“Megan’s Way” ~ A Novel of Eternal Love, Friendship, Death & Dying by Melissa Foster

Book Notes

“Megan’s Way is a fine and fascinating read that many will find hope in.” Midwest Book Review

The Megan’s Way film will be entered in the Sundance Film Festival, Cannes Film Festival, South By Southwest Festival (SXSW In Austin Texas), Amsterdam Film Festival, as well as New York, LA , and Miami (just to name a few). This is a “Fest-Best” type of film and expected to make a major impact on festivals world wide.

My Review:

I first want to share with my readers the personal perspective I bring to this review of “Megan’s Way.” Some 29 years ago I was widowed as a young woman with three children under the ages of 9. My precious young husband died of melanoma that had metastasized to major organs: we had several months to prepare for his death. This came after the original cancer of 11 years in the first year of our marriage. So, I’m someone well acquainted with cancer’s toll on a person and those who love them. I read this book with that intimate awareness.

Melissa Foster has given us a true-to-life rendering of the process of dying. From the earliest stages of the person’s acknowledgement of impending death, to their release of loved ones, their body and spirit; to the angst and responses of those who live with and love them, Ms Foster paints a portrait of the struggles and survivals. She understands the pain of those left behind and the awareness of those who have to do the leaving.

 Through her very beautiful and tender portrayals, we come to know Megan and her intimate friends as if they were family. We get a clear and close up understanding of Megan’s loving and tumultuous relationship with her teen aged daughter, Olivia. And, we are given unique insights into Megan’s personality, thoughts, fears and death and dying processes from her own perspective, as well as from the perspectives of her friends and daughter. Ms Foster is spot on in her every detail of this experience with death, in my experience. 

I found Melissa’s writing, however, to be somewhat stilted in her efforts to get across all the points of the process, and then the major theme of the choices we have about our own death and dying. There is something lost in the flow of a story as the book progresses when it starts to be overtaken by a series of details on these numerous processes and points of dying, rather than having it more balanced within a storyline. This, however, does not take very much from the book or enjoyment of it in total, since I think it’s worthy on many other levels.

While Megan considers her options of ceasing any other chemo or “prolonging” measures, and as she also contemplates the virtues of taking into her own hands the method and timing of her death, we are allowed to witness her conflicts. This option to choose is one that many come face-to-face with. Ms Foster gives us a balanced and open view of a woman who looks boldly into the face of death, weighs her options and takes into loving consideration the daughter she will leave behind.

The complexity of “Megan’s Way” made this novel one that I loved reading. Certainly, it rang true to me in so many ways. It also touched my heart with its attempts to bring readers into a center of meaning and choices that will be an evitability in most of our lives.

The intertwined tale of friends and surrogate family lends itself to be a realistic possibility in light of the “secrets” that people tend to hold close in relationships. While one is living, the secret is easily kept and the “family” can pretend to overlook and rationalize…but once a foundational/pivotal person is going to be removed–the structure that holds it all together is jeopardized and must be delicately “readjusted.” This is an element I’m also familiar with, personally, and one I thought Ms Foster handled elegantly.

I recommend your choosing to read “Megan’s Way” before it’s made into the movie for the Sundance Film Festival. It’s going to have a great impact! And, it’s a very enjoyable read on the order of a Jodi Picoult novel.

Strongly urge you to read more about Melissa Foster and her outreach programs, her book “Chasing Amanda,” her soon to be released book, and her social community for women called “The Women’s Nest.”


4.5 stars from TheBookishDame

“Swallow” A Novel by Tanya Plank

Tanya Plank is a fantastic writer of the young, priviledged, slightly disturbed and disoriented New York professionals. She’s the voice of the over-educated, preppie, ivy-leagued-to-the-max, “now what do I do to one-up everyone” generation. She “gets it” and she’s telling!! LOL

I thought her author’s voice–her book was hilarious and riveting! It helps to know these Harvard-types she writes about, but I think anyone can understand a pompous person when they see or hear one…or read about them. Her characterizations are golden. Sophie, the swallower in question, is a loveable and genuine young woman for whom I immediately took a liking. I was on her side right away and kept by her like a glove to her hand throughout her struggles and humorous/humiliating revelations.

