Posted by: cathycrane11 | July 8, 2012

Afterwards by Rosamund Lupton

My Thoughts:  First, I must say, that I am so glad this was a holiday week, and I actually could spend some quantity and quality time reading.  This was one of the most amazing books I have read in awhile.
Afterwards has everything that keeps you just turning page after page, and you really don’t want to stop.  I loved the way Ms Lupton gave a voice to mother and daughter, Grace and Jenny, victims of a horrific fire.   Telling their story by means of out of body spirits was a unique way of narrating.   At times, Ms. Lupton actually made me forget that they were communicating as spirits.
The author gave us twists and turns to the point where you just didn’t know if the the fire was accidental or intentional.  There were so many suspects and motives that anyone of the secondary characters could have been responsible.  Without giving away the ending, I had no clue …….
Afterwards is much more than just a mystery (whodunit).  This is about family dynamics, not only for the Covey family, but the White family, Hyman family, and the McBrides The ending just blew me away.  I actually closed my book and said, ” Oh my God, what a beautiful story”.
I want to thank Net Galley for providing this book, allowing me the opportunity to read this beautifully written story,  being able to experience a band-new author, and being able to give my unbiased review.
Yes, this is my first introduction to  Rosamund Lupton’s novels, but I have already put her and her 1st book “Sister“, on the top of my favorites and TBR list.

Posted by: cathycrane11 | May 20, 2012

Lone Wolf by Jodi Picoult

            First of all, the reason for reading this novel is that I am a huge fan of Jodi Picoult.  There are only a couple of her books that I have not read, but plan to at some time.  Like Jodi Picoult’s other novels, Lone Wolf deals with real life issues; situations that no one wants to find themselves in but that we know people deal with every single day.  For me, being able to identify with real life issues, and real life characters(without reading Non-Fiction),  keeps me reading from page 1 to the end.Like other Picoult novels, there are multiple levels of conflict – from simple brother and sister arguments to court room drama, conflict between, mother and son, mother and daughter and husband and wife.     Because of the way Picoult handles these conflicts, with a caring touch and balances, it was very easy for me to see and care about all parties involved in this terrible decision that had to be made.
I cannot say that I was surprised at the ending, but as always I was not disappointed.  Even though I am trying to branch out and experience other authors, Jodi Picoult continues to be my favorite.
I am giving this book a  5/5 because of my favorite author.

Posted by: cathycrane11 | August 31, 2011

Denise Hildreth

“I’ve learned through the years that it is the power of a story that changes people.  Whether it’s the stories I write, or the story of my life that has been written so far, stories have a powerful ability to influence, enlighten, and transform.”


What a beautiful and touching story of love, loss, despair, grief, and healing.  MacKenzie and Gray Landon had it all.  Gray is the Governor of Tennessee.  MacKenzie is a loving wife, mother, daughter,and an advocate for Nashville Rescue Mission.  The Landon’s certainly were living a wonderful life, until one day, in a split second, this perfect life was completely turned upside down and out of control.  The Landon’s loss their 5 year old daughter, Maddie, in a terrible car accident.

Denise Hildreth Jones gets right to the heart of MacKenzie.  Ms Jones draws you right in with MacKenzie as she withdraws from Gray, her family, her projects, and herself.  I probably related more to MacKenzie’s mother, Eugenia.  I am not from the south, but the love she has for her daughter is undeniable.  Not to give too much of the book away but when Eugenia got in the bathtub with Mackenzie, just to get her cleaned up and to help MacKenzie face her depression, I completely lost it. This is how powerful a Mother’s love really is.

Ms Jones also did a wonderful job depicting Gray’s despair and anger, and then finally deciding the he was going to stay with MacKenzie, trying to pull her back to the MacKenzie he knew and loved, no matter how long it took.  He was ready to give up everything to help her from losing herself.

Jeremiah, the Governor’s gardener played a pivotal role in the Landon’s lives and their healing process and not only by his gardening skills.   With his southern dialect, he reminded me of Hoke, played by Morgan Feeman, in Driving Miss Daisey.  He had that same soft, calm, religious manner.  You really did not know Jeremiah, and what he was all about until the end of the book, another powerful character

The First Gardener is the first book of Denise Hildreth Jones I have read, but plan on reading others.

I received a complimentary copy of the book for review purposes from Tyndale  House, which I am very honored to have been given the opportunity to read such an amazing story.

If you haven’t done so, I don’t think you will regret putting this one on your TBR list.

