Friday, July 31, 2009

Matt Buys His First House

Our youngest son Matt and daughter Becka (his sister and realtor)
Matt signing the papers for his first house. Girlfriend Tileena is watching.

Matt and Becka (sister/realtor) do the happy dance after signing!
Congratulations Matt!!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Bobby and Jackie: A Love Story

Author: C. David Heyman
Hardcover: 240 pages
Publisher: Atria (July 14, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1416556249

Book Description:
From the New York Times bestselling author of American Legacy, RFK, and A Woman Named Jackie, an in-depth look at the much talked-about -- but never fully revealed -- relationship between Jackie Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy

Few writers have immersed themselves in the world of the Kennedys as completely or successfully as C. David Heymann, whose biographies of Jackie, Robert, John F. Kennedy Jr., and Caroline together have sold millions of copies and have shed light on the private lives of the most prominent members of this iconic American family. Now he draws on more than two decades' worth of personal interviews, as well as previously unavailable reports and briefs from the Secret Service and the FBI, to create a complete picture of the complex relationship that existed between two of the most heralded figures of the twentieth century.

My Review:

The book begins with the JFK motorcade in Dallas on Friday, November 22, 1963, and takes the reader through details of the assasination, Jacqueline Kennedy's time with her dying husband, the death of the President, and the swearing in of Lyndon Johnson.

After the death of her husband, Jackie becomes depressed and begins to lean heavily on John Kennedy's brother, Bobby, who is also dealing with his own deep grief and guilt. Even though Bobby is a married man, these two devastated people find solace in each other and start a long-time physical love affair.

The author names and quotes numerous people who personally knew the two lovers and gives detailed accounts of their relationship. Jackie and Bobby were obviously two needy people who had romantic dalliances with many, even though they seemed to continually come back to each other.

As a reviewer, my job is not to make moral judgements, so after reading the book, I've come to the conclusion they were "soul mates" and deeply in love, although they knew and understood they could never have a normal life together.

The book ends with the shooting of Bobby Kennedy, his lingering in the hospital as his family deals with the end, Jackie's response, and her own death several years later.

The author seems to be a reliable source and offers extensive documentation.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe

Author: J. Randy Taraborrelli
Hardcover: 576 pages
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (August 25, 2009)
ISBN-10: 0446580821

Product Description:

When Marilyn Monroe became famous in the 1950s, the world was told that her mother was either dead or simply not a part of her life. However, that was not true. In fact, her mentally ill mother was very much present in Marilyn's world and the complex family dynamic that unfolded behind the scenes is a story that has never before been told...until now. In this groundbreaking book, Taraborrelli draws complex and sympathetic portraits of the women so influential in the actress' life, including her mother, her foster mother, and her legal guardian. He also reveals, for the first time, the shocking scope of Marilyn's own mental illness, the identity of Marilyn's father and the half-brother she never knew, and new information about her relationship with the Kennedy's-Bobby, Jack, and Pat Kennedy Lawford. Explosive, revelatory, and surprisingly moving, this is the final word on the life of one of the most fascinating and elusive icons of the 20h Century.

My review:

Marilyn Monroe was, without question, one of the most intriguingly beautiful women of the 20th century. Not only was she attractive, but she was deeply complex and had a sincere desire to become a great actress.

"The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe" is an examination of her life from beginning to end, opening with an account of Marilyn's foster mother, Ida Bolender, and how Marilyn came to be a part of her family. The book then goes on to chronicle the histories of Marilyn's grandmother, Della; mother, Gladys; and finally the birth and childhood of Norma Jeane (Marilyn's birth name).

The book is not complex in it's writing style and gives the reader a clear and honest portrait of the most sensual actress of our time.

Some chapters are:
*The Voices Return
*Norma Jean in an Orphanage
*Norma Jean Marries
*Marilyn Tries To Meet Her "Father"
*Joe DiMaggio
*Marilyn's Rebellion
*Arthur Miller
*Why Marilyn Was Investigated By The FBI
*Marilyn Is Committed
*How Dare You Betray Me!
*Kennedy Style
*An Overdose Because of JFK?
*many more chapters throughout this 576 page biography.
(And there's always the question of whether Marilyn committed suicide, died of an unintended overdose, or was murdered. The book will give the reader solid clues into the mystery.)

If you are a Monroe fan or just want an interesting read, this will probably be one the most talked about books of 2009. I enjoyed the book, and found out many things about Marilyn that I had not previously read by other writers.

(Thanks to Hachette Book Group for my ARC.)

