Without the love of books the richest man is poor, but endowed with this treasure the poorest man is rich. –Leon Gutterman

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Recipes obviously are a little slow in coming. I'm going to work on that next week!!

A Bride So Fair by Carol Cox

I received A Bride So Fair quite a while back in a book giveaway and to be embarassingly honest, I don't remember who I won it from. It's been sitting staring accusingly at me for a while and I decided to add it to my Fall into Reading 2008 list. Sometimes you just have to read something "nice." You know what I mean?

A Bride So Fair is part of Carol Cox's A Fair to Remember series, a group of three mysteries that take place at the Chicago's World Fair in 1893. Book One is Ticket to Tomorrow, Book Two is Fair Game and the last is A Bride so Fair. (Follow the links attached to the titles to read an excerpt from each of the books on Ms. Cox's website, if you are interested.)

Unlike many series, these books are very capable, stand alone stories, but they are intertwined by The World Fair and the characters. Carol Cox offers discussion questions for book clubs and devotionals on her website.

A Bride So Fair is a Christian mystery. While there is definitely intrigue and a couple murders, the story is handled in a gentle manner. This would not fall into the "thriller" category, although there is plenty of suspense to keep the pages turning to the end.

I would recommend this book for a a Christian ladies book club choice.


Category 7 was on my Fall into Reading 2008 list. Fall into Reading is hosted by Katrina at Callapidder Days.

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle

Okay. What rock have I been hiding under? This book is older than me and I am just finally falling in love with it.

Roo had A Wrinkle in Time on his reading list, and while I cannot keep up with all of his reading and mine, drive to dance, do laundry and put food on the table, I do try to read some of the books he is reading. Especially if he keeps telling me, "Mom! This is so great! Can I read another chapter?"

A Wrinkle in Time has been in my peripheral vision for as long as I have been homeschooling, which in my mind is as long as I have had children. It is often on the list of recommended reading lists, it is a Newbery Medal winner and I've heard several children mention reading it.

Is this a science fiction book about time and space travel? Is this a book about a young girl coming to terms with her uniqueness? Is this a religious book that shares about the battle between Light and darkness? Or is it all of the above?

Madeleine L'Engle drew criticism for the book being too religious from the more liberal minded thinkers and too New Age from Christians. Seems no one wants to be happy. With the terms "witch" and with aliens and faraway planets the book is definitely fantasy and science fiction. L'Engle knows Love and she knows how to share Scripture also. This book is undoubtedly Christian in theme.

If you've been under the same rock I was living under and didn't read it, I highly recommend it. If you are looking for a wonderful book for children, my son loved it.

My library lists this book as 5th to 8th grade reading level, with an interest level of ages 9-12. My opinion is that it would be a suitable read aloud for 2nd to 5th grades. And unless you are fossilized it is a completely enjoyable book for adults.

Happy reading!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Book Review--Category 7

Category 7 by Bill Evans and Marianna Jameson

She is brooding, moody and mysterious. She comes from from far away, the Sahara, Barbados; moving northward. She is fierce and she is perfect. She is Simone.

Starting rather slowly and building to a rapid and breathless finish, Category 7 is reminiscent of a hurricane. Individual stories unfold, heat up and then wind into one to create a weather thriller that is the stuff nightmares are made up of.

Can the weather be controlled Can it be used for political purposes? Who is creating storms out of nothing? Anomalies that are off the weather charts? Meteorologists Kate Sherman and Jake Baxter team up to find out before it is too late. Kate is employed by a man with aspirations of the presidency and Jake is employed by the government. They meet at a conference where Kate is presenting research. Will they find the answers before New York City is devastated by a hurricane that is larger than has ever been seen before? A hurricane of such magnitude that it's wind speeds had never been dreamed of before?

Meteorologist Bill Evans and author Marianna Jameson team up for a weather junkie's feast, full of current events timely theories. Category 7 is filled with technical jargon and characters with political and personal ambitions.

If The Weather Channel is the first place you check when you turn on t.v.; if you consider yourself an amateur meteorologist--this might be the thriller of the year for you. It was a good read, slow to get moving, but finishing well. I wished the characters had been fleshed out more. Nothing wrong with the book at all, but it might not be everyone's cup of tea.

Evans and Jameson are teaming up to publish another novel next summer Frozen Fire.

Category 7 was on my Fall into Reading 2008 list. Fall into Reading is hosted by Katrina at Callapidder Days.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Fall Into Reading 2008

I've gotten diverted from my Fall into Reading plan, but I think that I should be able to get back on track this week.

I am reading Category 7 and have been intrigued by the ideas that are presented. I have a feeling I'm just getting to the good part.

Life just doesn't make curling up with a good book easy.

The Rook

The Rook is Steven James second book. His first, The Pawn was incredibly disturbing, frightening even with his ability to look into a serial killer's mind.

