26 January 2011


I did not know how popular this book was when I read it, but I can see why it is. In my opinion, this is the definitive book on the choices we all have to make in life, or death as the case may be. The story of Mia, a teenage girl whose family is in a horrible car accident in rural Oregon, is very compelling. It is both a beautiful and heart wrenching story at the same time. The characters are compelling written. It was very easy for me to become enmeshed in the story of their lives. The thoughts and decisions that Mia had to make were thoughtfully covered and I found her dilemma a fresh approach to the question of what happens to someone while they are trying to decide whether to stay or go. 

This is a much shorter review than is usual for me, but the above says it all. 
A 4.5 star read!  I am looking forward to reading the sequel "Where She Went."


 am no stranger to the cozy mystery. Some of my favorite series are in this genre, but I had never read anything by any of the authors listed in the compilation. In addition, I usually don't read "holiday" theme books. This compilation was good, though. I liked all three stories, to varying degrees. 

Candy Cane Murder by Joanne Fluke 

This was my first Joanne Fluke story, who I have heard compared to Diane Mott Davidson. One of my favorite cozy mystery writer. I totally agree with this comparison. There are may similarities between the two series. In addition to the type of mystery, the fact that both main characters cook for a living and solve crimes as a hobby. Both sets of books include recipes that you can make yourself. Both main characters are have a romantic relationship with a local law enforcement character. As such, this story was both a comfortable read and familiar at the same time. I gave it 3 stars. 

The Dangers of Candy Canes by Laura Levine. 

This story was also the typical cozy mystery, but more in the Stephanie Plum vain. Unfortunately, I did not like this story as much. The main character was a little too brash. While I don't mind characters with caustic personalities, I felt that this characters personality was too over the top. I did enjoy the surprise as to who was the murderer, and the main characters dealing with the troubled teen, but not enough to redeem the story. I gave this one 2 stars. 

Candy Canes of Christmas Past by Leslie Meier 

I actually liked this story the best of the three. I liked the "city girl turned country girl" main character. I liked her family situation, a young mother, but mostly I liked the historical aspect to this story. In this one, the protagonist had to dig back into future generations to solve the mystery. It was fun to hear a bit about the area an


Strangely enough, this was one of the first book I ever listed on my To Read shelf on Goodreads. Yet it took me two years to get around to reading it. Partly that is because I have too many books, partly it is because I was afraid to read this book. A guy who goes to a shack and has a conversation with God? A book like that has to be preachy, right? Eventually this book was picked for me by another reader as part of a challenge, and I just have to say "Thanks Wendy T for finally getting me to read this book". I found that I really enjoyed the book. Yes, there is a lot of Christian philosophy in this book, but underneath that is a beautiful story of a man trying to deal with the tragedies in his life. 

The book centers around Mack, a father of 5 living in Oregon. One day he decided to take his three younger children on a weekend camping trip to a favorite spot of theirs. While there, his youngest daughter is kidnapped and all signs indicate that she was murdered. The first part of the book deals with telling this story, which is compelling written and riveting, even though you know what is going to happen. 

The second part of the book is 4 years later when Mack is compelled to revisit the spot of his daughter's death. He ends up spending the weekend back at "the shack" having a conversation with God. To my surprise, I found this part of the book easier to read than I expected. One of my favorite things about this book was the wonderful personalities the author gave to God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. These personifications were my favorite part of the book. I found myself drawn to their human characteristics. This device made me really fly through a part of the book that I was sure was going to be hard to read. 

Another device that the author used was to write the book as if he, the author, was actually recounting a story that a friend had told him and that all of this was based on true events. Unfortunately, this device did not hold up for me. At no time did I feel that this was a true story. It did not make the story any less compelling, though. 

Now we come to the end. This was my only disappointment. I felt everything was just too neatly wrapped up at the end. It was just a little too "perfect" of an end for me. 

All in all, though, a compelling read that is well worth the time and effort. 


I just reread this book for a challenge, and am remembering how much I like children's poetry. I have always liked poetry in general, but children's poetry is especially fun as it is so whimsical and free. This book certainly fits this bill. As I was reading the book I found out that it is on the banned book list. I must admit, that surprised me, so I looked up why and here is what I found: 

It has been banned because of "suggestive illustrations." One library also claimed that the book "glorified Satan, suicide and cannibalism, and also encouraged children to be disobedient." 

As to the "suggestive illustrations", have these people ever actually read the book? In my copy, the illustrations are detailed enough to be suggestive. In fact, they are not even true to the human form. As for the other complaints, all I can say is some people have no imagination, and some parents are too lazy to parent. Oh well. 

I really liked this book. The poems remind me of a simpler time, when I had no worries and felt that I had the whole wor