April 25, 2010

New Winner of "Love in Mid Air"!


Since I was not contacted by Monique, and she did not leave an email address with her entry, I was forced to draw a new winner for a copy of Kim Wright's Love in Mid Air.  According to randomizer.org, the lucky new winner is

Penny

Congratulation, Penny!  If you will forward me your mailing addresses, I will see that your new book gets out to you.


Again, thanks to everyone who visited my blog and entered the giveaway. I thoroughly enjoyed reading everyone's comments on where they found love - - and chuckled over several posters meeting their spouses or significant others online (as I did!) Please stick around for future reviews and giveaways.

Many thanks again to Miriam Parker and the Hachette Book Group for making this giveaway possible.






April 22, 2010

Review of "The Bundy Murders" by Kevin M. Sullivan


Synopsis:  Theodore Bundy was one of the more infamous, and flamboyant, American serial killers on record, and his story is a complex mix of psychopathology, criminal investigation, and the U.S. legal system. This in-depth examination of Bundy�s life and his killing spree that totaled dozens of victims is drawn from legal transcripts, correspondence and interviews with detectives and prosecutors. Using these sources, new information on several murders is unveiled. The biography follows Bundy from his broken family background to his execution in the electric chair.





I have read nearly every book written on Ted Bundy and when I heard about this one, I knew I had to read it.  Particularly when the author claimed that he had previously unpublished information about some of the crimes. 

I have heard that every true crime affectionado has a "favorite" (for lack of better word) crime or criminal and I suppose that's correct.  There are some crimes, such as Bundy's, that I can read many books about without getting weary and there are other crimes that I have absolutely no desire to pick up the first book on. 

For any reader who is unfamiliar with Bundy's crimes in general, The Bundy Murders is a great book to start with.  It's not daunting in size (a relatively sleek 264 pages), with a variety of pictures (including ones the author took at locations that Bundy lived at or where he abducted a victim) and the text is easy to read, with a very nice overview of Bundy's past and formative years. 

For those readers who have read other works about Bundy, I think you will find The Bundy Murders a resourceful tool that not only sheds further light on the killer himself but additional information, as Kevin Sullivan stated, about a few of Bundy's lesser known crimes and about the victims themselves.

One of my greatest pet peeves, and overall sadness, with some true crime books is the general lack of attention to the victims themselves.  I understand that in some cases, the sheer volume of people being dealt with prohibits in depth information from being written.  But I feel that in some true crime books, the victims are presented as just that - - victims, with nothing special other than the fact they happened to cross paths with a monster. 

I feel that Mr. Sullivan has done an admirable job here in bringing to the forefront personalities and characteristics of many of the young women and girls that Bundy spirited away - - particularly those that did not receive as much press as the others at the time of the crimes.   I also want to commend Mr. Sullivan for acknowledging that Bundy, and others like him, don't just take away the life of a single victim but often tend to destroy entire families.  In The Bundy Murders' case, the families of the girls Bundy abducted and killed were subjected to not only the grief of losing a loved one in such a violent way but also divorces, early deaths, alcoholism and drug dependency.  Oftentimes the criminal himself (or herself, as the case may be) becomes the "star" of the show and the living victims (the family and friends left behind) and their pain are quickly forgotten.  Not so here.

I do wish that The Bundy Murders had gone more into Bundy's paternity.  Mr. Sullivan mentioned that Bundy's biological father was supposedly a sailor who left his mother alone and pregnant but I would have liked for the book to address the rumors that Bundy's maternal grandfather may also have been his biological father, rumors that began circulating shortly after Bundy's execution in 1989.  

Mr. Sullivan does keep his text to those victims that were absolutely attributed to Bundy, or that Bundy admitted to taking, and does provide a small amount of information as to Bundy's possible first victim, since Bundy never fully admitted or denied his part in her disappearance.  

Overall, I found The Bundy Murders to be insightful, well researched and well written, and this in a market that can be oversaturated with cheap, "dime store" type quickie books.  Rest assured that The Bundy Murders most definitely is not.  The story stayed with me after I had closed the book for the night and prepared for sleep (and might I add that I had a hard time closing the book because I literally couldn't put it down).  I felt sadness for the young women and girls who had lost their lives due to Bundy, I felt sadness for their families and friends, I felt sadness for Bundy's family and even I felt sadness for what Bundy could have been had the monster not been lurking below.  