Monday, July 27, 2009

Kendyl Grace Loves Water

Remember our little Kendyl Grace? She was born last fall, premature, with a severe intestinal defect. Her condition was very serious for several weeks, so we prayed, and prayed, and prayed for her recovery.

This is Kendyl Grace today, enjoying her swimming pool. Her grandmother (my daughter) sent the photo this afternoon, saying, "Kendyl loves the water and just hums and coos the entire time she is in. And yells when we take her out!"

She is growing so fast, isn't she? She's our little miracle!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Julie & Julia

Author: Julie Powell
Mass Market Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company (July 1, 2009)
ISBN-10: 031604251X

Book Description:
Julie & Julia, the bestselling memoir that's "irresistible....A kind of Bridget Jones meets The French Chef" (Philadelphia Inquirer), is now a major motion picture.
Julie Powell, nearing thirty and trapped in a dead-end secretarial job, resolves to reclaim her life by cooking in the span of a single year, every one of the 524 recipes in Julia Child's legendary Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Her unexpected reward: not just a newfound respect for calves' livers and aspic, but a new life-lived with gusto.

My Review:
While visiting her parents, Julie finds an old cookbook that brings back important childhood memories. When it's time to go back to her own home, she conveniently stows it away in her luggage.
After returning home, and being unhappy with her job, Julie's husband encourages her to create a cooking blog, where she will attempt to cook and talk about every one of the 524 recipes in Julia Child's "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" in a single year.
I really got a laugh out of her description of her first days as a new blogger. The enthusiasm, the excitement of getting that first comment, and her new "followers" being her friends and relatives, brought back so many memories of my own first days of blogging.
This is an entertaining, laugh-out-loud, well-written book that is not only the story about Julie, but it also gives glimpses into the life of the legendary, Julia Child.
At the end of the book the reader will find a study guide with questions and answers which are well suited for reading groups. There's even a recipe for Valentine's Day Liver for Two (Yummy! LOL).
I have also reviewed this on Amazon. If it has been helpful, please give me a "yes" vote under reviews.
(Thanks to Hackette Book Group for my review copy.)

Saturday, July 25, 2009

500 Handmade Books

Paperback: 420 pages
Publisher: Lark Books (July 1, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1579908772

Book Description:
Interest in bookbinding and the related arts has exploded in the past decade, inspiring artists to explore the unlimited possibilities of the form—and delighting collectors, crafters, and gallery owners.

Lark’s Cover to Cover has been a bestseller for more than ten years, and this new and provocative on-the-page gallery, richly illustrated with hundreds of breathtaking photographs, will appeal to that same large and discerning audience. They’ll appreciate the artistry of a finely tooled leather cover, embellished with traditional gold-leaf lettering; the intricacy of an exotic Ethiopian binding with a show-stopping open spine; and others that resemble mysterious puzzle boxes, or that curl, hang, and swirl.

The sublimely talented contributors all put their finest work on display: Jeanne Germani’s Cloudspeak showcases her own handmade papers, made from such varied materials as recycled denim, thistle, and other plant matter. Chris Bivin’s codex-style volume features curious, tiny, found objects. One of Laura Wait’s untitled pieces utilizes a handsome raised-cord binding to connect a pair of stained-cedar covers with abstract aluminum letterforms attached.

The entire collection is juried by the esteemed Steve Miller.

My Thoughts:
This is a very handsome 420 page volume of gorgeous handmade book ideas. It also looks great on the coffee table as a conversation piece.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Tucker James Is Home

We brought Tucker James home from the hospital this morning. He was so glad to be in the car and talked all the way home! The staff at the clinic all really loved him and came out to say good-bye. They said that he is such a gentle, sweet boy. *lots of smiles from me*

He still has a bladder infection, but the vet let him come home to rest and get well. He's on antibiotics and we have been ask to bring him back daily until he's completely over the infection. There will be no charge for those little visits, which makes me happy!!

Now it's just a matter of him eating his special food, taking his medicine, and resting.
(He looks angry in the photo, but in reality he's a gentle giant.)


The winner of the surprise gift is Jeanne. Congratulations!

Please email your address and I'll send the surprise out immediately.

Thanks to all who entered!!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Tucker James Is Sick

My big cat, Tucker James, is sick and in the hospital. Thursday, we noticed we hadn't seen him in several hours, so Jim went looking for him. He found him downstairs, unable to walk. When I called the vet, they said to bring him in immediately.

