100+ Reading Challenge 2009
Chloe Hobbs is half sorceress and half human. She is still busy learning just what powers she has and what to do with them. She owns a very successful knitting shop called Sticks & Stones and yes, this was a huge attraction for me when reading this book. I love books having anything to do with knitting. There’s a little bit of everything in this book – the paranormal, romance, and even some knitting tips and patterns in the back.
Chloe is totally in love with Luke and he with her. Luke is the completely human temporary police chief in Sugar Maple. Luckily Luke is the type of guy who hasn’t had much of a problem adapting to being surrounded by vampires, werewolves and witches, to name a few. He also seems to take being shrunk into a miniature Ken doll quite well too when Chloe gets a little crazy.
Chloe is hoping to make Luke a permanent fixture in Sugar Maple and is attempting to convince the town folk of that. All of a sudden the earth is shaking and it’s a reminder to Chloe that Isadora, the Fae leader she banished a while back is demanding attention. Meanwhile, there’s been an accident and Luke rushes out to check it out. Turns out it’s his ex-wife claiming that their dead daughter Steffie has contacted her and is trying to contact him as well. Chloe is stunned – daughter, what daughter? Luke never mentioned having a daughter and Chloe is more than a little upset.
Steffie’s spirit is being held hostage by Isadora and she isn’t letting her go until Chloe removes the banishment spells. This may seem pretty straight forward but by doing this Chloe could end up losing Sugar Maple and she definitely doesn’t want to do that. However she also can’t stand the thought of a child being held forever in such an awful place. In this way she sympathizes with Luke’s ex-wife Karen. Surprisingly, Chloe ends up liking Karen and vice versa. They find they have a lot in common with each other especially knitting.
The story takes us through some twists and turns and kept me on the edge of my seat wondering what would happen next. There were many laugh out loud moments for me in this book and I really loved the characters with Chloe definitely being my favorite. I have reserved Casting Spells at the library and intend to read it soon to get the first part of this story but I do have to say that the ending of Laced with Magic really threw me for a loop. I was not expecting the very huge twist at the end of the book and it definitely left things wide open for another book in this series. I simply can’t wait to read it and find out what happens next.
Finally, after poking around the back of the book with the knitting tips, etc.; I couldn’t resist and had to try out one of the patterns. It’s a really easy one and fun to do. I made it on bigger needles with soft baby wool so it’s very cuddly and lacy like. To finish off today I’m leaving you with a picture of it, not a great picture, but you can kind of see how it turned out. I’m going to use it as a shawl I think – a nice big, cuddly one…
I read Laced with Magic for Barbara Bretton’s blog tour with Pump Up Your Book Promotion so many thanks to Dorothy for the opportunity to participate. You can visit Barbara Bretton’s website here. You can purchase Laced with Magic here in the US and here in Canada.
Carrie Host is 40 years old when she is told that she has a rare form of cancer: carcinoid tumors. She is a mother of three children, two older and a ten-month old baby. She is quite simply devastated. Carcinoid cancer is resistant to chemo and radiation; the only option is surgery and even with surgery this type of cancer usually comes back. Carrie goes home to prepare for surgery and of course all she can think about is what will happen to her family, will she see her children grow up and get married and have children of their own.
This book is a very honest portrayal of cancer and what it is like to deal with it and live through it. We’re taken through Carrie and her husband Amory finding the best team of doctors for her and then through the pain ridden journey she is on after her surgery. Carrie was fortunate in that she not only has a wonderful husband but a great support system altogether in family and friends. She also had the benefit of good insurance which goes a long way to getting good treatment as well. For me, my heart just broke for her reading her very personal thoughts about her family and her very real fears for herself and them.
From the moment I opened this book I had a hard time putting it down. It is difficult to read and yet hopeful at the same time. Carrie pulls the reader deeply into her story with her flowing writing style. I found this book to really have an impact on me. I’ve had several people in my family pass from cancer but my aunt and a very close friend were the two I was closest too. My aunt spent her time at our house when having her chemo treatments and it is painful to watch them lose their hair and be tired and depressed and know there isn’t much you can do to help. As a family member and friend you too feel helpless in the face of this awful ravaging disease.
Thankfully Carrie is still with us and has been successful in fighting her cancer. Obviously she will have to be vigilant all the time but she first started her battle in 2003 and she is here and sharing her story with us now. I think this novel would be comforting to cancer patients to read – someone who understands what they’re going through – someone who gets it. It’s also helpful for those of us who have been through this disease with someone else or are now dealing with it. It gave me great insight into how my aunt and my friend felt in the face of their cancer.