I would highly recommend The Bundy Murders for any true crime reader, or any reader wanting to know more about Bundy or about deviant personalities.  The photographs are not graphic and the text is not objectionable.  There are parts that may be difficult to read, particularly given that Bundy did play tricks on his victims after he had them in his murderous grasp, but the facts are presented in such a way as to be informative and a fascinating look into a crumbling psyche.   In fact, this book should be required reading for any student of psychology or criminal law (ironically what Bundy was during his years at college and law school). 

The Bundy Murders is available for purchase now through McFarland Publishers, as well as major booksellers like Amazon and Barnes & Noble.  

The Bundy Murders counts toward my progress in the Thriller & Suspense Reading Challenge.

Review copy of this book provided by the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review. In no way did the provision of the book affect the outcome of my review. 



What about you, my fellow readers?  Do you read true crime?  If so, is there a particular author you are devoted to, or a particular crime or criminal you will follow?  If so, why? 

Happy reading!

April 21, 2010

Review of "Recollections of Rosings" by Rebecca Ann Collins

Synopsis:  A disaster at Rosings unearths long-hidden secrets . . .

Sisters Catherine Harrison and Becky Tate, daughters of Charlotte Lucas and Mr. Collins, have very different personalities and temperaments. Both grew up in the shadow of Rosings Park, domain of the formidable Lady Catherine de Bourgh, but as adults their paths diverged dramatically.



When a catastrophe at Rosings Park brings Becky back to visit her sister, the two clash about their aspirations for the marriage of Catherine’s young daughter, and both women are forced to confront the ghosts of the past—in particular, Lady Catherine’s cruelty and deception.


As the shocking truth emerges, the Darcy and Bingley families rally. But it may be too late for the sisters to find the love and happiness they were denied so long ago


Recollections of Rosings is the eighth book in Rebecca Ann Collins' The Pemberley Chronicles series.  This series has long been on my To Be Read list and despite owning the first two books in the series, I have yet to be able to read them.  So while I was excited at the prospect of reading a book in this series, I was also hesitant about beginning with the eighth installment. 

As a Pride and Prejudice devotee, and with the help of the list of characters provided in the book and by the publisher, I had no problem keeping up with the characters (those established by Jane Austen and those created by Rebecca Ann Collins) and the storyline. 

While my beloved Darcy and Lizzy made brief appearances here, I did come to like very much Catherine Collins Harrison and her lively daughter Liliane.  Again, not having read the previous books, I did feel that Catherine was very much like her mother, Charlotte Lucas Collins, and fortunately not like her namesake, Lady Catherine deBurgh! 

I found the contrast between Catherine and younger sister Becky to be an interesting one, as Becky is not only more outgoing and outspoken than her sister but also much more fond of city life and living in town rather than the country. The two sisters, while very divergent personalities, still share a close and loving relationship that is both positive and inspiring. 

The cruelty by Lady Catherine, alluded to in the synopsis, is just that and frankly, would we expect any less from a character you love to hate?  It's a wonderful plot point and I fell in love with the result (without giving away too much!) 

I think the best part of Recollections of Rosings was the heart of the story that remained true to Jane Austen's original vision.   True Pride and Prejudice fans will happily soak up this story, following the lives of much loved characters.  Despite a somewhat slow start, I did find myself immersed with Catherine, Liliane, Becky and the Darcys and the Bingleys in Kent. 

My only complaint with Recollections of Rosings would be the aforementioned somewhat slow start.  I fear that impatient readers may not give Recollections of Rosings a chance but it is well worth the time.

Recollections of Rosings is available for purchase now at major booksellers including Amazon and Barnes & Noble.  

For further information on Recollections of Rosings and The Pemberley Chronicles series, visit author Rebecca Ann Collins' webpage HERE

Review copy of this book provided by the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review. In no way did the provision of the book affect the outcome of my review.





Looking for Monique!

Monique, please contact me ASAP!!  You won a copy of Kim Wright's Love in Mid Air and you did not leave me a contact email address.  I need your mailing address in order for the publisher to send you a copy.  You can reply to this post in the comment section or email me directly at mrshedgy@yahoo.com.

In fairness to other entries, I will give you until midnight on Friday, April 23 to contact me.  Should I not hear anything back by that time, I will draw a new winner.

Thanks!


April 19, 2010

Mailbox Monday: April 19, 2010


Mailbox Monday is a weekly meme hosted by Marcia at The Printed Page where we share what reads we have received in our mailboxes the previous week.