Tanya is right on in her dialog and descriptions; particularly in her scene at the fancy art show with Sophie’s fiance’s Harvard friend, Alana. Oooo, as slick and slimy as they come in a tightly wrapped ivy package. As well as with Sophie’s own would-be friend, Samia, who keeps referencing herself and Sophie as “when you’re young,” as if to say she is now so mature and beyond it all–and that living and working in New York for even a short time has jaded and matured them like hot house roses….which it may, in fact, have done. At the very least it’s caused Sophie to choke, hasn’t it?

It’s caused Sophie to revisit a childhood dysfunction…a fist-sized ball (FB) that blocks her esophagus and causes her to choke, actually not being able to swallow anything but tiny bits of food, drink or even her own saliva. Sophie is struck again by her swallowing FB shortly after her boyfriend proposes, and prior to a big Public Defender’s Office advocacy case that she must orally present before a presumably hostile, multiple Justice panel.

Sophie is diagnosed with a psychological problem called Globus Sensate, but not before it has run amock within the strictly held confines of her fragile life. Sophie’s secrets of the pornographer father, the wacky sister who pops in to humiliate and horrify…and the fiance’ who can’t believe his eyes, ears and understanding about the FB!!!…all make for a fun ride!!

I loved Tanya Plank’s book. I loved NYC through the eyes of the Arizona girl and the Yalie mix. I loved the story through the words of a choking, swallowing dysfunctional lawyer!!! LOL What could be better than the image of a poor lawyer who can bearly talk for choking on her words! (with apologies to my sons)

This is a wild and fun romp full of satire, symbolism and insight into the lives of the educationally priviledged and spoiled vs the “real” people. It’s a look into the workings of the public defender’s life and the big city lawyer’s mindset. It’s a glance at the young bucks and brave girls who come to Town with all the credentials and hautier but missing some of the heart and raw bones of real life. And, a look at the other young “brave ones” who come hoping to make a difference against some mighty odds that aren’t in their favor.
This is a book that’s easy to swallow. Though, I have to admit, I suffered with Sophie when she was having problems swallowing. I felt myself closing up. I found myself putting my hand to my throat and getting a smothering feeling and practicing swallowing, myself. That’s how good Tanya Plank is at writing!

You have to get this book. Ms Plank is going to be heard from again, and you’re going to be listening and loving her!! Just like I do.

“Dragon House” A Healing Love Story in Viet Nam

“Dragon House,” is a novel of exceptional beauty, a love story of multi-dimension, and a healing experience for all who know the Viet Nam War.

John Shors has become one of my favorite authors of the 21st century.  I believe he is the voice of our recent past, and a voice of the humanity in all of us as we struggle to keep what is good and moral against a tide of selfishness and instability in our world.

Mr. Shors is an author of exceptional capabilities with characterization conveying feelings and angst that will so touch your heart that you feel actually set within the place and time with his characters.

Having lived through the Viet Nam War as a child of the ’60’s, I found this book especially interesting.  I have not been able to read about the War, per se.  It was a time of loss and anger and confusion for me.  A time I just haven’t cared to scrutinize.  But, this book gave me a way of “looking” that was thoughtful, caring and healing.

Through the eyes of Iris, the daughter of a Viet Nam veteran left with post traumatic stress syndrome and memories he could only heal by going back to create a home for street children;  we see, hear, smell and feel the thriving, messy, whirling, beautiful, dangerous and noisy place called Ho Chi Minh City — formerly Siagon.   I found many of the things surprisingly familiar to me…through pictures that were flashed daily on the t.v. when our boys were over there, I suppose.  I could see through Shors writings the brightness of colors, smell the food, hear the horn blasts, and shiver at the sufferings.   John Shors didn’t miss a beat. 

Iris goes to Viet Nam to continue her father’s dream and to help the street children, bringing with her a life-long friend…a now wounded, permanently handicapped vet. of the Iraqi War, who is suffering and suicidal.  This character boldly gives the reader insight into all veterans returning with injuries of body, mind and spirit from the horrors of war.   Along with an eternally hopeful Vietnamese woman, they work to complete the Center for Street Children that will become the catalyst for their own salvations.

