Friday, March 11, 2011

Blue...A Review...

Product Description from Amazon…

Do not begin this novel unless you are prepared to be moved, willing to open your heart, and available to the possibility that life can bring you magic. Chris Astor is a man in his early forties who is going through the toughest stretch of his life. Not long before, Chris' world sparkled - he was doing significant work, he had a good home, and his young daughter brought him more joy than he ever could have imagined. Now, divorce and estrangement have left him confused and all too often alone. Becky is Chris' fourteen-year-old daughter, a girl who overcame enormous challenges in her early years to become a vibrant, vital young woman. Her parents' divorce has left its mark, though, most significantly in her relationship with her father. Once, they told remarkable stories together. Now, they barely speak. Emotional detachment from Chris is not Becky's biggest concern, though. Miea is the young queen of a fantasy land that Becky and Chris created when Becky was little - a fantasy land that has developed a life of its own. Miea knows nothing of Becky and Chris. She only knows that her beautiful kingdom - a place of remarkably varied flora, dignified and distinctive fauna, and an ecology that works in symphonic majesty - is in terrible, maybe fatal trouble. At the most challenging junctures of their lives, Becky and Miea discover each other and Miea shares this discovery with Chris. For Becky, it is nearly inconceivable that a place she created has come into existence. For Miea, it is nearly inconceivable that a child created her land. For Chris, it is beyond inconceivable that he is again sharing something important in his daughter's life. For all of them, it as though a world of opportunity has opened up before them. But time is not on their side. In fact, time might be running out. Together, they need to uncover a secret. The secret to why these worlds have joined at this moment. The secret to their purpose. The secret to the future. It is a secret that, when discovered, will redefine imagination for all of them.

Blue is a novel of trial and hope, invention and rediscovery. It might very well take you someplace you never knew existed. Do not, however, begin it unless you are prepared to be moved.

My thoughts…

I just finished reading this most beautiful and unusual novel. It sort of reminds me of the movie Avatar. Nothing specifically, just sort of the aura of it. When I was first reading it I thought that it was a father’s story. Then a few chapters later I thought it was a daughter’s story. A few chapters after that it became an amazing fantasy. And then three quarters of the way through I realized it was all of the above. Chris, the father, was mourning the loss of being with his daughter Becky due to the break up of his marriage. Becky was confused about the situation and was fourteen and was spending her allotted time with her father but separating from him, too. They had been very close and Chris was at a loss as to how to get this closeness back. When Becky and Chris made up the world of Tamarisk it was to help Becky get through a difficult time. Becky needs Tamarisk back again and Chris helps her to achieve that goal. Becky begins to go to Tamarisk and interact with the people there. She especially loves being with Miea who was the Princess when Becky was little but now Miea is the Queen. On one of her trips to Tamarisk Becky learns that there is trouble in Tamarisk. Plants are dying and no one knows why. Becky enlists her father…who is a botanist…to help her.

I cannot even begin to describe what Tamarisk looks like. The descriptions in the book make Tamarisk come alive. I wanted to taste fenigers and drink barritts and ride a waccasassa over the bloat marshes. I want to listen to the music of all the amazing birdlike creatures that Becky and Chris had made up in their stories years and years ago. I loved being able to see Tamarisk. It was magical and lovely and it felt real. I wanted Becky to help Miea and I wanted everyone to live happily ever after.
I won’t tell you if they did or not but I will say that we all have a different idea of happy. I ultimately think that Becky and Chris and Miea are each happy in their own way.

I loved how the author dealt with reality and fantasy in Blue. It is a lovely story and it has stayed with me. The ending was deliciously sweet and I cried…not so much for the sadness but for its purity and beauty.
I truly loved reading this magical novel.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

I Love Jam, Too...

What could possibly be more lovely than this jar of jam?   It is so beautiful in its simplicity.  I just ordered three jars of jam and one jar of caramel sauce from this company called We Love Jam.  I found them in a Tasting Table newsletter and the stuff is on the way to me.  There are some flavors that are so popular that you have to email them to get on a waiting list for them.  The jams are made slowly and with seasonal organic fruits.  I had to post about it just because the photo was so pure and sweet...get it...sweet!!!

I did not grow up on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.  To this day my sister and I only eat Peter Pan Creamy Peanut Butter and it almost always has to be on a piece of bread that does not have another piece of bread on the top.  Of course now it is not the lovely mooshy Wonder or Tip Top bread of my is a whole grain organic something or other.

