I've never met a writer who wasn't also an enthusiastic reader of one genre or another. When I was small, I pestered my mother constantly to help me make those letters into words, so I could read my favorite book, Poppy, the Fairy again and again, and imagine I was the little girl who found a fairy living in her garden and brought the tiny girl inside to live in her dollhouse. From that point on I read incessantly, and I was almost never without a book in hand. Today, I'm the same way. If I gave free rein to my reading habit, I'd never get anything else done, except maybe writing, my other love. My house is full of books, read and unread, yet it is hard to pass by books: in yard sales, library sales, bookstores, online, wherever I find them. My late mother-in-law, bless her, once told me, “If you got rid of all those books, you'd have room for other things.” I can't imagine what other things I would want more than books.

On this page I will share with you my latest treasures—books I have read that might interest you, too.

Click on the links to see my reviews of the books...




Crazy by Han Nolan

Jason has troubles. What fifteen-year-old doesn't? But Jason's troubles are very real and very serious. His dad is sinking deeper and deeper into mental illness and Jason is having a hard time hiding it from school officials. Forging his father's signature onto school papers is the easiest part of it. Harder is having enough food to eat and keeping clothes on his back.

Each day he worries about what his father will do when Jason is away at school. Go off somewhere? Burn the house down? All Jason's concerns cause his schoolwork to suffer big time. The only thing he can do right is offer advice to others in the school newspaper, anonymously, of course. The teachers think the problem he is having is because his mother died. They have no idea about his father's illness, and Jason wants to keep it that way. He doesn't want his father carried off and locked up. He's all Jason has left.

He is finally sent to a group session with the school counselor and other kids who have troubled home lives. There he finally finds friends, friends with problems of their own, sure, but that's what makes them understand and sympathize.

Of course, he still has the voices in his head. Oh, didn't I mention those? The voices that taunt him, give advice, point out his problems just in case he missed one, and tell him he is going crazy too.

Crazy by Han Nolan is a book that will be enjoyed by adults as well as young adults. Well written and intriguing, it'll keep your attention and sympathy.

Crazy by Han Nolan, scheduled release date 9-13-2010 from Harcourt Children's Books. 352 pages. ISBN 9780152051099


The Diviner's Tale by Bradford Morrow

Cassandra Brooks is a dowser, or a diviner as they call it in her family. She comes from a long line of diviners. But Cassandra's gift is deeper and more important than finding water hiding under the soil's surface. She sees—what? The future? The past? Her childhood warning to her brother went unheeded and he was killed in a car wreck. Her knowing the future had her parents sending her to a psychiatrist. Her visions are seen as bad things and open her to the ridicule of the community.

All she wants to do is live a normal life and provide a good home for her twin boys. She has spent a lifetime avoiding the labels and the shunning that come with such a gift. That becomes impossible after the day she sees the body of a young woman hanging from a tree in the forest, a body that has disappeared when Cassandra returns with the authorities.

When a different young woman stumbles out of the woods, dazed and frightened, Cassandra is pulled into a mystery—a mystery that puts her in danger from a serial killer.

This is a can't put it down book—a book that will have you glued to the pages as you try to figure out what is going on, as much a family chronicle as a murder mystery, it is also a journey of self-discovery as Cassandra struggles with what her gift means.

The Diviner's Tale by Bradford Morrow. Scheduled release date 1-20-2011 from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 320 pages. ISBN 9780547382630

The Mermaid's Mirror by L.K. Madigan.

If you had to choose whether to live with your mother or your father and never see the other one again, which one would you choose? Tough choice, right?

What would you do if you found out your birthmother is a mermaid? Selena had just turned sixteen when she had to make a terrible choice—whether to live under the sea with her mother or on land with her father, stepmother and brother.

Her father, who had at one time been a surfer, had always forbidden Lena to learn to surf and she couldn't understand why, until she defied him and learned anyway. When mysterious feelings draw her to surf in Magic Crescent Cove, the most dangerous place near her home, a place the experts were wary of, she meets the mermaid who turns out to be her mother. The mermaid presses a key into Lena 's hand, and the mystery of her life starts to unravel.

