30 September 2010

The Wedding Gift, by Kathleen McKenna

To be honest, I was pulled in by the book cover.  It's haunting and spooky, and with the premise of a young bride in Oklahoma being given a stately mansion by her rich and snobby in-laws as a wedding gift, the site of a mass murder thirty-some years before, it was right up my alley.  Sadly, I just couldn't get into this book at all, and for one very specific reason.

Quick overview:  The first few pages were extracts from the news about a mass murder of an entire family (father, mother, children) which happened in 1975 in the Willet home, and the horrible crime was committed by the mother.  Another news excerpt identified that two boys in 1986, had gone to the now-abandoned home, and for whatever reason, ended up in the empty pool, falling from the tree branches above. One boy broke both his legs.  The other boy died.  The boy who survived never spoke about what happened.

Fast forward to today.  Leann is a seventeen-year-old girl, and the self-proclaimed "prettiest girl in Dalton, Oklahoma."  She's getting married to George Willet, whose family is the richest in town and owns the house that everything happened in -- and her brother was the boy who had died back in 1986.  Not the easiest of situations to be in.

What an intriguing and spooky idea.  I was excited to begin reading this, but within the first few pages I was struggling. Although a quick read, the book is told from Leann's perspective. The issue that I had with it is that not just the dialogue, but the narrative itself, is written in a very casual voice, which is fine except that one may consider it to be a very stereotypical Southern-style voice and dialect.  And not just through conversations, but throughout the entire book. Which, while I enjoy reading books set in that region, or reading character dialogue that is structured that way, I found it increasingly difficult to read a book in which every sentence is structured in this manner.  And one thing I couldn't figure out - I wasn't sure why every time a character spoke, their dialogue was always in italics?

Here's an example of the narrative:
Daddy says that they is arranged that way so's the Willets' men can keel over on the golf course and be buried two yards away in sight of the greens, and also so "that those cheap bastards only have to employ one poor groundskeeper for everything."  (p.23)
There is a ghost story underneath it all, and there is quite a bit of humor.  Unfortunately, I just don't think I was the right audience for this.  I would have preferred the casual tone to be strictly in the characters' conversations, rather than in the narrative, in order to be able to enjoy the overall humor in the book, and especially the ghost story.

I want to thank Crazy Book Tours for giving me the opportunity to read this book.  In no way do I want to diminish any attempt for the uniquely told story or to hurt anyone's feelings -- this is my opinion only, and I know that there are others out there who will prefer this writing style much more.

Happy Reading,
Coffee and a Book Chick


28 September 2010

Repairing Rainbows, by Lynda Fishman

Book Review
Sixteen seconds is a very long time.  Time it yourself.

On July 5, 1970, an Air Canada flight crashed with 109 passengers on board.  For sixteen seconds of that flight, the passengers knew that they were going to crash.  There were no survivors.  Ms. Fishman's mother, Rita, and two younger sisters, Carla and Wendy, were on that flight.  In that moment, it became just her and her father, when once they were a family of five.

The author contacted me last month and inquired if I'd be interested in reading her book. After reviewing the website for her self-published memoir Repairing Rainbows, I was worried about the responsibility of reading such an important topic and reviewing it.

But, I shouldn't have worried.  Although it is an incredibly tough topic, the book is written easily and as though it's being told in conversation.  It establishes quickly the close-knit family that they once were. Even the dedication page pulled me in. Dedicated to her mother and two younger sisters, it lists each of their dates of birth and dates of passing of July 5, 1970. But for her father, there is something unique that intrigued me - his date of birth is listed, but there are two dates to signify his passing. One for the date of the horrific crash taking more than half his family in one moment, and the second for the date of when he actually passed 29 years later.

The author had essentially lost her entire family on the day of that crash.  As she phrased it, "officially" losing her mother and two sisters, and "unofficially" losing her father.  The story is one that captures her growth from the young girl on "that day," into who she is now, and the steps she needed to take in order to live.  She didn't want to simply exist, and nor would her mother and little sisters wanted that.  I also think that even though she felt the presence of her loved ones in simple and small things that surrounded her in her day-to-day life, her littlest sister, Wendy, probably would have been the most adamant and made her presence known even more had the author not taken the steps move forward in her life -- what a personality in Wendy!  But her father became broken, struggling and only existing.  His decisions were not ones that he would have made before, and the author is open and honest in her frustrations.

