Friday, July 29, 2011


I really was blow away by THE BUTTERFLY GARDEN.  I still think about it sometimes and I read it back in 2009.  Yes, I keep a log of books read and my list is getting more detailed each and every year.  It is fun to keep track of what I read and when.  Anyway, THE BUTTERFLY GARDEN is a story of struggle and triumph.  THE BUTTERFLY GARDEN is one of the best memoirs out there.  I hope you enjoy it too!

Product Description

One of America's Most Fascinating True Crime Cases

Fear rocked Chip St. Clair's world. As a boy, he never knew what would set his father off--maybe the ice cubes had melted in his glass of Tab, maybe dinner was overcooked or undercooked or the gravy was too runny. Regardless, the beatings always came. As did the twisted games of cat and mouse--being thrown from a rowboat into frigid Lake Michigan, the middle-of-the-night moves to different states, or being left to dangle over a ten-story balcony while his father watched from inside. But one fateful night when the police answered the call, the truth came to light from the shadows, sparking national headlines: Chip St. Clair's entire life--his name, even his date of birth--had been a lie, and the man he called 'Dad' was an impostor, an escaped child killer who had been on the run for over two decades. The stunning revelation would send one of America's Most Wanted to justice and another on a quest for his true identity.

With chilling detail and a riveting, lyrical narrative, The Butterfly Garden reveals St. Clair's struggle to piece together his haunted past before it consumes him and shares his inspiring metamorphosis from victim to victim's advocate. The Butterfly Garden is a timeless triumph, a reminder that hope can be the most powerful of all emotions, freeing us to soar despite the past and the odds against us.


About the Author

Chip St. Clair is a recipient of a U.S. Congressional Record for his work helping to keep abused children safe and to keep predators behind bars. He began sharing his story nationally in 2002, having been featured on major television programs such as Dateline, Good Morning America, and the John Walsh Show. Most recently, St. Clair helped to pass Michigan's, Montana's, and Maryland's versions of Jessica's Law.

The Butterfly Garden: Surviving Childhood on the Run with One of America's Most Wanted

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

ELSEWHERE by Gabrielle Zevin

All I can say is WOW!  I loved this book.  It was original and a real page turner.  It left me thinking...what does happen after we die...

This book is YA but will also appeal to adults...a great book club pick.  It is sure to spike lots of conversation!



Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 7-10-This coming-of-age novel by Gabrielle Zavin (Farrar, 2005) has a unique twist. Although Liz is maturing, coping with disappointments, and controlling her anger, she is getting younger. Having been killed by a hit and run driver, she now lives in Elsewhere with the grandmother who died before she was born. After death, the residents get younger until they become babies and are reborn onto Earth again. Initially mad at the driver and sad that she will not have a boyfriend and attend the prom, Liz misses her family and is sullen and depressed. Gradually, she begins to realize that life is not so bad in the hereafter. Although written in the second person, the text and the narration by Cassandra Morris draws listeners into this new world, giving them a sense of immediacy. Morris's youthful, gentle, slightly nasal voice clearly brings out Lizzie's life and frustrations, and her tone becomes harsh to show anger. For the most part, she reads quickly, almost sprightly, but at dramatic moments she slows to heighten suspense. There is no significant voice changes to differentiate between male and female characters. An excellent choice to motivate reluctant readers or just for enjoyment.-Claudia Moore, W.T. Woodson High School, Fairfax, VA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.



