cultures.

From the website:

The Cleaner:

The job seemed simple enough: investigating a suspicious case of arson. But when a dead body turns up where it doesn't belong—and Quinn's handlers at "the Office" turn strangely silent—he knows he's in over his head.

With only a handful of clues, Quinn scrambles for cover, struggling to find out why someone wants him dead . . . and if it's linked to a larger attempt to wipe out the Office.

His only hope may be Orlando, a woman from his past who's reluctant to help but who may hold the key to solving the case. Suddenly the two are prying into old crimes, crisscrossing continents, struggling to stay alive long enough to unbury the truth. But as the hunt intensifies, Quinn is stunned by what he uncovers: a chilling secret . . . and a brilliantly orchestrated conspiracy—with an almost unimaginable goal.

The Silenced:

Quinn has a new client and an odd job: find and remove the remains of a body hidden twenty-five years ago inside a London building now scheduled for demolition.

But Quinn, his deadly and beautiful girlfriend Orlando, and their uniquely talented colleague Nate are being watched. Suddenly caught in the crossfire between two dangerous rivals who demand the remains, Quinn and his team must learn who the dead man was and why he's still so important. Because a plot stretching from London to Hong Kong to the former Soviet Union is rapidly unraveling. And Quinn hasn't just been hired to tie up loose ends—he is one.


The books are fast-paced and action-filled, just like a thriller should be. Battles creates great characters with Quinn and his companions, Nate and Orlando. What I like best is that the books center around a character with a unique profession. Though he hints at the possibility of a secret government entity, that has little to do with the story. Instead, he creates a new group of spies with gadgets, high intelligence, and quick wits to solve the conspiratorial situations in which they enmesh themselves.

Battles’ books are quick reads, intricate and unique, with lots of twists and turns along the way. Once I picked them up I did not want to put them down and I read both books within about a week. I missed a few developments by not reading the second and third books, but because he is a good mystery writer it did not take away from the story. I plan to go back and read those two and to read more of his books as he writes them. Brett Battles has made it to my list of favorite thriller writers.

Thanks again Cheryl for stopping by and thanks also to
Dana Kaye Publicity for sending her these books to read.

Author Website:

Happy Reading and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child

Grr. Argh.

Great. I lost a post. Thanks Blogger.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Adriana Trigiani Contest. 2 days late and 2 dollars short.

I missed this contest by two days. Way to go, Shel. Too busy, too much sunshine, too much energy from a toddler keeping me busy! :) Oh yeah, and that darn potty training. Whew!

I am still going to post it anyway. In honor of Mother's day and my love for all things written by Adriana Trigiani.
I have a soft spot for her books because I discovered them right after my Grandma died last year. I read Very Valentine and Brava, Valentine and for those of you who have not read them (shame on you!), they are about a granddaughter and her grandmother who run a shoe making business in NYC.
I adored them! They made me feel more at peace after losing my beloved Grams.
I am currently reading Don't Sing at the Table, her memoir about her own grandmothers. It's so very wonderful and my heart gets all warm and fuzzy when I am reading! I convinced my book club to pick it for our May choice. I can't wait to see what the ladies think
about it this week when we meet.

TLC Book Tours and Harper Collins are hosting this contest with Adriana. Details here.
I chose to post a recipe that my Grandma used to make all the time growing up and up until she was about 80. My mom took over making it at that time.
It is a simple Czech soup called Vomacha.
Certainly not fancy but when I eat it now, I always think of her. She put her love into it and I know she enjoyed making if for me, since i ate it with such gusto. :)
The contest required you to make it and post a picture. Since I am late in doing this, I don't have a picture but I will share with you all the recipe.