I went through the entire range of emotions throughout this book -- shock and numbness when the news was relayed, the complete horror and despair at the sounds of sadness and misery emitting from her broken father, to anger at Air Canada for their complete lack of sensitivity for the families of the victims.

And then I found something else I kept asking.  How can a book about such a tragic event in history that affected so many people's lives be such an incredibly hopeful story about life with a powerful message?  I anticipated feeling the sadness and frustration on what happened, but this book is about so much more than tragedy -- there is family, love, hope, and most especially, choice.  That decision to simply exist or to actually live life.  While her father couldn't move past that terrible day, she did so that she could establish her own place, to continue the legacy of her mother and two younger sisters with her own family and with her husband who has his own amazing story to share.  This is a powerful reminder to enjoy all of our own distinct places in life -- and how we can either choose to live it, or we can simply choose to have life pass us by.  I am incredibly grateful that I had a chance to read this, and feel privileged to be able to share with you an interview with the author.

Author Interview
Lynda Fishman is a trained clinical social worker who has spent the last 20 years as a camp director and runs her own day camp, Adventure Valley.  She has published articles and training manuals on leadership, teamwork, bullying, trust, childhood heath and wellness, communication and customer service.  This is her first full length book.

Q- What made you truly decide to write this in November 2008? You had already been contacted by another author, but you wanted to tell your story yourself. What was it that finally made you decide that the time to tell this story was now?

A- Our family business (summer day camp) was finally on solid ground, and for the first time in my adult life, I really didn’t have anything pressing to do. For me, too much time to “think” can be emotionally risky. I also know that I thrive on being busy. In fact, I believe that the greatest gift we can give to ourselves is a project or activity that keeps us busy and is pleasurable at the same time. As soon as I realized that I had plenty of free time, I decided to start writing the book that I had written over and over again in my head for so many years.

Q- Next to family, clearly, you have devoted your life through your day camp to help others, and this is your life’s passion. As a clinical social worker with twenty years of experience, are you interested in, or have you already done counseling work for the families of airplane crash victims or any other catastrophes?

A- Running a large summer camp has given me the chance to meet and get to know an enormous number of individuals and families. I have never worked with any families of plane crash victims, but in my role as a camp director, I’ve had the opportunity to provide support and counselling to many people struggling with a wide range of issues, loss, trauma or crisis.

Q- You’re very open to the signs that people talk about receiving and feeling from their loved ones who have passed on, and you have also experienced this yourself. The skeptics are always out there -- being a clinical social worker, how do you distinguish between actually seeing signs from loved ones, to simply wanting to see something?

A- Having combined my clinical training with my life experience and spirituality, I believe that we can and should choose HOW to look at any situation, no matter what it is. We can choose thoughts that are inspiring and empowering – thoughts that make us feel good. We can think about ways to persevere and overcome, or we can become victims. We can think about our life as a gift, or we can view it as a punishment. We can go through life with determination and zest, or drag ourselves through every day as if we are tied to a ball and chain.

I choose to look at life through rose-colored glasses. For me, that means I choose to take a favourable view, even if I have to grasp at straws to find a glimmer of positivity. I will find a way to focus on the positives, look at the bright side, expect the best, and somehow remain optimistic.
I choose hope instead of despair.
I choose acceptance as opposed to judgment or rejection.
Forgiveness feels much better than holding a grudge.
Recognizing opportunities to learn and grow outweighs the burden of guilt and regret.
Truth and honesty are way easier than lies.
I choose gratitude and appreciation rather than greed and jealousy.
I choose happiness for others, instead of envy.
I much prefer being upbeat and joyful, compared to down and miserable.
I choose to smile.
I choose to laugh.
I choose to live.