Through their work,  inspiration, and close companionships with a little group of starving, abused and critically ill children, Iris and Noah find a new place of rest for all.  And, that included me.

I highly recommend this book for all and everyone.  John Shors is an author who needs to be read because he will be one to make a mark in these coming years.  He’s an American writer of note and value.

I also recommend this book because it’s good for those of us who have come through the Viet Nam War (a war not successful and not popular with the American people) and are going through the Iraqi/Afghani War…another one which may have a similar outcome.  We might find some solace in the fact that we will survive.   Timely and healing….  please read this book for many reasons.

Your Bookish Dame

Still Missing

<a href=”http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7159515-still-missing” style=”float: left; padding-right: 20px”><img alt=”Still Missing” border=”0″ src=”http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1260468195m/7159515.jpg” /></a><a href=”Still” _mce_href=”http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7159515-still-missing”>Still”>http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7159515-still-missing”>Still Missing</a> by <a href=”Chevy” _mce_href=”http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3163298.Chevy_Stevens”>Chevy”>http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3163298.Chevy_Stevens”>Chevy Stevens</a><br/>
My rating: <a href=”5″ _mce_href=”http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/122545769″>5″>http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/122545769″>5 of 5 stars</a><br /><br />
I’m just sick that I inadvertently erased my new review!!!  Anyway, having finished this book about a young woman who was abducted and held hostage for more than a year by a psychopath, I have to tell all!
<br/>What an impact this writer has, and will have, should she choose (and I hope she does) to write more. She’s an amazing writer with lots to say and a very unique way of saying it. I was just blown away by several things in this work.
<br/>First: The storyline is a fairly familiar one, but Ms. Stevens handles it in an absorbing fashion. We are so intricately taken into the mind of the psychopath and are made detectives and discoverers along with her protagonist.  I was able to completely envision the sterile environment she was held in, and the horrific things that were done to her.  Shivering!!!
<br/>Secondly:  Ms. Stevens does something that I don’t remember ever having experienced in quite such a manner before.  She has the young woman tell her story completely from the perspective of relating it to her psychiatrist. We don’t know who the doctor is, we have no idea what the office really is like, we don’t have a sense of time or place about her getting to this psychiatrist.  She works the story and the resolution out through this doctor, and through police detectives.
<br/>Third:  Strong and “tell it like it is” monologuing. Strong characters.  Lots of wisdom and angst.  Understanding about what really matters and what love truly is.  A sense of what we might be capable of that we think we could never do.
<br/>This is a really great novel. One of the few I’ve read that conveys the psychology and feelings of the main character so thoroughly.  I loved it.
<a href=”View” _mce_href=”http://www.goodreads.com/review/list/268108-deborah”>View”>http://www.goodreads.com/review/list/268108-deborah”>View all my reviews</a>

Good Read: The Second Virgin Birth

<a href=”http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2899982.The_Second_Virgin_Birth” style=”float: left; padding-right: 20px”><img alt=”The Second Virgin Birth” border=”0″ src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51twYDfrn7L._SX106_.jpg” /></a><a href=”The” _mce_href=”http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2899982.The_Second_Virgin_Birth”>The”>http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2899982.The_Second_Virgin_Birth”>The Second Virgin Birth</a> by <a href=”Tommy” _mce_href=”http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1255912.Tommy_Taylor”>Tommy”>http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1255912.Tommy_Taylor”>Tommy Taylor</a><br/>
My rating: <a href=”4″ _mce_href=”http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/122776274″>4″>http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/122776274″>4 of 5 stars</a><br /><br />

This book tells a fantastic, very fast-paced story of the what-ifs of the cloning of Jesus Christ.  I’ll say this: I simply could not put it down for the few minutes it would have taken me to go get a cup of coffee at 5AM, after having stayed up all night reading it!!

The story is compelling and so well-conveyed that it’s nearly believeable. Descriptions of forensic DNA testing, cloning and the fortress-like business establishment of one of the primary characters show close research.

At this point, I cannot give it a 5 star rating only because there are so many editorial glitches. But, this, I believe is the result of it being a first time novel, and will be missing in its sequel which is due out next year.

