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Saturday, August 29, 2009

Zombie Chicken!

The blogger who receives this award believes in the Tao of the zombie chicken - excellence, grace and persistence in all situations, even in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. These amazing bloggers regularly produce content so remarkable that their readers would brave a raving pack of zombie chickens just to be able to read their inspiring words. As a recipient of this world-renowned award, you now have the task of passing it on to at least 5 other worthy bloggers. Do not risk the wrath of the zombie chickens by choosing unwisely or not choosing at all...

I was lucky enough to be awarded more Zombie Chickens from Mari from MariReads. I could not make a decision on who to pick, so, it is definitely going to be more than 5. I decide to pick the bloggers that I follow almost religiously and who I admire and respect as reviewers. The awesome bloggers who I have chosen are:

Beth Cornelison Blog Tour and Giveaway

Healing Luke

I am so excited about this blog tour. Beth Cornelison was one of the recipients of the few A+ ratings on this blog. I will also be hosting a giveaway of two copies of this book. Here are the dates for the tour:

August 27—Love Romance Passion
August 31—Books and Needlepoint
September 3—Pop Syndicate’s Book Addict
September 4—Cindy’s Love of Books
September 7—Books Like Breathing
September 8—Yankee Romance Reviewers
September 9—This Book for Free
September 10—The Review From Here/Scribe Vibe
September 11—Romance Reader at Heart’s Novel Thoughts Blog
September 14—My Thoughts… Your Thoughts

Friday, August 28, 2009

Rebecca Ann Collins Blog Tour and Giveaway

My Cousin Caroline: The acclaimed Pride and Prejudice sequel series The Pemberley Chronicles Book 6

I am so happy to be hosting Rebecca Ann Collins on her Blog Tour for My Cousin Caroline on September 2nd. I will also be hosting a giveaway. I am giving away, to one lucky winner, copies of The Pemberley Chronicles and My Cousin Caroline. I am super excited about this Blog Tour and Giveaway. Here are the dates for the tour:

Thursday, August 27, 2009

I Desire You, Mr. Sony PRS-300

I did a similar post a while back about the Kindle and I have to say...Sir Kindle you have been replaced by a younger, flashier, better dressed Mr. Sony PRS-300. There really is no other point to this post other than to say the following...

The minute I read the email about this beautiful new device, I imagined sitting on those uncomfortable subway seats and pulling out my sexy, Navy blue or Rose (I haven't decided yet) Sony PRS-300. I  would immediately be the envy of all the surrounding passenger (probably in bigger danger of being mugged) but I wouldn't care. You ask why? Because I wouldn't notice. I would be in another world, with the book of my choosing. I would also be the object of device envy which has always been a particular dream of mine. That must be a wonderful and powerful feeling. I have never known that type of feeling. I carry a mammoth Strand bag full of novels. Not that I don't love my Strand bag but it does get a little heavy---okay a lot heavy. Another pipe dream but a girl can hope...or wait till graduation or some other special occasion.

 I will have you, Mr. Sony PRS-300, and you will be my best and most loved companion.

Hungry Woman in Paris by Josefina Lopez

Hungry Woman in Paris
Publisher:Grand Central Publishing
ISBN: 0446699411
Pages: 288 pgs
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Challenges-Read’n’Review Challenge, 100+ Reading Challenge

Publisher’s Description:

A journalist and activist, Canela believes passion is essential to life; but lately passion seems to be in short supply. It has disappeared from her relationship with her fiancé, who is more interested in controlling her than encouraging her. It's absent from her work, where censorship and politics keep important stories from being published. And while her family is full of outspoken individuals, the only one Canela can truly call passionate is her cousin and best friend Luna, who just took her own life. Canela can't recover from Luna's death. She is haunted by her ghost and feels acute pain for the dreams that went unrealized. Canela breaks off her engagement and uses her now un-necessary honeymoon ticket, to escape to Paris. Impulsively, she sublets a small apartment and enrolls at Le Coq Rouge, Paris's most prestigious culinary institute.

Cooking school is a sensual and spiritual reawakening that brings back Canela's hunger for life. With a series of new friends and lovers, she learns to once again savor the world around her. Finally able to cope with Luna's death,
Canela returns home to her family, and to the kind of life she thought she had lost forever.