Looking back and reflecting on that time as a thirteen year old, when my whole life came to a disastrous halt, I now understand and fully believe in the power of choosing our thoughts. After losing my mother and two little sisters in a plane crash, I was able to move forward, taking baby steps, because I chose hope. I refused to give up. I replaced fear and panic with hope and dreams. I never let go of my trust and faith in the future. I found positive things to focus on. I avoided miserable people. I admired the colours of flowers, trees, birds and rainbows.

I really listened to songs, finding words and messages that were happy and meaningful. I watched movies with happy endings, and read feel-good books.

I spent time around animals noticing their joy and appreciation for everything – a walk in the park, the chance to play, a bowl of kibble.
I don’t live in a dream world. I am not na├»ve. I’ve enjoyed tremendous personal and professional success. The life lessons I share come from well earned experience. And I do live by the words in Carole King’s song, Beautiful:

You've got to get up every morning
With a smile on your face
And show the world, all the love in your heart
Then people gonna treat you better
You're gonna find, yes you will
That you're beautiful as you feel

Q- Do you feel that airlines today have changed from their approach to sensitivity in dealing with the families of victims then they were forty years ago?

A- I believe that nowadays, media and technology have empowered individuals, so that big companies have to be very careful about how they deal with people, particularly in crisis situations. There is finally a zero tolerance for bullying. The airline industry now uses PR firms to guide them in doing whatever they have to do to appear compassionate and caring in their responses.  
Q- Have you had any responses of your book by Air Canada?

A- One of the senior executives of Air Canada ordered the book from the Repairing Rainbows website in early July and had it shipped to his home. However, I have never heard from him or from any executive at Air Canada. I have received numerous “confidential” emails from Air Canada flight attendants, ground employees and even a few pilots, with consistently compassionate and supportive messages.

Visit the author's site at Repairing Rainbows. 

Happy reading,
Coffee and a Book Chick


27 September 2010

Thank you to all of the fabulous hosts for Mailbox Monday!  Originally created by The Printed Page, and hosted in September by BermudaOnion.

Thanks to 
BookJourney as well!

I'm still trying to recover from the Saturday visit to the fantastic
SIBA Trade Show held this year in Daytona Beach!  And by recover, I mean in the sense that I now have 47 books and I don't know where to start...  It was an incredible event, and I met 4 fantastic fellow bloggers!

So, other than my gazillion books that I picked up in one day, I also received these books in my mailbox this past week:

In the mail, I got
Dracula in Love, by Karen Essex (I got this a little bit ago, but forgot to include this on a recent post -- I won this from A Library of My Own -- thanks, Amanda!), A Northern Light, by Jennifer Donnelly, The Last Child, by John Hart, Three Wishes, by Liane Moriarty, The Drowning Tree, by Carol Goodman, and Your Roots Are Showing, by Elise Chidley.  Six more books!

Now, what do I start with?  Right now, I'm finishing up my write up for
Repairing Rainbows, complete with an author interview with Lynda Fishman, and hopefully posting it tomorrow.  A self-published memoir, and one to really read and reflect on life.

WINNERS of the My Lost Daughter Giveaway

Random.org selected the following:
Congratulations!!  Please make sure to send me your mailing address by 3 pm EST on Wednesday, September 29, 2010 - I'll mail the copy out to you right away!

Happy Reading!

Coffee and a Book Chick


26 September 2010

SIBA Trade Show, 2010

How thrilled was I to catch BermudaOnion's post about the Southern Independent Bookseller's Alliance (SIBA) being held this weekend in Daytona Beach!  Thankfully, since I live a mere hour and a half away, I was able to attend the events on Saturday, grab over 80 books, and, most importantly, meet up with 4 fantastic bloggers:  BermudaOnionA Novel SourceRaging Bibliomania, and You've Gotta Read This!  Meeting up with them was wonderful and I got some wonderful insight and advice that I know will help make my blog much more exciting and information -- thanks to you guys!!  And... a special loving thanks to my husband who went with me, took pictures of the event, and carried bag after bag of free and Advanced Reader Copies of books back to our car - they broke the mold when he was made!

From left to right:  BermudaOnion, A Novel Source, Raging Bibliomania, and me.

From left to right in this one:  Me, You've Gotta Read This!, Raging Bibliomania, and BermudaOnion.

