I love to explore other worlds, be it the past or the future. Some other loves are art, poetry, humor, rainy days, and animals especially canines.

Rumor Has It

Mrs. Poe - Lynn Cullen

I like my fictional men moody and misunderstood, which is funny because in real life I'd last about 5 minutes with a man like that. Ha. Well, I'd love the misunderstood part but I would have a hard time if he looked at me sideways.


However, I love Mr. Darcy, Mr. Rochester, and even cruel Heathcliff ( in his younger years that is...though I'll admit to him breaking my heart and making me sob thereafter. So I guess that's fictional love). 


At any rate, I loved reading about all of them. Never wanted the books to come to an end. That is how I felt reading about Edgar Allen Poe. Though Poe, as we know, is not a fictional character but was a well known poet...and evidently quite the heartthrob. A misunderstood one.


That's not the rumor though.


The focus of this historical fiction novel is not Mrs. Poe as one would assume. It's really about the love affair between Edgar and Francis Osgood. Again, no one knows if this affair actually happened because the book is actually fictional, although there is a theory that it might have. There is also the theory that he simply married Virginia, the real Mrs. Poe only to help the family out. Who knows?


Of course, I loved the romance (Oh to read a Bronte- like novel or even an Austen-like novel. Sigh.) but what really captured my interest about this book is the role people and media play in a person's reputation. I watched a documentary on Marie Antoinette that stayed with me. In summary, the documentary led me to believe that she might have been entirely different than what society was led to believe. Therefore, the Edgar we see around Halloween time....maybe not the true picture. Did I mention, he wasn't creepy? I'm extremely happy that Cullen let us see another Poe and perhaps the real one. Rumors make me incredibly downhearted, especially when they are never opposed.


So not only did this book get my heart pumping, it made me think too.


What is fiction and what is truth?


Do we ever really know?

More Than Words.

A Dog Named Boo: How One Dog and One Woman Rescued Each Other--and the Lives They Transformed Along the Way - Lisa J. Edwards, Lisa Collier Cool

If I were to create my own heaven, It would be a place full of dogs. So it's not surprising that I like to read about them. Although always satisfying, dog related books can start to sound the same. The plots of these books usually involve the dog rescuing the human physically or emotionally. If it's not that, it's usually a story about perseverance; a meaningful trip an owner and his fluffy friend took or sometimes it is a story about  people that after having a hard to handle pooch, still considers said pooch a member of their family (such as Marley and Me).


So, when my mother in-law gave me this book to read while on vacation, I thought I knew what awaited me. While it's a little bit of a rescue story about how a dog rescues his human family and also a rescue story about a woman that loved and rescued a dog named Boo, it's so much more than that. See, the writer Lisa Edwards is probably one of the most inspiring individuals I've read about, not only for her ability to forgive but also how she manages to take control of her life regardless of the obstacles. I learned a lot about life from her.


Therefore, If you are looking for something inspiring to read, this is worth reading. Highly recommended.


Reblogged from Ned Hayes Writing:
Hold fast to dreams, 
For if dreams die 
Life is a broken-winged bird, 
That cannot fly.

Overheard in the bookstore...

Reblogged from Books2day:


Reblogged from Derrolyn Anderson:

A Map of the Introvert's Heart.


How Does The Garden Grow?

The Red Garden - Alice Hoffman

I love the set up of Alice Hoffman's book The Red Garden.


It starts out with a story about the first settlers of a small town called Blackwell. I guess the majority of these newbies did not have survival instincts...except one lady ( that I LOVED).. It's always  the one person that the majority deem weird that  saves their asses time and time again. Agreed?


Thereafter it tells the stories of the citizens in the future of this small but lovely town. Some of them have genealogical connections with the first settlers. Others were passing through and stayed. I found it an absolute delight to meet all these different personalities.


This book is hauntingly beautiful though it is an easy read (which I enjoyed that element too). It stuck with me, making me think of other towns and their histories, even my own. How are we all in nature connected? It is almost as if we live on a string of time that goes back and forth between the past, present and future? (Just some thoughts).