The Rook picks up with Special Agent Patrick Bowers trying to create a family with his step-daughter Tessa, while simultaneously working on a series of fires started by an arsonist. His wife, Tessa's mother, has been dead less than a year, after succumbing to cancer.

Tessa a volatile Goth-like teenager gives him conflicted and dishonest signals, sometimes charming and profound, sometimes surly and caustic. The developing relationship between step-child and step-parent is riveting to read, sometimes almost shadowing the crime that Bowers is trying to solve.

As with The Pawn, The Rook is chilling and dark. James leads the reader into dark and twisted minds of killers. But what began as a hint of the salvation message in the first book, becomes a cry deep within desparate souls for light. There is obviously going to be at least one more book in the series and I will be looking forward to seeing where this "thread" leads.

I received The Rook from Glass Road Public Relations. As I recommended after reading The Pawn, these books are not for the faint of heart or those who are looking for gently stories. The subject matter is gruesome. These books would definitely fall into the category of thriller.

From Baker Publishing and various reviewers:

The Rook by Steven James

Special Agent Patrick Bowers is about to uncover the military's darkest secret . . . and his own dark past.

While investigating a series of baffling fires in San Diego, Special Agent Patrick Bowers is drawn into a deadly web of intrigue where nothing is as it appears to be. With a killer on the loose and one of the world's most deadly devices missing, Bowers is caught in a race against time to stop a criminal mastermind's trap before it closes around the people he loves.

Full of fast-paced action and mind-bending plot twists, The Rook is an adrenaline-laced page-turner that will hold you captive until the very end.

Praise for The Rook

"James ratchets up the thrills and chills, the twists and turns, and our connections with the characters. This is first-class suspense, with threads of wisdom tying it all together. I'm panting for the next book already."--Eric Wilson, author of A Shred of Truth and Expiration Date

"James's ability to use modern, up-to-date investigative techniques to solve his criminal mysteries places him at the forefront of current mystery writers. [This is] a book you hate to put down even when you reach the end."--E. Cleon Glaze, retired FBI agent

"Steven James does it again! The Rook is a riveting nail-biter that takes the reader on a wild ride of suspense, thrill, and danger. James seamlessly combines the edginess of contemporary crime-solving stories with the real world struggles of romance, broken families, loss, and honor."--John Thurman, counselor and radio personality

"Steven James has certainly done his homework. His level of detail and knowledge in the area of the military characters is superb. . . . [They] almost come to life as you read his books. I could not put this one down! Top-notch work."--LT Robert Bess, US Naval Special Warfare/Naval Special Operations

"Sophomore slump? Fuhgeddaboutit. In his second thriller about FBI criminologist Patrick Bowers, James delivers the caffeinated plot twists and intriguing characterizations that made The Pawn a welcome addition to the suspense genre. In this installment, Bowers is called to San Diego to investigate a rash of fires, but he begins to suspect that a seemingly random kidnapping and suicide may be related to the arson attacks. As Bowers digs deeper, he uncovers a chilling biotech conspiracy. Fans of CSI and Law & Order will enjoy the police work and forensics, but this jacked-up read feels more like an explosive episode of 24; it's a wild ride with a shocking conclusion."--Publishers Weekly starred review

Monday, October 6, 2008

The Pawn

The Pawn by Steven James

I received The Rook by Steven James for review for a bloggers' book tour, courtesy of Glass Road Public Relations. The Rook is the second in the Patrick Bowers Files series. Ever the obsessed with starting a series at the beginning, I dutifully went to the library and checked out The Pawn so I would have some history of who Patrick Bowers, PhD was.

This is a very graphic novel, very well researched and so intense that if I read it at night I had to follow it with a chapter from another book as a chaser. The heebeegeebees, the willies, the creeps--this book gave me all of that and more. Steven James has looked into the mind of a madman and put it down on paper.

To be honest, this is not going to be a book for everyone. If you are someone who prefers comfortable reading, reading that is not graphic, this is not your book. Don't even try it. If however you like thrillers, this will draw you in and not let go until the last page.

I will say the first few chapters were not my favorite. The Prologue, while written well, was just flat out upsetting, depressing, sad and sick. But it was necessary for the premise for the whole book. Chapters 1 & 2 seemed a bit stilted. James alternates his narrator and it took those two chapters for me to get settled in. By Chapter 5 there was no way I could lay the book aside.

Steven James has subtly included the beginning of the salvation message in this book. I'm curious to see how he follows up with it in the Rook and any future books he writes for the series.

The promo video captures the book quite well.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Trying a New Path

I want to continue with book reviews,reading lists, homeschool curriculum suggestions & reviews. I want to try some new recipes and share if the results are good. But I'm not sure I want to post these things in full on Joyful Days as I have in the past. So with that thought I'm going to try to use this blog as a "decluttering device." Perhaps if I can't declutter my home, I can at least clean up the blogging.

We'll see...