Sunday, April 27, 2008

The Poetry of Murder

Welcome to Bernadette Steele's Virtual Book Tour. I am pleased to review The Poetry of Murder.

The Poetry of Murder by Bernadette Steele is about Poet Geneva Anderson. Geneva's Aunt is found murdered in her office. Geneva is shocked to find that she inherited millions from her Aunt.

In the their hurry to solve the crime, police arrest Geneva. In order to prove her innocence Geneva investigates the murder of her Aunt and in the process reveals secrets that have been hidden.

The book opens with the murder of Victoria, Geneva's Aunt. Geneva Anderson has finished writing some poems. She goes to Victoria's office. She finds the door to the office open. She goes in with her friend Zain and finds her aunt covered in blood.

I enjoyed this book I found it very entertaining. I was unable to put it down until I finished it. I liked how the other characters were part of the story, but yet had their own background story line.

It was nice to see Geneva become more self-confident, stronger ,and sure of herself as she worked towards solving the murder of her Aunt. I hope to see this continue as the series develops.

The Poetry of Murder is the first book in the Geneva Anderson series. It is set in Chicago. She incorporates the International House at the University of Chicago into the story by having Geneva live there. This setting gives many opportunities for Geneva and her friends to met different people and encounter a variety of situations for a continuing series. As this series develops, I look forward to see how Ms. Steele incorporates the psychotherapist, Dr. Zimmerman and Inspector Peterson into the other books of this developing series. I also look forward to see Ms. Steele grow and develop as a writer.

About The Author: (from her website)

Determined, personable, and imaginative are the words used to describe, Bernadette Steele. Throughout her life, Bernadette has used her persistent nature and quiet strength to navigate the hills and valleys of life.

A native of Chicago, Illinois, Bernadette moved into the International House at the University of Chicago in 2004. The multicultural environment and gothic architecture of I-House and the U of C campus inspired her to write her first murder mystery novel, The Poetry of Murder (Oak Tree Press, February 2008).

Due to a difficult childhood, Bernadette did not finish the sixth grade and never attended high school. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1993 and her Master of Science degree in Technical Communication and Information Design from the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) in 2003. Currently, she is pursuing her PhD in Technical Communication at IIT and has an expected graduation date of 2010. She plans to pursue a career in academia.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Chicago Battle of the Books

Today my daughter competed in the Chicago Public Schools Battle of the Books. There was 66 schools and over 100 teams that competed. There was a 4-6 grade division and a 7-8 grade division. My daughter's team was in the 4-6 grade division.

If you never heard of Battle of the Books it is a competition to encourage children to read books. It started in the 1930s as a Chicago radio program. There are a team of 4-6 students. There are 3 rounds 15 questions per round. There are 3 teams competing in each round. The team has to answer questions related to the books that are on the competition book list. Each team member has to read a minimum of 10 books out of 21 books. When they answer correctly they also have to state the title and the author. The teams with the highest point totals out of the three rounds will go to the final round. The team with highest points wins the competition. If there is a tie the teams compete until an answer is wrong then that team is out and the other team wins.

My daughter's team did very well. They missed only 5 questions out of 45. We all were waiting to hear the top three teams. 2 teams were automatically in the final round. There was a 3-way tie for the third spot. They called Solomon and Jackson for the first two spots. My daughter's team, coach and parents were holding their breaths. They announce Bell, Norward Park, annnnnnnnnnnnnd Cuffe. We were disappointed that Goudy was not competing for the last spot. Everyone was so sure. Ohh well, maybe next year. I am very proud of Goudy. Even though they did not make into the final round the Goudy team did a wonderful job.

The final round was Bell, Solomon, and Jackson. They were sooooo good. Again we had a tie for first place. It was between Solomon and Jackson. Between the two tie rounds they had used up all of the questions so it was decided that Solomon and Jackson would tie for first and Bell would be second. We are not sure where Goudy placed, but hopefully in the top 10. This year the competition was very tight, so who knows.

This is Goudy's second year. They did better this year than last year.

Congratulations to Solomon, Jackson, and Bell for doing so well. But watch out for Goudy, next year we are coming for you.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The Truth by Barbara Becker Hoistein

Welcome to Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein Virtual book Tour. I am pleased to review The Truth (I'm a girl, I'm smart, and I know everything).

