Showing posts from March, 2016

First Paragraph, First Chapter

Bucharest, Romania 1984
Miruna, MY LEGAL ASSISTANT, peeked into my office doorway. '"A big man in the waiting room says he wants to discuss a case."' She shrugged. '"That's all he will tell me."' Bibliophile By the Sea

Daily Prompt Edge

For a very long time, people believed they could fall from the edge of the earth. That must have been awful to live with such a fear. It's not hard for me to understand their belief and their feelings. My first time visiting an island was frightening. If we drove far enough, I thought we would reach the end of the island or edge of the ocean. If we didn't stop the car quickly or turn around, our lives would end. It's strange how the mind can turn on a silly thought, and believe it. I cringed each time we had gotten to a certain point of the island.

Now I think of these thoughts as a good plot for a Science Fiction movie. I'm sure my feelings have changed about the dangerous edge. I wonder if anyone else has experienced this feeling while visiting an island. I must have missed facts in Geography class. I'm not sure whether islands end abruptly. Is their en edge like an edge to a cliff? Is it possible to go too far and fall into the ocean? I could swear we came to t…

It's Hard

The loaf of bread is stale. It is always on the wooden table in the kitchen. It is there because sometimes it's the only food the family have to eat. After traveling across the sea, the Boones never got themselves up and going again. The father was unable to hold a job. He had a skill, fishing. Too discouraged to lift a fishing rod or to put bait on his hook, he sat in front of the t.v. with the sound turned down and let colorful cartoon characters pass by while he waited for the commercials. No, his father had never grown up.

The waters in this part of Atlantic City were so polluted fishermen were giving up their jobs quickly and headed further into the city. They hoped to find work in construction or in a factory. Nathan never did find a job lasting over six months. He never left home. Leaving his brood his brood of three children and a memory of a dead wife and mother was not an option.

The oldest child, sixteen year old, James, carried the load for the family. …

Easter, He has risen.

Isaiah 53:5 - But he [was] wounded for our transgressions, [he was] bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace [was] upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

Lost hope, how often? More than three hundred sixty-five times and more. Wanting to believe that no bridge in life would ever break due to high, stormy winds. Then, regaining my equilibrium somewhere and remembering that God will never leave me. On hopeless days, He draws closer than ever. Again, this reminds me of the familiar Footsteps in the Sand. There are so many renditions. These thoughts leave me more than thankful for Easter Sunday this year. I am thankful God rise again to walk with me through sufferings present, past and future. He knows my days. He does not grow tired or weak, and His ear is open to every cry I make. Isaiah 53:5 - But he [was] wounded for our transgressions, [he was] bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace [was] upon him; and with his stripes we are heal…

Luna Sea by Jessica Sherry

It's taken me a hot moment to get into this book. Luna Sea by Jessica Sherry. It has finally begun to catch my interest. I am curious about the distressed red headed woman who disappears after Delilah sees her. '"Then, search the beach! The marsh!"' I argued. '"She's out there somewhere, and she's in trouble. She was convulsing, Lewis. Her lips were blue and her pulse was racing. She needs help!"'

I liked the Oceanic facts mentioned at the beginning of each chapter. The author slips sea facts into metaphors that fit whatever or wherever the character is in the book: Triggerfish, Angelfish, etc. There is also poetry and proverbs like "finders keepers."  Lo and behold, there are also scriptures. Mainly the one in the Bible about a sound mind. For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. II Timothy 1:7

Delilah often thinks about this scripture. She suffers with panic attacks and other…

The Cracked Spine by Paige Shelton

In The Cracked Spine by Paige Shelton, Delaney Nichols begins a new life at The Cracked Spine Bookstore. She has come from Kansas and traveled all the way to Edinburgh, Scotland. The Cracked Spine sells rare books. They also have manuscripts for trade. Almost as soon as Delaney Nichols begins work there a murder happens which involves the owner of the store, Edwin McAllister. Edwin's sister, Jenny, is "brutally" murdered in her flat. Delaney is no shrinking violet. She wants to figure out what happened and why and did someone steal a Folio from her flat.