My Review:
I was really excited about this book when I picked it up. Any book about food is sure to be a hit with me. I was sad to find that Hungry Woman in Paris fell short. Before I get to what I didn’t like, let’s start with what I did like. The food scenes were great. They were descriptive and well-done. Some of Lopez’s best writing can be found in these scenes. The characters, descriptions and events in the foody scenes manage to compensate for most of the shortcomings of the rest of the novels. I wish they had been a more prominent part of the book but they were pushed to the background in favor of tacky sex scenes and musings (whinings) about how horrible being an immigrant made her feel.

My major issue with this book was the main character herself. Canela was completely impossible to like. It is impossible to like someone who is constantly whining and blaming everyone but herself for her failings.  She is so judgmental of everyone around her that I wonder how anyone would want to be friends with her. She acts like judge and jury to everyone else all the while ignoring her own failings. She is “obviously” perfect. It is everyone else who is responsible for the mess she has made of her life. It’s her parent, America, France, men, her cousin Luna…it goes on and on and on. I tried to like her, I did. It was just impossible.

The sex scenes were also a major turn-off. Literally. They were quite, frankly, disgusting. I mean at one point, Canela pauses an encounter and goes and throws up in the sinks. When she returns, her partner kisses her a she complains that HIS breath is stinky. Ugh! This woman is enough to make me grind my teeth in rage. The descriptions otherwise were clinical and occurred way too often. I am not the type to be offended by graphic sex scenes but if they are not done well, even the most liberal person can be grossed out, squicked and, to an extent and this is not easy to do with me, offended.

I also thought that the politics and the discussion of politics was too much. Too all over the place. Don't get me wrong. I agree with almost everything she says but is there any need for it be everywhere? I understood when I picked up the book that politics was going to play a part and I was actually looking forward to it but I did not expect that it was going to BE the book.

Overall, I thought the book was good. The food scenes were really well done and, mostly, the writing in general was good. I also really enjoyed reading it. It was quick and interesting. It was only when I started thinking after I put the book down that the annoyance started. However, if graphic sex scenes are not your thing or your politics are more conservative, Hungry Woman in Paris might not be the book for you. If you enjoyed Julie and Julia, this book would be great for you.
*A copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher for review. My opinion is my own and has not been influenced in any way and any monies made from associate or affiliate accounts are recycled back into the blog.

Monday, August 24, 2009

My Cousin Caroline by Rebecca Ann Collins

My Cousin Caroline: The acclaimed Pride and Prejudice sequel series The Pemberley Chronicles Book 6
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
ISBN: 1402224311
Pages: 352 pgs
Genre: Jane Austen Sequel/Pride and Prejudice
Challenges-Read’n’Review Challenge, 100+ Reading Challenge

Publisher’s Description:

Sixth in the bestselling Jane Austen sequel series from Australia

In this installment of The Pemberley Chronicles series, Mr. Darcy's cousin Colonel Fitzwilliam and Elizabeth's cousin Caroline Gardiner take center stage.

The daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner, Caroline develops from a pretty young girl into a woman of intelligence and passion, embodying some of Austen's own values. Mr. Darcy, Elizabeth, Jane, Mr. and Mrs. Bennett, and the Wickhams all move through the story as Caroline falls in love, marries, and raises her children. Caroline rejects the role of a compliant Victorian wife and mother, instead becoming a spirited and outspoken advocate of reformist causes in spite of the danger of scandal.

Caroline's advocacy of reform, undaunted by criticism, demonstrates strength in a time when a woman's role was severely restricted.

My Review:

Out of all of the characters in this series and out of all the couples and courtships we have seen Caroline and Fitzwilliam were my favorite and I have been looking forward to reading their story since I started reading the series.  It has turned out to be my favorite out of the whole series so far.

My Cousin Caroline spans the timeline of all of the previous novels in the series but through Caroline’s eyes. Her point of view was so refreshing. Her perspective really brought these stories, that I have read before, to life. I also never thought that I would appreciate Colonel Fitzwilliam as a romantic hero but I did. I knew he was a nice guy based on Pride and Prejudice but I never thought he would be as interesting or as attractive a hero as Darcy. But as I am usually wrong and able to admit I am wrong, I will admit I am wrong here. He was a great hero.

The most shining moment in this book is the romance between Isabella, Caroline and Fitzwilliam’s daughter, and Phillip Bentley, a man with a semi-shady past. Their relationship gave me that squishy, kinda wanna cry feeling. His scenes at the end did make me cry. He is so heartbreakingly sweet. I was rooting for him and was so glad when he eventually got the girl. I hope Collins follows this couple later in the series.