From Booklist

*Starred Review* Narration from beyond the grave has been cropping up with some frequency in YA novels this year, including Chris Crutcher's The Sledding Hill and Adele Griffin's Where I Want to Be (both 2005). But this example, Zevin's second novel and her first for the YA audience, is a work of powerful beauty that merits judgment independent of any larger trend.  
The setting is an elaborately conceived afterlife called Elsewhere, a distinctly secular island realm of surprising physical solidity (no cottony clouds or pearly gates here), where the dead exist much as they once did--except that no one dies or is born, and aging occurs in reverse, culminating when the departed are returned to Earth as infants to start the life cycle again.
Having sailed into Elsewhere's port aboard a cruise ship populated by mostly elderly passengers, 15-year-old head-trauma victim Liz Hall does not go gently into Elsewhere's endless summer. She is despairing, intractable, sullen, and understandably furious: "You mean I'll never go to college or get married or get big boobs or live on my own or get my driver's license or fall in love?" She rejects her new existence, spending endless hours keeping tabs on surviving family and friends through magical coin-operated telescopes, and refusing to take the suggestions offered by a well-meaning Office of Acclimation. Eventually, though, she begins to listen. She takes a job counseling deceased pets, forges an unexpected romance with a young man struggling with heartbreaks, and finds simple joy in the awareness that "a life is a good story . . . even a crazy, backward life like hers." Periodic visits with an increasingly youthful Liz, concluding with her journey down the "River" to be reborn, bring the novel to a graceful, seamless close.
Although the book may prove too philosophical for some, Zevin offers readers more than a gimmick-driven novel of ideas: the world of Elsewhere is too tangible for that. "A human's life is a beautiful mess," reflects Liz, and the observation is reinforced with strikingly conceived examples: a newly dead thirtysomething falls in love with Liz's grandmother, who is biologically similar in age but experientially generations older; fresh arrivals reunite with spouses long since departed, creating incongruous May-December marriages and awkward love triangles (as Liz experiences when her boyfriend's wife suddenly appears). At one poignant moment, four-year-old Liz loses the ability to read. The passage she attempts to decipher, which comes from Natalie Babbitt's Tuck Everlasting, is another meditation on the march of time and change.
Although Zevin's conception of the afterlife will inevitably ruffle many theological feathers, the comfort it offers readers grieving for lost loved ones, as well as the simple, thrilling satisfaction derived from its bold engagement with basic, provocative questions of human existence, will far outweigh any offense its metaphysical perspective might give. Far more than just a vehicle for a cosmology, this inventive novel slices right to the bone of human yearning, offering up an indelible vision of life and death as equally rich sides of the same coin. Jennifer Mattson Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Summer I Turned Pretty Book Trailer


It is finally feeling like summer, so I finally read a summer book.  I have to say that I really enjoyed THE SUMMER I TURNED PRETTY.  THE SUMMER I TURNED PRETTY brought me back to the summers of my youth; to the friends, activities, crushes and family time spent during those awesome 3 months.  THE SUMMER I TURNED PRETTY is a good YA book.  THE SUMMER I TURNED PRETTY is part of a 3 book series.  Book 2 is ITS NOT SUMMER WITHOUT YOU and book 3 is WE'LL ALWAYS HAVE SUMMER.  I recommend THE SUMMER I TURNED PRETTY.

Book Description

  Some summers are just destined to be pretty
Belly measures her life in summers. Everything good, everything magical happens between the months of June and August. Winters are simply a time to count the weeks until the next summer, a place away from the beach house, away from Susannah, and most importantly, away from Jeremiah and Conrad. They are the boys that Belly has known since her very first summer -- they have been her brother figures, her crushes, and everything in between. But one summer, one wonderful and terrible summer, the more everything changes, the more it all ends up just the way it should have been all along.



Other Reviews:

"This book has what every girl wants in a summer." -- Sarah Dessen, author of Just Listen and Lock and Key

"The Summer I Turned Pretty offers a hard-to-resist combination -- a beach house, summer love, enduring friendship. A deliciously sweet read." -- Deb Caletti, author of Honey, Baby, Sweetheart and Wild Roses

"If I could live inside this amazing book, I would. I would inhale the ocean air and soak up the sun, and I would hang out all day with kind-wonderful-funny-awkward Belly and her two known-'em-forever buds, Jeremiah and Conrad. I'd watch the three of them stop being kids and start being more...and I'd hope hope hope that when Belly falls in love -- 'cause you know she will -- she'd give her heart to the exact right boy." -- Lauren Myracle, author of the ttyl series and Bliss

"This well-written coming-of-age story introduces 15-year-old Isabel, aka Belly, for whom summer has always been the most important time of year. Han (Shug) realistically balances Belly's naïveté with her awareness of the changes the years have brought. Han's novel offers plenty of summertime drama." -- Starred review from Publishers Weekly

"Belly's dawning awareness of her sexuality and that of the boys is a strong theme, as is the sense of summer as a separate and reflective time and place. Readers get glimpses of kisses on the beach, her best friend's flirtations during one summer's visit, a first date." -- Kirkus Reviews