Here are the goodies that arrived for me last week:

The Way I See It by Melissa Sue Anderson (personal request to publisher)

"When other girls her age were experiencing their first crushes, Melissa Sue Anderson was receiving handwritten marriage proposals from fans as young, and younger, than she was. When other girls were dreaming of their first kiss, Melissa was struggling through hers in front of a camera. From age eleven in 1974 until she left the show in 1981, Melissa Anderson literally grew up before the viewers of Little House on the Prairie.  Melissa, as Mary, is remembered by many as “the blind sister”—and she was the only actor in the series to be nominated for an Emmy. In The Way I See It, she takes readers onto the set and inside the world of the iconic series created by Michael Landon, who, Melissa discovered, was not perfect, as much as he tried to be. In this memoir she also shares her memories of working with guest stars like Todd Bridges, Mariette Hartley, Sean Penn, Patricia Neal, and Johnny Cash.

In addition to stories of life on the set, Melissa offers revealing looks at her relationships off-set with her costars, including the other Melissa (Melissa Gilbert) and Alison Arngrim, who portrayed Nellie Oleson on the show. And she relates stories of her guest appearances on iconic programs such as The Love Boat and The Brady Bunch.

Filled with personal, revealing anecdotes and memorabilia from the Little House years, this book is also a portrait of a child star who became a successful adult actress and a successful adult. These are stories from “the other Ingalls sister” that have never been told."


To Conquer Mr. Darcy by Abigail Reynolds (publicist contact)

"In the Pride and Prejudice Variations series, Abigail Reynolds explores the roads not taken in Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, imagining lively plot twists and ecstatically happy endings. Here the story picks up from a pivotal point in Pride and Prejudice—Mr. Darcy's infamously botched proposal of marriage. What if, instead of disappearing from her life after Elizabeth Bennet refuses his awkward marriage proposal, Mr. Darcy took the initiative and tried to change her mind?   In Conquering Mr. Darcy, Darcy follows Elizabeth back to her home in Hertfordshire and sets about making himself so irresistible her impulses win out over her sense of propriety until, madly in love and mutually on fire, their passion anticipates their wedding."



Georgette Heyer's Regency World by Jennifer Kloester (publicist contact)

"Georgette Heyer fans will delight in Jennifer Kloester’s definitive guide to her Regency world: the people, the shops, clubs and towns they frequented, the parties and seasons they celebrated, how they ate, drank, dressed, socialized, voted, shopped and drove. A fun read for any Heyer fan. "





Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls by Steve Hockensmith (publicist contact)

"In this prequel to Seth Grahame-Smith's Jane Austen revamp Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, the town of Meryton has grown quiet and complacent while the long-lived zombie menace lays dormant. Taking place five years before Bingley moves into Netherfield, and sightings of "unmentionables" have become routine, this story kicks off with a certain Mr. Ford sitting up in the middle of his own funeral. In response, the Bennet sisters begin intensive training in the deadly arts with their warrior father and a new Master. Their neighbors, much slower on the uptake, are variously dismembered, disillusioned, and eventually convinced to prepare for a terrifying final confrontation. With a sure grasp of Austen's characters and the social structures of the times, Hockensmith is loyal to the material's roots but, divorced from any particular text, he's able to take Grahame-Smith's silly, raunchy, violent tone much farther than in the first volume. Mixing taught horror-movie action with neo-Austen meditation on identity, society, and romance, this happy sacrilege is sure to please fans of Grahame-Smith's original mash-up."



So what goodies arrived in your mailbox last week?



It's Monday! What Are You Reading?


It's Monday! What Are You Reading is a weekly meme hosted by Sheila at One Person's Journey Through a World of Books.  It's where we gather to share what we have read this past week and what we plan to read this week. It is a great way to network with other bloggers, see some wonderful blogs, and put new titles on your reading list.



FINISHED LAST WEEK

Recollections of Rosings by Rebecca Ann Collins
I Has a Hotdog by Professor Happycat
The Bundy Murders by Kevin Sullivan

CURRENTLY READING

The Darcy Cousins by Monica Fairview

WAITING IN THE WINGS

My Own Personal Soap Opera by Libby Malick
Original Sin by Allison Brennan
Dead Pan by Gayle Trent

So what books did you finish last week? 
 

April 18, 2010

The Winners of "Love in Mid Air"!


The lucky winners of a copy of Love in Mid Air by Kim Wright are


Bookie

Monique

Allison


Congratulations, Bookie, Monique and Allison!  If you will forward me your mailing addresses, I will see that your new book gets out to you.

