Sunday, April 21, 2013

Audio Review: The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult

Sage Singer befriends an old man who's particularly beloved in her community. Josef Weber is everyone's favorite retired teacher and Little League coach. They strike up a friendship at the bakery where Sage works. One day he asks Sage for a favor: to kill him. Shocked, Sage refuses…and then he confesses his darkest secret - he deserves to die, because he was a Nazi SS guard. Complicating the matter? Sage's grandmother is a Holocaust survivor.

What do you do when evil lives next door? Can someone who's committed a truly heinous act ever atone for it with subsequent good behavior? Should you offer forgiveness to someone if you aren't the party who was wronged? And most of all - if Sage even considers his request - is it murder, or justice? (Goodreads)

I have been a fan of Jodi Picoult since I read The Pact back in 1998. Through the years I have seen her live many times, hosted two events with her and have been called by her, at one point, "My greatest fan from Minnesota". I enjoyed being a part of the early success of her as an author. It's one of the things I loved about book selling and recommending.

Obviously Jodi Picoult does not need my help so much anymore with recommending her books. She has success down pat. With this success, a cookie cutter, if you will, book outline has taken shape for her. No longer do I feel her stories are as poignant and put together and unputdownable. The last few, for me, have been needlessly over the top and tragic; side characters too fleshed out for no reason and more drama that you can shake a stick at. Does this dislike her as an author? No. Power to her. She has found a niche, a brand and she has made it her own. Does it get to me rush to a bookstore eagerly anticipating the read? No. Not anymore. However, it is deeply rooted in me, come every March, to see what her next book is, curious. I poke at it, flip through the pages and with a sigh, give it a go.

This year, I decided to shake it up. Why not try the audio version? How would her books translate? Would it make me get jazzed about her again? Why not?

Because of the high demand for her new books, I had to listen to The Storyteller in two chunks. I can't get through an audio book in the 10 day time frame, no matter how much I like it. This left me a bit fractured from the story  and I had to remember the story and go back a bit.

There is never just ONE story, or ONE narrator or one anything going on in her novels, so, of course, they were multiple narrators and stories told in two different times. For the more part I enjoyed it. I really did. It had all the drama, the tragedy, the flawed characters, the secrets from the past but it was entertaining to listen to it. The narrators were actually quite good. I enjoyed the story from the past much more than the modern day. Sage's character was not a favorite of mine. I could have done without the romance with the FBI agent. Really? You fall in love in one day? She's everything to you? She's so flawed, she's perfect? Ack. This didn't need to happen but, of course, most readers love the whole "save me" love story. Not me this time around.

Overall, it was a good listen. I may try the audio for future books. We'll see. It helped this time around anyway. I say to her loyal readers to give it a shot. 

Happy reading and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Blog Tour: Carry On, Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton

 Carry On, Warrior: Thoughts on Life Unarmed

 In Carry On, Warrior, Glennon Doyle Melton shares new stories and the best-loved material from She recounts her mistakes and triumphs with candor and humor, and gives language to our universal (yet often secret) experiences. She believes that by shedding our armor, we can stop hiding, competing, striving for the mirage of perfection, and making motherhood, marriage, and friendship harder by pretending they’re not hard. In this one woman trying to love herself and others, readers find a wise and witty friend who will inspire them to forgive their own imperfections, make the most of their gifts, and commit to small acts of love that will change the world. (Goodreads)

It seems like it's been a million years since I've participated in a blog tour. I cut off all ties last summer because my schedule just got too hectic. Well, come the new year and a part of me was utterly optimistic and I opened up the blog tour door once again. My only rule was to pick books about being a parent/mother, etc. I wanted to read something I could learn from because seriously, some days I need all the help I can get.

Carry On, Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton seemed like the perfect blend of being a woman, a wife, a mother and a seeker of self improvement and betterment. I couldn't resist. I was curious. Could I relate?