Happy Reading

Posted by: cathycrane11 | July 30, 2011

Synobsis from Goodreads:

She’s all about going green. Could he be her white knight—or will he make her see red?

Tree-huggin’, animal-lovin’ Bridget Pickwick-Buchanan is on a mission. Well, two. First she has to come to terms with being a widow at thirty-three. After all, it’s been four years and even her five-year-old niece and nephew think it’s time she shed her widow’s weeds. Second, she needs to find a buyer for her family’s estate—a Biltmore-inspired mansion surrounded by hundreds of acres of unspoiled forestland. With family obligations forcing the sale, Bridget is determined to find an eco-friendly developer to buy the land, someone who won’t turn it into single-family homes or a cheesy theme park.

Enter J. C. Dirk, a high-energy developer from Atlanta whose green property developments have earned him national acclaim. When he doesn’t return her calls, Bridget decides a personal visit is in order. Unfortunately, J. C. Dirk is neither amused nor interested when she interrupts his meeting—until she mentions her family name. In short order, he finds himself in North Carolina, and Bridget has her white knight—in more ways than one. But there are things Bridget doesn’t know about J. C., and it could mean the end of everything she’s worked for…and break her heart.:

My Thoughts:  First, I chose this book from the selection on Blogging For Books.   When I read the synopsis, I

wasn’t sure I was going to like this book at all.  Bridget Pickwick Bucannan and I are completely different.  I have not gone completely green, I am not a tree hugger,  I would never wear my hair in dreadlocks, I very rarely go barefoot, and fortunately my faith has not wavered.    With that being said, I  just adored Bridget. Tamara Leigh created a  very real, extraordinary, and a down to earth person. I found myself rooting for her all the way.   In literary terms, I thought that Bridget was a three dimensional person.


We we meet JC Dirk, the person who is going to woo Bridget, but also may break her already healing heart.  He too is a three dimensional person, with a family history that he struggles with.  He has his own agenda by acquiring what was robbed from his family.

The interactions between Bridget and JC are hilarious, touching, and very loving.  One of the thoughts Bridget has when meeting with JC  “Well Open Me A Jar Of Peaches And Call Me  A Pie, had me actually laughing out loud(LOL).  The book is full of these little southern phrases.

I loved the mystery and suspense about family greed and deceit. I loved how Tamara Leigh guides the characters to using religious strength in a way  in which religion is seen as a positive and logical force.  I would recommend this wonderful story to everyone who enjoys smiling until the very last page.

“I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for  this review”.

About The Author:Tamara Leigh began her writing career in 1994 and is the best-selling author of fourteen novels, including Splitting Harriet (ACFW Book of the Year winner and RITA Award finalist), Faking Grace (RITA Award Finalist), and Leaving Carolina. A former speech and language pathologist, Tamara enjoys time with her family, faux painting, and reading. She lives with her husband and their sons in Tennessee and can be found at

Posted by: cathycrane11 | July 16, 2011

The First Gardener

If heaven had a backyard, it would look like the gardens of the Tennessee governor’s mansion

I am so excited.   I just received my first book from Tyndale House Publishers for review.  The cover and the 1st sentence from the back cover is so beautiful, I just have this feeling the story is going to just a beautiful.

I received a complimentary copy of this title from Tyndale House for the purposes of reviewing.

Posted by: cathycrane11 | May 22, 2011

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford




From Booklist

Ford vacillates between a front story dominated by nostalgia and a backstory dominated by fear. The front story struggles to support the weight of the backstory, and the complexity Ford brings to the latter is the strength of this debut novel, which considers a Chinese American man’s relationship with a Japanese American woman in the 1940s and his son in the 1980s. Although Ford does not have anything especially novel to say about a familiar subject (the interplay between race and family), he writes earnestly and cares for his characters, who consistently defy stereotype. Ford posits great meaning in objects—a button reading “I am Chinese” and a jazz record, in particular—but the most striking moments come from the characters’ readings of each other: “Henry couldn’t picture bathing with his parents the way some Japanese families did. He couldn’t picture himself doing a lot of things with his parents. . . . He felt his stomach turn a little. His heart raced when he thought about Keiko, but his gut tightened just the same.” –Kevin Clouther

About the Author:
Ford’s interest in his father’s “I Am Chinese” button inspired him to write a short story of the same name, which eventually became a chapter in Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet.