As I said before, this was my absolute favorite in the series. I have loved this whole series but this book really resonated with me. I can’t wait to read the rest of the series and it is on my list of favorite Jane Austen sequels.
*A copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher for review. My opinion is my own and has not been influenced in any way and any monies made from associate or affiliate accounts are recycled back into the blog.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Musing Monday (August 24th)

Hosted at Just One More Page
Do you prefer to read stand-alone books, or books in series? Do you stick with a series the whole way through or stop after the first installment? Are there any particular series you enjoy?(question courtesy of Elena)
I really have no preference. I love both standalones and series. I don’t really consider them the same really. I have  a few select series that I read but mostly I tend to read either standalones or sequels (mostly Jane or, lately, Phantom). Some of my favorite series are Anne of Green Gables, Little Women Trilogy, Harry Potter, Pemberley Chronicles and Sookie Stackhouse.
I do have some quirks when I read series though. If I read one book in a series I MUST read them all. In order. Or I have this panicky, shaky feeling while reading and it does not go away until I have started from the beginning of the series.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Twitter and a Blog Name Change

I know it’s kind of dumb to change the name of a blog almost a year into it’s existence but I have good reason. When I started the blog, I had no idea what to call it. I resorted to the easiest option. A not very creative one. I decided that I needed something more snazzy. Something that defines my blog the way I want it to be defined and will catch attention in a good way. The new name for my blog is…wait for it….wait for it….

Books Like Breathing

I have also bit the bullet and joined Twitter. Follow me here.

Author Article: Safe at Home By Leslie Gilbert-Lurie

Bending Toward the Sun: A Mother and Daughter Memoir

Safe at Home
By Leslie Gilbert-Lurie
Author of Bending Toward the Sun: A Mother and Daughter Memoir

"Do you have older brothers?" I have been asked this question on a regular basis since I was a young girl.

"No," I routinely answer, in quiet defiance. I know why they are asking, but they always feel compelled to clarify. "Then where'd you learn to throw a ball?"

To me, throwing a baseball never seemed to be so remarkable. It had been harder to learn how to ride a bike or dive into a pool, but no one ever asked if I had an older brother when I performed those feats. My interest in baseball, on the other hand, often caught people by surprise.

I loved playing baseball. At the local park, high school, college, law school, and throughout my career, I always found a softball team that would have me. But I also coached youth baseball, for well over a decade. I would sneak out of college classes or network meetings, whatever was required, to get to a practice or game on time. Being out on the diamond was the highlight of my day.

Baseball's comforts enveloped me at home, as well. As a child, I loved working on my baseball card collection. I fondly recall weekends of my youth spent seated on the carpet of my safe, cozy bedroom, memorizing each player's team and position, bringing order to the piles of cards around me.

What was the attraction of baseball for a girl like me, with no older brother, growing up in Los Angeles in the 1960s? In the past, I dismissed this question, and simply bristled at the presumption that my interest or ability must have been influenced by a boy. Recently, however, approaching the publication of my mother-daughter memoir, Bending Toward the Sun, the question took on an added dimension. I began to recognize a connection between being the daughter of an immigrant, a Holocaust survivor who spent two years of her childhood hidden in an attic in Poland with fourteen family members, and my love of baseball.

From the beginning, our national pastime has attracted immigrants. In its infancy, 30 percent of the major league baseball players were Irish. Today, nearly a quarter of them are from Latin America, Canada, or Asia. Baseball has also played a role in the assimilation of fans to the United States. In the early part of the 20th century, these immigrants were primarily Italian, Jewish, Irish, and Polish. Today, they are largely Asian and Latin American.

Many immigrants, including my mother, came to America to escape war, danger, or lack of opportunity in their native countries. They arrived in search of a safe haven to call home. Baseball provided the respite. It is a peaceful, orderly sport. Anyone who doesn't play by the rules is ejected from the game, if not the profession. Moreover, baseball, like the American dream itself, represents infinite possibility. Until the final at bat, a team has the chance to come from behind and win. In this sport, the team is greater than the individual players. There is safety in being a part of something greater than ourselves. For many immigrants, baseball has provided a physical and emotional link to becoming American -- to health, freedom, opportunity and joy. Perhaps most importantly, baseball is a game. The enemies are not real, and afterward, players can face their opponents, instead of needing to flee.

