Welcome to the MOSL Book Challenge

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Anne of Green Gables by Maud Montgomery

Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert, elderly brother and sister, had never married. They live at Green Gables, their parents' farm on Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, Canada. A neighbor went to the mainland to adopt a little girl. Marilla decided Matthew needed a boy to help on the farm, so they asked the neighbor to bring them back a boy of 10 or 11.

When Matthew went to pick up the boy at the train station, the only child there is a freckled, red-haired, 11-year-old GIRL! He took her home, since he couldn't very well leave her at the station. She talked incessantly all the way home, and by the time they got there, Matthew was enchanted. Marilla, though, was very unhappy and the next day took her back to the neighbor. But even she had second thoughts and ended up taking her back home again.

Her name is Anne Shirley, and she is totally irrepressible. She is always getting in trouble, not because she means to, but because trouble just seems to find her. She has a lively imagination, which causes no end of complications in her life. Eventually, Matthew and Marilla can't even imagine their life without her.

This is another favorite children's book that I read because it is over 100 years old. I enjoyed it thoroughly; I had forgotten what a delight Anne Shirley was.

198 pages
Published in 1908

The woman from Paris, a novel by Santa Montefiore

I picked up this book solely because it had Paris in the title and had a blurb on the cover by the creator of Downtown Abbey!  It's a light bit of fluff that has nothing to do with Paris. Instead it's about a British country estate and its family. The book opens with the funeral of the current Lord Frampton. He died unexpectedly while skiing in Switzerland and the family is struggling to come to terms with his early death. His illegitimate daughter crashes the funeral and shakes the family out of their grief.  Is she really his daughter or just plotting to get her hands on a piece of the estate? Total escape reading. 392 pages.

Shattered: Reclaiming a Life Torn Apart by Violence by Debra Puglisi Sharp

In April 1998, Debra Puglisi Sharp,  wife, nurse, and mother was in her garden when a factory worker with a cocaine habit slipped in through an open door, raped her, put her his trunk, took her home with him, hogtied her and kept her captive for five days.  He shot and killed her husband Nino before she came inside.  Debra learned of Nino's murder by hearing it on the radio. That gave her the strength to loosen her ties, find a phone and call 911.

Struggling to heal from her horrendous ordeal and the devastating loss of her husband, Debra also had to endure an agonizing court trial, her children's grief, and her own crippling fear. But through her work in hospice care and as an advocate for victims of violence and trauma, she slowly recovered and rebuilt her life.  This memoir represents her attempt to make sense of a senseless crime.

304 pages

The shirt on his back by Barbara Hambly

Benjamin January is a free man of color in 1830s New Orleans.  When the book opens, Benjamin's family is down to their last two dollars and fifty cents.  The local banks have failed and Benjamin is unable to earn money as a musician because no-one can afford to host a ball or pay for piano lessons.  Enter Benjamin's friend, Lieutenant Abishag Shaw of the New Orleans police.  Shaw's just learned that his younger brother was murdered out west and wants Benjamin to go with him to find his brother's killer.  Once again, Benjamin risks losing his freedom to help out a friend. They travel up the river to join the annual fur trappers rendezvous.  Hambly manages to mix historical detail with a very engrossing adventure story. I couldn't put it down! 250 pages

Left Bank by Kate Muir

I picked up this book at the library because it was about a modern day french family.  Olivier is a hip, young french philosopher who is married to Madison, a ex-pat Texan and popular french film star. They have a young daughter, a nanny, and a cook. The story begins with their daughter's disappearance at a popular theme park just outside Paris and then looks back at the events leading up to the fateful day and its aftermath.  I felt I was getting a behind-the-scenes look  at the daily life of a french power couple and their friends.   346 pages.

The Book of Dragons by E. Nesbit

This book, originally published in 1900, is a whimsical book for grades 4-7 about dragons. There are eight short stories that pertain to dragons. Each one is different, from evil dragons to kind dragons. Did you know cats were originally dragons? If you make cats eat mice and other rodents, they may turn back into dragons, but milk and bread will keep them as cats. Other stories include princes and princesses having to go against dragons. A kind blonde princess with a heart of gold will not be harmed by dragons.