My husband has influenced me enough to actually try a closed peanut butter sandwich that has jam on it but I can only use apricot or peach...I have no clue why.  My husband loves and prefers cherry, blueberry and anything raspberry.  I think differences such as this make the world go around!!!

How do you prefer your peanut butter sandwiches and what is your peanut butter brand?

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

This Is What I Love About Blogging... And A Giveaway...A Signed Copy Of James LePore's Book!!!

Yesterday I reviewed a book written by James LePore.  It was entitled A World I Never Made.  Soon after publishing my review I received an email from James LePore telling my that I warmed his heart. sweet is that?

I also learned a few really cool things about this author...his wife is as cat crazy as I am,  they had two cats aged 18 and 22 who recently died,  and they just adopted two shelter cats...Frankie and Luca.  He used to be a lawyer.  He is a photographer and he writes really suspenseful novels with amazing flawed characters. 

And that is just one of the amazingly truly wondrous things about blogging...actual real virtual contact with the author.  I love it!!!

Since this was my first author question and answer interview...I asked him some totally irrelevant questions, which he was sweet enough to answer for me.

When I asked him if he would mind my questions...this is what he said...

I would be happy to do this. Now that you know the kind of novel I write, you will understand why I worry that women readers (probably about 80% of the world's novel readers) may not be willing to give my books a try. I think my female characters are strong and very real, but flawed (think of Megan Nolan) as we all are. The character Isabel Perez, in Blood of My Brother, is another such woman. Maybe your blog can help me reach more women readers. It would be a blessing.

Patty speaking...or rather writing...I loved Megan Nolan...she was tough and strong and brave and clever. 

Then of course I asked James what his favorite cookie is...

1. My favorite cookie is the original Toll House chocolate chip. I devoured them with milk when I was a kid, and still do, only now I drink skim milk!

Next came fave drink...

2. My favorite drink is is either Glenlivet on the rocks or a bourbon Manhattan. One of these has marked the end of many a long day for me.

Next was fave author...

3. There are too many in my Hall of Fame to choose just one. I will give you three: Scott Fitzgerald, Jane Austin and Ernest Hemingway.

Next was the most frustrating thing about writing...

4. In the suspense genre, pace is as important, if not more so, than characterization. I have had to leave flashbacks, for example, that delve into character's pasts, on the cutting room floor, because, as my editor constantly reminds me, they would slow the novel down. I am stubborn though. I have turned many of these 'saved darlings' into short stories, three of which are out now in a slim volume called 'Anyone Can Die.'

Then came what he did to chillax...

5. I play golf when I can, and I hang out with our two cats.

Finally...what he is working on now...

6. I am about two-thirds through my fourth novel, the story of a star-quality Manhattan district attorney whose son is wrongly accused of murder. There is unexpected romance and there is a sub-plot involving some very nasty characters.

James LePore is very generously donating a signed copy of " A World I Never Made"  to one of my commentors.
Please just leave your name and email and I will use to choose a winner.  Giveaway ends on March 17th...St. Patrick's Day!!!

Good Luck!!!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

A Book Review Of A Fast Paced Suspenseful Thriller...

Product Description

Pat Nolan, an American man, is summoned to Paris to claim the body of his estranged daughter Megan, who has committed suicide. The body, however, is not Megan's and it becomes instantly clear to Pat that Megan staged this, that she is in serious trouble, and that she is calling to him for help.This sends Pat on an odyssey that stretches across France and into the Czech Republic and that makes him the target of both the French police and a band of international terrorists. Joining Pat on his search is Catherine Laurence, a beautiful but tormented Paris detective who sees in Pat something she never thought she'd find--genuine passion and desperate need. As they look for Megan, they come closer to each other's souls and discover love when both had long given up on it.Juxtaposed against this story is Megan's story. A freelance journalist, Megan is in Morocco to do research when she meets Abdel Lahani, a Saudi businessman. They begin a torrid affair, a game Megan has played often and well in her adult life. But what she discovers about Lahani puts her in the center of a different kind of game, one with rules she can barely comprehend. Because of her relationship with Lahani, Megan has made some considerable enemies. And she has put the lives of many--maybe even millions--at risk.A World I Never Made is an atmospheric novel of suspense with brilliantly drawn characters and back-stories as compelling as the plot itself. It is the kind of novel that resonates deeply and leaves its traces long after you turn the final page. 
My Review...