It was an absolutely wonderful event and I had a chance to meet some incredible authors and connections from fantastic publishers such as Penguin Publishing, Random House, Macmillan Publishing, Greenleaf Book Group, and on and on -- it was my first time attending an event such as this, and it won't be my last!

So here is my loot, check it out -- 47 books in total!  I have no earthly idea how I'm supposed to do that thing called a day job, and also find time to read and blog in the evening.  But, it's a challenge I'm excited to tackle! 

I'm currently reading Repairing Rainbows right now, and I'm excited to start reading some of the books I picked up yesterday:  Revolution, by Jennifer Donnelly, Across the Universe, by Beth Revis, Between Shades of Gray, by Ruta Sepetys.  And, I'm also co-hosting On the Ledge Readalong's first readalong with The Historian -- never to late to join and tonight is the first discussion, so swing on by and take a look!

When is the next conference?!

Happy Reading!
Coffee and a Book Chick


23 September 2010

Book Review
I read the first few pages and I was suddenly afraid.  Afraid to put this down even for a quick break because it deserved my complete focus on it, each tortured character demanding that I listen to their voice, their story.  I didn't want to miss a thing, no matter whether disturbing or unsettling, and I certainly didn't want to forget a single moment that the characters experienced.

I received The Gin Closet from the author
, Leslie Jamison, and am upset that I couldn't read it sooner than when I first received it.  I was trapped within so many commitments, both in my professional and personal life, that it wasn't until this week that I could devote the time it truly warranted.  I was flying out to Minneapolis for a meeting, and the author's copy came along for the flight.

The book is told from two perspectives in the first person:  Stella and Tilly.  Stella is the daughter of a high-powered immigration lawyer, Dora, and the granddaughter of Lucy, who in her ailing years reveals a secret that no one has talked about.  There is another, a daughter of Lucy's that has never been spoken of.  Stella, broken though she may be, is determined to find this aunt, someone named Matilda who goes by Tilly.  When she finds her, Tilly is surrounded by empty bottles of gin in a run-down trailer in the middle of the desert.  But it's something that Stella can grasp onto in the mired sadness of her life -- again, maybe someone she can try to help.  She convinces Tilly that they should pack everything up, get her dry and sober on the trip, and move together to San Francisco, where Tilly's son is a rich banker with plenty of space in his home, and plenty of his own quiet grief to share. Stella and Tilly really almost are the same person, their experiences painfully different and similar all at the same time.  Is that possible?  It almost felt like I was reading a song:
It was a closet, not the bedroom.  I could see dim shapes:  bottles glinting on the floor and the ghostly ribs of a turkey carcass. There was a small stool tucked into the corner.  I could pick out flies buzzing in the blackness.  The mess rotted quietly, like a festering wound.  I pulled a chord.  A naked bulb sparked dirty light into the dark, showing an inflatable mattress covered with plastic bottles:  empty handles of gin, too many to count.  The air reeked like a drunk's breath.  There was a pink blanket bunched into one corner, the kind of candy shade a child might choose. (p. 94)

I felt guilty as I read this book -- each character's troubled story touched me and I felt ashamed that I was enjoying reading about their terrible miseries, rooting though I may have been for them to overcome their tragedies.

This is a story of grief, sadness, isolation.  There were scenes that were uncomfortable and troubling but they were real, completely authentic and believable to each character, and I never felt tricked into any part of this story -- I was a willing reader who wanted a happy ending, but instead I got life's truth.  Leslie Jamison's debut will render you speechless and amazed, and leave you thinking about it for days.