I am not an immigrant. From day one, I have been the beneficiary of America's opportunities and protections. Perhaps I would have loved baseball, regardless of my origins. After all, I love many sports, and baseball in particular appeals to me on many levels. Played without clocks in bucolic parks around the country, and steeped in tradition, who could resist the allure of this beautiful game? Yet much of who I am has been shaped by my mother's past, and her experiences heightened my appreciation of the game. I believe it is not coincidental that I was so attracted to a sport that has a record of embracing immigrants -- a sport that would have treated my mother as a part of the team. As smart and beautiful as my mother is, I often perceived her as struggling to fully fit in. Baseball was always a means for me to momentarily distance myself from my own sadness about my mother's past. Out on the field I was euphoric, running freely around the bases; just the opposite of my mother's childhood experience, when, trapped in an attic, she was unable to speak or move about.

On September 1, Bending Toward the Sun will be released. Of all the planned celebratory and promotional events, I am most excited about getting to throw out the first pitch at Dodger Stadium on September 6. Perhaps someone in the stands will see me and wonder, "Where'd she learn to throw a ball?" I'll never know exactly. I was influenced by every coach, teammate, and childhood neighbor with whom I've played. Mostly, however, I was inspired by one woman who has barely played the sport at all. I'll be throwing out the ball for my mother, for her relatives in the attic, and for all the immigrants who today call America home.

©2009 Leslie Gilbert-Lurie, author of Bending Toward the Sun: A Mother and Daughter Memoir

Author Bio
Leslie Gilbert-Lurie
, author of Bending Toward the Sun: A Mother and Daughter Memoir, is a writer, lawyer, teacher, child advocate, and a member and past President of the Los Angeles County Board of Education.

Gilbert-Lurie also is a founding board member and immediate past President of the Alliance for Children's Rights, a non-profit legal rights organization for indigent children, chair of the education committee for the Los Angeles Music Center, and a board member of several schools including Sierra Canyon and New Visions Foundation. Finally, she has just completed serving as a member of the mayor's task force charged with developing a new cultural plan for the City of Los Angeles.

Previously, Leslie spent close to a decade as an executive at NBC, where, at various times, she oversaw NBC Productions, Comedy, wrote television episodes, and co-founded a new NBC in-house production company, Lurie-Horwits productions. As a lawyer, Leslie worked briefly at the law firm of Manatt, Phelps, Rothenberg and Tunney and served as a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Law Clerk. She is a graduate of UCLA and UCLA School of Law.

Leslie lives in Los Angeles with her husband, son, daughter and step-son.

For more information please visit

Friday, August 21, 2009

Mr Darcy’s Daughter by Rebecca Ann Collins

Mr. Darcy's Daughter: The acclaimed Pride and Prejudice sequel series (The Pemberley Chronicles)
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
ISBN: 1402212208
Pages: 336 pgs
Genre: Jane Austen Sequel/Pride and Prejudice
Challenges-Read’n’Review Challenge, 100+ Reading Challenge

Publisher’s Description:

"Jane Austen herself would have been very well pleased."
Beverley Wong, author of Pride & Prejudice Prudence

The bestselling Pemberley Chronicles series continues the saga of the Darcys and Bingleys from Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice and introduces imaginative new characters.

Charming, beautiful, and intelligent, Cassandra Darcy is undeniably her father's daughter. When her brother Julian falters in his responsibilities as heir to Pemberley, Darcy and Elizabeth turn in desperation to their daughter, and Cassy is thrust into the role of surrogate heir.

It will take all of Cassy's inner strength and ingenuity to raise Julian's son, attend to her own happy marriage and children, and keep Pemberley's tenants satisfied. When she is faced with a series of crises—her daughter appears to be involved in an unsuitable affair and her son is unwittingly drawn into a murder investigation—Cassy must act before circumstances spin out of control.

Set against a vivid backdrop of dramatic political and social changes sweeping England during the Victorian era, Mr. Darcy's Daughter is the remarkable story of a strong-minded woman in a man's world, struggling to balance the competing demands of love and duty as a daughter, wife, mother, and sister.

My Review:

Mr Darcy’s Daughter focuses on Cassandra. I have been looking forward to this book since I started the series. Cassandra was one of those characters that I wanted to know more about. Cassandra seemed the most Austenian of all the characters in the series.