Anyway, it is a thought-provoking read that would be great for group discussions. Highly recommended.



The Assasination Bureau: This is the End, My Friend?

The Assassination Bureau, Ltd. - Jack London, Robert L. Fish, Donald E. Pease

Jack London died before he finished writing The Assasination Bureau. He had scribbled notes that were interesting and horrifying (but  good) about how he'd like it to end... like birds breaking their wings against boats, dead sharks beating hearts in the hands of fishermen, and an Irish Terrier that jumps off into shark infested seas, all the while the protagonist lays dying.....


All these images seem fitting for a London ending, especially an end about a story of a group of assassins that think they are still morally straight, even as they attempt to take the life of one of their friends. It doesn't end like that though. Instead, a man by the name of Fish ends the story completely different. Not to give Robert L. Fish a hard time but the ending was not befitting of a London novel. Matter of fact, my guess is that it is the very ending London tried to avoid--the easy one.


I remember reading the ending to The Call of The Wild and my mind was completely blown by the raw intensity of the last paragraph written. The ending of Call of the Wild is the reason it remains one of the only books I've read more than once.


The Assassination Bureau is about sheer madness, yet it ends in the most mundane predictable way possible. I found it extremely disappointing. I can't help but feel that  London would have been unhappy about it too.

Serena: A Killer

Serena - Ron Rash

Serena is a man killer. Literally. She eats babies and cute puppies for lunch....and has no redeeming qualities as a character. Normally, that would make me put down a book in a heartbeat because I  don't like my characters to act without a conscience.


Instead I'm in love with anti-heroes-- the kind society may think  are bad but underneath everything they are simply misunderstood, acting only by unpopular integrity. Serena is none of these things. She is to her very core....evil...she has the unblinking unfeeling kind of arrogance that seeks neither revenge, redemption, nor any other emotion..she just is stone cold. By the way, I'm giving nothing away...readers will know this in the first chapter.


Why did I love this book then if it contained so much of what I dread reading about?


Rash is just that good. Have you ever encountered someone so good at their job it made you believe in fate? You just knew the job they were doing was their calling. Well, that is how I felt when reading about  this horrible woman. Rash is a storyteller... not the wannabee kind (like me) or the kind that is awesome because they've worked so hard to be great (like so many). He is simply... a storyteller. It didn't even matter  to me that  at times  the book was predictable or about something that normally would turn me off...I just couldn't tear my eyes away.....




Reblogged from Derrolyn Anderson:

Rose Wilder on Jack London

Just thought I would share... eight monthly installments written in 1917 about Jack London in Sunset magazine by Rose Wilder.  Enjoyable read.  If interested, click on the title/link above.

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall - Anne Brontë, Peter Merchant

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall is known as one of the first feminist novels, mainly I think because the protagonist Helen had the audacity to slam the door in her husband's face (GASP! ...SMILE!)


"The slamming of Helen Huntingdon's bedroom door against her husband, May Sinclair later wrote, reverberated throughout Victorian England." (The Guardian)


Yes, Anne Bronte's work seems just as unconventional and priceless as those of her better known sisters. However, what I didn't expect is that Anne had a good sense of humor. Though the heroine faces mistreatment which is infuriating at times, I found myself chuckling at Helen's directness, like in her conversation with Esther,


 “I shall expect my husband to have no pleasures but what he shares with me; and if his greatest pleasure of all is not the enjoyment of my company - why - it will be the worse for him - that's all.'

'If such are your expectations of matrimony, Esther, you must, indeed, be careful whom you marry - or rather, you must avoid it altogether.”


See, kind of funny, right?


In the end, I felt that Tenant of Wildfell Hall equal in quality to her sister Emily's Wuthering Heights (even though Wuthering is still my favorite) and Charlotte's Jane Eyre. Why Charlotte would not republish Tenant after Anne died is beyond me. Charlotte apparently wrote, 


"Wildfell Hall it hardly appears to me desirable to preserve. The choice of subject in that work is a mistake, it was too little consonant with the character, tastes and ideas of the gentle, retiring inexperienced writer."