Surfers will love this book, but I'm sure it will touch the hearts of many land-locked individuals too, especially people who have had to make the choice of whether to live with Mom or Dad after a divorce.

The Mermaid's Mirror by L.K. Madigan is 336 pages and will be released by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for children 10-4-2010. ISBN 9780547194912

Majix: Notes From a Serious Teen Witch by Douglas Rees

This book may have been written for the teen-age market, but anyone who has ever had a teen-age daughter, heck, anyone who's ever been a teen-age girl will appreciate the story of Kestrel (born Susan, but whoever heard of a witch named Susan?) and her angst-ridden life. When her father's heart attack causes her parents to send her from her posh San Francisco home to spend a year with her aunt in Southern California so her mother can concentrate on getting Daddy well, Kestrel thinks she has been sent into the pits of hell.

Much to her surprise she finds her Aunt Alice now goes by the name Ariel and is a member of a coven who meets in Ariel's garage. When Kestrel gets sent home from school the very first day for wearing all black and refusing to wear the school uniform, the coven goes to bat for her, threatening the principal with a law-suit for religious discrimination unless Kestrel can wear her preferred black clothing.

This is a book about a girl who marches to a different drummer, but whose witchy principles (a witch never complains: a witch never lies) builds a strong ethic in her. If you like the CW network's Life Interrupted , you'll recognize the same strong character in this tale. Before she is reunited with her rentz (parents for those not used to teen-speak) she learns some valuable lessons from her aunt: step back and observe before opening your mouth and getting into trouble, it'll confound the enemy: nothing is ever totally black or totally white: everybody has powers, they just don't know it. And most important—see the magick that's already in life instead of trying to make it.


187 pages. Release date: 7-1-2010 from Harlequin Teen



Gingham Mountain by Mary Connealy

I'm a sucker for orphan train books. The period of time when abandoned and orphaned children in New York were placed on trains going into the Midwest lasted from 1854 to 1929. Many books, both fiction and non-fiction, have been written about the experiences of the 150,000 to 200,000 children, who were placed in new homes across the nation. In Gingham Mountain author Mary Connealy takes a lighthearted look at the historical period, describing her books as “Romantic Comedy with Cowboys”.

Although I found no mention of the orphan trains reaching into Texas —they generally placed the children in the Midwestern states—there is no reason they might not have done so. The train pulled into its last stop, Sour Springs, Texas, with two children who had not been chosen, plus a young woman whose connection to one of the children remains a mystery—for a while. Grant has already adopted many children, raising several to adulthood and independence. Even with a full house, he cannot allow any children to remain unclaimed to be returned to the orphanage in New York . Fellow passenger Hannah Cartwright thinks Grant is adopting these children to be exploited laborers, and takes a job as the town's teacher to keep an eye on Grant as his brood—and to survive herself.

Prudence, the town seamstress is determined to get Grant trapped into marriage by getting him in a compromising position. But not for love—for a more nefarious scheme.

This is a heartwarming book with plenty of humor and action.

Gingham Mountain by Mary Connealy was released by Barbour Publishing 2/01/2009



The Pajama Girls of Lambert Square

By: Rosini Lippi
Published in hardback by G.P. Putnam/Feb. 2008 Published in paperback by Berkley/March 2009

I have long been an admirer of the books by Billie Letts and Curtiss Ann Matlock. In The Pajama Girls of Lambert Square, Rosina Lippi brings to a fictional town in South Carolina the regional ambiance that Letts and Matlock bring to small town Oklahoma. Every part of the country has those typical residents whose personalities and habits you can see in people around you. Although they may vary from North to South and East to West, there is something in those characters you recognize. They are your friends, your neighbors, the people who man the shops you frequent. Lippi lovingly and with humor presents them to us in this beautifully crafted novel.

