Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown

If you care to purchase the book from Amazon, please click on the book cover.


Three sisters, three different outlooks on life, three different opinions about working, three different attitudes concerning just about everything, but they all had the same reason for coming home.....their mother needed help because of her breast cancer. 

Rose was the practical, organized sister, Bean was the attorney turned thief, and Cordy was still the spoiled child she always was.  They all had some secret or concern as they returned to their childhood home.

Their childhood home was one of love, of books, and Shakespearean quotes....the entire family quoted Shakespeare as they spoke and thought nothing of doing so.  None of the girls was ever without a book in her hands.

Just as in childhood, the adult lives of each sister went opposite ways in terms of interest and responsibility, but their love and concern for each other was evident.  The emotions of the characters and the descriptions of situations especially during childhood flashbacks was perfectly depicted allowing the reader to experience the hominess of small town connections and the nostalgia of coming back to your roots.

You will enjoy each sister for her strengths and shortcomings, and you will admire their parents for their love of each other and for the love of reading they instilled in their daughters.

I really enjoyed this book...if you have sisters, you will cherish it, and you will most likely be comparing these characters to see which sister you are!!  If you don't have sisters, the bond between all the characters will "warm your heart" and have you thinking about your own family and sibling relationships. 5/5

 P. S. The Three Witches or Weird Sisters are characters in William Shakespeare's play Macbeth (c. 1603–1607)...information taken from Wikipedia.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Killer of Orchids by Ralph Ashworth

"A little forensic investigation, conducted from the safety of the Cloisters, might excite things a bit.  He and Xander could puzzle out the tricky little murder reported in the paper." Page 144 
It definitely wasn't a little was something out of the ordinary. 
A Samurai running through the parking lot swinging a sword and deliberately targeting two men then slicing them to pieces definitely would not be a typical occurrence in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  Who could the murderer have been...two men are dead and not a clue where the killer went.  Why would these two specific men be chosen as victims?  One person knew the whole story.
As the tale unravels and the mystery is solved, you get to enjoy the characters and share a part of their unusual and interesting lives.  It is a mystery, but is also is more about the investigation and characters' lives than a description of the murder.
Jeff, a computer expert and Xander, an 11-year old, wanted to discover who was responsible for this brutal evening.  They went back to the scene of the crime and even to the homes of the victims to look for clues.  They also went to the funeral home of each victim, and definitely did some wild and dangerous detective work.
Vernon Roman's wake was quite a show beginning with the funeral home to the will actually make you laugh at what happened.  Roman's family was undeniably made up of an eclectic group.  
The wake of Marshall Chester was completely opposite and filled to the brim with students and colleagues paying their respects to one of their distinguished and well-loved faculty members. 
This book doesn't seem to be well known in reading circles, but it is a good read.  The comedy and the mystery hold your interest.  It gets a little tense at times, but isn't that how mysteries work?  If you are a mystery lover, you will definitely enjoy the book.  5/5

Monday, December 13, 2010

Angel Harp by Michael Phillips

What a lovely, lovely book...I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Widowed at 40, lonely, wondering what to do now after she had let years pass by since the death of her husband, "Angel" Dawn Marie decided to vacation in Scotland. Her car trip through the Highlands and towns was calming for her. She found the town of Port Scarnose to be magical, and instead of continuing to other places, she decided to remain there for the rest of her vacation. She chose Port Scarnose because of its quaintness and mainly because of a bench overlooking the sea where she first played her harp on Scottish soil...this is where the magic began for her.

All too soon, though, her three-week vacation was coming to a close. She had fallen in love with Scotland and its people, but she had to make a decision about extending her stay or heading back to Canada...what should she do? Should she stay or leave?

Her decision was definitely affected by circumstances and the people she met. Her dinner with Iain Barclay and her new-found friendship with 12-year-old Gwendolyn undeniably made the decision a little easier. She decided she "had" to stay for sweet Gwendolyn's sake....Gwendolyn loved to play the harp and had a natural talent. What she didn't know, though, was that her decision may have been more complicated than she realized because of a connection between Iain, Gwendolyn, and the Duke, who invited her to his castle to play the harp. The secrets of the relationships among these three interesting characters unravel as the story continues.

Marie's adventures continued with these characters and others, and she felt she was finding herself spiritually as well as becoming happy in the midst of the magic of Scotland's people and its landscape. To the extent that Scotland was making her blossom and was good for her, Marie was good for the town of Port Scarnose and its citizens. Everyone she came in contact with became a happier person and found things in themselves they didn't know existed.

If you enjoy Scottish history and listening/reading the written Gaelic brogue, you will fall in love with the book and definitely the characters. The characters were amazing and made you wish you could actually sit with them for the day and enjoy chatting and working along with them. Hearing the author mention different places in Scotland was also a treat knowing that I had been there as well.

The Gaelic brogue used by the town's people was the only, but minor drawback.…it was a little difficult to read and understand, but you could get the gist of the exchange. Nonetheless, it did add an authentic touch to the characters during their conversations with Marie. The religious theme throughout the story will have you examining your own personal beliefs. 5/5

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Blind Contessa's New Machine by Carey Wallace

A privileged childhood, a wonderful friend, a doting father, her own cottage by the lake...what more could a girl ask for......Carolina's life was like a fairy tale come true. All was perfect until she knew something was wrong with her one believed her, but she knew she was going blind. No one except Turri her childhood friend that is...he believed everything she said.

He told her that she would be totally blind by New Year's Day....she didn't want to accept it would happen, but Turri was correct as usual. New Year's Day was when it happened.

Carolina's days were never ending. The nights were better because she was able to see again in her dreams, but all remained dark the minute she woke up. She began to roam the house at night feeling for familiar things. What was frightening about her nightly roaming was she would hear footsteps that would stop when she stopped and doors that kept creaking in various rooms. Then one day Carolina HAD to see Turri, and she made her way to the lake and the cottage where she and Turri had always met. Right after the trip to the lake, whenever she tried to leave the house, she but wasn't able to get out...the door was locked.

One night while she roamed, she chased someone into the basement and found a surprise. The following day Turri visited her with another surprise....a writing machine....she could now type out notes to friends without spilling ink everywhere, and most importantly she could write to Turri..

The book turned from a story about a girl held prisoner by her blindness and her husband to a mystery about the characters and the person who roamed the house at night.

I enjoyed the book…it was a heartwarming read even though the blindness factor was distressing.

I would recommend reading it while wrapped up in a blanket on a cold, winter’s night next to the warm fireplace. 5/5