Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The Dog Who Was There~ Ron Marasco

The Dog Who Was There
About the book:

No one expected Barley to have an encounter with the Messiah.
He was homeless, hungry, and struggling to survive in first century Jerusalem. Most surprisingly, he was a dog. But through Barley’s eyes, the story of a teacher from Galilee comes alive in a way we’ve never experienced before.
Barley’s story begins in the home of a compassionate woodcarver and his wife who find Barley as an abandoned, nearly-drowned pup. Tales of a special teacher from Galilee are reaching their tiny village, but when life suddenly changes again for Barley, he carries the lessons of forgiveness and love out of the woodcarver’s home and through the dangerous roads of Roman-occupied Judea.
On the outskirts of Jerusalem, Barley meets a homeless man and petty criminal named Samid. Together, Barley and his unlikely new master experience fresh struggles and new revelations. Soon Barley is swept up into the current of history, culminating in an unforgettable encounter with the truest master of all as he bears witness to the greatest story ever told.
My take on this book:
I was drawn to this book because I love reading stories where we see it unfold through the eyes of an animal. With this story we have Barley a dog who witnesses one of the most amazing times in history. Thing is there were parts of this book that I enjoyed, but there were also parts of this book that really didn't click for me. First of all I really struggled getting through the first several chapters. Why you ask? Well the writing was sluggish and for me felt a bit choppy. When Barley finally arrives in Jerusalem things really started to pick up though because he is there during the last days of Jesus. I loved Barley and felt like he was a wonderfully unique character and watching the scenes take place through his eyes were quite vivid and easily pulled me into the setting, and I could just imagine being there. Overall I would have to say that I enjoyed this book once I got  past the first several chapters, thing is I really struggled with getting past them. In my opinion it's not a purchase worthy book instead it would be one that I would borrow from my public library. I would also like to caution that there are some violent scenes in the book as well.
A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review purposes.


Ron MarascoRon Marasco is a professor in the College of Communication and Fine Arts at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. His first book, “Notes to an Actor,” was named by the American Library Association an Outstanding Book of 2008. His second book, “About Grief,” has been translated into multiple languages, and he is currently completing a book on Shakespeare’s sonnets. He has acted extensively on TV—from “Lost” to “West Wing” to “Entourage” to originating the role of Mr. Casper on “Freaks and Geeks”—and appeared opposite screen legend Kirk Douglas in the movie “Illusion,” for which he also wrote the screenplay. Most recently, he has played the recurring role of Judge Grove on “Major Crimes.” He has a BA from Fordham at Lincoln Center and an MA and Ph. D. from UCLA.
Find out more about Ron at

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Stitching Tuesday

My progress on the Cat Magnet from last week. I stitch on this a few minutes a day.

So close to having this first block done. I am planning on stitching a cat or heart or something between my name and the year. My stitching plans are to get the first and second block finished on Houses Of Hawk Run Hollow before March 1. 

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Stitching Tuesday

While I have always been an avid reader I also hold a great love for stitching and crafts in general. Reading and stitching is my way of unwinding after a long work day.  I normally crochet lap robes for local nursing homes but this past fall I finally picked up counted cross stitch again. So I plan on starting a new Tuesday feature that will focus on whatever I am stitching for the week. So let's begin.

I am working on The Houses of Hawk Run Hollow.
Houses of Hawk Run Hollow - Cross Stitch Pattern
 Here is what the project will look like.

Here is my progress. My goal is to finish this by Dec. 2017 by doing a block a month. I started this block last weekend so I really feel like it is a very do able goal. 

I am also working on this quick stitch:

I plan on updating each Tuesday with stitching progress and even plan on doing posts that revolve around the various stitching tools I use, along with tips, tricks, tricks, techniques, along with links to useful stitching pages. 

If you're a stitcher, or do any type of crafts I would love to read your comments and check out your blog. Happy stitching, and happy reading! 

M is for Mountain State~ By Mary Ann McCabe Riehle

  • Age Range: 6 - 9 years
  • Grade Level: 1 - 3
  • Series: Discover America State by State
  • Hardcover: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press; 1st Printing edition (July 21, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1585361518
  • ISBN-13: 978-1585361519

My take on this book:
I always enjoy reading books about my home state WV, and this little book is certainly a gem. There is plenty of information about the state of  WV written in alphabet form, from the Allegheny Mountains to the golden dome of our capitol building this book is really a delight to read, as well as being informative. The colorful illustrations really add to story and will certainly capture the imagination of young readers. I think this book would be a wonderful way to teach youngsters about the state they live in or even teach them about another state. While it is geared toward young readers I think young and old alike will enjoy learning about the Mountain State and all the beauty that it holds. I will also say that I was delighted to find that there are plenty of other alphabet books about other states which I certainly plan on checking out! If this book is any indication I think that the other state alphabet books will be great. I recommend this book, and books like it to any age group that wants to learn a bit about the state that they live in. 