John Dodge moves from one part of the country to another—buying a floundering business, reviving it, then selling it and moving on to his next project. Although he solves the business' problems, he avoids confronting his own. His latest purchase is a shop in Lamb's Corner, S.C. that sells fountain pens and paper goods

Julia Darrow has lived in Lamb's Corner since she fled from Chicago after her husband's death five years before. She owns Cocoon, a shop specializing in high-end linens, especially antique ones. The shop also sells pajamas, and Julia and her sales staff wear stylish pajamas to work every day (and around town too). She hasn't left the area of Lambert Square, where her shop and apartment are located, since she moved there.

Two Yankees in a small southern town. Julia is acquainted with the quirks and idiosyncrasies of her neighbors: it's up to John to learn, if he is to fit in. Both have to face their neuroses and phobias if they are to break out of their patterns.

I was so enthralled I read this book in one day—which should tell you how good it is.

Liar, Liar by K.J. Larsen

I was looking for a good read when I started this one. Coming off the last book, I needed something to take the bad out of my head and renew my reading enthusiasm. When I ran into a few clichés and corny expressions in the first pages of Liar, Liar, I thought, “Oh no! Not another one!” But I pressed on, and am I glad I did.

This is one of those books you can’t put down. Funny and smart it’s a page-turner from first till last. Cat DeLuca, much to her large Italian family’s dismay, owns the Pants on Fire Detective Agency. She catches cheating husbands. One day, while trailing one, a building blows up and Cat ends up in the hospital. The police say the man she was trailing died in the explosion, but she has seen him afterwards, several times. Everyone thinks she is delusional, but Cat knows what she know—or does she? Why doesn’t she take the nice, safe job as a police dispatcher if she wants to play cop like her brothers? Because what’s the fun in that?

And that’s what you’ll have reading this. Fun. With her policeman brothers and ‘retired’ mobster/deli-owner ‘uncle’ trying to keep her safe, she’s determined to solve the mystery in this hard-to-put-down book.

The authors of Liar, Liar are three sisters: Julianne, Kristen, and Kari Larsen. This is the first of what I hope is a long series of Cat DeLuca mysteries. I can hardly wait for the next one.
Liar, Liar by K.J. Larsen. Poisoned Pen Press.

What Mother Never Told Me by Donna Hill
  There is something in the art of writing that is called ‘suspension of disbelief’. It means the author writes so smoothly the reader is caught up in the story and therefore will believe what they are reading, even if it is about a school for wizards, vampires who live among us, women who can fight off three armed assassins and still have perfect hair and makeup, or a ghost who lives in a closet.

Several things can make the reader stop and question what is happening in a book. Sometimes it is using a wrong word—one that conveys a meaning the author did not intend, that does not fit with what is going on—or wrong facts. Often it is because people don’t act in a way that seems reasonable, and the reader stops and puzzles. Even little things can make you stop reading if there are enough of them. Unfortunately What Mother Never Told Me by Donna Hill was filled with enough missteps it was hard for me to finish reading the book. I simply could not suspend my disbelief.

To start with, the protagonist’s name is Parris. Now, when I first read it, I thought, Does she means Paris, like France? But surely she would have spelled it correctly, and Paris (as in France) is pronounced differently than Parris (as in Jack Parr plus is). But no—several chapters into the book I find she was indeed named after the city in France. Really? Then why not spell it right?