This Scottish cozy involves the writings of Shakespeare and the disappearance of a book, a classic, titled The Adventures of Roderick Random by Smollett. I really enjoyed reading about specifically titled books and just simple anecdotes about books. Delaney is passionate about books and Scottish History. She has experience in the museum and library work.

I also liked how quickly Edwin, Hamlet and the staff took to Delan…

Teaser Tuesday

I blushed. '"I'm sorry. I need to be more professional. Men don't wear kilts in Kansas. It was an--interesting sight. We have more serious things going on though."'

First Chapter, First Paragraph

"Since 1800, THE WHITE HOUSE has served as a residence for the president of the United States. The eighteen acres that surround the White House have been the Forrest Gump of gardens--an unwitting witness to history--a backdrop for Civil War soldiers, suffragettes, protestors in the 1960's and activists today."(Timber Press)

The Supremes at Earl's All-You-Can-Eat by Edward Kelsey Moore

Have you peeked at my books on the shelf? This one has been there awhile. It called to me this morning. Its voice loud and clear. I had to answer it. Picked the novel up and started it. The writing style blew me away. Usually, a novel carries me from my world to another one. This one just led me back into a world of memories and into a Still Life painting I might have observed in a museum. Let me share a bit with you.

"I grabbed the water pitcher and saw a bowl of grapes sitting next to it looking cool and delicious...I sat down at what had been my place at the table for three decades and poured a glass of water. Then I popped a handful of grapes into my mouth and started to feel better."

Suddenly I could see myself back at the dining room table eating breakfast, lunch or dinner with my family. I could taste the grapes or bananas eaten with my children on a trip to a beach. It all flew back in my mind as quickly as the birds fly back from the South …

It's spring. I want to go riding.

It is  the first day of spring. I haven't seen one daffodil. That is why a bike ride is in store for me. My desire is to ride up and down the country roads. I will ride slowly. Watching the streets for the daffodils written about by William Wordsworth. Then, I will write a page in my journal like his sister, Dorothy. I wanted to go riding yesterday. It was impossible. I'm stuck in this asylum. This is where the voices speak louder than any squawking peacock. They say, "don't go! Stay here! Stay away from the unseen dangers created by haunted angels."
I might as well obey. Is it possible to escape from walls built so high? There is a family story. Once a third cousin on a walk with hospital patients slipped away and into the woods. "Was she ever found?" This is the question I ask my mother over and over. She looks far away. Not one word comes from her lips. I hush. I will ask God tonight in my prayers. Mother has secrets. There is so much she refuses to…

Possessed By Passion by Brenda Jackson (Netgalley)

Will Tyson Steele and Hunter McKay give in to their feelings for one another? That is the question that needs answering in Possessed By Passion by Brenda Jackson. They met one another eighteen years ago. Now they meet again. Tyson Steele is one of five brothers. Hunter McKay is an owner of an Architectural firm. When they meet again, Tyson comes off as very aggressive. When I say he wants Hunter, I' am not kidding. The problem for me is that he doesn't say he loves her as much as he wants to take her into his bedroom. He's sweating her that's for sure. His approach smothered me. I think it smothered Hunter too. Besides, Hunter has been hurt. Brenda Jackson describes how painful a divorce can become by writing about Hunter's husband, Mr. Robinson. He stole all of her clients. That really made me sad. In Phoenix, she starts her business from the bottom up.

It did surprise me when Nadine Robinson, Hunter's mother-in-law, showed understanding and kindness to Hunte…


I heard a minister talking to me this morning. His voice as clear as a lake. So clear I wanted to wash my face with his voice. The water should drip over my face like truths told. Then, I came to myself. There wasn't a minister talking. It was God. Fully awake, I knew now it was time to face what I didn't know. Face what I had searched for time and time and time again in my mind. Face the fact that there was trouble somewhere close. No happy ending, no straight path, no sweet lullaby by Brahms.
I would need a hand to hold. An ear in which to whisper a word of thought. A borrowed handkerchief on which to wipe my tears. Now, I am wide awake. Something tells me I'm in a pity party. I'm looking through a glass half-empty. A sigh, whatever way my thoughts turn God is still there. Not blaming me. Not asking me hard questions. Just waiting with answers, His patience and His loving kindness.
So, I have turned to a smaller Bible. One where the prayers are as close as a priest&…