Well, Melton's story is quite intense; one with many tragedies, obstacles, and pain. It comes with drug abuse, lyme disease and bulimia, to name a few. It was a lot to take in. But I slowly made my way through her roller coaster of a story and smiled at the hopeful and loving parts.

I am essentially an introverted extrovert. I can relate to the need to put on that happy face and be perfect and not show the gritty parts of ones life. I know what's it's like to joke about how tough it is to be a parent when really you feel like you are doing nothing but horrible things all day long and would just like a moment's peace. 

Melton had a voice that was sharp, to the point but digestable and appreciated. I have not explored her website too much yet but I will now. 

I was glad I signed on for this tour even though it shook me a times. I think the stories that Melton shares are ones we all can understand.

I leave you with a favorite section of mine. She is writing about how a couple of twelve years were growing distant. They had stopped taking care of each other because they were taking care of everything else.
One night knowing that her husband loved to have a glass of wine while reading his book, the wife leaves a glass next to his current read. Even though he had been late that night, missed dinner, missed the kids bedtime, she made the effort to do something for him.
He saw it when he came home and felt for the first time in a long time, that she heard him.
The last line was my favorite.
"Because love is not something for which to search or wait or hope or dream. It's simply something you do." 


Carry On, Warriors! 

Author website:

Blog Tour Schedule:
TLC Book Tours 

Happy reading and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Guest Review: Stolen by Daniel Palmer

Stolen by Daniel Palmer

“The future has never looked brighter for Boston couple John Bodine and Ruby Dawes. John’s online gaming business is growing, Ruby is pursuing her dream career, and they’re talking about starting a family.
Then Ruby receives a life-changing diagnosis, and their cut-rate insurance won’t cover the treatment she desperately needs. Faced with a ticking clock, John makes a risky move: he steals a customer’s identity and files a false claim for Ruby’s medication.
The plan works perfectly–until the customer in question contacts John with a startling proposition. If John and Ruby agree to play a little game he’s devised, he won’t report their fraud. The rules of ‘Criminal’ are simple: commit real crimes. Fail in their assigned tasks, and there will be deadly consequences.”

Michelle's Note:
Once again, I give you the best book pal a gal could ask for, Cheryl and her review for Stolen by Daniel Palmer.

Cheryl's Review:
Two years ago, Michelle asked me to review Daniel Palmer’s Delirious and last year I also reviewed Helpless. A couple months ago, Palmer asked his Facebook followers (of which I am one) what they would do to help promote his new book, Stolen, and he’d send advanced copies to the best ideas. Wonderfully, the publisher (Kensington Books) gave more than 70 copies to all those who commented, including me. My way of promoting his book was to write a review for Michelle’s blog.

After reading Delirious, I knew that Palmer was an author I’d follow. Although I was hooked from his first book, his third book solidified him as an author for which I will anxiously await his new book every year. In Stolen, I see not just how Palmer has grown as a writer, but how much he enjoys writing and not just for himself but for his readers. Stolen is an example of the desperate choices people will make for love. Palmer’s characters are relatable and you hope the best for them but also continually wonder what you would do in their situation. How would you choose between being the pawn in someone’s game to commit crimes or letting people die?

The book is a race to finish the “game.” Palmer’s thriller incorporates the consequences of how people misuse technology in their daily lives. John’s intentions behind stealing someone’s identity, which he planned to do for only a short time, spiralled out of control in ways neither he nor Ruby could imagine. Their manipulator used technology in a “Big Brother” way that made me feel like he was watching me too. It was hard to put Palmer’s book down and it only took me a few days to read. What I like about thrillers, and Palmer excels at this, is not knowing how the situation will be resolved or how people will survive the situations thrown at them. The suspense grows and as I neared the end, it was hard for me to not skip ahead to see what happens but I also enjoy the suspense and don’t always want it to end. Alas, it ended, I could relax agan, and now have to wait another year to find out again how my cell phone or laptop can be used in ways I never imagined.

Thanks Cheryl!!

