"All the best stories in the world are but one story in reality -- the story of escape. It is the only thing which interests us all and at all times, how to escape."
--Author Christopher Benson



Sunday, February 28, 2010

plaster and POISON by Jennie Bentley

Jennie Bentley has 
"constructed" another fine mystery!!  
Release Date March 2, 2010.

Avery has left her big city life behind and has joined her new boyfriend Derek in his home renovation business in Waterfield Maine.

In the third installment of her Do-It-Yourself  Mysteries,  
plaster and POISON
B&B owner Kate McGillicutty and Police Chief Wayne Rasmussen are tying the knot, but an issue soon arises as to where the couple will live after the wedding.  The Chief refuses to live at the B&B because he doesn't want people seeing him run around in his underwear and they can't move to his place because Kate needs to be close to the B&B.  They come up with a plan to move into the carriage house next to the B&B, but it will need major renovation before they can move in.  They hire Derek and Avery to turn it into their romantic retreat in a scant two months before their New Year's Eve wedding.  The project is moving right along until one morning when Derek and Avery find a body in the new master suite. Thankfully the carpet had not yet been laid. Unfortunately the murder victim is someone Kate knows very well, and all their wedding and carriage house plans are in jeopardy.

There is also a very interesting side story in this book.  While Derek and Avery are tearing things apart for the remodel they come across some initials encased in a heart carved into one of the boards.  The carriage house was originally built in the early 1900's and the initials must have been carved then.  Avery is very curious about who those initials belong to, so in addition to trying to find a murderer, she also trying to track down any information she can about the two people in love from long ago.

Add to this Avery's mom and stepfather come to Maine for the holidays from SUNNY California, and Derek's stepsister has left her husband and moved back home. Put this all together and you have all the materials needed to build another great story.

I really love this series.  They are wonderful cozy mysteries that will keep you turning page and after page. Each book also includes some DIY project following the story.  Jennie, I can't wait to see where you will take Avery and Derek next. Is it the 1783 center-chimney Colonial on Rowanberry Island?

Click the link below to read my summaries and reviews of the first two books in the series, http://dollycas.blogspot.com/2010/01/jennie-bentley-has-hit-nail-on-head.html

For more information about Jennie Bentley and her alter ego check out http://www.jenniebentley.com/

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from The Berkley Publishing Group a division of Penguin Publishing. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


Friday, February 26, 2010



Thanks to all who entered, please pass the word 
about my blog to all your friends.
The more followers I get means more giveaways and contests.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


I am so excited that people are actually enjoying my blog.  
I have so much fun creating it, tweeking it and writing it.
To celebrate I am having a 
Quickie Giveaway

I will be giving away my advance copy of 
Sprinkle With Murder
Jenn McKinlay
which is being released March 2, 2010

You must enter by 
Friday, February 26, 2010 
by Noon CST

Here's how to enter ~
  • U.S. addresses only please
  • Leave a comment here with your email address or PBS ID (I need to have a way to get in touch with you!)
  • You must be a follower of my blog.

    Winner will be announced on FRIDAY by 1 p.m. CST.  
    Winner will need to respond by 8 a.m. Saturday with your mailing address.
    Book will be mailed Saturday, 
    First Class to reach you March 2.  
    You will have the book in your mailbox the day it goes on sale.

    so enter fast.
    This was the first advanced copy 
    I received after starting my blog 
    so it seems right to use it to celebrate 
    reaching 50 followers.  

    Will have to come up with a great idea 
    for when we reach 100 followers.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

It's a 2fer Tuesday!!!

I am trying to clean up my huge To-BE-Read Pile and each week you will notice some books that have been out awhile or maybe pretty old being reviewed here on my blog.  These are books that are usually part of series I am trying to catch up on because the latest book is due to come out or is out and on my wish list.  The two books today definitely fall into this category.

Cockatiels at Seven by Donna Andrews
Book 9 of the Meg Langslow Mystery Series
Meg and Michael are recently back from their secret honeymoon and settling in to married life, when an old friend of Meg's drops by to recruit Meg to babysit her toddler son Timmy for a few hours.  But when a few hours turns into a couple of days, Meg gets worried and starts to investigate her friends disappearance. The investigation leads Meg to become confused, is her friend one of the "bad guys" or is she running from the "bad guys"?

