Friday, November 21, 2008

The Tenth Case

by Joseph Teller

The number one advise I hear for writers is to write about what you know. That's what Teller has successfully done. He was a criminal lawyer for 35 years before retiring and writing his first novel featuring defense lawyer Harrison J. Walker, better-known as Jaywalker.

The Tenth Case is a top-notch debut with the second in the Jaywalker series planned for release in 2009. That is very good news to me. I thoroughly enjoyed this court drama, meeting the intense Jaywalker, learning so much more about court 'footwork' than I already knew, and wondering clear to the end of the book who the guilty party was.

There were two main characters: Jaywalker and the case, more than the woman, he was defending. I found Jaywalker to be very likable. He is excellent at his job, preparing and working out every wrinkle that may present itself in court. He is obsessive in his desire to win each case, but he's also willing to put in the time to do so.

As the book begins Jaywalker has just been suspended for using "creative" tactics and receiving "gratitude" in the courtroom stairwell from a client charged with prostitution. He convinces the judge to let him complete ten of his cases. It's his last case that truly tests his abilities - and his acquittal record.

The tenth case is defending a young , petite and sexy woman accused of stabbing her 61-yr-old, billionaire husband. The major part of the book deals with Jaywalker's methods in solving this case with it's overwhelming evidence against the defendant. We learn much about Jaywalker as he deals with the ups and downs, the twists and turns, and the defending of such a case.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves mystery, court drama, and good writing. This is an author you are going to be hearing good things about. I think he'll be in the bestseller category real soon.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Sisters of Misery

by Megan Kelley Hall

I picked this book off the shelf on Halloween day so I could get a little dose of 'SPOOKY' this season. It was a good choice.

Hall's first YA mystery/thriller is set in a small town near Salem, Massachusetts with witch stories to rival those of Salem. There are the 3 faces of the Pickering sisters who keep mysteriously showing up on the Insane Asylum's wall even though it's been plastered and rebricked.

Maddie doesn't believe in witches, but she still won't look at the pictures. She begins to question their authenticity after her beautiful, but eccentric cousin moves in with her family. Her close girls friends don't like Maddie's cousin and try to make things miserable for her.

The title of the book comes from an agreement that select, popular girls make on the Island of Misery. This sisterhood is older than their mothers and grandmothers. The big question is how far is Maddie willing to go to protect her claim to the sisterhood.

I wasn't sure I was going to like this book when I started reading. It was obviously aimed at a high school/college age group and there was the regular bits about not feeling as good as the other popular girls, along with the problems of mother/daughter relationships. Once the cousin and her mother enter the picture the book becomes more intense. The story builds upon unanswered questions, devious schemes, mysterious people, and hidden secrets - very gothic and good. I am anxiously looking forward to the next installment of the Sisters of Misery.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Photographer's Guide to the Oregon Coast

by David Middleton & Rod Barbee

I don't usually purchase books to help me plan my trips because I feel like the internet provides more than enough information. In a moment of weakness, however, I order this book and Walking Portland and I'm so glad I did. Both were so helpful.

Photographer's Guide to the Oregon Coast provided helpful tips on picture taking, places to see, and directions to get there. Some of the spots are off Hwy 101 and would normally be missed by tourists. The one that comes to mind is the Maxwell Mountain Rd. It's a single lane road that winds up the mountain through a small town right on the coast. The view from the top was spectacular.

(Run-on sentence alert--->)Sitting in my family room during the middle of Oct planning our trip, I had about decided to not drive down the North Fork Yachats River and see that cute little covered bridge again, but as I read the authors' description of the bridge and the setting I grew nostalgic. Needless to say we did go a second time and I was thrilled to death to be standing under that huge spruce and walking through that little cute bridge again.

I wanted to focus on the David McCullough bridges, most of which are on the National Historic Registry. This book helped me locate some that I didn't know where they were and how to get to them.

We had already decided to decided to drive up to the top of Cape Perpetua, but without this book I would not have known about this cute little rock shelter that is just a short walk from the parking lot.

I highly recommend Photographer's Guide to the Oregon Coast for those planning to visit the coast or for those who live there, but don't know all there or close by is to know about the coast (that'll be me some day!).

Walking Porland

by Sybilla Avery Cook

I bought this book to help me know what buildings I was looking at when I visited Portland at the end of Oct and to help me discover other interesting sights. I didn't have any intention of walking very far because my knees are bad and my 86-yr-old mother was with us on that trip. (Truth be told, she could have out walked both Candleman and I!)

Walking Portland was very helpful and I'm very glad I bought it and used it to plan our time in Portland. There are descriptions of older buildings and tidbits about the architecture. For example, one of the architects hoped to make Portland a white city because he was fascinatedby the "City Beautiful" ideas displayed at the 1893 Chicago World's Fair and Columbian Exposition. Having read The Devil and the White and then visited Chicago that bit of information was interesting to me.

There were helpful hints on how to get a good picture of Portlandia, the 2nd larges hammered copper statue in America (the largest is the Statue of Liberty) and where to find lots of parks, both big and small.

There are pictures, but I would have liked many more. I realize if there were more pictures the cost of the book probably been more than I would have spent for this book.

All-in-all, I am very pleased with Walking Portland and I hope I get to refer to it again and again as I plan future trips.