Murder, mystery, suspense and terrorists are what this book is about. I am not normally in the habit of reading a book of this nature but once you begin the first chapter this intense book is impossible to put down. I literally read it straight to the end…only stopping when I had to. So much for laundry…and dinner.
It is a story about a father and his daughter in alternating chapters. The premise is that Pat Nolan is called to Paris to identify his daughter’s dead body. It is believed that she has committed suicide but when Pat Nolan sees the body it is not his daughter Megan. Due to a note left behind by Megan he knows that she is alive and in grave danger.
Pat and Megan are not a typical father and daughter. They are sort of semi estranged and barely see each other. Megan is a writer and travels the world for her stories. At most the two of them would meet once a year at Christmas. Megan’s mother died during childbirth and Pat was not much of a stay at home dad.
I was immediately thrown into this totally frightening terrorist culture. No one can be trusted and anyone helping Megan or Pat is met with an extreme deadly horrible punishment. The terrorists show no mercy. Not too many people are spared. That part was really sad.
Luckily Pat meets a French detective who helps him in this quest to find his daughter and as he soon learns, he is also now searching for his grandson. Megan has reasons to hide her newborn from his father…a very wealthy extremist. Her faked death is the only way she can do this.
There is so much going on within this novel. The minute you think you can catch your breath…someone else is caught up in Megan’s plight and my breathless reading began all over again.

There is an amazing ending. There is a love story. There is hope.

I truly did enjoy this book. Again…not to overstate this but I could not put this book down. I just had to sit and read it until I couldn’t read any more. I put it away and then found myself picking it up again just to see what would happen next.

The ending was exciting.

My thanks to “Pump Up Your Book” and Lou Aronica for sharing this author with me.

Monday, March 7, 2011

I Hate Myself Today...

We are having lamb chops for dinner.  We never usually have lamb chops for anything.  I am a self professed flexitarian.  I try to avoid meat most of the time.  We did not eat one bite of meat last week.  We had grains and lentils and veggies and pasta.  I was so proud of this achievement.  But...I threw it all away at Fresh Market's unbelievable meat counter on Saturday.  The butcher talked me into them.  My husband gazed longingly at them.  I thought of how they would caramelize beautifully in a pan on top of the stove with olive oil and garlic and finish off beautifully in the oven.  I thought of them resting while I deglazed the pan with white wine and then made a lovely sauce of shallots and herbs and butter and a dash of dijon mustard.  I thought of potatoes au gratin along side of them.  I gave in. 

Dinner will be lovely but...

I hate myself today...

You can buy this cute lamb chop at

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Raining Cats And...Well...More Cats...

Today is a rainy rainy rainy Sunday.  Not any of us, Patty, Lucy Grace or Dennis wish to go outside or move from our respective comfy chairs and sofas and rockers.  It is tax prep time so that means extra work for Dennis.  It means depression and lots of angst.  It means not much fun.  I hate tax time.  So does Lucy Grace.  Dennis is not much fun for either one of us.  Oh well.  Tax time also makes me yearn to be frugal.  No more books or clothes until April 19th...hee hee hee.   Probably put a hold on shoes and bags and neat bracelets, too.  It will be good for me.  I think.  It will strengthen my character.  I will read books I already own.  These are the thoughts that run through my head on rainy Sundays during tax prep time.

Other stuff...

I just finished Amanda Hocking's book, My Blood Approves.  It was good, really really good.  It involves vampires and ordinary people living in Minnesota.  Pretty much a book about meeting a vampire and that vampire has bloodlust for one particular person, Alice, and her struggle to understand what is happening to her.  The vampire family is living a relatively normal life and are just totally infatuated with Alice.  They hold the belief that you are drawn to certain people but the person that she is drawn to, Peter, appears to hate being anywhere near Alice. The vampires in this book were rich, unbelievably attractive ,of course, and as normal as vampires can be. They truly care about Alice and try to help her make the choice that will make her happy.  This is the first book in the Trilogy so I don't have a clue what choice Alice will make.  I just started the second book today.

Just as I began this book I read articles about Amanda Hocking in
The Huffington Post and also in Novelr.  She literally is self published through Amazon.  She began selling her novels as 99 cent ebooks on Kindle.  I read an interview where she said that in the beginning she read her first novel 50 times to proof it and there were still mistakes she could not she stated that she just hired a professional proofreader.  The stats I read said she had sales of 750 K just for this past January. Her story is indeed very interesting.  I hope you have the time to read it. are you spending your lovely Sunday whether it is raining or not?