Of course Meg's family add to her already complicated life and add quite a bit of comedy to the whole situation.  Are her Dad and newly discovered Grandfather going to end up in jail again?  Why is her basement full of snakes? Is Timmy in any danger and who in her family is brave enough to help watch this toddler while Meg is off investigating?

Six Geese A-Slaying by Donna Andrews
Book 10 of the Meg Langslow Mystery Series

This is a Holiday story which centers around a Holiday Parade Meg is in charge of and the is lining up all around her property.  The parade's main theme is The Twelve Days of Christmas.  There are also a variety of Christmas themed floats, including a float carrying a live nativity followed by the Three Wise Men on camels, (one of which becomes a Wise Woman before the parade starts). There is even a float with a sleigh carrying Santa.  While Meg is trying to keep everything together so the parade starts on time, one of her nephews whispers to her "something is wrong with Santa".  Now Meg doesn't only have to get the parade started on time, she has to find a murderer and save Christmas.

Donna Andrews in such a fine writer, she can combine comedy and mystery with a great balance.  She may find yourself laughing out loud as you try to follow the clues right along with Meg.  The relationship she has with the Police Chief is incredibly funny, after all these years he knows she going to get in the middle of the action so he has given up trying to keep her out of it.  The rest of the family keep adding to the comedy throughout every book.  We laugh because except for all the murders we all of crazy relatives just like Meg.

I really like this entire series and as I told you at the start of this post there are already 2 more books to this series.  Swan For The Money came out in hardcover in July 2009 and will soon be available in paperback. Stork Raving Mad will be released on July 6, 2010.  You can Pre-Order it below, or purchase any in the entire series.

To find out more about Donna Andrews and this series please check out her website at http://donnaandrews.com/

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Beautiful Blogger Award

This is my second blog award and I am so thrilled that people are taking the time to enjoy my blog.  I have so much fun writing it.  This award was given to me by:
Nicole at Books, Books Everywhere
Please take the time to check out her blog too, it's pretty cool.

In order to receive this I have to tell you seven things about myself and since for the Sugar Doll Award I received earlier had me reveal 10 things about me, I've tried to come up with some new ones.
  1. My new favorite book is CAUGHT by Harlan Coben.  (You probably knew that from my review.)
  2. I have 2 Border Collie/Blue Heeler mix dogs who are sisters.  One looks like a border collie (Oreo) and one looks like a blue heeler (Nera).  We also have 3 cats, Oscar, Wiley, and Jack.  Wiley is my favorite.
  3. I love NASCAR, and my favorite driver is Matt Kenseth.
  4. I watch Days of our Lives everyday.
  5. Watching Biggest Loser always makes me cry.
  6. My grandson is growing way too fast.
  7. I really miss driving, I hate to be dependent on others and sometimes I would just like to go for a ride all by myself.
That wasn't so hard.  Now I need to choose some blogs I enjoy to pass this award on to;

I hope all of you will appreciate this award as much as I do, and I really do appreciate your blogs.


  • The Quilter's Kitchen by Jennifer Chiaverini
  • The Lost Quilter by Jennifer Chiaverini
  • CAUGHT by Harlan Coben
  • Cockatiels at Seven by Donna Andrews
  • Six Geese A-Slaying by Donna Andrews
(I know it's a Christmas story but gets me caught up on the series.)

  • Murder, My Suite by Mary Daheim
  • Auntie Mayhem by Mary Daheim
  • No Time To Wave Goodbye by Jacquelyn Mitchard

Sponsored by: http://bookjourney.wordpress.com/
This feature has been taken over by Sheila whose blog is "One Person's Journey Through a World of Books".  



THE FIXER UPPER by Mary Kay Andrews

Thank You to all who entered and  
WELCOME to all my new followers.

Keep watching for my next giveaway or contest and
please stop by and 
enjoy the book reviews
and other happenings at  
Dollycas's Thoughts.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

CAUGHT by Harlan Coben

WOW!! What A Story!!