They found he had a serious bladder problem and couldn't urinate. So he's been staying at the animal clinic since then. He's still not out of danger. We really won't know anything definite until Monday. I'm hoping he'll make it.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Around the Opry Table

Author: Kay West
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Center Street (October 15, 2007)
ISBN-10: 1931722870

If you like country music, you're going to love this beautiful cookbook.

Author, Kay West, has put together a book that not only shares with us the recipes of famous Grand Ole Opry stars, but also photos, songs, and stories.

You are going to find the food, songs, and stories of such greats as Minnie Pearl, Vince Gill, Roy Acuff, Little Jimmy Dickens, Hank Williams, Marty Robbins, Johnny Cash, Tex Ritter, Dolly Parton, Tom T. Hall, George Jones, Ricky Skaggs, Lorrie Morgan, Alan Jackson, Alison Krauss, Brad Paisley, Trace Adkins, and more. There is even a story about the Cracker Barrel Old Country Store with a recipe for their CORN BREAD DRESSING.

Here's a list of just a few of the recipes you'll find inside this cookbook:
*Applesauce Cake
*Butterscotch Pie
*Bachelor Biscuits
*Black Cake
*Blueberry Skillet Cake
*Scripture Cake
*Tennessee Pride Country Kitchen Casserole
*Texas Hold 'Em Chili
*Tennessee Smoky Mountain Paella
*Martha White's Southern Cornbread

This is a quality book that would make a nice addition to your cookbook collection or a unique gift. I love mine.

(Thanks to Hachette Book Group for my review copy)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


Hello friends!

I'm having a giveaway to introduce my new children's book blog. You can find it here.

There's going to be lots of good children's books featured on The Reading Path. So mothers, grandmothers, great-grandmothers, teachers, and anyone who loves or has an interest in childhood, please come by often. Tell your friends, too.

I'm really excited about my newest blog, so I'm giving away one surprise gift next week. Drawing will be on July 21.

Rules are simple:
*Become a follower of The Reading Path for 5 points
*Become a follower of each one of my blogs for 5 points each
*Leave a comment on The Reading Path for 2 points (every day that you leave a comment, you will receive 2 points)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

100 Bible Stories, 100 Bible Songs

Author: Stephen Elkins
Illustrations by: Tim O'Connor
Reading level: Ages 4-8
Hardcover: 208 pages
Publisher: Thomas Nelson (March 1, 2005)
ISBN-10: 1591452392

This book of bible stories, plus a bible song to go along with each one, is going to be a great hit with our large family. I am so impressed with it, that I am planning on giving it as gifts to my grandchildren.

The book is filled with bright, colorful pictures on each page and comes with 2 high quality CD's with 50 songs on each. Many of the songs are traditional and bring to memory a time in my life when I sang them with my six children, who are now grown up with families of their own. The songs on the CD's are sung in children’s voices which are sure to hold the attention of young people—toddlers and up.

This is a unique book that everyone in the family will use and enjoy. In fact, it would be perfect for Christian “family nights.” It would be a wonderful devotional tool and a fun way to introduce your child to bible scripture that will help them store faith and comfort in their hearts for a lifetime.

This is the perfect book for parents, grandparents, Sunday school teachers, youth directors, and home school moms.

On a scale from one to ten, this would score a perfect 10. I highly recommend it.

The Summer Book

Author: Susan Branch
Hardcover: 128 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
ISBN-10: 0316106666

"A hand-lettered, hand-painted book of everything related to summer has a hundred summer recipes--including Blueberry Bread Pudding and Barbecued Bourbon Chicken--and features picnics, parties, gardening advice, herbal cooking, home remedies, and anecdotes."

I am thrilled to review this beautiful book. I don't know whether to call it a cookbook, a gardening book, a book of summer memories, or all three-- I just know that it is a joy to sit and browse through all of the beautiful water-colored drawings and handwritten recipes, and descriptions of times lived in the garden, or by the seashore; times shared with family on picnics, in the kitchen, or in the backyard.

The author creates a whimsical, down-home, experience for the reader. I felt so peaceful inside, as I spent the afternoon reading about a life much like I had as a child, and going over recipes that I recognize as American favorites.

The Summer Book includes memories of the author's grandmother; a beautiful layout for a summer garden (complete with white picket fence), all sorts of information on growing herbs; helpful household hints; water-color images of summer; appetizers and sandwiches; a simple, but elegant midnight supper under the stars; simple side dish ideas; how to draw; library days; the summer table; main dishes; an old-fashioned picnic menu; camping memories; mouth-watering sweets; and a fare thee well to summer message. Each page is a cornucopia of delightful color and wonder.