In summary, I think Charlotte is wrong when she labels Anne as inexperienced. I wonder if given how realistic and similar Tenant is to the lives of The Brontes, if a republish wasn't granted because it strikes too much of a personal chord? That, of course, is only my theory.


If only I could travel back into time....

This is where my latest reading idea came from! The photograph of the novel Labor Day --the way the characters are not making eye contact piqued my interest. Just some reading ideas. Looking forward to seeing some of these on film.

Never Letting Go or Letting Things Pass

Never Let Me Go - Kazuo Ishiguro

In summary, Kathy, Tommy, Ruth  attend a boarding school unlike most. Coming of age at this school may seem a bit normal with bullies, crushes, rules that make sense, and rules that don't but it's different because the children here are preparing for a special 'purpose'.


This story is SAD (in capitals). Ishiguro's writing style is not for everyone. I like the depressing and bleak--vague but obvious style that some might find dull. I like trying to see beyond it- like he wrote like that intentionally so readers could try to uncover the deeper meanings in his sentences. These characters seem very real this way. For instance, the characters do not say things they should say, they let great moments pass,  even if saying something might change everything for the better. Real people hold back like this all the time!  His writing is both mundane (because it is supposed to convey that--imo) and intense at the same time. I'm not sure how he pulls it off but it all works for me.


If you ever read his novel Remains of the Day or watched the movie and liked it--then you'll probably want to give this a chance. 


All in all it made me feel made me think about those missed moments all of us hold on made me think about  all the memories and personal potential people carry around inside that they never let go of...




Two Roads DIVERGED in a Wood.....

Divergent - Veronica Roth

 In this dystopian tale every sixteen year old must pick out a faction to live in for the rest of their lives. They will live by the rules of their choice. In other words, people are separated into jobs and neighborhoods by their chosen personality trait: Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). Beatrice, a girl that grew up in Abgenation, must now make the choice between the faction she grew up in and some of the other factions that appeal to her sense of 'self'. Which one will she choose? Which one would you choose? Which personality trait do you deem most important to society?




Positives: I read this in one sitting. It is also a fun book to discuss. It draws you in with its new surroundings and all of the characters personal choices. My teenage son and I had a great time discussing what this type of society would be like to live in and what is actually important to our sense of 'selves'. We talked a lot about different societal strategies. It is also chocked- full of adventure like climbing ferris wheels, jumping from trains, and trying to save society type stuff. My teenage self would have loved this. It's definitely not boring.


Negatives: There is a lot of hype surrounding this book. From reviews most YA readers felt this book is the next best thing since The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I LOVED that trilogy! So I have been racking my brain trying to figure out why I only felt 'meh' about Divergent. Intitially I felt maybe since everyone seemed to love it I set my expectations too high. Then I realized my disappointments were more than that. Ok, before you send the lynching mob, I apologize for what I'm about to say but ....the one dimensional ideas in this story drove me crazy. For instance, why do only the brave get ink, piercings, and wear really black eye liner? Bravery is a much bigger concept than taking pain and letting yourself stand out in a crowd. Don't you think? More than that though, I think what bothers me most  is that kindness is treated like some sort of stupidity--honesty considered brutal-- intelligence like some type of evil---and courage like it's some type of self control over emotion. It seems like books are filled with heroes that are no longer vulnerable or emotional....but instead they control/hide their pain and suffering. Heroes and antiheros suck it up and contain themselves. NO. Heroes learn and persevere which is entirely different. They also have all sorts of feelings that sometimes they act upon which seems like a road that is no longer popular in society.


There it is. Have mercy on me. Without a doubt, I'm being far too critical about this book. Truth is....I didn't love it but  didn't hate it.


Basically...two roads diverged in a wood...and I had wanted to walk down the emotionally diverse one this time...



Currently reading

The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood
Women in Love by D.H. Lawrence
Fall on Your Knees by Ann-Marie MacDonald