I don’t want to tell you too much because I don’t want to spoil any of the suspense the builds throughout this book but here are the basics:

This is the story of high school senior, Haley McWaid, the pride of her family, good grades, never gets in trouble, a little obsessive compulsive who doesn't come home one night and goes missing.

It is also the story of Dan Mercer, a social worker, who works with troubled teens, who may be a sexual predator, as he is "CAUGHT" by a television show, hosted by Wendy Tynes who is on a mission to expose internet predators. It also delves into the lives of Dan’s old college roommates and how they may have complicated Dan’s life. The whole thing leaves Wendy worrying about who she can trust.

This story takes more twists and turns than an old country road and you better be belted in.  It is a story filled with tension, stress, pressure, that challenges the reader. It is a thrilling, gripping, spine tingling novel that deals with things that could only be seen on television setting up shop in this community.

Harlan Coben takes all these plots and ties them together in what I believe will be the best book I read this year. 
You will be “CAUGHT” from the first page and you will not be RELEASED even after the last word. 
If you have not pre-ordered this book, you should do it NOW. 
This is definitely not a book to me missed.

 Harlan Coben is definitely one of the best authors of our time.  His books have debuted as #1 on bestseller lists around the world.  To read his biography, find a list of his 17 novels and more check out his website 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Dutton Publishing, a Division of The Penguin Group. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Thursday, February 18, 2010

THE LOST QUILTER by Jennifer Chiaverini

This is a story fans of this series have been waiting for.  In the 4th book of this series "The Runaway Quilt" we learned that Sylvia Bergstrom's ancestors had sheltered a pregnant runaway slave Joanna, until she was found by slave catchers. In this story an heirloom quilt is found that has Elm Creek Manor quilted into the background.

In this 14th installment to the series we get to hear Joanna's story.  This story is truly heart wrenching as you hear the stories of slaves before the Civil War, the beatings, slaves being sold away from their families, children ripped from their mother's arms.  Thoughout the entire ordeal Joanna dreams of running away again and is working on a quilt to help her remember her way back to Elm Creek Manor.

The book starts in current time with a bunch of letters found in an old family desk that has lived in the attic of the Manor for years.  I won't tell you how it ends, but you will not want to put this book down until you reach the last page.

I loved the way Jennifer reminded us of the purpose of the quilts made in the mid 1800's until the end of the Civil War as they were used by the Underground Railway to help slaves to freedom.  Today we make quilts to decorate our homes and beds, to celebrate great occasions, to give to charity or just for our pure enjoyment.  It is important to have stories like "The Lost Quilter" to remind us of our history and show us how far we have come.

Jennifer has 2 more books in the series that our on my Wish List.  "A Quilter's Holiday" which was released in November 2009 and "The Aloha Quilt" was is set to be released in April 2010.  Jennifer has also released 4 books of quilting patterns based on the Elm Creek Series an she she has her own fabric collection made by Red Rooster Fabrics.  To find out more about this wonderful author you can check out her website http://elmcreek.net/index.php

ADJUSMENT To My What Are You Reading Monday???

I just received an advanced copy of Harlan Coben's new book "CAUGHT" and it has landed on my bed as my next book to read, which works out great because I just finished " The Lost Quilter" by Jennifer Chiaverini, which my next post will review.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Quilter's Kitchen by Jennifer Chiaverini

Elm Creek Quilts has a new chef, Anna, (who was introduced to us in the book Circle of Quilters)  but one of her conditions to taking the job was a total renovation of the manor's kitchen, which had not been updated since the 1940's with the exception of a very old microwave.  To prepare for the makeover Anna and Sylvia, whose family has called the manor home since the 1800's, must clean out all the drawers and cupboards.  They spend the day packing up the good and throwing out the bad, but they also uncover many treasures, from a cut glass serving dish, old family recipes, and heirlooms that just have to be kept.  These treasures bring back many memories for Sylvia of years past at Elm Creek Manor which she shares with Anna, causing her to reflect on some of her family memories. The book contains over 100 recipes, old ones found in the kitchen and new ones that have become favorites of the Elm Creek quilters.