The black and white cat
is still.
It watches through the bed
of daffodils
as the gardeners plant their bulbs
and seeds
and listen to the whistling chimes
blow away
the ghostly shadows of the night.(hn)

The Wicked Duke by Madeleine Hunter (Netgalley)

My goodness, it's certainly easy to tell that women in earlier centuries, survived horrible troubles. Thought of as the weaker sex Marianne and Nora's future hangs in the balance. It is up to the men in the family to keep them and to choose when and whom they may marry. Whether they inherit is placed under a clause called entailment. Poor Marianne, worries about her sister, Nora. If their Uncle Horace chooses to marry her off too soon and to the wrong Mr. Right, her future will change for the worse. Nora is already unhappy after having suffered a fever and/or fall.

While reading about these two women in Madeleine Hunter's The Wicked Duke, I had a chance to look closely at the lives of the women. So much drama! I was shocked to read about a serious attempt at suicide by one of the women. Also, reading about the weak turn of  one's mind was interesting. Really, really good is the life Marianne leads. To save money for her sister, she writes letters for the newspaper usi…

Help Me, I've Fallen and I can't get up by T.D. Jakes

When I first looked at T.D. Jakes' "Help Me, I've fallen and I can't get up," I didn't like the title. All I could see was that earlier t.v. commercial about the elderly woman falling out of the bed and crying for help. The ad just seemed to remind me of my coming old age. T.D. Jakes does write about the broadcast. "Like the woman in the commercial, we must put aside fear, pride, or embarrassment and learn not only how to ask for help but Whom to ask. After all, help is just a breath away." It wasn't long after the first page of the devotional that my mind changed. Thank goodness, God helps us through His Holy Spirit to see truth and think clearly. Each page is powerful and helpful.

I can now say, "my goodness, the title is about me." I have fallen and always feel helpless to get back on the right track. This book is like a primer. It describes the way I might have fallen that day. It shows what God would like to see in my character. …

Corregiodra by Gayl Jones (SPOILER)

When I bought this book, Corregidora by Gayl Jones years ago, I had no idea what the title meant. Corregidora is a family name. We meet Corregidora, and boy, does he leave a big footprint on the face. It's he who is in the stories of Ursa's great grandmother, grandmother and Ursa's mama. He's incorrigible. His life leads us into the lives of the other men and women in the novel. These are the men who enter Ursa's life. Sadly, the men don't come out smelling like roses.

This led me to think about the Black man just for a while. For a moment, I wanted to think about what makes a man so mean to the woman he supposedly loves. One like Tadpole, whom I respected at first. I wanted him to care for Ursa and make her feel good about herself. Instead, he humiliates her. She sees the darn man making love to a young woman in their bed. I think she was really young, in her teens? I know, let's bark and growl at him. Woof, Woof! Call him those lowdown, mean names.


First Snow by Ted Kooser

The old black dog comes in one evening
with the first few snowflakes on his back
and falls asleep, throwing his bad leg out
at our excitement. This is the night
when one of us gets to say, as if it were news,
that no two snowflakes are ever alike;
the night when each of us remembers something
snowier. The kitchen is a kindergarten
steamy with stories. The dog gets stiffly up
and limps away, seeking a quiet spot
at the heart of the house. Outside,
in silence, with diamonds in his fur,
the winter night curls round the legs of the trees,
sleepily blinking snowflakes from his lashes.

All The Presidents' Gardens by Marta McDowell

At first, I had a hard time liking  "All The Presidents' Gardens" by Marta McDowell. It seemed dry, not very exciting. Soon my feelings changed. I began to read the quotations and quickly scan the pages for details. Shortly I found myself saying, this fact is interesting, and I didn't know about this either.  After all, eighteen acres of land where any part may be filled with a bush, tree, vegetable or rose must have plenty of trivia to learn and read about during the winter when you're not gardening or during the spring, summer, fall when you are gardening heavily. So, Marta McDowell's non-fiction became a pleasant experience. Not every President of the United States has written about in the book. Only the ones who garden while living at the White House are mentioned. Also in some instances, the wives of the presidents are mentioned. Oh, and gardeners are listed in the book as well. There are pictures. Sadly, they are not in color. I would have liked to see…