It would have been very helpful in understanding the story if we, the readers, were told at the outset the characters are African-American, since it turns out the whole plot revolves around that point. But again it is way into the story before we learn this important bit of information.
You see, Cora (the grandmother who raised Parris in a small town in Mississippi) was a black woman who went to work in Chicago when she was young. While there, she was raped by her white employer. She returned to her hometown and married her sweetheart and a few months later gave birth to a white baby, Emma. Not a bi-racial baby, a white baby. The child is so white she later passed as white and left home for New York City. Now I’ve had several bi-racial friends and acquaintances over the years and have never known one who had one black parent and one white parent and they turned out pure-de-oh white. You could always tell they had mixed parentage. Then, when Emma ran away to New York and married a white man, she had a black baby. Really? Black? Yes, the baby had green eyes, but it was obviously a black child, and Emma couldn’t let her husband know she was black, so she gave the baby, Parris, to her mother to raise (after trying to drown it). Not only can I not believe a biracial baby would be so white no one could tell she had black blood, but I also can’t believe the next generation would revert to being black. I also did not like the attitude Emma had about the whole situation, dwelling on “the stain she had been born with and been forced to endure.” I couldn’t tell if the stain she had been forced to endure was that she was part black or part white, and I wanted to shake her and say, “Get over it already”. And when Emma returned to Mississippi, her ‘step-father’, Cora’s husband, thought he was seeing a ghost. Really? A woman so white she ‘passed’ was “the spitting image” of African-American Cora, except for her green eyes. How can that be? How can a black woman and a white woman look so much alike it is like seeing a ghost? Nope. Sorry. Can’t buy that.

Another person I wanted to shake was Parris who, instead of smiling would ‘smirk’ at people. How come? Why did the author put an obnoxious smirk on Parris’ face if she wanted to gain sympathy for the heroine of the story? There is a big difference between a smile and a smirk, and they aren’t interchangeable.

Another point I rebelled on was money. You see, Parris finds out at the death of her grandmother, Cora, that the mother she always thought was dead is still alive and living in France, so she sets out to find her. Parris makes her living as a singer, just beginning and not well known. After Cora’s funeral, Parris returns to New York City and has no place to live, so moves in with a young man who evolves into her boyfriend. Now I watch HGTV and I know that rentals in New York are extremely expensive. The out-of-work boyfriend, who used to manage a club, drives a Lincoln Navigator and has a two-bedroom apartment with a large living room that is “a testament to high-tech”. Really? No job? Nice apartment? With not one but two bedrooms? Nope. I can’t believe that.

Parris decides to fly to France and find her mother, no matter how long it takes. Really? No job? No home? But enough money to fund the trip? Boyfriend asks if she going immediately, and she says no, that’s too expensive, she’s going next week. Here’s news! Next week is the same as today as far as airfare is concerned. About $2000 one-way unless you book longer in advance than that. So Parris flies to Nantes, France, which is the closest airport to Amboise, which is where her mother lives (according to letters Cora had saved). Parris hails a taxi, and gets a driver from Senegal, living in France, who speaks fluent English. Really? She hops in and without asking how much it is going to cost, asks if he can take her to Amboise. Really? Over one hundred miles in a taxi and she doesn’t even ask how much it will cost her? And several days later when she is returning home, she leaves the hotel where she is staying and there is the same cab driver. Really? He moved over a hundred miles from Nantes to Amboise? In the few days since he transported Parris there? Nope. Can’t believe that. On the way to Amboise there is a sign that announces they are entering the Loire Valley, in English. Really? The have English signs in France? Maybe so. I must admit I’ve never been to the Loire Valley and have no idea if the French make their road signs in English, but I am amazed they would do such a thing.

So you get the idea. All this paired with lots more little things, like pointing her “alarm” at the car (to open it), instead of the remote, or even the ‘clicker’, and someone stripping a bed and then putting someone in it (without remaking it), makes it hard to suspend disbelief. Reading a book ought to flow as if the reader is standing right there observing what is happening as it occurs. All these mis-cues put your mind off the story. You think, Why would she set off the car alarm? And Aren’t you going to put the sheets back on the bed before you put the old lady in it? And run-on sentences put the reader’s mind to spinning, as in “stick her feet in the river and collect eggs from the henhouse”, which just led my mind to “how can she collect eggs from the henhouse with her feet in the river?”

