The Madness Underneath

thumb_MadnessUnderneath_finalcoverThe Madness Underneath is the second installment in Maureen Johnson’s Shades of London series. After her near-fatal run-in with the Jack the Ripper copycat, Rory Devereaux has been living in Bristol under the close watch of her parents. So when her therapist suddenly suggests she return to Wexford, Rory jumps at the chance to get back to her friends. But Rory’s brush with the Ripper touched her more than she thought possible: she’s become a human terminus, with the power to eliminate ghosts on contact. She soon finds out that the Shades—the city’s secret ghost-fighting police—are responsible for her return. The Ripper may be gone, but now there is a string of new inexplicable deaths threatening London. Rory has evidence that the deaths are no coincidence. Something much more sinister is going on, and now she must convince the squad to listen to her before it’s too late.

The book starts a little bit slowly.  When Rory returns to Wexford Academy she realizes that she has changed too much because of her run-in with the Ripper to be able to really connect with her friends at school. She seems to feel disconnected from everyone, including her best friend Jazza and her boy Continue reading “The Madness Underneath”

“A Window Opens”

A great choice for end-of-summer reading lists and book clubs is this buzzed-about debut by Elizabeth Egan, the Books Editor at Glamour Magazine. The novel, inspired by Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In and the author’s own career in publishing, focuses on wife, mother of three, and recent returnee to the full-time workforce, Alice Pearse. Alice struggles to find her place in her demanding new job. When faced with marital issues and her father’s failing health, balancing work and family life becomes even more challenging. While there were certain parts of the story I found more difficult to appreciate than others, I enjoyed it, especially the references to adult and children’s books throughout. I would recommend it to mothers, working women, and bibliophiles alike.

For those who like to listen… Kiddierecords!


I am an audiobook reader (listener?? junkie? audiofile?) I wish my 10 minute drive to work was longer to accommodate listening. Perhaps I first learned to love listening to books and stories from my old phonograph. I listened to the records of fairy tales and danced along to the story of “Tina the Ballerina.”

Now I like to listen to books that have been downloaded to my phone as I go for a walk or take a long drive. is a web site that has been around about 10 years. It has collected children’s records from the ‘golden age’ of children’s records (roughly the 40’s and 50’s). You can stream or download FREE records to listen to. Some include:

Tubby the Tuba, Rip van Winkle, Madeline, Carrot Seed, Bugs Bunny, Peter and the Wolf, Winnie the Pooh, Grimm’s Fairy Tales and many others (even one I haven’t tried yet called, “How to Tell Your Children the Facts of Life” from the 1950s.

The covers above will take you to the site. Windows Media Player should allow easy listening.

Lisbeth Salander is back

For all the fans of the Millennium trilogy, there is good news.  Lisbeth Salander is back.  When Stieg Larsson, the author, died suddenly in 2004, millions of fans who read this series felt that it had come to an end.  There were rumors that there was a fourth uncompleted manuscript, but nothing happened until now.

On September 1, a new book written by Swedish crime novelist David Lagercrantz will be released.  Titled “The Girl in the Spider’s Web” it picks up a few years after “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest.”  Salander is reunited with Mikael Blomkvist and together they set out to find out the truth about the murder of scientist Frans Balder.  Once again Blomkvist calls upon Lisbeth’s hacking skills.  Along the way they must deal with the NSA, the Russian mob, and Lisbeth’s twin sister.

According to one reviewer ” if you hadn’t seen his name on the book jacket, you’d likely assume it was Larsson’s own handiwork.  This will definitely make it to the best seller list very quickly.9780385354288_p0_v4_s118x184

“We Never Asked For Wings”

Following her very successful first novel, “The Language of Flowers,” author Vanessa Diffenbaugh writes once again about love but with an entirely different cast of characters.

Letty Espinosa is the daughter of two undocumentedl Mexican immigrants.  She was born in California and so were her two children.  Although, her family struggled financially, her parents gave her all the love they could give.  Letty, an only child, was able to attend a good high school and seemed to be on her way out of poverty.  However, at the age of sixteen she gets pregnant.  She decides that she will not tell her boyfriend, and he goes off to college.  Life continues a downward spiral.  She drinks, gets pregnant again, and goes from job to job.  It is only when her parents return to Mexico that she if forced to face her responsibilities and raise her own children.

In her “Acknowledgements” at the end of the book, the author says that it is generally believed that writing your second book is hard.  She believes that this is true because writing “We Never Asked For Wings” was incredibly difficult for her.  She states  “I tore the heart out of this novel and rewrote almost every single page.”  Unfortunately, the end result was not all it could be.  Somewhere within this novel is a better book.  The problems9780553392319_p0_v2_s192x300 of a single mother struggling to find her way, the difficulties facing illegal aliens, and how important education is to the underclass are all there in her book.  However, they are overshadowed by romantic relationships that are a bit too juvenile for such compelling themes.