Thanks to everyone who visited my blog and entered the giveaway. I thoroughly enjoyed reading everyone's comments on where they found love - - and chuckled over several posters meeting their spouses or significant others online (as I did!)  Please stick around for future reviews and giveaways.

Thanks again to Miriam Parker and the Hachette Book Group for making this giveaway possible. 


April 12, 2010

(Belated) Friday Fun

I saw this over at Debbie's World of Books and I love lists with books so here we go.  (And after filling this out I have noted something very vital - - Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice is a go-to book that fits absolutely any mood)

List one or more books for the following categories:

1.  Books you have read more than once

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier
Helter Skelter by Vincent Bugliosi
Fatal Vision by Joe McGinniss
All of Ann Rule's books
The Flowers in the Attic series by V. C. Andrews
Complicated Women and Dangerous Men by Mick LaSalle

2.  Books you want on a deserted island (3 maximum)

(You should be hearing an audible groan from me at only being able to list 3 books)

The Complete Works of Jane Austen
Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier
Some kind of survival guide on how to live on a deserted island because I would be clueless

3.  Books that made you laugh

Confessions of a Jane Austen Addictand Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict by Laurie Viera Rigler
Hollywood Car Wash by Lori Culwell
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen


4.  Books that made you cry

Buckley's Story by Ingrid King
Bid Time Return/Somewhere in Time by Richard Matheson
Animals on the Other Side by Sylvia Browne
Old Yeller by Fred Gipson
The Diary of Anne Frank
His Name Was Ron by The Goldman Family
Dear America:  Letters Home from Vietnam by Bernard Edelman
Scales of Justice: The Murders of Colette, Kimberley and Kristen MacDonald by Christina Masewicz

5.  Books you wish you had written

The Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling
Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier


6.  Books you wish had never been written

Almost anything by Danielle Steel
The Rules by Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneider (biggest piece of garbage imaginable on how to play tricks to "land" a man - - UGH!)
The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
Any parenting book that lacks common sense and makes people afraid to say "no" to their children

7.  Books you are currently reading

The Scarlet Lion by Elizabeth Chadwick
The Darcy Cousins by Monica Fairview (about to start; as I am seriously behind in my reading, I am going to have to double up!)

8.  Books you have been meaning to read

Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
The Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris
The Little House Companion by Melany Shapiro (I am a huge Little House fan and this book is out of print and I have not been able to find it in the 10+ years I have searched for it - - help!)

9.  Books that changed your life

Life on the Other Side by Sylvia Browne
Many Lives, Many Masters by Brian L. Weiss
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (it's become anticlimatic, hasn't it?)


So how about you?  What are your book picks?  Leave me answers in the comment section or a link back to your blog.

Happy Monday!


April 10, 2010

Updates on Two Fayetteville Cases

Timothy Hennis in 1985 (top) and February 2010

On April 8, a military jury in Fort Bragg, North Carolina found Master Sgt. Timothy Hennis guilty of three counts of premeditated first degree murder after less than three hours of deliberation.  A sentencing hearing is scheduled to begin this Friday and conclude the following Monday.  Hennis could be sentenced to death or life in prison for the 1985 murders of Kathryn Eastburn and two of her daughters. 

This was Hennis' third murder trial.  He was originally convicted in 1986 in civilian court and sentenced to death but the North Carolina Supreme Court granted him a new trial at which he was acquitted in 1989.

The 1993 book on the Eastburn case Innocent Victims by Scott Whisnant spawned a cable television miniseries.   Interestingly, author Whisnant does not believe Hennis to be guilty of the murders, feeling instead that the person responsible has a much deeper and darker psychosis than Hennis. 

See my earlier posts on this case HERE and HERE



















Jeffrey and Colette MacDonald in 1969 (top) and MacDonald in 2007

The Fourth Circuit Court is going to hear an appeal on the triple murder case involving former Army physician and surgeon Jefffrey MacDonald.  Lawyers for MacDonald argued that new DNA evidence and a witness statement by a former federal marshal claiming that a prosecutor threatened a witness show MacDonald is innocent of the brutal crimes that spawned the bestseller Fatal Vision, as well as a miniseries by the same name. 

Federal prosecutors argued that the DNA test results (showing a hair found under the fingernail of Kristen MacDonald did not match any member of the MacDonald family) cannot be considered by the appeals court at this time, that the threat claims lack merit and that MacDonald is merely rehashing old evidence from previous unsuccessful appeals. 

The panel is expected to decide within a few weeks whether or not MacDonald will be granted a new trial.