Please read this. Visit Leslie Jamison's site by clicking
Author Interview
I was so excited that Leslie Jamison was not only kind enough to do an e-interview, but also to answer the questions so quickly in time for today’s post (I sent my questions to her last night and I received a response this morning!).  Take a look through the below Q&A -- it was an absolute pleasure to read this book and interact with the author:
1.  This is such a beautifully crafted story.  Every writer always says that they've written since they were a kid, but when do you feel that you felt more comfortable with writing, when the words on the page felt like they were honest and true?
When I graduated from my MFA program in 2006, I was working on a novel that wasn't anything like this one. It was totally concept-driven, about a strange social reality museum, a bit low on the plot, and (I'm not sure what this means) full of male characters. In any case, I never felt at home in its world. I always felt as if I were forcing or twisting emotions into existence on the page. I was working long hours at desk jobs in New York and feeling bitter about it. Then I moved to LA to begin taking care of my grandmother, who was dying, and found I couldn't keep writing that first novel anymore. I just couldn't. There was no energy or inspiration left; the will to write it had dissolved because the book didn't feel important enough. I started writing scenes from my own life instead, without any sense of where they were headed--scenes of caretaking and familial strife and reconnection--and these launched the book on its path. I don't say this because I think that powerful writing has to come from real life, but because I do feel it needs (for me, at least) to flow from an emotional vein that feels urgent. And I think it was important I wrote those early scenes without a clear sense of the larger whole they would fit inside of. I didn't have ambitions for them, I just wanted to get them down.
 2.  Who do you feel helped to shape you and your writing?
Some of the writers who've been most important to me: William Faulkner, Virginia Woolf, Richard Yates, Mary Gaitskill, Cormac McCarthy, Marilynne Robinson, Charlie D'Ambrosio. But it's my mother who has shaped most deeply the way I try to imagine the lives of other people. She's informed, more than anyone else, my sense of what empathy might look like--the forms it might take--and I want my writing to be an extension of that. I think it has to be.
3.  What contemporary authors do you feel maintain that authentic storytelling, regardless of how disturbing or unsettling an image may be?
Cormac McCarthy and Richard Yates are really great examples of what it means to maintain authenticity in telling violent stories. McCarthy's are often literally violent--the frontier of Blood Meridian or the post-apocalyptic ravages of The Road--while Yates offers domestic landscapes so withering in their emotional dysfunction you get the feeling of carnage. In both authors'  work, I often find myself hungering to turn away, unsure whether I want to bear another moment of someone's suffering---but I trust, at all moments, that I'm being a told a story whose end I won't regret arriving at. This trust glosses the unnerving moments with faith--not that there will be a happy ending, but a sadness worthy of attention.

4.  There are so many social issues in the story from anorexia to alcoholism -- how did you know which issue should be associated with a character?
This is a great question; I feel like it gets at the heart of the book. I thought of the species of disorder in the book--anorexia, addiction, sexuality--not as "social issues" to be attached to characters, but as expressions of selfhood that found their origins in consciousness. So they began inside each character, but found their rhymes--clearly, painfully--across the other characters with whom they shared the unhappy little domestic sphere of the novel. The realm of the body becomes an essential vocabulary for suffering in the book, and this notion—the body as language, as visceral utterance—is what connects many of the novel’s disparate “issues” in my mind: suicide and alcohol and anorexia. These women articulate pain by starving or drinking or selling themselves. I wanted to look at their physical damage as a kind of self-inflicted alchemy—something that could turn unseen despair into visible communicationand one of the biggest emotional challenges for me, as a writer, was to empathize with these self-destructive impulses without glorifying them. 
5.  What is it about us as people that you feel makes it difficult to be close to each other?
A big question; not sure it's one I'm qualified to answer! But of course I'll go ahead and say something anyway. I think that there's an intense feeling of inadequacy that makes it hard for many of my characters (let's stick to them, for now) to love as they'd like to love---the inadequacy feeds a hunger for love that can't ever be fully satisfied, and this desperate seeking of love sometimes distracts from giving it. Of course the two are always intertwined: loving, and wanting to be loved. What am I saying here? I suppose that the trick is to find a balance that gives more than it takes.
6.  What's next for you?
I am working on a novel about the 1979 Sandinista Revolution in Nicaragua.

Note from Coffee and a Book Chick

I'd like to personally thank Leslie Jamison for being so engaged with the book blogging community -- I love it when an author is personally involved with their work and you get a feel that their involvement with all of us is more than just something that they "have to do."  Many, many thanks.
I’m excited to offer this book up internationally -- to enter, simply leave a comment to this post and also include your email address.  You don’t have to be a follower of my blog, but as I always say, I love feeling the love.
Random.org will pick the winner and I’ll ship out the book to you no matter if you’re in the US, Canada, or overseas -- I really want this book to go into a true book-lover’s hands.  Winner announced next Thursday, allowing one full week for participants to enter in to receive this copy.

