Monday, October 28, 2013

The Bad Kitty Lounge by Michael Wiley

The Bad Kitty Lounge by Michael Wiley

I wouldn't normally read a mystery.  I know that many people love them but a private detective story is just not my thing.  Recently, however I attended the Florida Writer's Association Annual Conference and attended a workshop by Michael Wiley.  And guess what!  He gave all the attendees a free copy of his book, The Bad Kitty Lounge.  First a big thank you to Michael for his generosity.  And frankly, what's not to like about a free book.

The Bad Kitty Lounge is the second in his Joe Kozmarski series.  Joe is a private detective scouring the streets of Chicago. The ladies find him charming yet Joe is unlucky at love.  His desire to find answers for his clients keeps him on the run and removed from what the rest of us consider a normal life.  He gets beat up more than it seems a body should be able to take.  But Joe is tough!  And Joe is smarter than any bad guy. Most of the time, that is.

To the reader Joe is cute, endearing, and witty.  This novel is a fast paced and full of page turning moments.  One of the reasons I don't usually go for the mysteries is that I can solve it before the author does.  That's not any fun.  In the case of The Bad Kitty Lounge, I thought I had it figured out but Mr. Wiley left a couple unexpected twists for the very end. 

The Bad Kitty Lounge is funny and tense all wrapped up together.  I thought it was a great time and Michael Wiley displayed a keen ability to keep me guessing right up to the very end. 

Friday, October 25, 2013

Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy by Helen Fielding

Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy by Helen Fielding

Every now and then I feel the urge to throw my usual book selection methods out the window and read a book that is hot, hip and trending.  When I saw that Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy was chosen for the Today Show Book Club, I decided over my morning coffee,to get on the bandwagon.

To fully understand how momentous a decision this is for me, I think I am the only woman on the planet who has never read a Bridget Jones book OR seen a Bridget Jones movie.  I do know however know that Renee Zellweger starred in the movie as Bridget.  That fact helped me to paint the picture of the adorable, confused and unorganized Bridget.  I had no clue who Mr. Darcy even was or why his fate had to remain such a big secret. Maybe that worked to my advantage.

Bridget Jones had me at hello!  Oh, sorry.  I think that was a different movie with Renee Zellweger.  Anyway this book is a hysterical romp through the life a of woman, a friend and a mother.  I haven't laughed this hard in a long time.  Her encounter with nits had me ready to pee my pants.  Boy, I can relate to the anxiety of learning how to use Twitter while never losing a follower.  And the whole thing with her weight is every woman's nemesis.  Throw in her desire for sex and let the romp through the life if a 50 year old begin.

Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy will brighten your spirits and make your own troubles magically disappear.   Even if you've been living under the rock with me and never heard of Bridget Jones, she'll win over your heart and your funny bone starting on page one.  

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Little Red Writing by Joan Holub, Pictures by Melissa Sweet

Little Red Writing by Joan Holub and pictures by Melissa Sweet

I have returned from a simply marvelous weekend at the Florida Writers Association's annual conference where I learned about the craft of writing, along with the business of writing.  I met so many wonderful people, all with a story in their heart.   I have found my motivation to write again and am gladly embracing the FWA's philosophy of, "It doesn't get done unless you put your butt in the chair and write!". 

Returning home I found a package on my desk amid the piles of mail waiting for me.  It was from my sister, Martha.  Inside was Little Red Writing along with a note that read,

Dear Linny, Thought this book would teach you everything you ever needed to know about writing.  Love, Martha

Little Red is a charming red pencil who attends pencil school with a birthday pencil, several sports pencils and a state pencil.  Her teacher, Mrs. 2, gives the class an assignment to write a story.  She sends Little Red off with a basket of 15 words to use in case she runs into trouble and the advice to stick to her basic story path so not to get lost.  Hmmm.  Good advice!

Of course, Little Red ran into trouble.  She used her words carefully and saved Principal Granny from the dreaded electric pencil sharpener.  Principal Granny was now much shorter but grateful that Little Red had saved her.  Little Red returned to class with a wonderfully crafted story to share.

Little Red would not have been so successful if not for the adorable pictures that shared in the telling of her story.  Melissa Sweet, who drew them lives in Rockport, Maine.  I spent my summer vacation in Rockport, Maine, a tiny, little, beautiful town on the coast.  I loved the town so much I already have plans to return again next summer.  So guess whose door I will be knocking on while I'm there?  Melissa Sweet's!  I'll be sure to call first but I can't wait for her inspiration and creativity to rub off on me. 