My Seneca Village...Marilyn Nelson Netgalley ARC

From 1825 to around 1857, there were African Americans, Native Americans, Irish and German people living in the area now known as Central Park. Marilyn Nelson in My Seneca Village made the men and women live again through poetry and added fictional layers. Thankfully, due to her research and work these ancestors can live again in our minds. Forgetting them is impossible because all of them were individuals. Some lived quiet, ordinary lives and some lived through periods that live on in our history books. The poetry is inspiring. I could hear their screams, see their pottery or  curios, see them walking, running, and I met real heroes and heroines of the past like Nat Turner, Harriet Beecher Stowe,  Emily Dickinson, etc. At the end of the book, there are the poetic forms used by Marilyn Nelson.

This early in the Nineteenth century it was surprising to learn that African Americans enjoyed Shakespeare. James Hewlett, was a "famous black tragedian." Perhaps, he acted the part …

Dressed - for - Death by Julianna Deering

In Dressed - for - Death by Julianna Deering, there is a Regency masquerade party given at the Cummins' home. At their Winteroak House, there is fun and danger during that time. The party goers are dressed in Regency period costumes. This brings up the subject of literature during their conversations. Jane Austen's novels Emma, Pride And Prejudice and Mansfield Park are discussed along with the poems of Byron. Cotillions and Quadrilles are danced and romance is in the air along with the presence of a protective mother, Mrs. Cummins, Doctor Cummins' wife. There is also the married couple, Nick and Carrie and friends, Drew and Madeleine. There is Alice and her fiance' Talcott or Tal. Tal's parents are Doctor and Mrs. Cummins. There are also inspectors from Scotland Yard and other guests.

Usually, I don't  introduce characters in the first paragraph of a book review. This time I wanted to do it. The Christian mystery is definitely character driven. There is this …

Corregidora by Gayl Jones

I am feeling discouraged. It's about Corregidora by Gayl Jones. I tried not to feel down while reading it. It's impossible. There is one four letter word that occurs over and over again. Each page I hope it won't appear. No, it's there again.  The issue is not the plot. The plot is great. There are important issues addressed such as women with careers, men dealing with alcohol and becoming to rough with women and youth striving to find their sexual identity, etc. But the four letter word beginning with "F" dances habitually on the page. Still, the characters seem like living people whom I might have known or know. This is why it's hard not to just throw the novel across the room. There is this bed of underlying compassion and a woman who knows something about life. Plus, I know Gayl Jones is a famous author who wrote many other novels.

Perhaps, addressing the issue here will make me read on and finish. It's a small novel. Also, there is dialogue abou…


I love to hum. I know. I hum off tune. Anyway, while reading "The Coming" by Daniel Black, I had the chance to read about the joy or relief slaves took in humming. Now, I'm reading Corregidora by Gayl Jones with a group on Good reads. Lo and behold, humming is mentioned. This time not by slaves.
The main character is a Blues singer. Here is a passage about her humming. "Consequences. It seems as if you're not singing the past, you're humming it."

Death At The Voyager Hotel by Kwei Quartey

This is the second mystery, Death at the Voyager Hotel, that I've read by Kwei Quartey. This one involved a woman named Heather. She's a schoolteacher. Takes place in Ghana, Africa. The hardest part of the novel I found was learning to spell the Detective's name. So, I could at least try pronouncing it. Looking forward to going back to Ghana again in another mystery soon.

Best Poems of the Bronte Sisters by Emily, Anne And Charlotte Bronte (NetGalley)

Not to read Charlotte Bronte's poem titled Parting seemed impossible for me. Whether by death or something more temporal like travel, I have experienced those moments of missing friends and relatives for days, months and years. At times, I've wondered how to live through the pain of missing their chatter, their laughter, or their tears. My feelings can become wild and full of despair and a seesaw ride back to numbness where I retreat. Charlotte speaks of joy and memories in this poem. What should a person lock on to when the pain of parting is still driving their life?I can feel Charlotte Bronte's grief.  Her use of the word "condemned"  seems so final and morbidly sad. However, remembering can give release from the gloominess of their departure. We can hear again, see again, feel again in our minds what was once felt in a more tangible way. It's like serendipity. In our minds, Charlotte Bronte writes, there is visual manipulation. We will think of one anothe…