When I first started reading, I thought this must surely be the first book from a new author, so I checked it out. I was wrong. She has lots of books out. Perhaps they are better. Perhaps she was in a rush to get this one to the publisher. In any case, it could have used a little TLC, some beta readers, and a good editor. A good critique group (like I have—thanks guys) would have made a world of difference. Rewritten, this could be a very good book. What Mother Never Told Me is by Donna Hill and published by Harlequin under the Kimani imprint.

The Killing Edge by Heather Graham

I have to admit, I almost quit reading this book before I got into the meat of it. It begins with a slasher story ala the best horror movies: a house full of sleeping teens, a mystery intruder who kills by cutting throats, blood everywhere, four survivors miraculously escape. Not my kind of book at all.

After a couple of weeks I picked it up again and made myself go on. After all, I like Heather Graham books, I told myself. And I'm glad I did. Prologue over, the story jumps ahead ten years. Colleen Rodriguez, a beautiful model, has disappeared while at a photo shoot on a private island off the Florida coast. Some say she must be dead, while others say she went off on her own, no foul play involved. Now her best friend, Rene Gonzales, is avoiding her over-protective parents and they are worried. They hire private investigator Luke Cane to see what's going on and hopefully persuade their daughter to come home. He goes undercover as Jack Smith, a swimsuit designer planning a catalog. Of course he's not the only one poking around to find out what happened to Colleen. Chloe Marin is also there to find out what happened to the model. One of the massacre survivors, Chloe is now a psychologist and sketch artist. Another survivor, Victoria is a model on the upcoming photo shoot, so it is easy for Chloe to become involved in the group, which also includes the other two survivors, Brad and Jason.

The plot has Miami Beach mansions, the Florida Keys, a religious cult, more dead bodies, beautiful models, South American sex slaves, boats, and, of course, mystery. With the four massacre survivors involved, you know it ties back in to that, don't you?

The Killing Edge by Heather Graham is from Mira Books. 379 pages.

The Crossing Places by Elly Griffiths

I'm a fan of mystery books. Although I eschew those that are too violent, bloody or gross, I read most others. I like those with sassy women detectives, like Laura Lipmann's Tess Monaghan, and Native American crime solvers, like Navajo who-done-its by Tony Hillerman. And I like the lesser known cozies and paranormal mysteries by Charlaine Harris, better recognized for the “Dead” series which became “True Blood”.

In The Crossing Places, by Elly Griffiths, (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 305 pages) we find a different sort of protagonist. Ruth Galloway is almost, but not quite, a recluse: a little overweight with no beautiful face to charm people, she lives with her cat in her cottage on the edge of a marsh bordering the North Sea. , an area filled with the evidence of rituals, henges (like Stonehenge) and sacrifices dating back thousands of years. She lectures at university on her specialty, forensics and anthropology, and likes her isolated life. One day Detective Chief Inspector Harry Nelson shows up to ask for her help in dating some human bones recently found buried near her home. He wants to know if they are the bones of a child gone missing ten years before.

They aren't, they date back to pre-history, but as they work on this puzzle, another child goes missing, and Ruth is pulled into this mystery, which seems to connect to people she knows: fellow anthropologists and those who object to their work in the marshes.

This book is written in third person present tense, which grated on my mind to the extent it interrupted the smooth flow pf reading until I got used to it. Usually I don't even realize I am reading; most times I just ‘absorb' the book. I couldn't do that in this case. Once I got past that hang-up it is a good read and I was soon caught up in the mystery. How did the crimes connect, or did they? Why were these girls abducted, and by whom?

This is a story you would expect to see on Masterpiece Theatre, with all the morose undercurrents giving shadow and substance to the story.

When Good Wishes Go Bad by Mindy Klasky

Admit it. Haven't you ever wished for a genie in a bottle, or maybe Aladdin's lamp, to grant you three wishes? Daydreamed about what you would wish for? Be careful, my friend, because genies aren't always what you imagine them to be.

Becca works as a dramaturg (I didn't know what it was either until I read this book) at an off-Broadway theater when everything in her life falls apart. Not only did her boyfriend not come home one night, he stole over three million dollars from the theater's project account plus all the money in her bank account and disappeared. And if that isn't enough, the play that was ready to start rehearsals is suddenly tied up in legal proceedings. They have to find another play, fast.