The Truth (I'm a girl, I'm smart, and I know everything) Synopsis:

Every tween today faces social issues, questions about their parents’ relationships, gossip and crushes. In response to the crises young girls face today, positive psychologist Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein has written girls, and their moms, The Truth (I’m a girl, I’m smart and I know everything!) (Enchanted Self Press, Feb. 2008).

The Truth for young girls is that it’s OK to be unique individuals, have fun and delight in the wisdom of being young. Behind this fictional diary written by a young girl, are psychological messages about happiness for both daughters and mothers.

After reading The Truth it will be a perfect moment to discuss so many timely subjects, such as:
o Challenging behaviors, and issues such as being a victim of teasing, gossiping, the family relocating or parents fighting
o At what point parents should get involved if their child is being teased or not understood
o How technology can affect a tweens social life, and on the other hand how her talents can be nurtured and encouraged during these years
o What are the best ways to stay close to your tween
o The real emotions that girls struggle with, such as feeling not understood or having a serious crush on someone

I am very excited that my daughter read The Truth and wrote a review about it. She is 11 years old just the right age for this book. When she completed reading it she said it was cool and that she could relate to the girl. Here is her complete review:

I've read The Truth by Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein. I really enjoyed it very much. I can really related to The Truth because it told about how girls really feel. I could feel how the girl was feeling as she was going through crushes, family, and her dreams. The Truth told what girls want and what it takes to achieve it.

I truly recommend The Truth to girls my age and a bit older. I believe most girls would and could relate to and enjoy The Truth.

There are parts in the book that my daughter could identify with. When a relative cursed alot and that made the girl uncomfortable. My daughter says she feels that way to about one of our relatives. Also on pages 53 and 54 the girl talks about travel and how she is going to travel alot. My daughter says that she also wants to travel. The girl has a crush and so does my daughter.

I also read the book. It brought back memories of when I was a girl, smart and knew everything. Mothers and daughters should read The Truth together. It is a nice tool to use to open discussions between each other. As my daughter and I discussed this book we talked about things that were mentioned in the book. First crush, parents fighting, dreams and things we wanted to be or accomplish. At the end of the book there are questions that a tween/teenager can answer and her mother can use to continue the discussions.

I feel that a girl of any reading level can read and understand this book. This would be a nice gift to give to the tween/teenager in your life.

Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein Bio:
Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein is the originator of The Enchanted Self(R). She has been a positive psychologist in private practice and licensed in the states of New Jersey and Massachusetts since 1981. She is currently in private practice in Long Branch, New Jersey with her husband, Dr. Russell M. Holstein.

The magic of the human spirit, with its capacity for survival, growth and joy, has always intrigued Dr. Barbara. As years went by and her practice grew, she longed to explore adult development even further--specifically how to overcome obstacles and bring pleasure into one’s life while living a life of meaning and purpose.

Dr. Barbara speaks regularly on radio programs around the country, and appears on television in New York and New Jersey. Her inspiring audio shows and podcasts can be found on the web. Her articles and stories appear on the web on hundreds of sites. She also gives lectures, seminars, and tele-classes on happiness. Listen to her e-radio show, The Enchanted Self on . Also, listen to her e-radio show, Happiness for Women Only! on

Her newest book, The Truth, I'm Ten, I'm Smart and I Know Everything! is another first in positive psychology. Written by a ten year old girl as a diary, Dr. Barbara has been able to imbed lots of positive truths that we all need to remember and live by, regardless of our age.
The girl's edition, titled: The Truth, (I'm a girl, I'm smart and I know everything) debuted February 2008in bookstores nationwide. You can get your copy now at

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Courts of Love

I finished The Courts of Love by Jean Plaidy. I read this book for the Royalty Rules Challenge and TBR Challenge.

Plaidy weaves fiction and history very well. When I looked up the people that are mentioned in this book; I found that Plaidy kept true to history. Eleanor lived a very interesting life. She was married to two kings, the King of France and the King of England. She went on a crusade with her first husband, the King of France. She was the mother of two Kings, King Richard and King John of England.