What a gorgeous book of lovely ideas! Be sure to pick this one up for summer reading, or gift giving.

Monday, July 13, 2009


The winners of THE PENNY PINCHERS CLUB are....JenniferB and Tea.

Congratulations to the winners! Please email your address to within the next 24 hours, otherwise, another name will be drawn.

Thanks to all who entered.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Penny Pinchers Club: Book Giveaway

The Penny Pinchers Club
Author: Sarah Strohmeyer
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Dutton Adult (July 2, 2009)
ISBN-10: 0525951172

I am giving away 2 copies of the new book, The Penny Pinchers Club by Sarah Strohmeyer. Ms. Strohmeyer is also the author of The Cinderella Pact.

In The Penny Pinchers Club, Kat Griffiths has never saved a penny in her life. Living in New Jersey (the state that boasts the most malls per capita) it's no surprise that her favorite pastime is shopping. When Kat learns that her husband has a secret bank account and may be planning to leave her, she decides to kick her spending habits in preparation for a divorce.

She begins by cutting back on the small things--kicking the $240.00 monthly Starbucks habit, canceling her HBO cable subscription, and quitting her gym membership. But when Kat joins an eccentric but charming group of savers called the Penny Pincher's Club, her newfound hobby becomes an over-the-top obsession.

Soon she's baking her own bread, diving dumpsters for her family's dinner, and hoarding years' supplies of tampons under her bathroom sink. The measures she takes not only save her money, but save her time--time she spends with her husband, their daughter...and an old flame, who resurfaces at precisely the wrong moment, offering Kat a life where money is no object.

Chock full of laugh-out-loud plotlines and quirky yet endearing characters, The Penny Pinchers Club is the perfect pick me up for these troubling times and a valuable lesson--in finances, in love, and in the unexpected ways in which hardship can lead to happiness.

You will also find many useful penny pinching tips.

The author, Sarah Strohmeyer is the author of ten previous novels including Sweet Love, The Sleeping Beauty Proposal, and the bestselling Bubbles series.

The drawing will take place on July 13th.

To enter:
*Leave a comment for 1 point (enter every day if you wish)
*Become a follower of my blog for 2 points
*Mention my giveaway on your site for 3 extra points (please let me know if you do this)
*Winners will have 24 hours to respond by email.
*Drawing is limited to US and Canada residents.

(Thanks to Tala at Dutton Publicity for the free copies)

Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Inconvenient Adventures of Uncle Chestnut

Author: Paul Nowak
Reading level: Ages 9-12
Paperback: 64 pages
Publisher: Eternal Revolution (May 29, 2009)
ISBN-10: 0977223493

The Inconvenient Adventures of Uncle Chestnut by Paul Nowak is a children's book that packs between it's covers, truth, wisdom, and humor that even adults can use, and relate to. It is based on the works G.K. Chesterton, one of the most influential English writers of the 20th century .

This book teaches children to see everyday inconveniences as opportunities for joy and personal growth.

Chapters include:
*The Runaway Hat
*The Boy Who Wanted to See Giants
*A Trip to the Seaside
*The Easy Job
*Words to Know

Chesterton, a profound and prolific early 20th century writer, authored more than 100 books over his lifetime, and influenced many other great thinkers and writers like C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Mahatma Gandhi.

(Thank you to the author for my review copy.)

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Too Too Many Tutus: A Review

Too Too Many Tutus
By-Suzanne Davis Marion
Illustrated by- Marj Hales
32 pages
ISBN: 978-1439218471
BookSurge Publishing

It is almost time for little Christina's ballet class, but she doesn't know which of her many tutus to wear. She ask her mommy for help selecting one, but Christina is told to ask her daddy. Her daddy says she has too many, so it's too difficult for him to choose, too.

Christina finally gets a big idea from her brother Max. Which color will Christina choose--green, blue, pink, yellow, violet, or orange?

I highly recommend this colorful children's book to parents, teachers, and grandparents-- or anyone who wishes to share it with a special little girl who loves ballet. The story is sweet and the illustrations are beautiful.

(Thanks goes to the author for my review copy.)

Monday, July 6, 2009

Interview with Kathryn Magendie, Author of Tender Graces

Title: Tender Graces
Author: Kathryn Magendie
ISBN: 9780982175620
Pages: 316
Release Date: April 1, 2009
Publisher: Bell Bridge Books

Today I'm interviewing one of my favorite new authors, Kathryn Magendie, author of Tender Graces.