Happy Reading,
Coffee and a Book Chick


22 September 2010

The Life is Good Award!

Well, it is a beautiful day out when one blogger gives another an award -- and you want to know something else?  I got the Life Is Good award from TWO of my favorite bloggers, so I feel pretty smug and good about myself.  Okay, I know, I shouldn't use the word "smug" when accepting an award...!  :)

If it wasn't for that lil thing called "work," I would have posted this last week to thank them both.  I just got back from a business trip to Minneapolis, and it is with delicious, guilty pleasure that I get to chat about these two bloggers, and then talk about the award, and, of course, moi!  Oh, and then on to the next six cool bloggers it goes!

You all MUST stop by, get to know, and follow their sites - 
CMash Loves to Read has a beautiful site full of fantastic insights and *awesome* giveaways and Estella's Revenge is witty and battles through with cool reflections on all things books and ramblings.  THANK YOU to both amazing bloggers -- I love your sites!!

In order to accept the award, I must link back to thank the one who issued it, answer 10 questions, and then pass it on to 6 bloggers.  So here goes!!  (Answers are in bold, and the six bloggers I'm passing the award onto are below!)

1. If you blog anonymously are you happy doing it that way; if you are not anonymous do you wish you had started out anonymously so you could be anonymous now?  I am somewhat anonymous -- I usually go by just Coffee and a Book Chick, but for those who don't know…ta da!!  My name is Natalie!  :)

2.Describe one incident that shows your inner stubborn side.  At the risk of making my husband cheer in delight, although I'm pretty good about acknowledging defeat, I'm pretty sure I'm usually right about stuff.  Okay, maybe not all the time.  Well, sure, maybe most of the time.  I don't know.

3.What do you see when you really look at yourself in the mirror? I see a young (ish) woman who married an amazing man, has an incredible family (in-laws included!!), and two kids (okay, one dog and one cat!).  I'm someone who doesn't like to take advantage of other people, and I try to be honest in absolutely everything that I do.

4. What is your favorite summer cold drink?  Freshly made mojito (not the mix kind -- blah, only the freshly crushed mint).  And coffee, no matter what season!

5. When you take time for yourself, what do you do? Well, I usually annoy everyone around me by reading excessively.  Or, we take the cool Roma the Dog to the beach so she can frolic through the North Florida waves.

6.Is there something you still want to accomplish in your life? What is it?  Absolutely, running my own business and having children.

7. When you attended school, were you the class clown, the class overachiever , the shy person, or always ditching?  Hmm.  It's tough to look at yourself twenty years ago and separate what you think you were to what everyone thought you were -- I know that I got along with everyone, but it's not like I got invited to all the coolest parties or anything…their loss, right?  :)

8. If you close your eyes and want to visualize a very poignant moment of your life what would you see? Not to get all down and all, but probably the most poignant moment in my life was when my mother passed away.  My father, sister and I were at her bedside and it was absolutely crushing.  She passed on Mother's Day 6 years ago, and I can still feel that moment.

9. Is it easy for you to share your true self in your blog or are you more comfortable writing posts about other people or events?   It's pretty easy to share my true self, cloaked in my pseudo-veil of anonymity!

10. If you had the choice to sit down and read or talk on the phone, which would you do and why?   Good gracious, READ!  I talk on the phone all day long with work, so sometimes I just come home and keep my mouth shut and don't say a word to anyone.  Even when my husband asks me a question, I just nod an answer back -- which actually works out well for him!  No nagging, right!!

