Thursday, July 14, 2011

Time for Reading, NOT for Blogging

Make Take Murder
by Joanna Campbell Slan
Some may think since I have completed the reading challenge for this summer that I have simply stopped reading. I would just as soon stop breathing! In fact last week I was able to go to my very favorite reading spot and I spent the day reading.

I have been reading scrapbook mysteries since I discovered them, I don't even remember how long ago. Joanna Campbell Slan's Kiki Lowenstein series is actually the second scrapbook mystery series I have found (the first being by Laura Child's Carmela Bertrand series). Both of these authors provide wonderful ideas greatly enter mingled in great mysteries. I have tried a number of the tips and tricks from both series. They can get my creative juices flowing which can cause a great creative or read. Usually reading comes up on top, therefore I have not completed a number of the projects and scrapbooks I have started and/ or planned.

In this fourth book in the series, Kiki, while searching for her missing paycheck in the dumpster behind her scrapbook store discovers a severed leg. When a message from the owner of the leg reveals Kiki knows more about this case than even Kiki realizes. Wonderful, creative scrapbooking tips are included in this mystery which will make even the most inventive cropper want to try them out.

Elvis and the Grateful Dead
by Peggy Webb
I was sad to see the story end but jumped right in to another book. It is always great to combine some of my favorite things when reading. In the next book I read a number of my favorite things are combined to make one enjoyable mystery. Peggy Webb's series about a basset hound named Elvis. Actually he is not only named Elvis, but is the reincarnation of the King himself. I love this series not only because it is about two Southern cousins who constantly get involved in mysterious happenings, but also because chapters throughout the book are told through the eyes of Elvis...the basset, not the singer. In this adventure Callie and her cousin Lovie become involved in the sudden deaths of the Elvis impersonators (the singer, not the dog) participating in the Tupelo, Mississippi annual Elvis Festival.

by Kelly Corrigan
While spending the day in my favorite reading chair and quiet surroundings I was able to finish reading three books. Since my favorite chair is in a library it is always great fun to browse the shelves (especially the pop reads) to find the hidden treasures. Since I am not the only person wanting to read the latest bestseller I tend to put books on hold as soon as I hear one of my favorite authors has a book coming out. Now pending on how quickly I discover this new title, I can be on hold for these new books for a couple of months before it is my turn to check it out. This is not the case at my favorite reading place. I can walk in and find at least four books I have wanted to read waiting right there on the shelf begging for me to check them out. I have to admit the next three books were not books I had ever heard of, but for some reason they each called to me.

I picked up Lift by Kelly Corrigan right after finishing Elvis. It was going from one extreme to another. This book is a letter from a mother to her daughters telling them of special moments in their lives. While reading I felt a true connection with the author. I loved the way she talked to her daughters, as well as her sister-in-law who lost her son in a car accident. Some of the memories moved me to tears and others made me laugh out loud. What a wonderful way to share with her daughters as well as the world her love for her children.

Elephant's Graveyard
by George Brant
After reading Water for Elephants I became fascinated with the circus. At then end of the book, Sara Gruen mentions a number of sources she researched in order to write the book. One of the events she mentioned was the lynching of an elephant. I found this story so terribly sad. When I discovered Elephant's Graveyard by George Brant I was drawn to this story. It is the winner of the 2008 Keene Prize for Literature and the 2008 David mark Cohen National Playwriting Award Characters. This play is based on the actual hanging of Mary, a five ton Asian elephant, in Kingsport, Tennessee on September 12, 1916. I can only imagine how emotional this play would be to see on the stage. Reading it brought great tears to my eyes for the poor animal. The play is written from the perspective of the circus performers as well as the townspeople of Erwin.

Making Toast
by Roger Rosenblatt
Like Lift is not a book I was in search of when I found it. I was intrigued by the quote from E.L. Doctrow on the cover, "A painfully, beautiful memoir telling how grandparents are made over into parents, how people die out of order, how time goes backward. Written with such restraint as to be both heartbreaking and instructive."  I didn't set out to read three very emotional books about death. It just happened. Roger Rosenblatt tells how he and his wife completely stopped their lives following their daughters sudden death to move to her home and help their son-in-law through the first year. They provided emotional support for their son-in-law and their grandchildren during the year following her death. While reading this book I was taken back to 2007 when my cousin lost her battle with breast cancer. I couldn't even imagine her family's pain. I know what I saw and heard, but I knew the pain I felt in my heart could not even come close to their agonizing grief. Reading this father's account of his daughter's death and how he was able to pick up the pieces and move on by being their for her family helped me to see that although we all grieve in different ways it is a process we must all go through in order to carry on for those around us.
First Grave on the Right
by Darynda Jones

I did not find First Grave on the Right at the library. I actually found it while walking through the book aisle of Sam's Warehouse Club. I have almost one hundred books on my Nook, another one hundred on my Kindle, and too many books around my house to even try to count, but I ALWAYS have to go down the book aisle to see what great books are waiting for me to add to my ever growing list of must reads. I'm not really sure what caught my eye, maybe the scythe, but this is the only book I picked up and added to my list. In fact I was so intrigued by the concept of a private investigating grim reaper that I stood there in the aisle and looked up the cost of this book on my Nook app on my phone. (Yes, I guess this is a little reading obsession going on, but in a good way, right?!?) When I found out it cost more to purchase the book on my Nook than the actual book in my hand I was a little disappointed. I wanted to read the book, but I was just not willing to use the cash in my purse (another obsession of mine...hoard the cash.) As soon as I got home I checked to see if the local library had a copy of this book. I immediately placed it on hold. It came in the next day and I received the text message letting me know it was available only minutes before I finished reading Making Toast. Therefore it was the next logical choice for me to read. Right?

First Grave is by Darynda Jones, the winner of the 2009 Golden Heart for Best Paranormal Novel for this manuscript. It is the first in a series of at this time three books about Charlotte Jean Davidson, known to her friends and family as Charley Davidson. Not only is she a private investigator working with the Albuquerque, New Mexico Police Department, but she is also the Grim Reaper. She works with her Uncle Bob to solve cases and references a number of cases she has helped solve in her lifetime through stories she tells to her assistant Cookie. I really enjoyed finding this new series and am anxious for the second book to come out in August.

Now, I must get started on the next book on my list. I have actually already started reading it and I am hooked so I need to stop writing and get to reading.