My Review: Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet takes place in the wake of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and this act of Japanese military aggression on American soil determines many of the central events in the novel.  The historical components were just enough and held my interest throughout the book.  Set in the Asian American community in Seattle during World War II, and narrated alternately by a young and impressionable Chinese American boy and the middle-aged man he grows up to be.  Sometimes the jumping back and forth between eras was disconcerting, but it did not take away lovely story-line. I really felt the heartwarming friendship between Henry Lee and Keiko and the childhood love they had for one another. 

While searching through the items in the Panama Hotel for vestiges of Keiko and her family, including an extremely rare jazz record of the performer Oscar Holden, aided by his son, Marty, and Marty’s fiancée, Samantha, Henry finds himself revisiting his childhood: his intractable conflicts with his father, a Chinese nationalist who refused to accept the innocence of Japanese Americans in his neighborhood; his own struggle to accept his identity as a Chinese American; and the choices he made years ago that prevented him from fulfilling his promises to Keiko.

The title of the novel is perfect. The story is full of the bitter and the sweet, bitter for the American prejudices held not only for the Japanese, but for anyone of Asian descent, and sweet for the innocence of first love, the ability of children to find hope and joy.  Isn’t that the way life is today.  Most children don’t see prejudice and are so accepting of others

When I finished the story last night, I closed my Kindle and smiled.  I really must have been in the mood for a happy ending,

This story is definitely an 8/10 for me.  This story would create a lively discussion and would recommend for any literature class and book clubs.  

Posted by: cathycrane11 | March 27, 2011

Brooklyn by Colm Toibin Review

Just Finished Brookly by Colm Toibin

I just finished reading Brooklyn by Colm Toibin for the Immigration Stories Challenge. 

This story was just ok for me.  It took a long time to get into this book.  I will say that I was not disappointed at the ending.  It was rather interesting that a male author gave us a women’s voice in this book.  Colm Toibin did a great job with that.     I am giving this a 3 star because of the ending and I will probably read another novel by this author.

Posted by: cathycrane11 | March 27, 2011

>Immigration Challenge – "Brooklyn" by Colm Toibin

> Review Amazon Best of the Month, May 2009: Committed to a quiet life in little Enniscorthy, Ireland, the industrious young Eilis Lacey reluctantly finds herself swept up in an unplanned adventure to America, engineered by the family priest and her glamorous, “ready for life” sister, Rose. Eilis’s determination to embrace the spirit of the journey despite her trepidation–especially on behalf of Rose, who has sacrificed her own chance of leaving–makes a bittersweet center for Brooklyn. Colm Tóibín’s spare portrayal of this contemplative girl is achingly lovely, and every sentence rings with truth. Readers will find themselves swept across the Atlantic with Eilis to a boarding house in Brooklyn where she painstakingly adapts to a new life, reinventing herself and her surroundings in the letters she writes home. Just as she begins to settle in with the help of a new love, tragedy calls her home to Enniscorthy, and her separate lives suddenly and painfully merge into one. Tóibín’s haunted heroine glows on the page, unforgettably and lovingly rendered, and her story reflects the lives of so many others exiled from home. –Daphne Durham

My Thoughts: “Brooklyn” is set in the early 1950’s in Ennescorthy, Ireland. Eilis Lacey is planning to immigrate to America orchestrated by her older sister Rose and Father Flood, a friend of the Lacey family. We watch (or read) as Eilis struggles with sea-sickness as she travels across the Atlantic, how she overcomes homesickness. Eilis struggles to adapt to living in an all Irish-girl’s room & board, her job at Bartocci & Company (a department store), while making friends in Brooklyn. Eilis is starting to fall in love with a young Italian boy, Tony, when she is called back to Ireland due to a death in the family. Up to this point in the story, I could not get attached to the story line or the characters. With that said, I could not put my kindle down. I was hoping the story would pick up, and was determined to finish. While she is back in Ireland, Eilis is faced with the choice of her homeland or the new life she had built in America. I can’t say that I was disappointed with the ending. I really felt the anquish that Eilis must have felt. I think it is always interesting reading a novel written by a male and narrated in the third-person of a female. Colm Toibin did a great job with this.

I am giving this story a C+ because of the ending and I will probably read another Troibin novel.

Posted by: cathycrane11 | March 26, 2011

Thinking about moving my blog to Word Press

I currently have a blog over at  I am constantly having trouble getting into the http.  Any suggestions or advise.

Posted by: cathycrane11 | March 25, 2011

>Brooklyn by Colm Toibin


Eilis Lacey sitting at the window of the upstairs living room in the house on Friary Street, noticed her sister walking briskly from work

This is the introduction to “Brooklyn” Unfortunately it is taking some time for me to get into this book. I am past the 25%, so I will continue to the end.

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