I was disappointed that this book did not take us back to Cassandra and Richard’s courtship. I remember it from The Pemberley Chronicles but would have loved more detail. I did like the chemistry and high comfort level between Richard and Cassandra that only years of marriage can provide. I would have enjoyed reading more of their married life but this novel was dominated by other plots that touched Cassandra’s life.

The marital troubles between Cassandra’s brother,Julian, and his wife, Josie, seemed like a recycled plot from Netherfield Revisited with the wife going stir crazy and neglecting her husband and children in pursuit of a newer and better life.  I was not expecting this from Josie. She was one of my favorites and to see her deteriorate this much was surprising. I guess neglect plus ambition equal crazy. I was glad she was redeemed. I place all the blame for the failure of this marriage on Julian’s shoulders. Would it have been so difficult to show a little support for his wife?  Julian is such a weak character that I wonder how he could be the son of Mr Darcy.

The main romance in this novel was between Cassandra’s daughter, Lizzie, and Mr Carr, an Irish American friend of Lizzie’s brother Darcy. They were okay. They both were a bit bland to me.They did not have any of the chemistry that I would have expected from a central couple. They just couldn’t catch my interest as much as the previous couples have. I would have preferred to read more about Cassandra.

Overall, this was a good continuation of the series. Not my favorite but that has nothing to do with Collins’ writing because that has, throughout the series, remained superb. I would read her novels if she was writing about the grass growing.  I am really looking forward to continuing with My Cousin Caroline.

*This book was bought by me for me. I am not making any profit from my review of this book other than my enjoyment.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Friday Fill-Ins #138

1. I remember, I remember the Fifth of November.
2. Dear Jane Austen I want you to know that you ruined my expectations of men when you created Mr Darcy.
3. Is that my computer on the floor!!???
4. I'm trying to resist the temptation of reading a fanfiction story instead of writing or reading a book.
5. I'm saving a cookie just for you!
6. If I made a birthday list a Sony Reader would definitely be on it!!!
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to Grey’s Anatomy reruns, tomorrow my plans include sitting on my comfy chair and reading and Sunday, I want to go show shopping!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

New Award: Zombie Chicken

The blogger who receives this award believes in the Tao of the zombie chicken - excellence, grace and persistence in all situations, even in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. These amazing bloggers regularly produce content so remarkable that their readers would brave a raving pack of zombie chickens just to be able to read their inspiring words. As a recipient of this world-renowned award, you now have the task of passing it on to at least 5 other worthy bloggers. Do not risk the wrath of the zombie chickens by choosing unwisely or not choosing at all.

I am so happy to have been given this award by BrownGirl BookSpeak.

I am passing on this award to:

Rebecca @ Rebecca’s Book Blog

Becky @ One Literature Nut

Nishita @ Nishita's Rants and Raves

Alaine @ Alaine-Queen of Happy Endings

Rebecca @ Just One More Page

Healing Luke by Beth Cornelison

Healing Luke
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
ISBN: 1402224346
Pages: 320 pgs
Genre: Romance/Contemporary
Challenges-Read’n’Review Challenge, 100+ Reading Challenge

Publisher’s Description:

Covered with burn scars, having lost an eye and a thumb in a nearly fatal accident, Luke Morgan's days as a ladies' man are over. But his bitterness, far more than his injuries, threatens to tear apart his family and their business.

Abby Stanford is a physical therapist on vacation in Florida. When she meets Luke, she understands everything he's going through. She finds herself powerfully attracted to him, damaged though he believes he is. Abby can look beyond his pain and anger to see the man he is inside, enabling Luke, too, to see himself as whole and desirable once again…

My Review:

Everyone knows I am a romance junkie. I love sitting on my comfy chair and reading a good romance novel. It is usually very hard for me to pick a favorite. Not so much anymore. Healing Luke has surpassed all of the others (aside from Pride and Prejudice). It has been a month since I finished this book and I still have not forgotten it which is unusual for me. Healing Luke was one of the most touching and sweet romances I have read in a long time and it is one I will return to.

I absolutely love books like this where one of the main characters is horribly injured or hurt and the other helps heal them. It is even better when the injured party becomes surly and discontented. The relationship between Abby and Luke transforms from this antagonistic tug of war to a warm friendship that eventually becomes more. The journey with both of the characters always becomes so much more engaging because it is not only about both of them finding love but healing together. I know that sounds kind of mushy and saccharine but I can’t help it.