I read this book as an audio book.
Narrator: Bill Delaney
Time: 4 hours, 23 minutes
ISBN: 978587171055
Pages (Per ISBN connected with the book used to create audio book): 180

"Twelve Days" by Isabelle Rowan

In this follow up to "A Note in the Margin", John, David, and Jamie are still running the bookstore Margins and are getting ready for Christmas.  David continues to deal with the repercussions of living on the street and is trying to rebuild his relationship with his son with the help of John.  Jamie is worried that he's going to be alone forever and feels especially bad that this will be the first Christmas not spent with his mom.  I was glad to read about all three men and how they've progressed since the first book.  The ending was especially touching.  64 pages (Kindle edition).

Smokin' Seventeen by Janet Evanovich

Summary: "Where there's smoke there's fire, and no one knows this better than New Jersey bounty hunter, Stephanie Plum. The bail bonds office has burned to the ground, and bodies are turning up in the empty construction lot. To make matters worse, Stephanie is working out of a motor home she shares with a dancing bear, and Joe Morelli's old-world grandmother has declared a vendetta against her. And just when Stephanie decides it might be time to choose between the two men in her life, Morelli and Ranger, a third man from Stephanie's past moves back to Trenton..."

308 pages

"Ex Equals" by L.A. Witt

Chris Reuben and Justin Hayes served in the Navy together until three years ago when Chris left the service because of Justin.  Now Chris teaches math at a community college near a naval base when Justin signs up for one of his classes.  It makes for a very uncomfortable situation due to their former relationship and how things ended, but Justin is determined to make amends and possibly start over.  However, Chris can barely look at him let alone forgive him for his terrible behavior. 

This was a well written novella that deals with "Don't Ask Don't Tell" and the repercussions of being gay in military.  152 pages (Kindle edition).

"A Better Man" by Jaime Reese

This is the first book in "The Men of Halfway House" series and covers how that house began.  Matt Doner just finished doing a five year stint in prison for insider trading when he decides to take the money his late aunt left him and renovate a dilapidated building into a place where recently paroled men can start a new life.  Unfortunately, he doesn't have the skills needed nor the money to pay a team of workers to fix the place so he advertises for a handyman willing to work for less.  Luckily for him, Julian Capeletti has those skills and is desperate enough to take the job.  Over the course of a year, the reader is taken through the transformation of the house and the men, both of whom have issues with trust and suffer from deep wounds inflicted by family. 

I really liked this book and its main characters.  Matt and Julian come from extremely different backgrounds but find affection and acceptance with each other.  The story was very well written and difficult to put down, so I can't wait to read the rest in the series.  202 pages.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Sizzling Sixteen by Janet Evanovich

Summary (taken from Janet Evanovich's website)

  Vinnie, of Vincent Plum Bail Bonds, has run up a gambling debt of $786,000 with mobster
Bobby Sunflower and is being held until the cash can be produced.  Nobody else will pay to get Vinnie back, leaving it up to Stephanie, office manager Connie, and file clerk Lula to raise the money if they want to save their jobs.

  Being in the business of tracking down people, Stephanie, Lula, and Connie have an advantage in finding Vinnie.  If they can rescue him, it will buy them some time to raise the cash.

  Finding a safe place to hide Vinnie turns out to be harder than raising $786,000.  Vinnie’s messing up local stoner Walter “Moon Man” Dunphy’s vibe and making Stephanie question genetics.

  Between a bonds office yard sale that has the entire Burg turning out, a plan that makes Mooner’s Hobbit-Con look sane, and Uncle Pip’s mysterious bottle, they just might raise enough money to save Vinnie and the business from ruin.

  Saving Vincent Plum Bail Bonds means Stephanie can keep being a bounty hunter.  In Trenton, this involves hunting down a man wanted for polygamy, a Turnpike toilet paper bandit, and a drug dealer with a pet alligator named Mr. Jingles."

309 pages

Turn of the Screw by Henry James

This book, published in 1898, is an old ghost story regarding a new governess, her charges, and the two spirits that seem to haunt the estate. This was a very ambiguous book in some areas and detailed in others. How old is the boy, Miles? Why was Miles expelled from school? Why is the uncle the main contact and why does he want nothing to do with anything? Why are these spirits haunting the estate? I still don't know! I am much more fond of Edgar Allen Poe in regards to haunting tales. This book was hard to know what was going on in some areas, and easily understandable in others. The story reminds me why I have an English degree in creative writing instead of literature (I would love to re-write this story!).