I’m only halfway through this book…I love the characters…and I want to know what happens to them. 

Get this book.  You will not be sorry you did.  It will rank along with the best of Dan Brown’s works.  I highly recommend it!!

<a href=”View” _mce_href=”http://www.goodreads.com/review/list/268108-deborah”>View”>http://www.goodreads.com/review/list/268108-deborah”>View all my reviews</a>

Update:   October 18, 2010        I’m still giving this very inventive, imaginative book a 4 star rating.   While the premise and much of the storyline was compelling, I found the grammar and misspellings distracting.  However, I have to quantify that comment by saying that I have a double major in Fine Arts and English Lit., so it may just be me!!!  Certainly, it’s a story and a book that moves along so fast that these minor things do not take much away from it.  :]    

I wasn’t happy with the Kindle version.  Sometimes Kindle just doesn’t get its timing right in the separation of chapters and that’s annoying to me.  I would purchase it as a paperback from one of the discount houses that Amazon lists if I had it to do over again.

All in all, I continue to recommend this book to my friends and followers with slight reservations as mentioned above.   It’s a story that Tommy will be continuing in sequel, and which I know will have the improvements that were lacking in this first effort!    I’m looking forward to hearing more from him!!

Your Bookish Dame

New Deanna Raybourn Book!

Review: Dark Road to Darjeeling by Deanna Raybourn

Posted: 02 Oct 2010 10:00 AM PDT

http://luxuryreading.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/dark-road-to-darjeeling.jpgReviewed by Jenna A.

Deanna Raybourn submerses us in a world of ball gowns, Rajahs, mystery and death in the 1889 setting of Dark Road to Darjeeling. Set in India, the story begins with a series of small introductions to the Marchs, a predominant family stretched across continents and time. At a time when gowns were seen commonplace, private investigators flourished and mystery in the world still abounded, the story finds us at the honeymoon of our most notorious and elusive characters, Brisbane and Lady Julia.

On their world travels, the newly married Brisbane and Lady Julia are suprised to find in their dining parlor Plum and Portia, Lady Julia’s siblings, beckoning them to India.

Upon arrival, Portia tells a story about her once lover, Jane, who had ran away to India to marry Portia’s distant cousin; the cousin died shortly after under mysterious circumstances. Begging Brisbane and Julia to accompany her to India, they embark unknowingly on a trip of disaster, and deeply hidden secrets. Slowly and reluctantly, Portia reveals to her sister that she indeed fears the worst: that Mr. Cavendish, Jane’s husband, was murdered and Jane may be next. Quietly and without arousing suspicions, Lady Julia must find the truth in a family tree where secrets rule lives.

Thoughtful and whimsical, Dark Road to Darjeeling has the air of a classic 19th century exotic mystery. With an airy yet solid plot and strong subtext, the story allows the readers to think outside the box, and explore their thoughts, feelings, and suspicions in the fantastical world of The Marchs and Cavendishs.

The story was entertaining, however, what it gained and achieved in plot and flow, it lacked slightly in climactic tones and suspense, leaving readers in a monotone pattern of satisfaction. Written with a feminine undertone, Deanna Raybourn’s Lady Julia is definitely appealing to the more romance taken, unfortunately leaving the book less as a craving for the male and dark mystery infatuated readers.

Raybourn has created another successful addition for fans of the series who were left wanting more after Lady Julia and Brisbane’s last appearance. I would not recommend this novel to those who find interest in darker or more thriller-type mysteries; however, I would highly recommend this story to those female readers who crave just a little bit more romance and intrigue in their everyday lives.

Please visit Deanna Raybourn’s website to learn more about her books.

Jenna lives in a small town in Ohio with her fiance and cat Osiris. Along with her passion for reading and the literary world, she is also a painter, poet, fiction writer, and amateur photographer.

This book was provided free of any obligation by Mira Books. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.

Bookish Dame turns 60 and talks Readers


It's good to be bookish!