Author's Website:

Happy Reading and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child

Monday, April 8, 2013

I guess I've changed

I was looking at my Blogger profile picture and realized, I guess I still look like that but the picture is like 3 years old. 

Why not update? 

Well, here I am as of 3:00 today, in case you need to find me in a crowd.


Happy Reading and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Guest Review: The Prisoner of Heaven by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

The Prisoner of Heaven by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

From the website (

It begins just before Christmas in Barcelona in 1957, one year after Daniel and Bea from THE SHADOW OF THE WIND have married. They now have a son, Julian, and are living with Daniel's father at Sempere & Sons. Fermin still works with them and is busy preparing for his wedding to Bernarda in the New Year. However something appears to be bothering him.

Daniel is alone in the shop one morning when a mysterious figure with a pronounced limp enters. He spots one of their most precious volumes that is kept locked in a glass cabinet, a beautiful and unique illustrated edition of
The Count of Monte Cristo. Despite the fact that the stranger seems to care little for books, he wants to buy this expensive edition. Then, to Daniel's surprise, the man inscribes the book with the words 'To Fermin Romero de Torres, who came back from the dead and who holds the key to the future'. This visit leads back to a story of imprisonment, betrayal and the return of a deadly rival.

Michelle's Note:
Please welcome my friend, Cheryl once again in another Guest Review.

Cheryl's review:

I read The Shadow of the Wind when it came out in 2004 and The Angel’s Game in 2009. So I was very excited when Michelle emailed me and asked if I’d like to review The Prisoner of Heaven. Prisoner has a caveat that notes each novel can be read as a stand-alone, but that they are all part of the Cemetary of Forgotten Books series and are connected through characters and storylines. As I read Prisoner, I kept the other two near me for reference because I seldom remember the details that help link stories together.

As noted in the above description, the book starts with Daniel’s encounter with a mysterious stranger. He follows him to try to learn what the stranger is up to. He picks up clues along the way that offer no answers but only raise more questions. He finally asks Fermin for an explanation, which is the crux of this book. With lyrical writing, Zafon’s Barcelona is easy to visualize and his characters are flawed and passionate. At times, one can almost smell the Barcelona air and feel the characters’ turmoil. I was so caught up in the story that I finished the book in a day.

Zafon is correct in that it isn’t necessary to remember the details and this book was enjoyable by itself. After reading Prisoner, I reread the book descriptions and epilogues of the first two books. This helped refresh my memory and also place Prisoner within context of the three novels. Prisoner is a story that connects characters, the “Cemetery of Forgotten Books,” and different eras of Barcelona to create a continually unfolding saga that left me hoping I don’t have to wait three years for the next chapter. But by waiting, it will give me a chance to reread all three and revisit a world where books are a reason for living.

Thank you to Cheryl for reviewing this for my blog.

Happy Reading and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Children's Book Review: The Museum by Susan Verde, Art by Peter H. Reynolds

When I see a work of art, something happens in my heart!
As a little girl tours and twirls through the halls of the art museum, she finds herself on an exciting adventure. Each piece of art evokes something new inside of her: silliness, curiosity, joy, and ultimately inspiration. When confronted with an empty white canvas, she is energized to create and express herself—which is the greatest feeling of all.
With exuberant illustrations by Peter H. Reynolds, The Museum playfully captures the many emotions experienced through the power of art, and each child’s unique creative process. (Goodreads)

I picked this book up from work from our Abrams Publishing Rep. I am a huge fan of Peter H. Reynolds' art. He has done the art for many books I have on my shelf for my son. His art is whimsical and sweet. He brings the story to life so perfectly which each author he pairs up with. Susan Verde's words about a young girl's experience touring a museum are right on. She portrays the emotions that art can make us feel. The story also brings up the importance of creativity and expressing yourself.

My son and I read it last night and he really enjoyed it. Sweet message and beautiful art work. Recommended to read to any child ages 3 to 10.

Author Website:
Susan Verde

Illustrator Website:
Peter H. Reynolds

Happy Reading and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child