I'm a firm believer that people and things come into my life for a reason.  Little Red Writing broke the task of writing down into very simplistic terms at exactly the time I needed to hear it most.  I don't write children's books but now I know I must visualize my scenes more specifically while I'm writing them.  And I also learned my sister, Martha even though not a writer, wants me to succeed for the pure pleasure of entering a bookstore and purchasing a book written by her sister even though she's already read the autographed copy I sent her.  So that book is in the works and I vow not to stop until it's finished.  No excuses.  With the help of all my new friends at the Florida Writers Association, Little Red and all her pencil friends, and my sister, Martha, I will get it done!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

A Prayer For Owen Meany by John Irving

A Prayer For Owen Meany by John Irving

A Prayer For Owen Meany is one of those books my husband used to "decorate" our dining room.  I don't know why he might have chosen it, other than it was thick, more than 500 pages and has a picture of a dressmaker's dummy on the front cover.  I have to admit even I was intrigued by the dressmaker's dummy.  It had been on my mind that I needed to read my way through the dining room books. Owen Meany was the one that called to me. 

Owen Meany is a small, odd looking boy with an irritating voice.  His father owns the granite quarry in the small New Hampshire town of Gravesend.  His best friend, John Wheelwright narrates the story. The boys come from different backgrounds yet their lives become intertwined in the most unusual ways. John's mother, Tabby is the owner of the dressmaker's dummy.  She keeps it next to her bed,at least until she doesn't need it anymore.  Then it becomes Owen's.

I never like to reveal much about the plot and A Prayer For Owen Meany is no different. As a reader I like to be surprised as I turn each page.  The joy of the story is lost if I know what to expect.  This story has alot of laugh out loud moments and those that will bring a tear to your eye.  All you need to know in advance is be prepared to watch the lives of two young boys, one thought to be odd and the other his friend, mature and grow under the watchful eye of God. But don't think this story is preachy or falls under the genre of Christian fiction.  It doesn't.

I adore John Irving novels but I have to be in the right frame of mind to read them.  His stories require a substantial investment of time and thought.  The time seemed right for me to immerse myself in a story of substance.  And I found exactly that.  To anyone who ventures into this book, the reward is great.  The book is now back in its place in the dining room waiting to spark some interesting dinner conversation. A Prayer For Owen Meany is a story I will always remember. 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

My Favorite Pastime

My favorite time to read a good book is anytime, however I do most of my reading laying in bed at night before I go to sleep.  Ginger gets a couple biscuits and cuddles up by my side.  I arrange the pillows just so and settle in with my book.  When I can't hold the book or my Kindle up any longer, I know it's time to turn off the light.

You may have noticed that I haven't written a book review in a more than a week. My evenings have been taken over by my other favorite pastime. Baseball.  It's October and as Major League Baseball loves to say, "We live for October."  I am a loyal fan of the Tampa Bay Rays all season long.  But their season heated up quickly when they made it to October.  My boys kept me on the edge of my seat as I followed them from the final games in Toronto, to game 163 in Texas, and all the way to Cleveland where the Rays clinched the American League Wildcard spot.  I grew up in Cleveland so I have to admit I found it difficult to watch the Indian fans go from wildly electric to sadly depressed.  Watching my boys win that game however, made up for any childhood angst I might be harboring. 

Watching all these games meant late nights.  Staying up past midnight until the last out, meant I crawled into bed, turned off the light and went to sleep.  I haven't gotten any nighttime reading relaxation since the playoff started.  I also find myself in the middle of a very long and complex book by an author I love, but who requires my complete attention.  That is about to change. 

Last night the Rays lost to the Boston Red Sox in the final game of the ALCS.  I'm sad.  But my team put in a fantastic effort with some of the most exciting baseball I have ever seen.  It was nail biting, nerve wracking stuff and I loved every minute of it.  I'm proud to be a Rays fan no matter whether they win or lose.  When someone says to me a baseball game is like watching paint dry, I say "You haven't watched the Rays."  

Now the Tampa Bay Rays are headed home to rest up.  I'll watch the championship games and of course the World Series but I'll probably turn the game off when my bedtime approaches.  I've got alot of books to read between now and next April. 

Go Rays!

City of Thieves by David Benioff

City of Thieves by David Benioff It's World War II in Leningrad, Russia.  17 year old Lev elected to stay behind in the city when h...