Monday, September 29, 2014

The Mockingbird Next Door: Life with Harper Lee Hardcover – July 15, 2014

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee is one of the best loved novels of the twentieth century. But for the last fifty years, the novel’s celebrated author, Harper Lee, has said almost nothing on the record. Journalists have trekked to her hometown of Monroeville, Alabama, where Harper Lee, known to her friends as Nelle, has lived with her sister, Alice, for decades, trying and failing to get an interview with the author. But in 2001, the Lee sisters opened their door to Chicago Tribune journalist Marja Mills. It was the beginning of a long conversation—and a great friendship.

In 2004, with the Lees’ blessing, Mills moved into the house next door to the sisters. She spent the next eighteen months there, sharing coffee at McDonalds and trips to the Laundromat with Nelle, feeding the ducks and going out for catfish supper with the sisters, and exploring all over lower Alabama with the Lees’ inner circle of friends.

Nelle shared her love of history, literature, and the Southern way of life with Mills, as well as her keen sense of how journalism should be practiced. As the sisters decided to let Mills tell their story, Nelle helped make sure she was getting the story—and the South—right. Alice, the keeper of the Lee family history, shared the stories of their family.

The Mockingbird Next Door is the story of Mills’s friendship with the Lee sisters. It is a testament to the great intelligence, sharp wit, and tremendous storytelling power of these two women, especially that of Nelle.

Mills was given a rare opportunity to know Nelle Harper Lee, to be part of the Lees’ life in Alabama, and to hear them reflect on their upbringing, their corner of the Deep South, how To Kill a Mockingbird affected their lives, and why Nelle Harper Lee chose to never write another novel.

My view of "The Mockingbird Next Door" by Marja Mills.

I enjoyed the laid back writing of this book.  It read more like a journal to me about the creating of the book and the friendship that came about between the author and the Lee sisters.  This book would be good for a reading group for discussion and to review "To Kill a Mockingbird".

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Big Little Lies by Laine Moriarity

Pages :  280
Publisher:  Putnam

Just what are the "Big Little Lies"?  As the story begins, we know that there has been a murder but we don't know who has been murdered and who did it.  We know that it happened in "Trivia Night" at the school.  Set in Australia, we find our three central characters, Jane, Madeline, and Celeste in the middle of lies.  Madeline is having to deal with her ex-husband and his new family moving near by and the fear that her teenage daughter will choose her father's new family over her.  Celeste, a very beautiful woman, married to the well-to-do handsome with two twin boys has life that is seems to be falling apart but why?  Jane, a single mother, moves into the community and immediately finds her 5 year old son being accused of bullying in his new school.  Live are not as they seem on the outside as we learn more about the residents of this community.   How do "big little lies" change lives and just what are "big little lies"?

My Thoughts: I enjoyed this book very much, it was a look at how well meaning and often forgettable lies can come back to hurt a person and the people they love in the end.  I would recommend this for book groups, a lot of issues and situations to make a lively discussion.

Homecoming: a novel by Bernhard Schlink

The Homecoming: a novel 
by Bernhard Schlink

274 pages
Publisher:  Alfred A. Knopf

A child of WWII, Peter Debauer grew up with his mother and a few memories of his father, a victim of war.   Peter begins a search for his father's story and his father.   Peter creates a man who uses words to stay alive.  Peter's search takes him to New York with the hope of seeing his father.   He meets the famous political  science professor,  John de Baur who is know for his incendiary philosophy and charismatic rapport with student and who may change his life forever.  Will Peter learn who his father is and let that story define him  or will his love for Barbara win.

My thoughts;  I enjoyed the beginning of the book and would have liked to have more in the story of Peter and his grandparents given to us but after the  war years.   The story, however, becomes more complicated and contrived as Peter grows up and begins the search for his father and the ending of his grandparents story.    

Saturday, September 13, 2014

The Lincoln Myth by Steve Berry

  • Series: Cotton Malone
  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; First Edition edition (May 20, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345526570
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345526571
  • Narrator: Scott Brick

Book Jacket Summary:September 1861All is not as it seems. With these cryptic words, a shocking secret passed down from president to president comes to rest in the hands of Abraham Lincoln. And as the first bloody clashes of the Civil War unfold, Lincoln alone must decide how best to use this volatile knowledge: save thousands of American lives, or keep the young nation from being torn apart forever?
The presentIn Utah, the fabled remains of Mormon pioneers whose nineteenth-century expedition across the desert met with a murderous end have been uncovered. In Washington, D.C., the official investigation of an international entrepreneur, an elder in the Mormon church, has sparked a political battle between the White House and a powerful United States senator. In Denmark, a Justice Department agent, missing in action, has fallen into the hands of a dangerous zealot—a man driven by divine visions to make a prophet’s words reality. And in a matter of a few short hours, Cotton Malone has gone from quietly selling books at his shop in Denmark to dodging bullets in a high-speed boat chase.
 All it takes is a phone call from his former boss in Washington, and suddenly the ex-agent is racing to rescue an informant carrying critical intelligence. It’s just the kind of perilous business that Malone has been trying to leave behind, ever since he retired from the Justice Department. But once he draws enemy blood, Malone is plunged into a deadly conflict—a constitutional war secretly set in motion more than two hundred years ago by America’s Founding Fathers.
 From the streets of Copenhagen to the catacombs of Salzburg to the rugged mountains of Utah, the grim specter of the Civil War looms as a dangerous conspiracy gathers power. Malone risks life, liberty, and his greatest love in a race for the truth about Abraham Lincoln—while the fate of the United States of America hangs in the balance

My Thoughts: Steve Berry like Dan Brown picks things from the past and brings them to modern day conspiracies. Both authors go into great detail, and always make you think "what if".