I read this book as an audio book.

Narrator: John Brewster
Time: 4 hours, 7 minutes
Pages (Per archived version of first edition of the book): 213

I found a scanned PDF of the original book (the story was published with another story by Henry James: "Covering End").

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Redwood Bend by Robyn Carr

Posted for Diann Stark

Audio reading time: 9 hours, 26 minutes. 384 pages.

Meet Katie Malone (Danson Connor’s sister, from Hidden Summit) and her twin boys; they are on their way to Virgin River. However, before they can get there Katie has a flat tire, it starts to rain, the boys are complaining they are hungry and Katie has no clue how to change the tire. She cannot use her cellphone due to not having a signal when she suddenly hears a motorcycle approaching. 

Dylan Childress and his buddies are on the motorcycle trip of a lifetime. They see Katie and stop to help. Katie gets a good look at him and realizes he is a child film star! 

They both end up in Virgin River; Dylan is trying to drum up business for his failing charter business. Katie and the boys are reconnecting with Connor and Leslie. 

Dylan comes from a family history of broken relationships and knows that he is not good enough for Katie. However, Katie thinks otherwise!

Hidden Summit by Robyn Carr

Posted for Diann Stark

Audio reading time: 8 hours, 34 minutes. 352 pages

Leslie Petrusco transfers to Haggerty Construction branch in Virgin River just to get away from her ex-husband! They are constantly running into each other in town and he is always so happy, and tells everyone about his new wife’s pregnancy. That really chaps Leslie, because he never wanted children with her. So, off to Virgin River Leslie goes, she is the new office manager there.

Paul Haggerty, the owner’s son of Haggerty Construction, is the manger there in Virgin River. He welcomes Leslie and makes her feel like family. 

Danson Connor ran a family owned hardware store in a different town, until he witnessed a murder and was put into the witness protection program after his store was burned to the ground. His new name is Connor Danson and he now lives in Virgin River and works for Haggerty construction.

When he and Leslie first met they both could feel the attraction, but neither one was ready for a relationship. As their story unfolds you see that they both want the same things in life, they want commitment and love. Then the ex’s show up and they have to work through that before they can become involved.

Bring Me Home for Christmas by Robyn Carr

Posted for Diann Stark

Audio reading time:  7 hours, 8 minutes.  336 pages.

What Becca Timm wants most for Christmas is: getting over Denny Cutler.

Becca and Denny were so in love when they were in college. Denny broke Becca’s heart before heading off to war. She has told everyone that she is over him, she has a new boyfriend and has moved on, or has she?

She has to find out if it is truly over between her and Denny before she starts the next chapter in her life. So, she invites herself on a hunting trip with her brother and friends to Virgin River. There they will meet up with Denny and spend the weekend hunting and hanging out.

Then she breaks her ankle and cannot travel, so she is stuck in Virgin River for at least a week. Her brother leaves her behind and Denny feels responsible for the accident and agrees to take care of her.

As Christmas grows near and the town comes together for the festivities, Becca sees what has drawn Denny to Virgin River and its people. She also sees that the boy she was in love with has turned into a beautiful, strong and confident man.

As time draws near for when Becca can travel, she realizes she can’t leave for she is still in love with Denny.

Harvest Moon by Robyn Carr

Posted for Diann Stark

Audio Reading time:  8 hours, 59 minutes.  368 pages.

Kelly Matlock a rising sous-chef suddenly realizes that the life she thought she had is gone. She was in love with her married boss, who had her convinced that he was divorcing his wife, which was a lie. She has put her heart and soul into the restaurant and it broke her spirit that she could no longer work there. Her life as she had known it was gone; she goes to her sister Jillian's house in Virgin River to rest and figure out what she will do next.

As Kelly helps in Jill's garden and cooks up delicious meals with the heirloom vegetables Jillian grows, it’s a far cry from the type of cooking and lifestyle she is used to. Then she meets handsome Lief Holbrook, a widower who is a screenwriter. But less appealing is Lief's rebellious stepdaughter, Courtney. She's the reason they moved from L.A., but Courtney's finding plenty of trouble even in Virgin River. Over time Lief, Kelly and Courtney realize how much they love each other and become a family.