Ahhh, it’s been a long and fruitful 55 years of reading and stacking beloved books in my arms, around myself,  on my tables, in my bed, on my bookcases, and in my dreams, etc….   Now, with the new age of darling “readers,”  I’m enjoying just another way to love my books and to carry them with me in stacks and multiples.   Yes, I’m a Kindle-lover….as you know, my Kindle – Miss Stella – is one that practically never leaves my side.

I have to say, it’s also a sheer wonder to be able to have Amazon.com give us their free online reader and the option to have our ebooks sent to it so we can read from our laptops when we’d like to.  I love the size of text I can get there, and that I can store even more books, don’t you know!  :P    ‘though I believe you have to have a Kindle or two to be able to access this option.

The best new find I’ve made this year has to be the ability to download ebooks free from my public library and other libraries across the Nation onto my laptop.  I’m so thrilled to have this new (to me) resource for the latest ebooks and audio books without charge.  What a treasure trove.   The downside to this is that Amazon does not include this feature on our Kindles at this time.  Rats! 

Barnes & Noble,  allows one to download their  online reader and actually purchase B&N ebooks, and get free samples of books; and, one does not have to own a Nook reader to do this.  The Nook is fast becoming the “new girl in school” with its capacity to purchase ebooks, to download audio books, and to download books for free from local and national libraries.  In addition, it offers its own awesome, designer covers  to carry it in (I love the Kate Spade cover, myself).  Those nookish babies seem to have it all.   The Nook’s audio book option comes in handy for getting those free audios from libraries, as well.  Sigh….   It makes one think of having a sister for Miss Stella.  Maybe we could call her Newella…I wouldn’t want to call her Cinderella, just because her inventors gave her a name that’s used and abused in a nookie-ish way.  :[     Until we had this new library access, the step-sister of readers, The Nook, was just a shadow of her sister, Kindle!   ;0

We can’t move on without discussing the Sony Reader, can we?  I don’t know much about this one.  I hear it’s quite similar to the Nook.  Can somebody give it a rating in comments here?    My  son gave my daughter one for Christmas, and she’s just getting around to using it.  Those who have formerly lacked the cash to purchase ebooks on Kindle and other readers, now have that library downloading option which Sony also enjoys….so this has made a difference in peoples’ lives.   I think we’ll see more of this  Reader out there very soon.   

My only question is this— if Dell and Apple can make their computers and laptops in such yummy colors, why can’t the eReaders make theirs appealing in this way, too?    Are you listening Amazon????

Now, finally, let me get to my Book List for the early Summer. 

In the category of Vampirish Books I have the following lined up for Summer reading:

Halfway to the Grave;   At Grave’s EndDestined for an Early Grave;  and One Foot in the Grave:  Night Huntress Novels  by Jeaniene Frost    These novels tell the story of a young woman who is half human and half vampire….she hunts vampires for a living with her lover, Bones, who is a vampire hunter, himself.  Go figure.  I love the first book, so far.

Skin Trade; Bullet; and Burnt Offerings:  by  Laurell K. Hamilton     This really should go into a sex and the vampire/werewolf/masochistic/sado/hunter/shape shifter/nuvo- syfy/ mystery category.   Get my drift?  ( That’s a ’60’s saying, Children)

SyFy, Psychic Mystery/Thrillers of a Strange Nature:     Through Violet Eyes  by Stephen Woodworth   There is a series of these books about the Violet Eyed people which I’m anxious to get through.  The violet eyed ones have the capacity to channel dead people and are used by the Gov’t to hunt killers and such.   Great reads by a good author.

Novels of the Straight and Narrow Sort:    “Rush Home Road”  by Lori Lansens    She also wrote “The Girls,” which I very strongly recommend to my bloggish readers!  It’s a fabulous novel about conjoined twin girls growing up.  Thus, anything Lori writes is on my reading list.  This “Rush Home…” has gotten great reviews from my daughter and friends.

“Lion’s Gate” and “Lion”  by Nelson DeMille    Nelson the Great    Nelson the Man Writer…..I love Nelson.  I hope there’s not a lonely, illiterate soul out there who hasn’t read a Nelson DeMille book.  If so, please start with “Charm School.”    Please don’t tell anyone if you haven’t read any of his books, yet.  It will be scandalous.