The Summer I Turned Pretty

Friday, July 8, 2011


The Wildwater Walking Club moved me for many reasons.  I am proud to say that several of my female friends and I are walking the half marathon in September.  We are not doing it to win the race, but rather to do something collectively as women that is spectacular.  We are starting together and ending together.  We will chat and laugh through those 13.1 miles.  When we cross the finish line as a group we will be more bonded and proud than we were at the start of that day.  The Wildwater Walking Club focuses on a group of ladies who start to walk together daily and with each step they learn about themselves and what it means to be a friend.   My book club read this book for the month of July and I hope a few of my fellow half marathon walking pals in the book club are as inspired as me.  Wellness comes in all forms and I cannot wait to start that walk with my friends at my side.  I am one lucky girl to have the friends I do!  Thanks ladies!!!!

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The lives of a suddenly jobless corporate executive, a teacher navigating a difficult relationship with her daughter and a young lavender farmer intertwine in Cook's straightforward novel. When a generous compensation package gives Noreen "Nora" Kelly-whose career defined her identity-18 months salary to forge a new path, she realizes she has little in common with her former work companions and strikes up a friendship with next-door neighbor Tess Tabares, who's struggling to connect with her college-bound daughter. The women begin taking daily walks and soon Rosemary "Rosie" Stockton, who owns her family's lavender farm, joins in. Despite their very different-yet all very prickly-personalities, the three women soon form a tight bond. With her easygoing style, Cook (Must Love Dogs) engages readers, drawing them into the daily lives of these new friends. Geographical inconsistencies-the novel is set in Massachusetts but has a distinctive Southern flair-may bother some readers but most will be satisfied with this breezy beach read.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

The rest of your life starts with one step. Noreen Kelly learns this the hard way when she takes a buyout offer at her small shoe company and wakes up the day after—jobless, dumped by her slick co-worker, and wondering who she is and what she wants. She becomes tentative friends with Tess and Rosie, and together the women form a walking club, each step bringing them closer together and closer to the life solutions they all seek. Cook creates likable female characters with realistic flaws. The plots are marked with Gilmore Girls–type dialogue and settings, utterly charming from beginning to end. There’s plenty of laughs, anger, sorrow, and rage to keep the story moving along at a breezy pace; and all the subplots involving the multigenerational characters and their kooky suburban antics are tied up nicely. There’s a little more edge here than in a typical “gentle” novel, but more softness than in an edgy “hen-lit” novel. Miss Julia would be proud to be friends with these women. --Stover Kaite Mediatore

The Wildwater Walking Club
The Wildwater Walking Club

Sunday, July 3, 2011

UNDERCOVER by Beth Kephart

Beth Kephart writes books both YA audience and adults will love... 


“(An) intelligent, multilayered love story…Neatly balancing action and contemplation, Kephart offers a plethora of images, ideas about literature and even some well-known poems along with a plot that will speak to many teens.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review) )

“A beautifully written, engrossing tale…This is a book that no serious-minded teen will want to miss, and high school English teachers may also take note as it has a well-crafted and highly teachable text.” Rhona Campbell, Washington, DC Public Library (School Library Journal (starred review) )

“Readers will fall easily into the compelling premise and Elisa’s memorable, graceful voice, and have no trouble recognizing the teen’s quiet courage as she leaves her comfortable isolation, claims her own talents, and embraces the people who matter most.” (Booklist (starred review) ) --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

Product Description

Like a modern-day Cyrano de Bergerac, Elisa ghostwrites love notes for the boys in her school. But when Elisa falls for Theo Moses, things change fast. Theo asks for verses to court the lovely Lila—a girl known for her beauty, her popularity, and a cutting ability to remind Elisa that she has none of these. At home, Elisa's father, the one person she feels understands her, has left on an extended business trip. As the days grow shorter, Elisa worries that the increasingly urgent letters she sends her father won't bring him home. Like the undercover agent she feels she has become, Elisa retreats to a pond in the woods, where her talent for ice-skating gives her the confidence to come out from under cover and take center stage. But when Lila becomes jealous of Theo's friendship with Elisa, her revenge nearly destroys Elisa's ice-skating dreams and her plan to reunite her family.

National Book Award nominee Beth Kephart's first young adult novel is a stunning debut.

Undercover (Laura Geringer Books)
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