Category Archives: Book Reviews

Book Review – The Yearbook



“The Yearbook” by Carol Masciola

Lola Lundy was more than a misfit. After her mentally ill mother’s suicide she was hustled off from foster home to foster home, usually leaving by running away. She was a poor student who had a criminal record. Not edgy enough to be cool she just did what she needed to do to survive. Shortly after arriving in the Ohio rust-belt city where her mother had ended her life, Lola slipped into the school library in an attempt to escape attention and be left alone. This was the start of an adventure that thrust her back to the town’s heyday of 1923 where she was different enough to gain attention. One of the people who noticed her was the handsome, studious Peter. Lola thought she had found her soulmate, but before she could go on she was whisked back to the present.

Was it a dream? Perhaps she was going insane, like her mother. Maybe she just needed a place of refuge where she could fit in and perhaps the still growing, clean city of the 1920s, where everything seemed possible, was just the place her mind needed to go. To Lola, however, it was perfectly clear. She believed she really did go back in time and was desperate to return, desperate to find her true love who she had left almost ninety years behind.

The Yearbook is a YA novel by Carol Masciola. It might be described as a time travel romance with a psychological edge. Continue reading

Book Review – Silk for the Feed Dogs


Silk for the Feed Dogs”, a novel by Jackie Mallon, follows Irish farmer’s daughter Kat Connelly as she works her way through the fashion world from the “fashion” house of a bottom feeder in London to the top of high fashion in Milan, all the while showing glimpses of this world from an insider’s point of view.

I’m sure a lot of people are currently asking why I read a book about the fashion world. A sense of style that I like drew me into this book that had at least a bit to do with the main character’s sense of style. In my case, I fell in love with Ms. Mallon’s illustrations for the book. Continue reading

Deception – A Book Review


“Deception” is a novel written by fellow blogger Eloise De Sousa.

A very bad day is made much worse when the tardy Amanda is called into her boss’ office.   With the first not-what-you-think twist of the novel, Amanda is given news of her parents’ death back in Africa. For the first time in her five years of hiding in England Amanda is forced to confront her secret past. She must return to Africa to take care of family obligations, but is persuaded to make it a working trip. To make matters worse, she finds a very strong attraction to the handsome stranger she’s paired up with on her trip to Harare, Zimbabwe.

So begins Eloise De Sousa’s “Deception”, a novel that combines the genres of Romance with Suspense. Continue reading

Review – “Hidden in Plain Sight”


I know I just said I was going to review books of fellow bloggers, but I saw a review of this book by Jane Allen Petrick on Marilyn Armstrong’s blog, Serendipity, and I felt like I had to read it.  I’m glad I did, as you’ll see.

When you think of Norman Rockwell and his art, what usually crosses your mind? Most people think about drawings and paintings depicting normal (white) people in plain (white) folksy settings, usually in (white) middle American, doing normal (white) things. The drawings are often very realistic and tell stories with a bit of humor yet respect for the (white) subjects. Some might even hold him up as someone who illustrated Good Old Fashioned (White) American Family Values.

Did I say most people see Norman Rockwell’s vision of America as being very Caucasian? Continue reading

“Come Laughing” – Review


OK, I have a couple of confessions to make. First, yes I have read erotica. Second, actually, I really haven’t read a lot of it. What I’ve read has been along the lines of short stories, or a long story divided into short episodes, that are amorous in nature and designed to make the reader want to participate in adult behavior. Since this is a family friendly blog, or at least I pretend it is, I’ll just say that by “adult behavior” I do not mean taking responsibility, paying bills or raising kids. Well, for that last one you could say I mean the initial prerequisite to raising kids, at least if you want them to have your genetic material. But those others, no, by “adult behavior” I meant something else entirely. That is, erotica may be for mature audiences, but they need not be that mature.

I decided to read Alienora Taylor’s book “Come Laughing”, a book that may be described as erotica of a mirthful nature. This book consists of 69 pieces of humor of a sexual bent. I say “pieces” not only because “piece” is a bit of a double entendre, but because the book is comprised of various articles, essays, editorials, flashes of memories, short works of fiction, fantasies and at least one poem. They cover a variety of subjects from sexuality as you age to sex education to, well, just talking about that favorite subject in all of its positions and permutations. Continue reading

And Then Like My Dreams – Book Review


“And Then Like My Dreams” is a memoir by Margaret Rose Stringer about her life with her husband, Charles “Chic” Stringer, who was a top stillsman in the Australian film industry during the 1970s and 1980s. It’s a love story, no, not of the romantic “they had to overcome obstacles to be together” type, but a story of a real, deep and true love that lasted decades; more “happily ever after” than you can imagine in the most romantic Hollywood film. Continue reading

Lloyd Alexander and Welsh Mythology/The Mabinogion


Every society has their own early myths and legends. There are actually several sets in the British Islands, from Beowulf of the Anglo-Saxons to the Ulster Cycle of the Irish. Perhaps my favorite are the Welsh legends of the Mabinogion.

Reading through these works set down in in the twelfth through fourteenth centuries we can catch glimpses of the earlier stories, the stories created long before the Normans, and even before the Anglo Saxons, come onto the scene. There are hints that some of the stories predate the Romanization of the British Isles.

Continue reading

Review: I am Malala

malala - book cover copied from Amazon In October of 2012 terrible news come out of Pakistan.  A young student and campaigner for girl’s education, Malala Yousafzai, was shot in the head by the Taliban.  We had heard stories and rumors of school bombings and children murdered for their want of education, but for some reason, perhaps her celebrity, this seemed more personal.  I had heard the name on the BBC website and was quickly drawn to her story.  Along with the rest of the world I listened for any news, hoping for the best yet fearing the worst.  On the other hand, there actually was some good news of another sort.  People who had ignored the problem or didn’t realize how bad it was were wakening from complacency and started to raise their voices.  It seemed to many of us that a little girl in her hospital bed was doing more for real peace in Pakistan than all of the drones in the US arsenal, proving once again that the pen is mightier than the sword.

Although Malala’s wounds were bad and she had a tough fight for her life, there was very little damage to her brain.  It wasn’t long before good news about Malala started to come out of the hospital in Birmingham.  It seemed like a miracle.  A year after the attack she spoke in front of the UN and released a book.  To me it was a “must read”. Continue reading

A Backwards Book Review

lacalypso - photo taken from Cousteau Society site then modifiedHere’s an intriguing proposition: write a book without mentioning or naming the subject.  To make matters more interesting, be sure there are many clichés about this subject and use every one of them without saying what the cliché really is.  Hint at them.

Here’s an example: write a book about a cameraman on Jacques Cousteau’s Calypso but never mention diving, scuba, or facemask.  Never mention Jacque’s last name or use the word “Calypso”.  Talk about the main character’s toolkit without using the word “camera”.  As the book goes on you can make your references more and more explicit, but be sure they are veiled in mystery early on. Continue reading