Archive for May, 2010

Bob and his family move in next door to Grandma Dowdel a character from Richard Peck’s 2 other books A Year Down Yonder and A Long Way From Chicago.

Bob is initiated by the town bullies. His sister Phyllis is sneaking out of the house. And his youngest sister Ruth Ann has become friends with the cranky Mrs. Dowdel.

Mrs. Dowdel is very eccentric as the family soon finds out. But what they also find out is how big her heart actually is.

I absolutely loved this story! It is heart-warming and hysterical! I loved all of Mrs. Dowdel’s antics and how even though the town thinks she is odd and she isn’t a “church woman” she has a bigger grasp on charity than most people do. I would suggest going and reading the other 2 books that she is in to get a grasp of who she is, but this could be a stand-alone book too.


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Antonia wants to become the first “living saint”. She has been learning about saints and keeping a saint diary for 9 years. She has petitioned the Vatican over the years to make her a saint.

Antonia is 15 and goes to an all-girl Catholic school. Her mother owns and runs the family market located on the bottom floor of their apartment. Her grandmother lives with them. Her father passed away several years before. He gave her her first saint diary.

Antonia has never been kissed. She loves one of the neighbor boys that goes to the all-boy Catholic school right next door to the all-girl school. She has dreams of one day being kissed by him. The problem is that her childhood friend Michael seems to be the one that makes her heart quicken every time she sees him.

Will Antonia ever get that first kiss by the “boy of her dreams?” Will the Vatican ever accept one of her proposals of sainthood? Antonia prays to every saint she knows on both subjects.

I thought this was a cute story. Antonia’s character is funny, innocent and quirky. She is way obsessed with the saints, but that is what makes her character likeable. I really enjoyed reading this book.

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Antsy is the nickname of Anthony Bonano. Antsy is 14 and just started high school. When he and his friends are watching the Thanksgiving parade they see a balloon get away and carry off 3 of its handlers. They rush downtown to see it “live”. The balloon snags on top of the Empire State Building. While watching the dramatic rescue tragedy occurs.

Also standing there watching is Gunnar a fellow student. He tells Antsy that he only has 6 months to live. This makes Antsy sad and have a desire to “do something” to help bolster Gunnar’s spirits. Antsy decides to draw up a contract to offer “time” to Gunnar. The idea takes off and becomes way bigger than Antsy or Gunnar or any of their friends could ever imagine.

While helping Gunnar accept his death Antsy meets Gunnar’s family. Gunnar’s sister becomes the “older woman” in Antsy’s life. Amidst all of the mishaps of working for his family’s restaurant, dating a new girl, dealing with the time contracts and being a caring friend Antsy displays great humor!

I totally enjoyed this book. There were many laugh-out-loud moments in the story. And even times that I would get choked up. A fantastic read!

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This is one of my favorite series. The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency with Mma Romatswa and Mma Makutsi is always very entertaining. This newest installment doesn’t disappoint. They encounter cheating spouses, deceiving women, a trip on safari and an overbearing Auntie.

For a quick, entertaining read check out the first book in this series titled: The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency. You will be hooked and want to read the rest of the series. You should check out the first season on TV also!

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Brady and his friends J.T. and Digger are just hanging out when they see Brady’s neighbor out in a red kayak. Brady wants to yell a warning that the current is too strong to be out in but J.T. and Digger keep him from doing so. When tragedy strikes and Brady finds that it was Mrs. DiAngelo and her son Ben out in the kayak instead of Mr. DiAngelo he feels very guilty for not following through on his instinct to warn them.

Brady spends his days working for Mrs. DiAngelo trying to help her through her grief while also trying to relieve his own feelings of guilt. When he finds something that makes him realize that the tragedy may be more than just an accident it sends him into even deeper guilt and confusion. Does he risk betraying his friends to “do the right thing” or does he protect them at all costs?

I really enjoyed this book. It kept my interest with the right amount of tragedy and excitement. Plus the author autographed it for me!

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Abigail was kicked out of middle school for assault. Her parents had two options for her education. Either send her to a private school or home school her. Being busy lawyers homeschooling was not an option for her parents. They enrolled her in St. Catherine’s Catholic school.

Abigail feels that her parents do not listen to her, that she doesn’t exist. They are both busy with their careers and cannot be bothered by Abigail and her needs. When Abigail was kicked out of her middle school she had tried to tell them the reason but they would not believe her. When they enroll her in Catholic school she decides to take Drama as her elective just to make her parents angry. She also drops the bombshell on them that she is going to “become Catholic” thinking that by doing these things at least she will get some attention from her parents.

Abigail finds that she has a talent for drama. She enjoys acting in the school plays. She is befriended by Chris whose mother becomes Abigail’s sponsor for becoming Catholic. Abigail is determined to become Catholic even though she doesn’t believe in God or Jesus or forgiveness. This is her effort to get her parents involved in her life.

Throughout Catholic studies, talks with the priest, talks with Chris’s mom, Abigail learns what it means to take a leap of faith and to forgive herself and her parents.

This was a quick read. I liked seeing how Abigail was able to get her parents attention and how throughout the book they tried to reach out to their daughter even though they didn’t understand her. There are of course lots of references to Catholicism that sometimes become a bit too preachy.

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I’m hooked on John Grisham books. I have enjoyed every one of the ones I have read. There is something fascinating about a courtroom case.

The Rainmaker is about a young lawyer just passing the bar exam. He is trying to find a job among the many lawyer firms in his city. While visiting a senior citizen group for a class project, he is handed a case against a large insurance company.

Things fall into place for Rudy to try his first case in court. He is fresh out of law school, never stood before a jury before and going up against a huge company that has the best lawyer in the business defending them.

This was a fast-paced, sometimes humorous, always fascinating read.

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