A digital copy of this book was borrowed from my local library.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

The Fifth Petal ~ Brunonia Barry ~ TLC Book Tour

The Fifth PetalAbout The Fifth Petal

Hardcover: 448 pages
Publisher: Crown (January 24, 2017)
“Do you think, inside, every one of us is a killer?”
This is the question that haunts the people of Salem, Massachusetts, in Brunonia Barry’s spellbinding, masterful new thriller, THE FIFTH PETAL (January 24, 2017; Crown), a tale of otherworldly powers, ancient myths, and a gruesome triple homicide. Ten years after her New York Times bestselling debut novel THE LACE READER became an international sensation, Barry revisits contemporary Salem, where the dark history of the paranormal continues to reverberate in the lives of the Whitney family and their neighbors. With its release, THE LACE READER became an overnight success, winning numerous awards and rave reviews from the New York TimesWashington PostTimeNew YorkPeople, and being named an Amazon Best Book of the Month. Barry, born and raised in Salem, now returns with a complex brew of suspense, seduction, and murder in her highly anticipated novel THE FIFTH PETAL.
When a teenage boy dies suspiciously on Halloween night, Salem’s chief of police, John Rafferty, now married to gifted lace reader Towner Whitney, wonders if there is a connection between his death and Salem’s most notorious cold case, “The Goddess Murders,” in which three young women, all descended from accused Salem witches, were slashed on Halloween night in 1989. Now Rafferty must uncover who, or what, is killing the descendants of Salem’s accused witches, while keeping the town’s paranoia—all too similar to the hysteria that lead to the infamous witch trials—at bay.
As Rafferty begins to uncover a dark chapter of Salem’s past, he finds unexpected help from Callie Cahill, the daughter of one of the Goddess victims, who has recently returned to town. Discovered at the scene of the crime when she was five years old, Callie survived the mysterious massacre with only scratches on her arms and a perfect stigmata of a five-petal rose in the palm of her bloodied hand. Now Callie, who has always been gifted with premonitions, begins to struggle with visions she doesn’t quite understand and an attraction to a man who has unknown connections to her mother’s murder. Neither Rafferty nor Callie believes the main suspect, Rose Whelan, respected local historian and honorary aunt to Callie, is guilty of murder or witchcraft. But clearing Rose’s name might mean crossing paths with a dangerous force. Were the women victims of an all-too-human vengeance, or was the devil raised in Salem that night? And if Rafferty and Callie can’t discover what happened that night, will evil rise again?
Grounded in Salem’s true, dark history, Brunonia Barry paints a complex, eerie portrait of a modern New England town living in the past. With magical realism that will appeal to readers of Erin Morgenstern and gothic suspense echoing Deborah Harkness, THE FIFTH PETAL brings the world of Salem to life with Barry’s signature rich and twisting prose. Suspenseful, sinister, and masterfully composed, THE FIFTH PETAL is a haunting novel that will grip audiences long after the final page.

“Banshees, lost memories, and secret pasts each play a significant role in this novel; enthusiasts of the author’s earlier work and readers interested in the history of witchcraft and the occult will enjoy this return visit to Salem.”Library Journal
“[An] entertaining occult murder mystery.”Kirkus Reviews

My take on this book:
One of my favorite types of stories to read is one that grabs me by the hand and drags me along for an intense read where the twists and turns often keep my on the edge of my seat and the characters linger long after the final page. Well The Fifth Petal fit the bill to a tee. What drew me to this story initially was the fact that it reached back to the days of the Salem Witch Trials but it was the intriguing story and the way the plot came together that kept me reading until the satisfying end. The historical elements were interesting and really added to the overall story. The author's writing style flowed between past and present with a fluidity that was easy to follow and really made me feel as if I was glimpsing bits of the past. The mystery was solid, and while I had a hunch that the death from the present might be tied to the past but the how's and why's and the way the author allowed the story to play out really made this story zoom along. After reading this book I realized that this isn't the first book in this series and I so plan on going back and reading it as well because this story was just that good. A new to me author that I am glad to have discovered. 
A complimentary copy of this book was provided to read

Add to Goodreads badge

Purchase Link

Amazon | Books-A-Million

© Scott Booth PhotographyIndieBound | Barnes & Noble

Brunonia Barry
 is the New York Times and international best selling author of The Lace Reader and The Map of True Places. Her work has been translated into more than thirty languages. She was the first American author to win the International Women’s Fiction Festival’s Baccante Award and was a past recipient of Ragdale Artists’ Colony’s Strnad Fellowship as well as the winner of New England Book Festival’s award for Best Fiction and Amazon’s Best of the Month. Her reviews and articles on writing have appeared in The London Times and The Washington Post. Brunonia co-chairs the Salem Athenaeum’s Writers’ Committee. She lives in Salem with her husband Gary Ward and their dog, Angel. Her new novel, The Fifth Petal will be released in January 2017.About Brunonia Barry

Connect with Brunonia

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Brunonia Barry’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:

Monday, January 23rd: Books Without Any Pictures
Tuesday, January 24th: A Literary Vacation
Wednesday, January 25th: Reading Reality
Thursday, January 26th: Wall to Wall Books
Friday, January 27th: 100 Pages a Day
Monday, January 30th: Write Read Life
Wednesday, February 1st: Kahakai Kitchen
Thursday, February 2nd: Art @ Home
Thursday, February 2nd: WV Stitcher
Monday, February 6th: I Brought a Book
Wednesday, February 8th: I Wish I Lived in a Library
Thursday, February 9th: The Paperback Pilgrim
Monday, February 13th: Broken Teepee
Wednesday, February 15th: A Bookish Way of Life
Thursday, February 16th: A Chick Who Reads
Monday, February 20th: Patricia’s Wisdom
Wednesday, February 22nd: Thoughts on This ‘n That