That's when a friend gives Becca the lamp. You know which lamp, the one with the genie inside. But this genie doesn't look like Barbara Eden. In fact, it's hard to know just what Becca's genie looks like: a woman in a business suit carrying a briefcase containing the contract Becca must sign in order to contract for the genie's services, a dirt-streaked, cigar-smoking, belching, male sewer worker, a blonde bimbo, who knows in what form she, er, he, will show up next?

Becca uses two of her four wishes (yes, I said four, not three) on herself—one for an apartment to live in and another on a wardrobe, but you'll have to read the book to find out the last two.

I will tell you she moves in across the hall from a playwright, who has just written a touching play about the inhabitants of a small village in Africa where he lived while in the Peace Corps, and his mother is in the Gray Panthers, who sneak around New York City planting flowers and vegetables anywhere they can find a patch of dirt—until the cops arrest them for vandalism.

This is a delightful read. You'll learn a lot about the workings of the theater and all that goes into producing a play, and you'll think a little harder about what to ask your genie for if you ever get one.

When Good Wishes Go Bad is by author Mindy Klasky and is from Mira Books.

Hypnotizing Maria

For many of my friends, their favorite book of all-time is Jonathan Livingston Seagull, by Richard Bach. One friend even has the symbol tattooed on his arm to keep him reminded of the message of the book. For me, Illusions has been my favorite for many years. Now comes along Hypnotizing Maria to move into the top spot.

In this book, Richard Bach has presented two premises. The first is something I discovered some time ago: nothing is coincidence. It's just “a lesson waiting for the right time in your life to come along and that time is now.” How else could you explain the fact that although I have lots to do and story deadlines to meet, I still took time to read Hypnotizing Maria, and in it the first place the pilot, Jamie Forbes, lands his plane is in Ponca City, Oklahoma, where I lived when I first read Poppy the Fairy, and the second place he landed was Pine Bluff, Arkansas, where I lived for nineteen years before moving to where I live now. Coincidence? I think not. And is it mere coincidence that the manuscript I ought to be working on instead of reading is a story of coincidences and events and people coming together as if in a plan? No. It's not happenstance that I chose to read Hypnotizing Maria when I did. There's a lesson in it that it's time for me to learn.

The second premise of the book is one students of A Course in Miracles will recognize: life is an illusion. We are only hypnotized into believing this is real. Furthermore, we can create our lives to be what we want them to be by believing it is so. Just as a hypnotist can make a subject believe he is trapped inside solid walls of stone, so we believe ourselves trapped by what people, and life, have told us all our lives. We create our prison, and we can break out of it.

Hypnotizing Maria is published by Hampton Roads Publishing Company. If you cannot find a copy at your local bookstore, go to www.hrpub.com to order one.

Eat Your Way to Happiness

I must admit I was intrigued by the title. We all know we should eat right to stay physically fit, right? But happy? Come on now. This I had to read, even if I am happy pretty much all of the time.

Eat Your Way to Happiness by is a non-diet diet book written by Elizabeth Somer and published by Harlequin, and it is for people like me, and maybe you, too—people who should diet for one or more reasons—but don't and won't. It is not so much about dieting as it is about shifting your eating habits, making changes in your diet that are not so severe as to cause you to quit before you even get started. OK,OK, I know I should give up the ‘sugary carbs' altogether, but there are lots of changes that are much easier to do, and will help you get control of what you eat.

It's not that I skip breakfast, exactly, it's that I eat it about 10:00 or 11:00. Until the author pointed out in Eat Your Way to Happiness the fact your brain, waking up from a night's rest, needs carbs—yes, that's right, carbs—to fuel the first mental activities of the day, and my first mental activity is writing a chapter in my novel or shaping up a short story, I didn't eat until several hours after getting up, (a cup of strawberry tea doesn't count). Now, I can't quite manage a meal, yet, but I can eat a piece of whole-wheat flatbread or a handful of Triscuits, maybe with some cottage cheese. Then, in a couple of hours, I can do protein, fruit, and a little more carbs. Ms. Somers also gives suggestions for an optimal breakfast on the run for those of you who go to work someplace beside the next room.