The is the thirteenth book in the Elm Creek series and when you finish it you will have a big decision to make.  Do you put it on the bookshelf with all the other Elm Creek books or keep in the kitchen with your cookbooks?

I have to say Jennifer Chiaverini is one of my favorite authors and I have loved all the books in this series.  While Elm Creek Manor is in Pennsylvania, I am thrilled Jennifer calls Madison, Wisconsin home. 

Monday, February 15, 2010

Beautiful Things Happen When A Woman Trusts God by Sheila Walsh

Sheila Walsh, former co-host of The 700 Club, and her own talk show Heart to Heart with Sheila Walsh, she is a featured speaker of America’s largest woman’s conference Women of Faith, and she is the author or co-author of many inspirational books.

In her latest book she shares her own story and uses lessons from the Bible to help other women find a new degree of trusting God. Helping them to see that God is always with them and that He has charted their path.
In twelve chapters she covers things such “The Hunger to Belong”, “Why the Pain?” and “Trusting God with Your Journey”. She delves into the Bible stories of Joseph, Lot, Tabitha and Gideon, plus many others to illustrate how trusting in God can deeply alter your life.

This book would make a great Bible Study as it would open up conversations on how people feel this book helped them to be more trusting and to share their own stories. While reading it by myself, I felt the continuing urge to share with others. I also had one troubling concern throughout the book and that was Sheila’s view on her depression and not being “normal”. There are countless numbers of people in this world who have been or are now being treated for depression, including me. This idea is the main topic of her story. Depression is an illness that can be treated in many ways, like almost any other illness. I feel I may not be “normal” because, in addition to being treated for depression, I am handicapped with my right side paralyzed. Who sets the definition of ‘normal”? I felt by the end of the book she gets past this “normal” attitude and knows that GOD loves us all just the way we are, flaws and all, and that by trusting in Him our journey will be just as He had planned.

To find out more about Sheila Walsh and her ministry check out her website http://www.sheilawalsh.com/

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


Sponsored by: http://bookjourney.wordpress.com/
This feature has been taken over by Sheila whose blog is "One Person's Journey Through a World of Books".  I have learned so much from J. Kaye that I'm sorry to see her leave this feature but I know Sheila will be a great host!!!

  • The Shack by Wm. Paul Young
  • Blue Water by A. Manette Ansay
  • Sprinkle With Murder by Jenn McKinlay
  • Beautiful Things Happen When A Woman Trusts God by Sheila Walsh

  • The Quilter's Kitchen by Jennifer Chiaverini
  • The Lost Quilter by Jennifer Chiaverini
  • Cockatiels at Seven by Donna Andrews
  • Six Geese A-Slaying by Donna Andrews

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Sprinkle with Murder by Jenn McKinlay

A Cupcake Bakery Mystery

This first book in this  new series gives us a fresh baked "who-dun-it" that will have you craving for cupcakes from the first page to the last.
A cupcake bakery, "Fairy Tale Cupcakes", is a dream come true for Mel Cooper and Angie DeLaura.  They are excited about their first big order of 500 cupcakes for a wedding until Mel sits down with the bride.  She puts any "bridezilla" you have ever seen on television to shame.  When Mel goes for a follow up meeting she finds the bride dead with a one of her cupcakes in her hand, she then becomes the number one suspect.  Mel knows she didn't do it and she has to find out who did, to keep herself from being arrested and to save their business.
Add into this mixture Angie's seven brothers, a crazy competitor, and their best friend Tate, who happens to be the groom and you have the recipe for a great cozy mystery.