The characters are perhaps the best part of this book. In most of the romances I have read, the characters seem to have one side. There are not many layers to them. Abby and Luke were the complete opposite of that. They were so complex and sympathetic. Abby was so intelligent and strong. You never have to wonder about her losing her strength and ability to think and act for herself. She is real in ways that other heroines are almost like caricatures of women (in the fan fiction world Mary Sues). Luke was someone who seems like he would be hard hard nut to crack and indeed he was tough for even me to like but eventually the layers of surliness fell away and the real man came through.

I would be hard pressed to find a romance novel, or any type of fiction novel, that I like as much. It was such a wonderful book and I can’t really express how much I loved it. It totally earned it’s rating and I am recommending it to everyone I know who reads romances.
*A copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher for review. My opinion is my own and has not been influenced in any way and any monies made from associate or affiliate accounts are recycled back into the blog.

Author Article: Rising Above it All-David Morrell

The Shimmer

Rising Above it All: How Rambo's Creator Earned His Pilot's License
By David Morrell,
Author of The Shimmer
Readers familiar with my fiction know how much I love doing research. For Testament, I enrolled in an outdoor wilderness survival course and lived above timberline in the Wyoming mountains for 30 days. For The Protector, I spent a week at the Bill Scott raceway in West Virginia, learning offensive-defensive driving maneuvers, such as the 180-degree spins you see in the movies. I once broke my collarbone in a two-day knife-fighting class designed for military and law enforcement personnel.
Two years ago, I began the longest research project of my career. I was preparing to write a novel called The Shimmer, a fictional dramatization of the mysterious lights that appear on many nights outside the small town of Marfa in west Texas. When the first settlers passed through that area in the 1800s, they saw the lights, and people have been drawn to those lights ever since, including James Dean who became fascinated by them when he filmed his final movie Giant near Marfa in 1955.
The lights float, bob, and weave. They combine and change colors. They seem far away and yet so close that people think they can reach out and touch them. In the 1970s, the citizens of Marfa organized what they called a Ghost Light Hunt and pursued the lights, using horses, vehicles, and an airplane, but the lights had no difficulty eluding them.
Because an airplane was used, I decided to include one in The Shimmer. I'd never written about a pilot, and the idea of trying something new always appeals to me. The dramatic possibilities were intriguing. But a minute's thought warned me about the monumental task I was planning. As a novelist version of a Method actor, I couldn't just cram an airplane into my novel. First, I would need to learn how airplanes worked so that real pilots wouldn't be annoyed by inaccuracies. Real pilots. That's when I realized that it wouldn't be enough to learn how airplanes worked. I would need to take pilot training.
I live in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Our small airport has a flight school: Sierra Aviation. I made an appointment with one of the instructors, Larry Haight, who took me up in a Cessna 172 on what's called a "discovery" flight. The idea was to "discover" whether I enjoyed the sensation of being in the cockpit and peering several thousand feet down at the ground. Flying in a small aircraft is a much more immediate and visceral experience than sitting in the cabin of a commercial airliner. Even in a Cessna, the canopy is huge compared to the tiny windows on an airliner. The horizon stretches forever.
It turned out that I more than enjoyed the experience. It was exhilarating and fulfilling. I realized that this was something I wanted to do not only for research but also to broaden my life. As a consequence, I eventually earned my private pilot's license and bought a 2003 172SP. The plane was based near Dallas, and my longest cross-country flight to date (600 miles) involved piloting it from there to Santa Fe. Truly, nothing can equal controlling an aircraft, making it do safely whatever I want while seeing the world as if I were an eagle.
In The Shimmer, I wanted the main character's attitude toward flying ("getting above it all") to help develop the book's theme. The following passage shows what I mean. You only need to know that Dan Page is a police officer. When I started pilot training, I figured that one day I'd be relaxing in the sky, listening to an iPod and glancing dreamily around. As we learn in this section, the actuality is quite different and more substantial.
"Non-pilots often assumed that the appeal of flying involved appreciating the scenery. But Page had become a pilot because he enjoyed the sensation of moving in three dimensions. The truth was that maintaining altitude and speed while staying on course, monitoring radio transmissions, and comparing a sectional map to actual features on the ground required so much concentration that a pilot had little time for sightseeing.
"There was another element to flying, though. It helped Page not to think about the terrible pain people inflicted on one another. He'd seen too many lives destroyed by guns, knives, beer bottles, screwdrivers, baseball bats, and even a nail gun. Six months earlier, he'd been the first officer to arrive at the scene of a car accident in which a drunken driver had hit an oncoming vehicle and killed five children along with the woman who was taking them to a birthday party. There'd been so much blood that Page still had nightmares about it.
"His friends thought he was joking when he said that the reward of flying was 'getting above it all,' but he was serious. The various activities involved in controlling an aircraft shut out what he was determined not to remember.
"That helped Page now. His confusion, his urgency, his need to have answers -- on the ground, these emotions had thrown him off balance, but once he was in the air, the discipline of controlling the Cessna forced him to feel as level as the aircraft. In the calm sky, amid the monotonous, muffled drone of the engine, the plane created a floating sensation. He welcomed it yet couldn't help dreading what he might discover on the ground. "
At one point a character asks Page, how high he intends to fly.
"Enough to get above everything," he answers.
"Sounds like the way to run a life."
That's an important lesson I learned from flying.
©2009 David Morrell, author of The Shimmer
Author Bio David Morrell, author of The Shimmer, is the award-winning author of numerous New York Times bestsellers, including Creepers and Scavenger. Co-founder of the International Thriller Writers organization and author of the classic Brotherhood of the Rose spy trilogy, Morrell is considered by many to be the father of the modern action novel
For more information please visit
Learn more about The Shimmer at

