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Showing posts from March, 2013

Book Review: The Last Child by John Hart

Johnny Merriman's twin sister Alyssa disappeared a year ago, and soon after, his father was gone as well. Left alone with his mother, who has succumbed to the bad influence of the richest guy in town, Johnny is determined to find his sister and restore his family. When another girl goes missing, he is hopeful that Detective Clyde Hunt and the rest of the police force will find a connection between the two cases, but he's also determined to keep looking for his sister himself.

In The Last Child by John Hart, we follow Johnny as he investigates the possibilities, watching each of the known sex offenders in the town, and trying to uncover the truth about what happened to his sister. There's a lot more going on in this story, though. There's his mother, who is drugged out and out of her mind because of her loss a year ago. There's his mother's boyfriend who has few redeeming qualities. There's the detective who obviously has a thing for the mother. There's…

Week in Review

Good morning. I hope you had a good week! Welcome back to My Book Retreat. I appreciate your stopping by today. I got back into reading and writing last week, so I have more than usual to share today.

Recent Reviews and Other Posts
I posted a review of Wool by Hugh Howie. It's a very short review since it's a short story, but I do recommend it.

I also posted about the Spring Reading Thing challenge. I needed a challenge to kick-start my reading again!

And I published an interview with author Peter Tieryas Liu.

What I'm Reading
I read two books last week: Wool by Hugh Howie (see above) and The Color of Greed by Jack Thompson.

Now I'm reading Maphead by Ken Jennings. It's a book I've wanted to read for a while so when I saw it on the bargain shelf at Barnes and Noble on the weekend, I couldn't resist.

Up Next for Me
I plan to read The Hero's Guide to Storming the Castle by Christopher Healy next.

What C is Reading
C is still reading through the The Childr…

Interview with author Peter Tieryas Liu

Today, I'd like to welcome Peter Tieryas Liu, author of the short story collection, Watering Heaven.

Who or what inspired you to become an author?
Stories in general have inspired me since I was a kid. I always loved reading books, watching movies, and I also had the fortune to play some amazing video games that had really compelling stories. I loved listening to all the stories older people told me about their lives and had an inclination to write everything they said down. That kind of evolved into my stories.

Can you tell my readers a little about Watering Heaven?
It’s a collection of short stories written while I was traveling throughout the world with many of them having been written in China and Thailand. There are elements of magical realism involved and many are about the question of identity. The title comes from the William Blake poem, “Tyger,” and represents the pain one can undergo in the quest for change. As a bit of a shameless (or shameful, ha ha) plug, Watering Heaven…

Book Review: Wool by Hugh Howey

Wool by Hugh Howey started as a short story. Additional books were added and eventually put together in the Omnibus Edition. I began by reading the short story. I enjoyed it so much that I had to buy the Omnibus Edition. This review was published after I read the first book, so I am updating it now to include my thoughts on the entire story, while attempting to not give anything away.

The story starts off with Sheriff Holston, who has lived in the silo his whole life. But today, he has uttered the words that will get him out: "I want to go outside." Usually, it's the prisoners who are sent out to clean the windows of the silo so that everyone else can see the desolate world outside. But three years earlier, Holston's wife uttered those same words and left the silo herself. Now Holston is following in her footsteps to see what is really out there.

This first book hooked me from the start; I read it straight through in one sitting. Sheriff Holston's is a simple but…

Spring Reading Thing Challenge

This year was supposed to be the year of no commitments. I stopped accepting books for review (although, honestly, I already caved and accepted a couple from authors I've read previously...). I figured I'd be through my TBR pile by now. Yet, I have only managed to read six books so far in 2013. SIX!! And four of those were leftover review books I had from last year. So I haven't managed to even make a dent in my TBR pile!

So I'm signing up for the Spring Reading Thing challenge to see if I can get myself back into reading.

Here's the list of books I'd like to read during the challenge (March 20 - June 20):
Roastbeef's Promise by David JeromeRunning with Scissors by Augusten BurroughsWool by Hugh HoweyRead 3/21Never Knowing by Chevy StevensAll Over But the Shoutin' by Rick Bragg- Read 5/4The Hypnotist by Lars KeplerRun Like a Mother by Dimity McDowell and Sarah Shea - Read about half - DNFInfidel by Ayaan Hirsi AliThe Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth …

Week in Review

Good morning. I'm a day late but at least I'm here. :-) We had a nice week at our house. The kids started new sports this week: C is doing golf now and M is doing soccer. They both seemed to enjoy the first lessons, although it was only 43 degrees for the golf lesson last night! Brrrrr! I thought we were supposed to have an early spring this year!