MacDonald is serving three life terms for the 1970 murders of his wife Colettte and daughters Kimberley and Kristen at their Fort Bragg, North Carolina home, just six months after the shocking Tate-LaBianca murders by the Manson Family.  MacDonald has always claimed a drug-induced quartet of hippies slayed his family and attacked him. 

See my earlier posts on this case HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE,




















April 4, 2010

Help Get Buckley's Story Into Stores Nationwide



Congratulations to author Ingrid King,whose heartwarming and touching memoir Buckley's Story, has been featured in Barnes & Noble's Rising Star Special Collection.  This recognition isn't just an honor but may also open the doors for Buckley's Story to be nationally distributed at Barnes & Noble.

As a fan of both Buckley's Story and Ingrid King, I encourage you to send a message to Barnes & Noble that Buckley's Story deserves a place on the shelf of each and every Barnes & Noble.  How to do this?  Simple!  During the month of April click on the link above, going to the Rising Star Special Collection, and click on the link for Buckley's Story



To read my review of Buckley's Story, go HERE.  To visit author Ingrid King's website, go HERE.

Good luck, Ingrid, on getting Buckley's Story into stores nationwide and readers, let's do our part to support an independently published author! 



April 2, 2010

Review of "Love in Mid Air" by Kim Wright



Synopsis:  A chance encounter with a stranger in an airplane sends Elyse Bearden into an emotional tailspin. Suddenly, Elyse is willing to risk everything: her safe but stale marriage, her seemingly perfect life in an affluent Southern suburb, and her position in the church. As Elyse embarks on a risky affair, her longtime friend Kelly and the other women in their book club begin to question their own decisions about love, sex, marriage, and freedom. In the end it will take an extraordinary leap of faith for Elyse to find--and follow--her own path to happiness.



This is author Kim Wright's debut work and if this book is any indication, she is looking at a successful career as a writer.  Because this book is a literary grand slam. 

From the first page, I was hooked.  Hooked on Ms. Wright's writing style, hooked on the story and hooked on the characters.  I literally snuck reading in whenever I could, so anxious was I to find out what was going on in Elyse's world, putting off sleep and household chores to read. 

Elyse was a complex character.  On the one hand, I liked her and felt for her predicament.  On the other, she is nothing like me and I sometimes wanted to beat my head on the wall in frustration.  Ms. Wright did a smart thing in making Elyse's husband Phil a likable, decent man, a good father and good provider but a man she simply did not, and could not, love. 

Elyse's girlfriends, members of her book club, were a wonderfully varied bunch, each one an individual in her own way, from best friend Kelly, to the "perfect" pastor's wife Nancy, to recently divorced and recently outcast Lynn, to sweet and somewhat left in the shadows Belinda.  So vivid were these characters I could actually visualize them and hear them talking as I read the book.  Ms. Wright has proven herself to have an excellent ear for dialogue and none of the conversations in Love in Mid Air sound scripted or pretentious.  You could be listening to your own girlfriends while thumbing through these pages. 

While the seemingly obvious love interest in the book would be Gerry - - the man who convinces Elyse that her marriage has gone stale, or always been stale - - I felt that the real love story in the book was the friendship between Elyse and Kelly.  These two were friends that truly loved each other, that depended on each other through thick and thin.  They had a real understanding of each other that neither woman shared with any other person in the book.  It was a welcome diversion to have two such devoted people, with their individual flaws, who weren't a romantic couple. 

Despite the subject matter of Love in Mid Air (because adultery would hardly be a fun subject), I thoroughly enjoyed the book.  In fact, I didn't realize until I had finished the book that the story was relatively sad - - a woman who felt trapped in a marriage that everyone else considered successful and happy, and a husband who believes everything to be fine and can't grasp the seriousness of his marital situation. 

For the more conservative readers, this book may be a bit too much to handle.  There is the obvious adultery, and there is a smattering of sexual situations and strong language.  This is definitely not a book for kids.  Love in Mid Air is, however, a perfect read for a book club as there are so many debatable discussions and issues that would spark conversation for hours. 

I would highly recommend Love in Mid Air to anyone looking for a read that will get your mental juices flowing and really make you think.  Is any affair forgiveable?  Is Elyse a bad person?  Is Gerry? 

Love in Mid Air isn't your typical love triangle story - - it sets the classic love story on its ear.  Elyse may not be an easy character to root for in some cases and the same could be true for Phil, for Gerry or for any of the characters in the book.  But it's a story that will have you quickly turning pages, staying up into the night to finish it and it will remain with you after you turn the last page.  While I found the ending debateably happy, I was satisfied with the book and left with an appreciation for my husband.