The first part of the book focuses on the many adventures that she went on. Her relationships with her two husbands. Her thoughts and feelings as to what was happening to her. She comes off as a selfish and self-centered person. She is right and everyone is wrong. I did not like her.

The second part of the book focuses on her children esp. her two sons Richard and John. She is telling their story. Her thoughts and feelings were about what was happen to her sons Richard and John. As the focus of the book changes I started to like her. I saw her as a strong, take charge woman. She was able to handle whatever comes her way.
Jean Plaidy did not let me down. I did enjoy this book. I was pulled into Eleanor's life. I was involved with court and political intrigue with her. Somethings she did I respected her for, others I was like why?
If you like historical fiction you will like this book.

Monday, April 14, 2008

National Library Week

This is week is National Library Week. I did not realize it until I read an email from Dearreader. She was suggesting email your Librarian and tell her or him thank you. I am trying to find the email for Chicago Public Library esp. our favorite branch, Bezazian. So if you get the chance Thank your Librarian for what they do. Check out this video Go Fish on the American Library website.
I love our children's Librarians. They are very helpful. When I need books for my preschool class they help find the ones that relate to my theme. They plan wonderful programs for the children that they serve. Their summer reading programs are awesome. Both of my children love to go to their events. My eldest daughter participates in their preteen book club. Our children's Librarians at Bezazian branch are AWESOME. When we moved we were very sad to leave them behind. It is not the same going to the other libraries that are close to our new apt. My eldest daughter is lucky that she can still visit Bezazian after school. I am still at work when my husband picks her up.
Do you have a favorite librarian? Please tell everyone about her/him in the comments. Remember to tell why he/she is your favorite. Are maybe you can tell everyone why your library is great. I hope to read some wonderful comments.
Thank your Librarian today.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Booking Through Thursday-Writing Challenge

It is time for Booking Through Thursday

Pick up the nearest book. (I’m sure you must have one nearby.)
Turn to page 123.
What is the first sentence on the page?
The last sentence on the page?
Now . . . connect them together….(And no, you may not transcribe the entire page of the book–that’s cheating!)

I picked up The Court of Love by Jean Plaidy. It was on the kitchen table waiting for me to pick it up and continue reading.

The First sentence is "We knew the road was not easy" and the last is "I noticed Thierry Galeran the room." To connect them I wrote a little tale.

We knew the road was not easy. But my sister and I needed to find Thierry Galeran. I had something to tell him. We encountered many difficulties and challenges along the way. We finally found him. He was at The castle. We went inside and looked around. We walked into the dining room. That is when I noticed Thierry Galeran in the room.

In The Court of Love it is a discussion between King of France and Eleanor of Aquitaine. They are deciding if they should continue onto Jerusalem and along the way try to take cities to make road safe for the pilgrims and the crusaders or not. Eleanor would like to fight along the way and the King wanted to go to Jerusalem without fighting to confess his sins. Thierry Galeran is the King's servant.
I hope you enjoyed my little tale.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Historical Fiction Challenge

I was not going to do anymore challenges. I said I have enough. I still need to start reading for the decades challenge. I am reading my last book for the Royalty Rules Challenge, so I will finish this challenge.(which is a crossover for the TBR Challenge). TBR Challenge I am on track. I am participating in Eharlequin 100,000 book challenge, but 50%of the books have to be from any Harlequin line. I will also be doing book reviews for Pump Up Your Book Promotion. I said no more challenges. And then I found Historical Fiction Challenge sponsored by Anne from Reading, Writing, and Ranting. I thought about it and I was like weelll I will finish the Royalty Rules Challenge. It is not a big stretch from Royalty to Historical Fiction sooooo and I have 6 months to read 6 books maaaybeee I could do it. Well, why not as they said in the old NIKE ad just Do It. So here are my 6 choices.
  1. The Virgin's Lover by Philippa Gregory

  2. The Birth of Venus by Sarah Dunant

  3. A Vision of Light by Judith Merkle Riley

  4. Mary, Queen of Scotland by Margaret George

  5. The Lady Elizabeth by Alison Weir

  6. Victoria Victorious by Jean Plaidy

I have the right to change any of my choices.

So wish me luck, I hope I can accomplish all of my reading goals for 2008. I also hope to read 100 books this year. Between working full time and my family I CAN DO IT!!!!