Monday, August 17, 2009

Darcy and Anne by Judith Brocklehurst

Darcy and Anne: It is a truth universally acknowledged that Lady Catherine will never find a husband for Anne... (Pride & Prejudice Continues)
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
ISBN: 1402224389
Pages: 208 pgs
Genre: Jane Austen Sequel/Pride and Prejudice
Challenges-Read’n’Review Challenge, 100+ Reading Challenge

Publisher’s Description:

It is a truth universally acknowledged that Lady Catherine will never find a husband or Anne…

When a fortuitous accident draws Anne away from Rosings and her overbearing mother's direct influence, she is able to think and act for herself for the first time ever. In the society of her cousins Darcy and Georgiana, and, of course, the lively Mrs. Darcy, Anne reveals a talent for writing and a zest for life.

Meanwhile, Lady Catherine is determined to choose a husband for Anne. But now that Anne has found her courage, she may not be so easy to rule.

Anne de Bourgh is a sympathetic character whose obedience and meekness were expected of women in her day. As she frees herself from these expectations, Anne discovers strength, independence, and even true love in a wonderfully satisfying coming-of-age story.

My Review:

Lady Catherine’s daughter Anne was never a character I paid any form of attention to. She was not as witty and intelligent as Lizzy, as haughty and obnoxious as Caroline Bingley or as nervous and loud as Mrs. Bennet. When I picked up this book, I was unsure if a character like Anne could carry a book. She was so weak and sickly in Pride and Prejudice and I really couldn’t see how a character of such a weak mentality could keep me interested in a book, however short.

I have always found myself quite a bit curious about the sickly daughter of Lady Catherine. It seemed as if there was a story there and a story that should be told. I am so glad that I got the chance to read this book because Brocklehurst really brings Anne to life. Away from her mother and in an environment where she is cared for, Anne becomes a independent and intelligent woman. I love that she became a writer. It is something that I could see Anne doing. The other characters were treated very well by Brocklehurst. Lizzy was excellent and just as lovely as we would expect her to be. The friendship, bordering on sibling affection, between Darcy and Anne was so sweet. This book, above most of the others, made me love Darcy more and as more than a hunky, hunky hero. All of the new characters were also great, especially Edmund Caldwell. He was the perfect man for Anne.

Perhaps my favorite thing about this book is Lady Catherine. She was just as obnoxious, controlling and haughty as you would expect her to be. The constant friction between her and Anne was really great. This book really delves into their toxic relationship. It is almost like Lady Catherine is sucking the life from Anne. Anne only started to truly blossom when she was away from Lady Catherine. I think this dynamic was one of the best parts of the book and Brocklehurst really portrays it well.

The only flaw that I can think of about Darcy and Anne is that I wish it had been a bit longer and that is really not a flaw at all, is it?
*A copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher for review. My opinion is my own and has not been influenced in any way and any monies made from associate or affiliate accounts are recycled back into the blog.

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