Ms. Magendie is a writer/editor, Co-Editor of The Rose & Thorn Literary Ezine, and author of her debut novel TENDER GRACES. Her short stories, essays, poetry, and amateur photography has been published in both online and print publications. Visit her at or

If you have additional questions for Kathryn, after the interview, please leave them under "comments."

1. What drew you to portray the main character of the book?

Here is something I’ve never told anyone about Virginia Kate as it’s been my own little private “thing” – of which I’ve said there are tidbits and secrets and codes in Tender Graces that both can be figured out, and cannot unless I tell.

Virginia Kate’s name came from a combination of my name and my adoptive mother’s name; her name is Ruth Virginia. I did this as a tribute to her, for taking my two brothers and me in and then adopting us. She could have said no to my father and she did not. She wanted us.

I’d been thinking about a character who needed to find home, place, belonging. One who searches for love and acceptance and family, and once I had that name, the rest of the story began to fall into place. Virginia Kate has a very strong voice and it wasn’t hard to tell her story—which is her story, even if I did use something from my life as an idea.

2. What is your favorite line from the book?

Since I had a hard time picking one, I decided to flip through the book randomly. What my finger landed on is something Momma, Katie Ivene, says to Virginia Kate while Virginia Kate is in the holler preparing breakfast for Momma, who’s enjoying her coffee “with a little help in it.” Momma is trying to pump information about Virginia Kate’s “new life” in Louisiana and she’s not very nice about it. Every time I read this I laugh even though I shouldn’t. Katie Ivene has these little “Katie-isms” that are so irreverent and smart aleck; I find Katie Ivene fascinating and one day I hope to write more about her and about Grandma Faith, and about Rebekha, too.

“Tell me all about this Roo-becker and your pick-pack-daddy-whack. Are they happy go lucky in their happy go lucky home?”

3. When did you know you wanted to be a writer and how long have you been developing your craft?

There are some writers who say, “I knew when I was in my high chair that I’d be a writer and I made up all kinds of stories and wrote them down.” But I can’t remember that. My mother says I talked about it as a child and that I wrote stories, but I have only vague memories of some stories I wrote, maybe for school.

I put aside my writing for so long and wasn’t able to write steadily and seriously until I was in my late forties. It will take something bigger than I am, something I can’t control, to ever stop me from my writing dreams again. I am a writing machine, except unlike a machine, I have tender feelings (laughing).

4. Is reading a large part of your life? Which book made the biggest impact on your writing?

Oh yes, reading was always my greatest love (the only comparable love is the writing). That is something I can recall from childhood—my great love of books. The library was my sanctuary; oh how I loved (and still love) to read! I can’t imagine a writer who doesn’t like books and reading, although I suppose those may exist somewhere. I read every night—there has to be something unusual happen to where I do not read at the end of each day.

There is no one book that made an impact; all of them have made an impact.

5. What are your two favorite books?

The one I’m reading now.
The one I read last week.

6. Does storytelling run in your family?

You know, I believe it does! Although no one in my family writes, I see gifts in my brothers (they also have musical gifts and artistic gifts). I do have a vague memory of my father writing short stories and sending them out to a mystery magazine. He was rejected and I don’t think he tried again. I wonder what would have happened with his writing if he had kept sending out his work. (I wonder how many writers and artists with gifts have given up because of rejection.)

I wish I knew more about my kin, but they are clouded in mystery—I guess that’s why I write about families so much, for I want to create histories I do not have.

7. When creating the story, which is the most difficult, the beginning or ending?

The ending, because then I have to say goodbye to the characters I have come to love.

8. What is the writing process like for you? Are you a morning person or night person? Do you have a special place you like to go to for inspiration? What energizes you?

I write during the day; I have become a morning person as I’ve aged. This cove tucked on a mountain in the Great Smoky Mountains of Western North Carolina is an inspiration; nature is an inspiration and I’m surrounded by it; the actual sitting down to write is an inspiration! All of this energizes me, too—that and knowing my book will be held in someone’s hands and read and perhaps they’ll love my characters as much as I do.

9. What advice would you have for emerging writers?

You are going to hear “never give up” at every turn, but you are going to want to give up, time and time again. After all, it’s hard enough to have your work published, and then on top of it all, the “publishing world out there” has become even more difficult to maneuver. I feel very fortunate that BelleBooks picked up Tender Graces. So, don’t give up; however, perhaps adjust the vision of your dreams. Things may not work out as you first envisioned, so open yourself up to possibility.