Carrie compares her journey with cancer to a river and it is an excellent comparison. Instead of trying to explain what I probably can’t I’ll share this quote with you that I found so profound…
- ‘You are on the river. You are in a boat, and it even has oars. You have the distinct sense that these simple facts are about to change. You hear the distant roar of the great falls you are headed for, as the river’s current gains speed and depth beneath you. I can barely hear his voice above the rolling waves that are taking me down. The oars are stripped away and the oarlocks are empty. I hold on to the boat but it does not hold on to me. I can just make out the word cancer amid the deafening roar and spray, and then the river swallows me up and every sound with me.’ (pg 25)
I will not soon forget Carrie’s memoir and it will remain on my shelves as one I may pick up again. I also have to make mention of the absolutely beautiful cover. Make sure to visit Carrie’s website here and you can purchase Between Me and the River here in the US and here in Canada.
Thanks to Lisa Roe for the opportunity to read this beautiful book.
The Promised World by Lisa Tucker is a very deep novel that is moving, sad, and yet hopeful. Despite all the craziness of my world the last few weeks, when I sat down with this novel I could just feel myself able to get away for a while and lose myself in Lisa Tucker’s story of Lila and her twin brother Billy. There are many issues tackled in this novel ranging from child abuse and its effects to memory loss and its effects. It’s a novel that I found quite good.
Lila, a professor, is sitting in her office at the university when she learns that her twin brother has committed ‘suicide by police’. In other words he put himself in a situation where the police would have no option but to kill him. For Lila, this is the end of life as she has known it. She is completely devastated to the point where she can no longer function. She and Billy shared a special bond that went even beyond the bond of twins. They experienced a childhood that left them with each other and only each other to rely on.
Lila’s husband Patrick is at a loss as to what he can do for her. Unfortunately Lila and Patrick, although married for many years, have never really shared anything from their past lives. In truth, he knows nothing about his wife except the small things she has told him. When Lila ends up in the hospital and Patrick is being questioned about his wife’s past he realizes that he never really made an effort to know anything. He had liked that neither he or Lila dragged their past lives into their marriage. However, now he realizes how important it was that he should have tried to learn more about her and Billy as he had often thought that they had a strange relationship even for twins.
Before his suicide Billy had already been spiraling downwards. He believed there was a curse on their family which also extended to his own family of his wife and three kids. Billy was a very troubled individual, so troubled that he went as far as to try to teach his son things that actually put him in harm’s way although really in his mind he was trying to protect him. His kids were his world. When they were taken away from him, his life ceased to exist.
The story builds piece by piece to the end when we finally learn what had happened to Lila and Billy in their mother’s house. Their mother was an evil woman who should never have had children. She took young and impressionable children and essentially ruined their lives. Or did she? Yes and no because they did eventually get away although the road to escape was a wild one and they both built lives beyond what had occurred. However, can you ever really get away from a troubled childhood? Most people can’t and it has both a lasting and huge impact on their lives.
Both Lila and Billy are characters that will stick with you. Although Billy dies early in the novel he is still such a huge part of it. I was drawn into their world, their fears, and their deep and painful hurts. Later with Lila learning in bits and pieces of her past life your heart just yearns to comfort her. You will find it hard to put this book down as the desire to know what happened to these kids and how it will all turn out is much too great. The Promised World – for Lila and Billy – is a place to feel safe and be safe – a secret world of their own making.
I read The Promised World for Lisa Tucker’s blog tour with TLC Book Tours so many thanks to Lisa for my copy of the book and having me participate. You can visit Lisa Tucker’s website here and check out the rest of her tour stops here.
The Day The Falls Stood Still by Cathy Marie Buchanan is quite simply a beautiful novel. It is beautiful in the history told and the writing and it really surprises me that this is Cathy’s first novel. If The Day The Falls Stood Still is any indication of what we can expect from her then I’ll be waiting anxiously for her next novel. I also have to make mention of this cover. It is gorgeous and up close in my hands even better.
This novel is part history and part love story and I truly enjoyed both aspects. The story takes place from 1915 -1923 and relates many aspects of the struggles that took place over the Queenston Powerhouse ruining Niagara Falls – as power was evolving the river was diminishing. In addition Cathy wove a beautiful love story between Bess and Tom Cole, who is actually based on a real fellow who lived back when all this was happening. Tom Cole is a riverman; he feels and hears the river, he is kind of like one with the river and can predict things that will happen to do with it.