A Novel of Unusual Taste:  Dark Places by Gillian Flynn.    All I can say about this one is go quickly….I can’t think of a more urgent word at the moment….just rush…to a library website and download this book.   It is so fabulous, so funny and so avant garde that you’ll stay home from work to read it.   Be quick about it….OMG, you’re going to love me for this recommendation.   I was laughing through the whole thing!   It’s a sort of humor with a skeleton attached that you’ll die for.   Does that make sense?   You’ll just have to see for yourself.

City of God, a Novel of Passion and Wonder in Old New York, by Beverly Swerling.   And I quote the LA Times here, “A whopping saga…whose every strange chapter–teeming with bizarre medicine, slave uprisings, executions, thriving brothels, and occasional cannibalistic Indians–brings forth shocks of recognition.”       I don’t know about you, but I don’t seem to ” recognize”  any of those things just about now; however, I’m willing and hell-bent for leather to find out about them!!!

Books I Need To Read and/or ReRead for My Continuing Education:     “Tree of Smoke,”  a National Book Award Winner, by Denis Johnson;     “Matterhorn:  A Novel of the Vietnam War by Karl Malantes;   Columbine by Dave Cullen;  “To The Lighthouse,”  by Virginia Woolf

Classics:    “The Tenant of Windfell Hall,”  by Anne Bronte;    Selected Stories by Edith Wharton

So, that’s my Summer Reading list at this time.  You know I’m adding as I go along and not listing things, I’m sure.  I have my little M&M chocolate peanut sins like the J.R. Ward Brotherhood vampires to keep me warm, and others like it.   And, I love the ocassional Georgette Heyer or the like, Regency romances with a touch of mystery to loosen things up a bit around here.    Also,  who can resist anything new from the greatest forensic and women detective authors like Patricia Cornwell, Kathy Reichs and Karin Slaughter?

I have to go now….have to watch the new episode of  “True Blood,” that I’ve recorded for tonight.  Can’t wait to see what Sookie Stackhouse is up to. 

Tell me all about your new reads and what you think of mine….and vampires….and Sookie….and Edith Wharton, etc.    I’m listening.

Your Bookish Dame

60th Birthday

You're only as old as your library card!

Runaway Books and Lost Bookish Friends!

I’ve been away most of the last 4 months, so I’m sure I’ve chased off my readers and blogging bookish friends! Come back, I pray!!!  Where I’ve been is a long and boring story, so let me get right to the books.

Here’s a list of the latest ones I’ve been reading, and some that are finding their way into my bedside stacks:

Mrs. Lincoln  by Catherine Clinton – a very readable and interesting insight into America’s true First Lady

Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith – what a writer Mr. G-S is!  I was nearly believing this story and had to catch myself several times!  If you’re going to read any of these type of classics to monsterish books, please do yourself a favor and try this excellent writer.  He also wrote:  Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

Kitchen House-  Katharine     :  OMGosh!  If you haven’t read this book, go quickly to your nearest bookstore or get on your Kindle and buy it!  I’d never say this unless I meant it…and coming from me, a die-hard Southerner, you can take it as gospel – this is the best book I’ve read about slavery and the connections of white and black Southerners since  Gone With the Wind.   This is a must read this year…I’m telling you.  The author isn’t from the South, so I’m sure she had to have been led by the spirits of the land to have written this with such insight and knowledge.

Look Me in  the Eye- John Elder Robison:  Mr. Robison is the brother of Augusten Burroughs whom you may recognize as the author of Running With Scissors.  This book tells his story of a life with Asperger’s syndrome.  My daughter works privately with a child with Asperger’s and I’ve been so curious about what it means to have this syndrome having heard that the founder of Microsoft, possibly Einstein, and other extraordinary men of history are thought to have it.  John Elder brings us along his childhood into adulthood in such a fascinating way that I soon forgot that I was thinking like he was and experiencing a sort of aggitation at his writing…until it dawned on me that I was experiencing the actual ways it felt to be and deal with Asperger’s people!    This is one of the most interesting books of this genre I’ve read.