The author also advises small, health snacks (she suggests products and foods) so you don't go to a meal ‘starving' from going so long without eating. There are also lists of what to throw out of your kitchen and what to keep it stocked with, so you'll always have lots of healthy foods for snacks or meals, and it's good stuff, ordinary food that you'll really eat.

I've started looking at food not so much as what food group it's in, but how processed it is. The less done to it, the better. Ms. Somers calls it ‘real' food, that is, it's not over processed with all the healthy stuff removed, or smothered in sauces, breading, fat, or all the other additions we are used to. Otherwise, it's what I would eat, anyway, just plainer. Another easy hint is fill up! Fill up at every meal with lots of vegetables, ‘real' vegetables without cover-ups, then add a small portion of protein and some high quality, low glycemic carbs, like whole grain and high fiber foods.

So what does this have to do with being happy? Can you really Eat Your Way to Happiness?

Ms. Somers points out something we all know, we just don't think about it much: the only thing our bodies have to work with, to function and make repairs, is what we put in our mouths. The body needs over forty nutrients and 12,000 plus phytonutrients, which it cannot make itself, to stay in tip-top shape. The amount and types of these nutrients, and whether they are balanced or not, helps determine whether we are “happy or sad, smart or forgetful, energetic or lethargic, vibrant or dragging”. Not only our body, but also our brain, is fed by what we eat.

Find yourself a copy of this book and see if you can really Eat Your Way to Happiness. As the old comedian used to say, “It can't hurt!”

This World We Live In

Any time a disaster happens in real life, an earthquake, for example, or hurricane, or tsunami, we think, “What would I do in that situation? Where would I go? What would I need to survive?”

Here's another ‘what if' situation for you. What if an asteroid struck the moon with such force it moved it slightly closer to the earth? It would disrupt everything we know. The tides would be higher, submerging all civilization on any coastline. The climate would change. Volcanoes would erupt, sending so much ash into the atmosphere sunlight could not get through. Without sufficient sunlight, crops would be unable to grow, causing food shortages.

This is the scenario in “This World We Live In”, a young adult book by Susan Beth Pfeffer, from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, publishers. It's been a year since the world as Miranda knew it changed, and she, her mother, and her two brothers struggle to survive. There are food deliveries, one sack of food per person per week, at the local post office, but those will eventually stop. They are reduced to pillaging through the deserted houses of the people who have left or died for toothpaste and toilet paper and anything else they can use. When the two boys go to the river, some miles away, to catch fish to supplement their meager diet, older brother Matt comes back with a girl and tells the family they have gotten married.

The family grows in size again when Miranda's father, his new wife and baby, and three strangers arrive. The problems are compounded when a tornado strikes, and terrible decisions have to be made.

This is a book adults will enjoy, as well as teen-agers. The only thing it lacked that, to me, would have added to my reading enjoyment was more scientific information about why the location of the moon altered life on earth so much.

Lead Me On

Wow! If you're not in the mood for Hot, Hotter, and Hottest, don't read this book! Jane Morgan is trying to escape her teen-age reputation as bad girl Dynasty Alexis by being an uptight secretary in business suits and her hair in a bun and dating only very respectable businessmen. That works out boringly well until bad boy Chase comes along. She just can't resist the sexy hunk, but he doesn't want to be a one-night stand, and she is trying to hold on to her new image.

When she can't avoid her less than average family, and gets pulled into biker bar territory when he kid brother gets into trouble, it's Chase to the rescue. The sex scenes sizzle, and Grandma Olive is a hoot. This is a great Saturday afternoon read by author Victoria Dahl from Harlequin.







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