Love in Mid Air  is available at major booksellers, including Barnes & Noble and Amazon















For further information on Love in Mid Air, visit author Kim Wright's website and blog HERE.  

Author Kim Wright's other tour stops can be found HERE







Review copy of this book provided by the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review. In no way did the provision of the book affect the outcome of my review.



And now for the GIVEAWAY!!! Thanks to the lovely Miriam Parker at the Hachette Book Group, I have THREE copies of Love in Mid Air up for grabs.

To enter, simply leave me a comment and let me know if you've ever found love in an unusual place, like an airplane seat!  Just leave me your name and email address and you're entered to win your own copy of Love in Mid Air. That's it! U.S. and Canada only (my apologies to our overseas friends) and no P.O. boxes.   Contest to end on Saturday, April 17, 2010 at 11:59 P.M. EST and the lucky winners drawn on Sunday, April 18, 2010.


Good luck!



April 1, 2010

Review of "The Circle of Friends, Book V: Heather" by L. Diane Wolfe


Synopsis:  When confidence turns to frustration…



A new beginning awaits Heather Jennings. The position at Clemson means she will finally realize her dream of coaching basketball. Heather is ready to focus on her duties, using sheer force if necessary to prove her independence.


Sadly, her triumph is hampered as father and greatest advocate lies dying of cancer. Battling her grief, she must also deal with a sister who appears incapable of responsibility or achievement. And once basketball season begins, a talented but cocky player who resembles her in every manner challenges all that remains of Heather’s patience.


Heather’s life changes when she encounters a man capable of handling her bold and feisty attitude. Straightforward and smug, he entices her to date him, and despite his gruff nature shows a great capacity for compassion. However, the last thing Heather needs is a serious relationship with a man equally fixated on work and opposed to marriage…



This was my first book by author (and motivational speaker) L. Diane Wolfe.  I have not read any of the previous books in this young adult series but Ms. Wolfe stressed that I could pick up Book V without a problem.  And she was right.

While the main character in this book, Heather, was introduced in the earlier books (along with supporting characters we meet), enough background information and character descriptions are given so that this book can be a stand alone in and of itself. 

Interestingly enough, I wasn't sure that I liked Heather for the first third of even half of the book.  I found her frustrating but she kept me interested and I never lost focus of the story.  It came to me like a lightening bolt that Heather acted quickly, foolishly and without thinking at times because she was in her early to mid-twenties and she was very independent (or trying to be).  In other words, very much like myself at that age.  Once I was hit over the head with this literary 2x4, I understood Heather completely.  She is definitely, to quote Ms. Wolfe, "ornery".  She's argumentative and she's competitive.  However, she is an excellent role model for teen girls who want to excel in sports and who strive to be independent.

Book V: Heather showcases just enough basketball (Heather's passion) to delight sports fans and athletes and yet not so much that sports novices would be overwhelmed or puzzled.  I particularly enjoyed Heather's relationship with her parents, as it seemed very realistic and well written.  In fact, I felt I would like her family if I met them and each member reminded me of my own family or a friend's family.

The cancer storyline is the "heavy" of the book but it's thoughtfully written, without unnecessary trauma.

The romantic portion of the story, with Heather most certainly meeting her match, is somewhat predictable to this mother of a teenager but I still appreciated watching her relationship with Mark progress and how both of them, not just Heather, made subtle and not so subtle changes in order to accomodate their growing feelings. 

The strongest part of the book is Ms. Wolfe's ability to convey a message of strength and perseverance through her writing.  Heather has many obstacles to overcome during the course of this book, ones that many of us face, and she tackles them and reacts in a fashion that is best described as brutally honest.

The message received from Book V: Heather  is that life is going to throw you some curve balls and it sure isn't fair but you will emerge stronger and know yourself better.

I would recommend The Circle of Friends Book V: Heather to readers of all ages who want a good, strong story, with a positive role model, and who want to be encouraged and feel satisfied at the end of the book. 

To read a guest post by author L. Diane Wolfe and character Heather Jennings, go HERE

The Circle of Friends Book V: Heather may be purchased at major booksellers, including Amazon Heather (The Circle of Friends, Book 5), Barnes & Noble at at author L. Diane Wolfe's website

Review copy of this book provided by the publisher at the author's request in exchange for a fair and honest review. In no way did the provision of the book affect the outcome of my review.