Secrets of Eden- Chris Bojalian-  Well, what can I say except that this was a light-weight book for Chris.  It was a good idea that didn’t quite make it.  Had very little impact and ended with a “pffftt” instead of a bang.  I don’t know…it’s a paperback buy at best.  A poolside, beachy book that you care if it gets wet.  This is the story of a priest in a small New England town who gets himself embroiled in the life and death of a lady parrishner.  The lady ends up being killed by her abusive husband.  I won’t give away the story…..   :]

The Boundless Deep- by Kate Brallier:   I’ve just started this really fascinating book about a young woman who has dreams of whaling and an old lover….  She wonders if it’s reincarnation…Some of the story takes place in Nantucket so far.   I love this sort of gothic, mysterious, whaling, story….

The Forgotten Garden- by Kate Morton:  This is a book I’ve just started.  What drew me to it was the cover review which offered, “A tiny girl is abandoned on a ship headed for Australia in 1913.  She arrives completely alone with nothing but a small suitcase containing a few clothes and a single book–a beautiful volume of fairy tales.”

The Story Sisters- by Alice Hoffman:  Alice Hoffman is one of our best authors of this generation for her genre.  I’ve been reading her books and loving them since the 1970’s….and she never fails to please.  This book was another of her best.  The story sisters are three magical, mysterious sisters who divide their time between the US and Paris.  They have their own “twin-type” language and a “world” created in the finest detail that they spend hushed moments in for  hours.  The older two sisters have an ominous secret that they share, but we only get hints of until the end of the book.  Here, though, we are introduced to the most beautiful and interesting girls, their amazing grandmamere, neighbors and animals.  Ms. Hoffman is known for her human stories with just a pinch of the magical, and this book is a “hold it to you chest,” and love it book.  You might remember her for “Practical Magic” which they made into the movie starring Nicole Kidman and Sandra Bullock.    Everyone,  go read this book this Summer.

The Swan Thieves- by Elizabeth Kostova:  There were lots of  mixed reviews on this book.  Mostly people who had read “The Historian,” were disappointed in Ms. K’s second attempt.  I wasn’t at all dis-appointed.  I thought this story of an apparently deranged man slashing a famous painting in a museum, and the psychiatrist who tried to help him by solving the mysterious intricacies of his life and past was a great read.  I’d give this book a strong 4 on a scale of 5.

The Black Dagger Brotherhood- by J. R. Ward:   I’m completely hooked on these Blood Brothers as many of my reading friends are.  Sigh…..  If you haven’t tried one, all I can say is you’re missing out on something……  :]

Roses- by Leila Meacham:  Thoroughly enjoyed this book as a no brainer, easy to read, old fashioned historical, and generational novel with a mysterious twist.   I came to really like and enjoy the characters.  This is a good book.

Waiting to Read:     Jane Slayre,  another Brotherhood book,  Cutting for StoneThe Immortal Life of Henrietta LacksThe Postmistress, Hunger Games

Sometimes I’m just not in the mood to write reviews, but I hope I’ve given you some ideas on books to take a look at in the next weeks.  When you comment, please be sure to leave me some suggestions of books you’ve liked, as well.  I’m really interested in your books, too!!

Thanks for stopping by,

Your Bookish Dame

Continue reading

End of 2009 and off to 2010 good start!

The last book of 2009 I read was:  

I had this one in my stash for a while, never finding enough inertia to get reading it.  What I found when I finally did, around Thanksgiving, was an amazing story about women of all shapes and morality, and vision.  About the 60’s and Civil Rights…which tapped the dampened fires of my memories when I was a college student and watching, learning and protesting ….    I loved “The Help,” and though it wasn’t written in the same caliber of an author such as Joyce Carol Oates, it was well written and a novel I won’t forget over the years.   Highly recommended

A surprise of a new author for the end of 2009:

Well, I was foraging…. A guest at my dd’s house in the South, and out of books, no car, and very little time.  Here’s what I found in her stacks that I hadn’t already read.   It was a little shocking to “Grammie,”  but I soon found that I kept going back to the sizzling little thing.  I felt like the kids’ vampirish, gothic groups were allowing me a peek inside.  Soon, I loved it and wanted more stories like it.  Grammie is now hooked on Laurell K. Hamilton.   Go for it, friends….you’re gonna have a strong feeling one way or another!  :]   This is an Anita Blake series novel.