1 lb. green and yellow wax beans, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 potato, peeled and cubed
1 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. onion, minced
1 tbsp, head dill, snipped
1 cup of Half and Half
1/2 cup milk and 1 tsp. flour, stirred into a roux
5 hard boiled eggs, if desired, chopped

Cover with water in large pot, beans potatoes, salt and onion. Cook until soft. Then add dill, cream and gradually pour in roux, stirring constantly.
Bring to a boil, add eggs, or cooked diced chicken breast.
Be careful not to make broth too thin. More water may be added later if necessary.
If you like you can put in a little vinegar to taste.

I like how the recipes of my Grandma's were always written in her stream of consciousness. A little bit of this, a little bit of that and if you happen to have this, put it in there if you'd like :)

I miss you Grams.

Happy Reading and maybe eating! As always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day to all of you moms out there!

I've been a mom for three years now and though filled with challenges at times, it is the best thing that has ever happened to me.
I have never felt more love OR fear, in my life.
I wouldn't trade it for nothing!

Hope your day is filled with love and relaxation.

red headed book child

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Wrecker winner!

The winner of Wrecker by Summer Wood is...


Thanks to all who entered.
Thanks also to the publisher for offering a copy to give away!

red headed book child

Darling Jim by Christian Moerk (review #121)

Darling Jim by Christian Moerk
Publisher: Henry Holt
Genre: Fiction

Description from publisher's website:

Fiona Walsh thought her family’s secrets would follow her to her grave, but when her diary is found by a young postman, Niall, the truth about her untimely demise—and that of her sister and aunt—begins to see the light of day. It’s the most tragic love story he’s ever heard.

Niall soon becomes enveloped by the mystery surrounding Jim—an itinerant storyteller who traveled through Ireland enrapturing audiences and wooing women with his macabre mythic sagas—though a trail of murder followed him wherever he went. The Walsh sisters, fiercely loyal to each other, were not immune to “darling” Jim’s powers of seduction, but found themselves in harm’s way when they began to uncover his treacherous past. Niall must now continue his dangerous hunt for the truth—and for the vanished third sister—while there’s still time.

And in the woods, the wolves from Jim’s stories begin to gather.

What a treat this book was. Thank you to my friend Cheryl for recommending it to me and then sending me her copy to read! This book has been out for a few years now and is available in paperback in most stores. The cover sets the mood quite well. It is a dark and moody and psychologically thrilling novel.

This book starts off with a bang, a suspense built so well that I could not put it down. The postman find the Walsh sisters and their aunt dead in their home obviously showing signs of murder. You want to know why. Why were the sisters locked up, one in a room, one in the basement and another in the crawlspace? What was the Aunt's motivation?
Was she indeed the killer?

From there the book doesn't stop. Another postman from a nearby town finds Fiona's journal in his dropbox. Her story is written at the end of her life, held captive by her aunt. Desparate and frantic, she pleads with the reader to listen to her story. And boy what I story it is.

Fiona is a school teacher, older sister to twins, Roisin and Aloife. On a bike ride to work one morning she comes across a stranger on the side of the road fixing his bike. Immediately drawn to him in a way she has never been to another, "Darling" Jim enters their lives.

He is charismatic, handsome and easily seduces most of the women in town, including their Aunt Moira. But after his relations with her, Fiona discovers his truth. He is also a murderer, preying on women, seducing them while his partner steals from them.

I've tried to write this review a few times over the last week. I finished it over a week ago and I just can't put in words how much I liked it. It had just about everything I love about a literary thriller in it. It had a beginning that sucked you in and a suspense that pulsed throughout the whole book. Who was this Jim? Why were his powers over women so...powerful? Why did no one believe Fiona and her sisters in how awful he was? And what really happened to them?

Review: 6/6
I would give this my highest rating. Sorry it is a short review. I've been having a hard time concentrating these days and focusing on writing a review. It's starting to get nicer outside and I am gearing up for BEA. Not spending too much time reading and reviewing it seems :(
But, this one is highly recommened for fans of well written literary thrillers. Well plotted, character driven and full of suspense. I was guessing right up until the end.
Definitely an author to keep an eye on.

Author Website:

Happy reading and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child