Recent Reviews and Other Posts
I posted a review of The Forever Year by Lou Aronica last week. That's about it. Still haven't gotten my writing groove back yet, but I have gotten back into reading more finally! I've only read six books this year so far!!! I usually read that many in a month, not in three months!

What I'm Reading
I finally gave up on my March book club selection, The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: A Hmong Child, Her American Doctors, and the Collision of Two Cultures by Anne Fadiman. It got some great reviews so I'm interested to see what the others in my group thought of it. I personally fo…

Book Review: The Forever Year by Lou Aronica

When Mickie Sienna almost burns his house down, his grown children start looking into nursing homes. But his youngest son, Jesse, surprises them all by offering to have Mickie move in with him. Jesse has spent his whole life as the "baby" of the family and is ready to finally get to know his father the way his older siblings do.

In The Forever Year, Lou Aronica presents a story not only of the challenges a father and son face while getting used to living with each other again, but also a much deeper story of love that never ends. Jesse is in a very comfortable relationship with Marina. They are both enjoying their time together, but they're also realists. They know that love always dies, so they haven't taken that final step to full commitment. But Mickie can't understand how his son can take a chance on losing the perfect woman for him.

So Mickie decides to tell Jesse his own love story. He opens up about the woman who stole his heart as a young man, and hopes …

Week in Review

Hello again. Happy Monday! I hope you've had a good week. I sure have! We had a nice week that ended with some beautiful weather on the weekend. We got to spend almost all afternoon outside yesterday at the North Carolina Museum of Life and Sciences. It was fun and perfect weather for it! Here's a quick recap of our week of reading.

Recent Reviews and Other Posts
I posted a review of Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver.

I also wrote about World Read Aloud Day last week.

What I'm Reading
I'm still reading my March book club selection, The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: A Hmong Child, Her American Doctors, and the Collision of Two Cultures by Anne Fadiman. I have to say it's been tough to get through, but I'm plugging along.

I also picked up a second book, which I hardly ever do. I just needed something more relaxing to read! So I'm reading The Last Child by John Hart. It's been on my bookshelf for a while after several recommendation…

World Read Aloud Day

Today is World Read Aloud Day, a day when we join with hundreds of thousands of other voices around the world, reading aloud to bring attention to the importance of global literacy. In this world, 793 million people cannot read. According to LitWorld:
World Read Aloud Day is about taking action to show the world that the right to read and write belongs to all people. World Read Aloud Day motivates children, teens, and adults worldwide to celebrate the power of words, especially those words that are shared from one person to another, and creates a community of readers advocating for every child’s right to a safe education and access to books and technology. By raising our voices together on this day we show the world’s children that we support their future: that they have the right to read and share their words to change the world. This morning, I went into my daughter's kindergarten class and read Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs to a group of kids. We talked about extreme weathe…

Book Review: Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver

Author Barbara Kingsolver and her family took a pledge several years ago to spend an entire year only eating food that they grow themselves or that is grown in their local area. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life is a sort of memoir of that year in which Kingsolver, her husband and her oldest daughter share stories about their year as well as their thoughts about the food industry in general.

The book is split into monthly chapters in which Kingsolver tells about the work they're doing on the farm, what they're planting or harvesting at that time of year, what their animals are doing, and what they're eating. It's actually quite interesting to hear what is actually in season in Virginia each month, and how they learn to be creative in terms of how they use the foods they grow. She also shares quite a lot of detail about the turkeys and chickens that they raise and harvest ~ in case you're a little squeamish, you may want to skip the chicken harvesting…

Week in Review

Good morning. I am back!! This should mark the beginning of a more regular schedule for me. My son competed in the regional Odyssey of the Mind tournament on Saturday. I was one of the coaches and was so proud of him and his team when they won 5th place out of 13. They build a balsa wood structure that was only 14 grams and it held 75 lbs!! Very exciting.

So now, after working on the OM project for about 5 months, we finally have our lives back! And I can read. And write. And respond to all the emails I've received from publicists and authors (sorry!).

Recent Reviews and Other Posts
I haven't posted much lately, but I did write a quick update about life and reading last week.

What I'm Reading
I finally finished finished Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. It made for a very interesting discussion at book club last week too. I will write up the review this week. I'm now reading my March book club selection, The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: A Hmon…