Here’s another LKH novel series about her faery protagonist, Meredith Gentry.  What’s not to love about this series and her characters here, as well.  Here is another series I just have to recommend to you…especially my stitching friends, as quick reads, but very entertaining books.  I’m glad I found Ms. Hamilton on a fluke.


What I’m reading now:

Thoroughly enjoying this memoir/novel about Jeannette Walls’ matriarcial ancestors.  The reading is like sitting with your great grandmother before a fire in dead of winter.  This book is one to keep forever on your shelves so your granddaughter can read it someday.  Not a book that takes forever to read, but this in no way distracts from a poignant and beautiful story of women and their rights to a life of their own.   Recommend to everyone!

Okay!!  Here it is, sneaking into my otherwise very literary reading list!  I can’t say stay away from LKH, because I can’t tell you to stay away from chocolate.  :]   Pull up a comfy pillow and quilt and just imagine….


What can I say?   One’s white chocolate, and the other’s dark chocolate!!!



   I just started this one last night.  It intrigued me because it’s about a man who tried to destroy a famous painting, was captured and was referred to a psychiatrist for treatment.  In the first few chapters, I’ve found it mesmerizing.  Of course, being and loving artists…this was made for me….and I’m always up for a disturbed, mysterious person who needs psychotherapy!!!  :P


Books that look Promising to me in 2010:

A story about the real Alice of “Alice In Wonderland.”  Not keeping to the exact truths of a biography, this is a novel written to intrigue us.  I’m going to buy it one way or another!






This one is about two women in the Victorian era who live outside the norm for women of the time.  They collect fossills and shells.  It is a historical novel, and one that looked interesting to me, by an author we can count on to bring the goods.  Her “Girl with a Pearl Earring,” says it all.





Anne Tyler’s works were a “must read,” for all ladies who lived in Wellesley, MA, when I was a youngish mother there!  LOL  Her novels are so real, and she speaks so true to our hearts.  It’s been a long time since I’ve picked up one of her books.  This one is calling me back to her.  A wandering husband…with a strange disease and those who live with him.





I’m a fan of Bohjalian.  Though he sometimes confuses me when he assumes we’re following his stream of consciousness on the occasion…and I’m a little slow on the uptake! :]

I really thought this book sounded so interesting.  A preacher and his wife have issues that will shock their town.  Hmmm  Don’t you always love to catch the “least likely to fail,” in a subterfuge?




This is supposed to be a huge, historical novel not so much about the fires but about the aftermath and its affects on a woman.  I love a great big, long paged novel sometimes.  I think this is my choice this year….   Love, mystery, loss and redemption here I come!





Oh, right.  Well, we’ve allowed our darling Jane Austen to be picked and pawed at long enough….why not my precious and favorite Bronte sisters!?   I’m still going to read it, no matter how bastardized the stories get because who can ever get enough of Charlotte, Emily, and Anne?  And, Branwell, God rest his black little heart.  Barbara are you listening to me? :]





Speaking of feminist novels and “voices.”  We were, weren’t we?   I’m a huge follower of Gail Godwin.  She’s a gentle voice of women and has been for decades.  If we listen, we’ll hear the out cries of wounded hearts, the courage of those who go through it all and come out the other side, and we’ll get to know those women who’ve always mattered in our lives.  Ms. Godwin is a special writter.  I look forward to enjoying her new book about girls reliving their lives in a Catholic boarding school.

A new author and protagonist for me….  I’m told we need to read the first book called, “Old Filth,” to completely enjoy this one.  You’ll have to go read the reviews on this one on Amazon.com.   It just sounded like something I might like on a whim.  Mystery in a British sort of way….


And, last for the timebeing, “..Roses.”  I’ve purchased this novel on my Kindle/Stella.  I love the cover, don’t you?  I like that it’s a big, family saga.  I feel as if it’s not a year complete without my reading a big family saga.  This is my choice early in the year.  It follows a family in Texas.  I just want to spend hours absorbed….   :]


So looking forward to hearing from all of you and finding out what  your choices are for the early year.   Please let me know if you’re reading any of my choices, too.

Good luck!   Your Bookish Dame