The book is set to be released on Mar 2, 2010
Pre-order your copy now at Amazon.com

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from The Berkley Publishing Group a division of Penguin Publishing. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Road Trip

The first leg of my journey of reading books that use Wisconsin as a backdrop introduced me to A. Manette Ansay.  She grew up in Port Washington, Wisconsin.  She was a piano player and even went on to study music at the Peabody Conservatory of Music. In 1984 her entire life changed as she was crippled with a variety of health problems.  She was misdiagnosed with MS, by then she was bedridden and had to live with her parents. By 1987, she was able to get around in a wheelchair. In 1988 she realized she needed a job she could do sitting down, and committed herself to writing. In 1994 she found out her first book was to be published and soon thereafter it was chosen as a selection for the Oprah Winfrey Book Club.  For the first time in her life she was making money. Money that allowed her to pursue alternative medical treatments, as she was in a great deal of pain, starting to have problems with her kidneys, and difficulty breathing.  It was determined that her health problems stemmed from the fact the her body lacked the hormone progesterone, which could be treated.  She has written a book about her struggles in a book entitled "Limbo" which has been added to my list of books I want to read.  Today she  continues to write, is a guest professor at a variety of colleges and has a wonderful daughter.   http://www.amanetteansay.com/wordpress/

Now the books:
Vinegar Hill takes place in a fictional Wisconsin town of Holly's Field loosely based on Ansay's hometown of  Port Washington.. This is where Ellen Grier and her family move in with her in-laws after her husband loses his job.  It didn't take long for Ellen to realize that not only did her in-laws not like each other, they really hated her. She became a slave to her in-laws and her husband.  They believed in an angry and unforgiving God and that the wife is to be completely submissive to her husband.  After years of living a life that would break any woman's spirit, she discovers a family secret that gives her the strength the move on with her life.

This was a hard book to read because of the content.  The writing is top-notch and you find yourself almost lost in this family's dysfunction.

Sister is set in the fictional Horton, Wisconsin, a rural town with strong ties to the Catholic faith. Abigail looks back at her life as she awaits the birth of her first child. She realizes that until she can come to grips with her past her future will never be secure. Growing up Abigail and her brother were tormented by their father as he believed in the very different gender roles. The woman's place is in the home and the man ears the money. Her mother, a true Catholic housewife, always looked the other way.  Abigail was always her brother's protector but the stress with his father forces him to leave and he basically disappears, which drives Abigail to a nervous breakdown only to be saved by her devoutly Catholic grandmother.  Still tormented by her brothers disappearance Abigail finds herself questioning everything she ever believed about her family, her faith and herself.

This is a truly moving story.  Growing up in the Catholic faith I understood some of rigidness of the story.  This story will touch your heart in the last pages as Abigail's mother tries to explain their life.

Blue Water set in Fox Harbor (again fictional) where everyone knows everyone else business.  This is the story of Meg Van Dorn and her husband Rex whose son is killed by a drunk driver as his mother drives him to school.  Of course Meg knows the drunk driver, she was one her best friends growing up.  After weeks of trying to continue their lives in Fox Harbor, they rent out their house, sell everything they can, cash in retirement accounts and buy a sailboat and set sail in the Atlantic.  No matter how far they go they cannot escape their monumental loss, especially with Meg's brother engaged to the drunk driver's sister.  After months at sea, Meg needs to return home, not only for her brother's wedding but to work out the dislike she is feeling for her husband.  The trip home changes everything.

I really liked this book, and after reading the Question/Answer section in the back of the book and checking out the author's website I found out that the sailing part of this book was partly autobiographical.  I also liked how the drunk driver was a female, a mother.  Most often this type of crime is showcased with a male in the role of drunk driver.  Doing this added a different perspective to the story.

Okay, that was the first part of my journey to read 15 books that use Wisconsin as the setting for their stories.  I hope you will check out these books and stayed turned for portion of the trip.

Friday, February 12, 2010

My First Blog Award

I am so thrilled to have received this award from Beth at The Crazy Life of A Bookoholic Mom. Thanks Beth!!!  I started this blog to share all the books I love to read, give my opinions about worldly things and basically keep myself busy.  It has been so much fun, and I am so glad other people like it. (Most of my family doesn't get it :)  Yesterday I received my first cozy advanced copy and this award, it feels like Christmas.