Now passing it on to
six FANTABULOUS bloggers!  I wanted to introduce you to two non-book bloggers as well, since I know we all have other hobbies, right?!  :) 

  • Grace Protzman Photography -- I mean, seriously.  Just GORGEOUS pictures -- and where I sometimes get the images on my blog.  She'll be getting her images set up on iStockPhoto.com as well.  You can also check her out at Digital Graces!
  • Weekly Bite -- Some of you may remember that I'm a vegan/vegetarian, and Weekly Bite is written by a Registered Dietitian.  This is the blog I like to go to for her recipes.  She posts all types of recipes (not just vegan/vegetarian) along with musings on life as well, so check it out!
  • Tedious & Brief -- A new-to-me blogger on books and film, check him out!  We're also co-hosting the readalong for The Historian as well!
  • Silver's Reviews -- Elizabeth is a new-to-me blogger, and I absolutely love her enthusiasm!  Welcome this new blogger to your Dashboard!
  • The Crowded Leaf -- I'm so excited about presenting this award to The Crowded Leaf and you also MUST jump onto Rozlyn Press, which is the brainchild of The Crowded Leaf.  It's a small press founded this year for female fiction novelists, and they also provide freelance editing advice for your work.  I know some of us bloggers are also writing our stories out there, so jump onto both The Crowded Leaf and Rozlyn Press.
  • Picky Girl -- Picky Girl was my inspiration to get started in the book blogging world.  This is how I came across her blog -- I had just finished Elizabeth Kostova's The Swan Thieves and I was trying to find specific information on a painting that was discussed during the story.  Somehow I came across Picky Girl's site and I was so excited when I commented on her blog and she responded!  When I started looking around on her blog, I saw an entire community of people that had the same love that I had -- reading!!  Picky Girl's reviews are so incredibly thoughtful (click to read one of my FAVORITE posts), and I want to personally thank her for her encouragement to start blogging!

So let's CELEBRATE these bloggers and pass on the award!!  WOOHOO!!

Happy Reading!
Coffee and a Book Chick


19 September 2010

My Lost Daughter, by Nancy Taylor Rosenberg


From the book jacket:

Lily Forrester is a tough Ventura County judge who has overcome adversity and heartache to get to a place where she can help those who can't help themselves.  She's put all her passion and energy into this cause and has no regrets.  That is, until she receives word that her daughter, Shana, who is attending law school hundreds of miles away, seems to be having a nervous breakdown.

The story of My Lost Daughter is a frightening one.  Following Lily's attempts to ensure that she is a good mother, she commits her daughter Shana to a facility that appears reputable and helpful, only to find that Lily's best efforts to stay in contact with her daughter are futile as the center in which Shana is committed to is from every patient's nightmare -- doctors that issue medications that don't really serve to help, only to confuse, other facility workers who seemingly have no ethics, and patients who may or may not need to be in the hospital, all while Shana seems to spiral down in a maze of drugs that she is powerless to stop.  To top it all off, there is a sick and twisted killer somewhere in the facility, and he's definitely got his eyes on the new patient.  Both Lily and her daughter Shana have a serious past that also contends with who they are today, as they were both raped by the same man one fateful night.  They've come out of that horrific night only to be trapped in another nightmare.

I received this copy from PR by the Book, and was happy to review My Lost Daughter as it was written by an author that I hadn't experienced before.  Although this isn't the first book in this series, rest assured that it can be absorbed without needing to be familiar with the characters previously.  There are enough flashbacks that do an excellent job of securing a strong foothold to understand the reasons for the character's emotions amidst the turmoil of the events that they are trapped in.  Nancy Taylor Rosenberg crafts an effective thriller that her fans will enjoy, one in which the recurring theme of a strong female lead with a tortured past continues on.  Twists and turns abound, a bit more at times than necessary, but 
readers of Ms. Rosenberg's work will not be disappointed by this new installment in the series, and new readers will be able to jump into the fray without confusion.

And now for the GIVEAWAY!  PR by the Book was kind enough to provide 3 hardcover copies for this event!

You only need to enter your name and email address as a comment and you'll be entered to win a hardcover copy of Nancy Taylor Rosenberg's My Lost Daughter!  You don't have to be a follower of the blog (but I'd feel the love!).  I'm opening this up to readers in the US and Canada, baby! (I'm sorry to the overseas blog readers, I promise, next time!) That's right, go ahead and enter in, and I'll let www.random.org pull the winner!  Winners announced next Sunday night!

Happy Reading!

Coffee and a Book Chick