Archive for 5 Minutes For Reading

What’s On Your Nightstand? March Edition

 Thanks once again to the folks at 5 Minutes for Books, I had another excuse to grab books off my shelves and revisit some that I absolutely loved. Is there any better escape while waiting for spring to arrive than diving into a book? I started out my month with an old favorite:

The movie was very loosely based on this novel. The book was more than three women jilted by their exes and looking for revenge. It delves into parenting a special needs child, aging, suicide, sexual identity, aging parents…and getting revenge on the husbands that jilted them.

After First Wives’ Club, I read Coastliners by Joanne Harris, author of Chocolat.  It didn’t thrill me. The story of a woman returning to her home on an island off the coast of France after running away with her mother when she was a girl. Her father is not the most communicative. The small town is dying from lack of tourism. A charming stranger is lurking about. Our heroine sets out to save the town, and rebuild her relationship with her father. I should have loved it, and really can’t put my finger on why I didn’t. It was just…eh.

After that debacle, I reached for another old favorite, Moviola by Garson Kanin. The story is told through the eyes of Ben Farber, who saw the creation of the movie industry from Edison through the 1970s. Ben dishes about Fatty Arbuckle, the search for Scarlett O’Hara, Marilyn Monroe. I was in heaven!

Next up for me was the Three Sisters Island trilogy by Nora Roberts:

Legend has it that three women who are descendents from three witches have to face similar trials. If they fail, their island home will fall into the sea. Each book focuses on each of the women involved. I do love this series, and think the first book of it will always be my favorite. I always walk away from this series wanting to play in my garden, whip up great little delicacies, open a bookstore, and save the world.

I finished off my month with light and fluffy reads by Janet Evanovich and Charlotte Hughes that had me laughing out loud:

Full House starts of the series with the story of Billie and Nick, a single mom and a millionaire playboy who fall hard for one another. They have all the usual romantic roadblocks: a cousin who’s marrying a wrestler, another cousin who sets off small bombs, spider and roach infestations, break-ins in the neighborhood, an exploding car…ok, maybe not typical, but they are pretty funny! The last three novels (Full Tilt, Full Speed, and Full Blast) revolve around the cousin who used to set off bombs is now a grown-up millionaire playboy with a talking car, a gorgeous newspaper owner who is his partner, and lots of unbelievable mysteries that only they can solve. These books are definitely brain candy, and a perfect beach read, and I was thrilled to discover that there’s a couple more books in this series. Ummm…there is quite a bit of, er, smut in this series, but it didn’t seem to bother my mother-in-law one bit when she borrowed them.

Hop on over to 5 Minutes for Books to see what other people have been reading.


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Children’s Classic Mystery Challenge: Volume 2

Oh, how I’ve been loving the Children’s Classics Mystery Challenge! How often do you get an excuse to regress into   revisit your childhood? This month I pulled out a favorite that had been read and re-read so much that the book’s appearance now shows how  well-loved it was in my youth.

The Great Christmas Kidnaping Caper by Jean Van Leeuwen is a story about a gang of three mice: Marvin, Fats, and Raymond. Marvin the Magnificent, the fearless leader, is looking for a place to spend the winter. What before his wondering eyes should appear, but Macy’s Department Store. In short order, he and his gang move into a doll house in the toy department. Just as quickly, they find themselves friends with the store’s Santa. And just about as quickly, their new friend disappears. It’s up to Marvin and his gang to find and rescue Santa in time for Christmas.

While re-reading my dog-eared copy of The Great Christmas Kidnaping Caper, I could easily see why this book kept me coming back so many times during my childhood. The thought of having a department store and all its treasures at my disposal as the characters did  certainly appeals to me even now.  I think, though, the thought of such a tiny being making such a huge difference was an empowering idea.

Hop on over to 5 Minutes For Books to see what others have been reading!

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What’s On Your Nightstand? February Edition

I’ve read a lot this month. Books, magazines, blogs, websites…It’s been heaven. I won’t list everything. Instead I’ll focus on the “chick” books as a tribute to the friends I was able to get together with earlier this month.

Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophia Kinsella never fails to make me laugh until I cry (and drool over her wardrobe). For those not familiar with the Shopaholic series, the books not only take the readers through Rebecca Bloomwood’s financial fiascos due to her love of shopping, but also her knack of solving problems of her own and those around her. Think Lucy Ricardo in Prada shoes.

Good In Bed by Jennifer Weiner is not a sex help book that the name implies. It’s the type of  book that makes me laugh hysterically, and then sob over plot twists. I have fond memories of passing this book back and forth with the teachers I worked with when this book originally came out. Not only did we enjoy the story, but the game we called “Guess Who’s Desk The Principal Will Find This On?” Guess who “won”.

I wanted to re-read this old favorite because I was giddy to find out it now has a sequel:


Ooooo, Certain Girls was good! Finding out what happened to the heroine Cannie. Reading from not only her view-point, but her thirteen year old daughter Joy’s. Laughing hysterically, then reaching for the box of Kleenex during those plot twists. This book was definitely the reading highlight of my month.

Those are some of the books I’ve read this month. To see what other’s have been enjoying, hop on over to 5 Minutes for Reading


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The Children’s Classic Mystery Challenge, Volume 1


I’ve already admitted to how giddy I was to find the 5 Minutes For Books site. Imagine my glee when they gave me the perfect excuse to dust off some old favorites from my childhood! I knew just the series I wanted to kick off the challenge with: Alfred Hitchcock and The Three Investigators.

For those not familiar with the series, The Three Investigators are  teenagers who solve crimes and still manage to make it home every evening in time for supper. Jupiter Jones (the brainy First Investigator), Pete Crenshaw (the athletic Second Investigator), and Bob Andrews (in charge of Records and Research) have a sweet deal with Jupiter’s uncle, who owns a junk  salvage yard: they work in exchange for freebies from the yard. That may not sound like much, but when you consider it’s how they obtained their headquarters (an old mobile home trailer), and equipped their lab, the boys made out like bandits.  Jupiter had whipped together a homing device in the book I  read.

The series begins when the Jupiter wins the use of a chauffeur driven limousine for thirty days, and decides it’s the perfect time to open a detective agency. The approximately 14-year-old boy and his friends decide to solve a case for a big director to establish their agency. Enter Alfred Hitchcock. After a rocky beginning to their relationship, the director agrees to introduce their cases for the boys. Ok, their was a bit of blackmail involved in the beginning too, but Hitchcock eventually forgave the boys.

The original series started in 1964, and by 1987 there were 43 titles in the series written by four different authors, starting with the series creator, Robert Arthur. I’ve noticed over the years that Alfred Hitchcock and The Three Investigators had turned into simply The Three Investigators. Alfred was never mentioned in the later editions of the novels.  After I finished The Secret of the Crooked Cat, I took the opportunity to do a little sleuthing of my own to find out why. It was a harrowing adventure involving a couple clicks of my mouse, but I found my answer. After Hitchcock’s death, his estate wanted more money from the publisher (Random House) to use his name. In response, the publisher  dropped Alfred like a bad habit, and invented a mysterious detective to introduce the books, even rewriting earlier novels to do so.

I enjoyed my trip down memory lane, and can’t wait to take another one next month. Check out what other classic children’s mysteries others have enjoyed over at 5 Minutes for Books!

eta: Whoops! I was so excited about this challenge that I posted it a week early. The link will be activated next Tuesday.

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