Don’t listen to anyone who makes you feel bad about yourself or your writing—get away from them. However, be open to suggestions that feel right to you—learn to trust your instincts.

Don’t be afraid to toss out words. There are always more words. I remember thinking I simply couldn’t delete words from my first “completed” Tender Graces. Well, guess what? By time I queried BelleBooks, I’d cut out almost 40,000 words. That’s a lot of words to take out of a manuscript that I thought was “finished” and where I thought I simply couldn’t delete any of my precious words.

It’s okay to feel some envy for someone who has reached a goal you are striving for—use that “envy” for motivation. However, do not let a little motivating envy turn into jealousy. Jealousy hinders your progress and makes you bitter. A little envy motivates you to say, “If they can do this; I can do this.”

10. What is the most rewarding thing about being a writer?

When readers contact me and tell me how something in my words touched them in some way. I had a couple of people tell me they called in sick to work just to finish Tender Graces—how could I not feel a sense of accomplishment and joy in that? Hearing readers say, “I couldn’t put down your book” makes me slap a big ole grin on and do a jig across the room.

I have to say, too, that the language, the writing, the characters finding their way onto the page and you know you have done this thing, this incredible thing, well, that’s pretty danged rewarding.

Thank you, Kathryn, for taking time out of your busy schedule to do this interview for us!

Readers can find Tender Graces at

*Also don't forget The Penny Pincher Club book giveaway on July 13th. (See top righthand column for details.)
To enter:
*Leave a comment for 1 point (enter every day if you wish)
*Become a follower of this blog for 2 points
*Mention my giveaway on your site for 3 extra points (please let me know if you do this.)
*Winners will have 24 hours to respond by email.
*Drawing is limited to US and Canada residents.
**Thank you for joining us today. Happy Reading!!!

Friday, July 3, 2009

4th of July Activities

This is the first time in years that Jim and I will be alone on the 4th of July. In past years there have been picnics, lots of food, firework displays in the evening, day-long houseboat outings, and lots of company. But this year most of the family is either living away, or traveling out-of-town, so Jim and I will do what we do on most other days--work in the yard, do some housework, read (I have several book reviews awaiting my attention), blog, and watch the news (hope it's all good).

What are your plans for the 4th?

And by the way, stay safe!!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Italian for Beginners: A Review

Italian for Beginners
Author: Kristin Harmel
Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: 5 Spot (August 13, 2009)
ISBN-10: 0446538302

Cat Connelly is a thirty-four-year-old Manhattan accountant who has always lived a responsible life. She has lived on the safe side, even taking care of her younger sister and father when her mother left the family. But Cat starts to question her life choices while attending her sister's wedding.

When wedding guests ask her about finding the right man and walking down the isle, and when she hears quiet gossip, within earshot, she becomes embarrassed and frustrated. Where is the justice for someone who has, seemingly, done all the right things, but still hasn't found the life she rightfully deserves? She tries to leave the wedding party, but runs into a mysterious man who takes her breath away. Is he single or married, which turns into a major issue.

Cat, feeling confused, and low in spirit, returns to work, where a friend encourages her to take a much needed month's vacation to visit a former boyfriend in Italy. Cat talks to her father, who tells her it is a good idea for her to get away for awhile. She now has to choose between her perceived responsibility at home or a chance at happiness.

Arriving in Italy, Cat finds herself on a virtual "Roman Holiday" as her life becomes very similar to Audrey Hepburn's character in the movie by that name. Although, she finds romance, disappointment, betrayal, and love, she also must face some serious old ghosts that have haunted her in her earlier life. Does she have the courage to live as a stranger in Rome? Will she conquer her demons? Will she find her true self? Will she find the love of her life? These are questions that make the book a pure pleasure to read.
I give this a perfect 5 stars*****

(The author also wrote The Art of French Kissing)

Tucker James

Tucker James is our giant, 23 lb. lynx point Siamese cat. He is bigger than Riley! Well, he is quite a lovable character and thinks he's still a baby. We are always tickled by his antics.

A couple of days ago we found him snuggled up in this tiny box that's just big enough for him to squeeze into.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

My Baby

Daughter Becka came for dinner with Jim and I last evening and while she was here she took this picture of my sweet, little Riley. Becka was with me when I bought Riley as a puppy and she's always been very close with him. He just goes wild when she comes to visit. In this photo, he's looking up at her. Can't you see the love in his little eyes?