Bess comes from a well-to-do family. At the start of the novel Bess has been attending Loretta Academy but she is about to find out that her father has lost his job and she is no longer the well off girl she was. Bess returns home to her mother, father and sister Isabel. Isabel is suffering a broken heart as her beau dumped her after her father lost his job. Bess is determined to cheer her up but can the deep sadness from a broken heart ever really heal? A tragedy occurs that leaves Bess knowing what she wants from her life and that is Tom Cole and a life with him no matter what her family thinks.
There were so many things in this novel that I enjoyed. It really has to be read and experienced first hand to really understand the depth of things going on. Bess was a dressmaker and I don’t know why but I love to read about the making of clothes so this was also an intriguing point of the book for me. The history was a huge plus for me as it is in any novel I read. When I can learn something, I’m impressed. I feel a little more in tune with my own Canadian history now. The characters are all well developed and Bess and Tom will grab your heart and not let go throughout the entire journey. It was also interesting to read about the struggles that families went through in Canada with the war going on and their men off fighting. Within the book as well are actual newspaper articles and pictures which made it even more interesting.
One of my favorite quotes in the book (and there are many) comes from the beginning of the novel when Bess first sets eyes on Tom…
- ‘As always, our procession paused at the falls, and I looked into the water of the upper river, at the round stones of the riverbed, each large enough to resist being torn from its resting place and flung over the brink. Clear water hurtled past the stones, then shattered to white as it plunged to the river below. Standing there at the brink of the falls, I asked for a young man to be spared, a young man for me’. (pg 14, advanced reader’s copy)
This novel made me laugh and it made me cry. The ending gave me shivers as the past comes back to save the future in a way. I would definitely recommend this to anyone looking for a historical novel with a good old fashioned love story. It’s one of my favorites this year! Don’t forget to check out Cathy’s guest post and giveaway that she was kind enough to share with us yesterday.
You can visit Cathy Marie Buchanan’s website here. The Day The Falls Stood Still was released August 25 and you can buy it here in the US and here in Canada. My thanks to Diane for my review copy of The Day The Falls Stood Still. I’m going to leave you with the book trailer. Enjoy…
The Weight of Silence by Heather Gudenkauf is a riveting mixture of family drama, mystery and suspense in the form of an abduction and the regrets we all feel from those decisions we sometimes make that end up impacting our whole lives. This novel kept me on the edge of my seat and turning the pages as fast as I could to find out how in the world it would end.
It is the early hours of the morning when Calli awakens and really has to use the bathroom. However she can hear that her father hasn’t left yet for his fishing trip and she wants to avoid him. She just can’t hold it though so she’s going to try and sneak by him. Unfortunately it doesn’t work and he calls her out on the porch. He gets angry with her as he does so often and decides to haul her out into the woods. You might wonder why Calli doesn’t yell out for her mother but you see she can’t – she suffers from selective mutism.
When Calli is four years old she and her family suffer a unimaginable tragedy which causes Calli to stop talking. Calli though has a friend in Petra. With Petra she doesn’t have to talk; Petra always seems to know what Calli is thinking or needing and she essentially becomes Calli’s voice. So, on the morning that Calli gets taken into the woods by her alcoholic father, Petra is at her bedroom window and sees someone going into the woods. Is it Calli and her father she sees or is it someone else? Whoever it is that Petra sees going into the woods causes her to leave the house in her pajamas to catch up to them which leads to two missing girls – Calli and Petra.
The Weight of Silence is told in several alternating viewpoints -Calli’s, Petra’s, Antonia (Calli’s mother), Ben (Calli’s brother), Martin (Petra’s father) and Deputy Sheriff Louis. Even with all these alternating voices the story is not confusing or jumbled. It flows from beginning to end as it builds up to the heart pounding ending. The only thing I would say is that I wish there would have been more from both Calli and Petra. When their sections ended I was always left with wanting more from that part of the story.
This is a debut novel for Heather Gudenkauf and if this novel is any indication then she is an author to watch. As I said this was a hard one to put down. It is written in such a way that you feel you are in the story, you are feeling the drama unfold around you and you are desperately wanting to know what the conclusion will be. The Weight of Silence would make a wonderful book club pick as well. There are so many issues ranging from alcoholism to abuse and family dynamics.
Please be sure to pop by Heather Gudenkauf’s website here and you can pick up The Weight of Silence here in the US and here in Canada. I read this novel for Heather’s TLC Book Tour so thank you so much Trish with TLC Book Tours for the opportunity to read this great book. Make sure to check out all the tour stops for The Weight of Silence here. As well You can buy The Weight of Silence at a discount! Use the coupon code SILENCE10 at eharlequin.com for 10% off of The Weight of Silence, and this is effective August 1 – September 15 at eHQ for print or digital.
I’m going to leave you with the book trailer for The Weight of Silence. Enjoy…