Saturday, September 6, 2014

"The Marriage Pact" by Linda Lael Miller

Product DetailsThe women of Bliss County are ready to meet the men of their dreams! See how it all begins in this enthralling new series by #1 New York Times bestselling author Linda Lael Miller

Ten years ago, Hadleigh Stevens was eighteen and this close to saying "I do," when Tripp Galloway interrupted her walk down the aisle. Now that she's recovered from her youthful mistake and Tripp's interference, Hadleigh and her single friends form a marriage pact. She doesn't expect Tripp to meddle with her new plan to find Mr. Right—or to discover that she's more attracted to him than ever!

Divorced and eager to reconnect with his cowboy roots, Tripp returns to Bliss County to save his ailing father's ranch. He's not looking for another wife—certainly not his best friend's little sister. But he's never been able to forget Hadleigh. And this time, if she ends up in his arms, he won't be walking away!

"Miller has created unforgettable characters and woven a many-faceted yet coherent and lovingly told tale." –Booklist on McKettrick's Choice

366 pages

"Texas True" by Janet Dailey

Product DetailsA New York Times Bestselling Author He's the one who got away. The cowboy who claimed Natalie Haskell's heart before taking off on a tour of duty, planning never to return. But Beau Tyler is back, and she feels defenseless against the powerful pull of the brawny soldier. Especially when, suddenly widowed, she needs the shelter of his strong arms. Natalie's the girl Beau left behind but never forgot, despite his battle-scarred soul. And now she's the real reason he's staying on at the ranch.

Very entertaining and interesting read. It moved along at a good pace to hold your interest make you not want to put it down. Just enough suspense.

421 pages

Thursday, September 4, 2014


Title:  JOEL
Author:  Joel Sonnenberg with Gregg Lewis
Copyright:  2004
214 pages

In this book you meet Joel, a young man who has been transformed from a lifeless lump of coal into
a diamond of rare beauty.  At the age of two, Joel Sonnenberg was severely burned in an automobile
accident.  This is a story of how a two-year-old boy grew to be a young man who has beaten what seems to be insurmountable odds.  Forty-five surgeries, the physical and emotional pain of dealing with facial and bodily disfigurement, have given Joel a very unique perspective from which to see the world.  Today, Joel considers his disability to be a special gift from God.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014


Author:  Max Lucado
copyright 2013
128 pages

There is much about Heaven that we don't yet understand. Max Lucado invites us on a journey to help us better understand death and the promise of the hereafter.  This book gives a better understanding of death, the grave and the hereafter.  Here is a quote from his book that is very encouraging for every believer in Christ.  "Upon death, our souls will journey immediately to the presence of God while we await the resurrection of our bodies."

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

"Rock the Heart" By: Michelle A. Valentine Review

Rock the Heart
By: Michelle A. Valentine
For the last four years, good girl Lane has regretted breaking up with Noel Falcon. She thought she was sensible when she told him his dreams of being a rock star would get him nowhere, but now that he's a rock god and her career is stagnant, she realizes just how wrong she was. When Noel hires the marketing company where Lane is an intern, she’s forced to see him again. If she wants to land her dream job as executive within the company, she has to win him over and secure his account. Too bad Noel is still pissed at her for breaking his heart.
When Lane’s company flies her to a Black Falcon concert to gain Noel’s attention, emotions run high the moment she sees him and realizes she’s far from over him. But Noel’s countless trysts with groupies and his cocky attitude make Lane believe he isn’t the same guy she once loved—now he seems to only want her body. Then after Lane discloses she needs him to procure a job, Noel proves he’s a changed man by forcing her to go on the road with him in order to get it.
After Lane reluctantly takes Noel up on his offer, she becomes willing to do whatever it takes to keep him satisfied, even if it means succumbing to his seductive ways. Lane soon finds deception is a dangerous game and she’s not the only one playing

My Thoughts
    Lanie is shocked when she is assigned the Black Falcon for her new marketing campaign. Brand new at her company, she is surprised to be assigned to such a huge client as a relatively new employee. It isn’t until she realizes that she will be working closely with her ex-boyfriend, Noel, that she understands that her new client may have been assigned, not for her brain but for her past with the lead singer.
     Noel has secrets he goes to great lengths to hide from Lanie. Serious about finding his way back to her, Noel wants to guard his heart and keep things hidden while drawing Lanie closer and closer. Filled with fantastic secondary characters and a fiery main romance, the question becomes, what secrets does Noel really have and can Lanie live with the consequences.
     I really enjoyed Noel and Lanie’s adventure through Rock the Heart. Their shared pasts created a fantastic backdrop and it made an intregal part of the story blossom. Plus their scenes seemed to just burn off the pages.
    My favorite parts though included Noel’s bandmates. I enjoyed Lanie don’t get me wrong, but the scenes with his bandmates were funny, lighthearted, and realistic. You could easily see why Noel considered them family and steered clear of his own.
    All in all a really cute, creative romance with a little drama towards the end. Sweet and fun with the right amount of naughty mixed in, Rock the Heart is the first in what I can only hope is a long series featuring the Black Falcon band. Next up is Rock My Bed, featuring Aubrey and Riff.
Book Details
Publisher: Michelle A Valentine Books
Date of Publication: November 15, 2012
# of Pages: 330
Source: Personal Purchase
Location: New York, NY

Originally Published at The Brunette Librarian's Blog