Note - How hard is it to hold the camera so the picture doesn't come out at an angle? Good grief!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Kreativ Blogger Award

This is a dual-post, which means I posted this on In Season as well as here.

Tamara from Thyme for Tea has awarded me the Kreativ Blogger Award. I feel so honored because I don't usually feel very creative. She did say that the hats I crochet entered into her decision to choose me. I didn't think it could be my way with words!

Tamara lives in Australia where she gardens, reads, speaks French, exercises and blogs. Isn't the technoworld great that we can communicate with people from all over the world. I love it!

Now along with the award, there's a meme. I have to complete this and forward the award to others. Here goes:

7 things I've done before
1. Taught high school biology, chemistry and study skills
2. Gave birth to four daughters
3. Drove from Utah to St. John's, Newfoundland (ferries were involved)
4. Attended kindergarten in San Fransico
5. Won a contest by holding the most grapes in mouth
6. Kissed a boy nonstop for over 2 hours (it was a dare) and (he was my boyfriend at the time)
7. Lived through two serious car accidents

7 things I do now
1. Crochet
2. Read
3. Travel
4. Hug my grandchildren
5. Play 6-dice or Farkle
6. Watch TV series on DVD
7. Blog

7 things I want to do
1. Visit Denmark, Sweden and Norway
2. Reduce the number of books on my shelves that I have not read
3. Finish remodeling my house
4. Sell more of my hats and scarves (enough to pay for the yarn I've bought!)
5. Loose weight
6. Live as long as my husband
7. Go on many more driving tours of the U.S. and Canada

7 things that attract me to the opposite sex
Since I've been married for 36 years, I'm going to list what still attracts me to Candleman.
1. Good kissing, hugging . . .
2. The way he smells after showering, shaving and applying after shave
3. Integrity
4. Love of learning
5. A love of Christ and a gratitude for His many gifts to the world.
6. Enjoys driving long distances and seeing new places
7. He's a loving, kind and wise Husband, Father, Grandfather, Son-in-law, Brother, Friend, and Person.

7 Favorite Foods
1. Bakeapple berries
2. Blackberries
3. Pomegranates
4. Chocolate Mint Truffles
5. Corn on the Cob
6. Salmon
7. The Borscht made at the Russian Restaurant in Chicago and my Mom's chili

7 things I Say Most Often:
1. Yes, I'd like a 3pc chicken select meal with apple dippers instead of fries and a diet coke.
2. Thank-you
3. Will you bring me . . .
4. I never win at this game
5. Do you want an ice cream bar?
6. All these channels and nothing worth watching!
7. Hello, pillow

And now the seven people I would like to tag for this award and meme: Tamara wrote such nice things about all the people she elected for this award, but I'm just going to list my choices.

Katie from Into the Rush and Katie's Scraps (such cute, creative scapbook pages)
Alyson from In Nuce and Alyson's Scrapbook (more cute, creative scapbook pages)
Julie from Mes Bijoux
Framed from Life's a Picture and Framed and Booked
Cyndi from Yeah, I like it too
Cardine from Cardine's Blog
Alison from We're all mad here

Thursday, November 06, 2008

My Reading Personality - All Rounder!

I discovered this quiz on Raidergirl3's blog. You can take this quiz at and find out your reading personality.

Here's what my results said:
Your responses showed you fitting equally into all four reading personalities:

Involved Reader: You don't just love to read books, you love to read about books. For you, half the fun of reading is the thrill of the chase - discovering new books and authors, and discussing your finds with others.
Exacting Reader: You love books but you rarely have as much time to read as you'd like - so you're very particular about the books you choose.
Serial Reader: Once you discover a favorite writer you tend to stick with him/her through thick and thin.
Eclectic Reader: You read for entertainment but also to expand your mind. You're open to new ideas and new writers, and are not wedded to a particular genre or limited range of authors.

Sounds like me to me.

Cassandra & Jane: A Jane Austen Novel

by Jill Pitkeathley

I have mixed feelings about historical novels. One the one hand I usually thoroughly enjoy them but on the other hand, they can manipulate reality, providing us with a false idea of how a person really was.

I enjoyed Cassandra and Jane and realize the book probably wouldn't sell as well if it was about totally made-up sisters - calling it a Jane Austen Novel is what grabbed my attention and I'm sure that worked for other readers as well. There is something about Jane Austen that draws our attention.

Pitkeathley is a great Jane Austen fan and has studied her well. With what little is known about Jane, Pitkeathley has told a captivating story about her and her relationship to her sister, Cassandra. The book is told in Cassandra's voice which allows for personal interpretation of Jane's character, motives and actions; even a sister doesn't totally know everything. If the story had been told in Jane's voice I don't think it would be as acceptable to the reader due to the amount of supposition the author had to employ.

I enjoyed the feeling the book successfully portrayed of the time period. It mentions when Jane was born that Cassandra (3-yr-old) was brought to the family home to see the baby by her village mother. Shortly afterwards, Jane took Cassandra's place in the village family and Cassandra moved home to live with her parents and 4 brothers. I need to do some further research to learn more about this practice. This is the first time I'd heard of such a thing. Another interesting view of the times was when Cassandra was older she discovered that her mother nursed the children herself until they were weaned. A practice that embarrassed Cassandra. I guess the practice was to give the child to a wet nurse?

I look forward to more books by Pitkeathley; her writing is both beautiful and easy to read. This was a lovely book and I highly recommend it.