Now I am supposed to tell you 10 things about ME.
1. My family is the most important thing to me.
2. I used to work on a construction crew building houses and pouring concrete.
3. My favorite band of all time is STYX.
4. I love old Christmas movies, (Holiday Inn, The Bells of St. Mary's, The Bishop's Wife, etc)
5.  I used to sew most of my family's clothes and loved to quilt.
6.  My parents used to own a tavern and we lived above it. I went to sleep every night as a teenager listening to the music of the juke box coming up through the floor.
7.  I get claustrophobic in many small places.
8. I am addicted to PACKRAT on FACEBOOK.
9. I am hooked on high school basketball.
10. I survived a horrific accident, was hospitalized for 75 days, and it's a true miracle that I am alive, with only my right side partially paralyzed.
10A. My real name is Lori, but my husband as always called me Dolly and Cas comes from our last name.

I am also supposed to pass this on to 10 other bloggers, but since I am so new to the blogging world I have chosen six, two who have really helped me figure out this blogging thing and four to blogs I have discovered and really enjoy.
2. Wendy at Wendy's Minding Spot 
3. Amanda at A Patchwork of Books 
6. Leslie at Books Anonymous 

I hope you will all enjoy the award as much as I have.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

What took me so long?

I have been a member of my church for almost 27 years. I have been a part of many circles, fundraisers and committees. I have taught Sunday school, was even Sunday School Superintendent for a few years. I baked for bake sales, made quilts for craft sales, served at dinners, made tickets and posters, designed and managed the church website, and was Church Treasurer for over seven years.

In all that time I never joined The Reading Group, which is one of the groups sponsored by our woman's group, the United Methodist Women (UMW) even though I love to read. I always thought this was a bible study group that met during the day, while I was working and just didn't fit into my schedule. It wasn't until a couple of years ago when I was the Communications Coordinator for the UMW in our conference that I found out what the Reading Group really was all about. I was editing an article submitted for the newsletter (which was the main job of the Communication Coordinator) about The Reading Group and was I surprised.

The purpose of the Reading Program is to encourage United Methodist Women members:
 --to expand understanding of 
and participation in God’s mission;

 --to increase sensitivity to all human beings
— their needs, interest and concerns;

 --to encourage critical thinking about 
issues facing humanity today;

 --to grow in understanding of  Scripture
as it relates to Christian faith in contemporary life;

 --to enhance self-knowledge and to act
from that knowledge;

 --to strengthen involvement in local and
global Christian mission.

United Methodist Women recommends a diverse range of books with the intention of broadening exposure to a variety of concepts. United Methodist Women does not intend that readers accept each word or idea contained within each volume. Some books you may agree with. Some you may not. Either is all right. United Methodist Women cares and wants you to be a knowledgeable and caring Christian about current issues.

For 140 years, members of United Methodist Women and predecessor organizations have been involved in mission that includes prayer, study and action. The Reading Program is a study opportunity, but it should
also lead to action.

The Reading Program has four different plans depending on the number of books you want to read. So when I was called last month by a woman from our church who I truly love, respect and admire and was asked to join The Reading Group how could I refuse. I read over 100 books a year and she was just asking me to read 4 (1 from each category set up by the program).

  • Education For Mission
  • Nurturing For Community
  • Social Action
  • Spiritual Growth
Today I finished by first book.  The Shack by Wm. Paul Young which falls under the category of Spiritual Growth. (review in post below) I will keep track of my UMW Reading Group books along with my other challenges in the right hand column.  I will also review them here on my blog so hopefully you will be enriched my their content too, but they will be true reviews.  Just because they are Christian reading material chosen by a group for reading does not  mean they are automatically good reads.  If they are not "my cup of tea" I will tell you honestly.


WOW What a story!!  I have heard a lot about this book, either you hate it or you love it. Well, I Love IT!!

It is very hard to review this book because I think part of the joy in reading this book was that I didn't read any reviews, didn't even read the back cover before reading this story, so I could read it with no prejudice one way or another.  I don't even want to tell you the plot, the characters or setting, except from the title you know the main character is the "shack".

I think people may hate it because of all the hype and their expectations are too high.  I will tell you the book deals with a family tragedy, you would never wish on anyone.  The story is a little mind boggling in places and hard to wrap your head around, but the message is clear.  It does get a little predictable at one point but it doesn't take away from the story in any way.

Is this the best novel ever written, of course not, but it is a book that can change the way you think about your relationships with your family, your friends, people you hardly know and your relationship with GOD.  Some of the answers in the book may give you a new point of view and different perspective to the age old question "Where Is God in a world that has so much pain?"

If you have this book on you To-Be-Read pile move it a little closer to the top.  If you have been thinking about buying this book or getting it from the library, please do.  Will this book change your life?  I can't answer that but I think you will be glad you read it.  I am so glad I read this book.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Leftover Dead by Jimmie Ruth Evans

This is the fifth book in the Trailer Park Series.   Wanda Nell and her new hubby Jack have moved into her trailer.  He is looking for ideas for his next True Crime novel when he learns that a young girl was found dead on the school football field 31 years ago and after a week the case was shelved and never solved.  Sounds like a cover-up to Wanda Nell and Jack, and a great book idea so they begin to investigate.  The case takes many twists and turns and ends up answers can be found very close to home.

I have truly enjoyed this series, real characters, the kind you would find at any village diner, except for the murder and mayhem. A great cozy mystery.

Monday, February 8, 2010


Sponsored by: http://bookjourney.wordpress.com/

This feature has been taken over by Sheila whose blog is "One Person's Journey Through a World of Books".  I have learned so much from J. Kaye that I'm sorry to see her leave this feature but I know Sheila will be a great host!!!

  • The Fixer Upper by Mary Kay Andrews 
  • Serendipity by Louise Shaffer
  • Leftover Dead by Jimmie Ruth Evans
  • The Shack by Wm. Paul Young
  • Blue Water by A. Manette Ansay 
NEW ADDITION:  Just received a new book to review:
  • Beautiful Things Happen When A Woman Trusts God by Sheila Walsh

In Loving Memory of My Mom

Your Mother Is Always With You
Your mother is always with you...

She's the whisper of the leaves
as you walk down the street.

She's the smell of bleach in
your freshly laundered socks.

She's the cool hand on your
brow when you're not well.

Your mother lives inside
your laughter. 

She's crystallized
in every tear drop...

She's the place you came from,
your first home.. 

She's the map you
follow with every step that you take.

She's your first love and your first heart
break....and nothing on earth can separate you.

Not time, Not space...
Not even death....
will ever separate you
from your mother....

You carry her inside of you....
- Sherry Martin

She passed away one year ago today. She is always in my thoughts and never leaves my heart, but I miss her everyday. 

Thursday, February 4, 2010

My First Giveaway!!! The Fixer Upper by Mary Kay Andrews

This is a hard cover edition of the book I just reviewed below.
Here's how to enter ~

  • U.S. addresses only please

  • Leave a comment here with your email address or PBS ID (I need to have a way to get in touch with you!)

  • Follow my blog (on lower right sidebar) ~ get an extra entry
    I am really trying to build my followers list so tell your friends.  There are over 200 people at PaperbackSwap that have this book on their wish lists.

    Contest will end February 21st at midnight CST.  Winner will be announced Monday, February 22nd.

THE FIXER UPPER by Mary Kay Andrews

Dempsey Killibrew has worked as a lobbyist for a very short time when a political scandal breaks and she finds herself without a job, broke and homeless.  Her father comes up with the perfect solution, he has just inherited a house in Gurthrie, Georgia, that the lawyer assures him that with a TLC the house will sell for much more than it's current appraisal.  He convinces Dempsey to get out of Washington and head to Georgia to give the house a good cleaning and a little paint and he'd split the profits with her.

Well when Dempsey get to the small town and sees the house she knows it a much bigger job than she ever imagined,  plus she has inherited a 79 year old  "mean old lady" and her dog as part of the deal. She also realizes that small town life is much different from anything she has ever experienced.  Everyone knows everything about everybody. 

She rolls up her sleeves and gets to work trying to return the house to the beautiful home it once was only to have the FBI come calling trying to pin the whole Washington scandal on her.  We see a totally new Dempsey emerge as the story continues.

The was a very enjoyable story as are all of Mary Kay Andrews sagas.  It's the kind of story that even after the last page is read you want to know more, after the crisis is over what happens to all the characters.  You become so involved in the story, the family feels so real.

Check out Mary Kay Andrews website:http://www.marykayandrews.com/