Saturday Snapshot: Aloha!

I’ve been a bit out of the loop as we’ve been in Hawaii! It was really wonderful. Here are a few of my fave shots (click to enlarge):


Volcanoes at Volcano National Park


Petroglyphs that were located near our hotel on an ancient road

and – of course –

Hawaii beach

the beautiful beach!!

Saturday Snapshot is hosted by Melinda at

You can participate by posting a picture that you or a friend took, and linking it to her site. Appropriate pics please!

Review: ON HEAVEN AND EARTH by Jorge Mario Bergoglio (Pope Francis) and Abraham Skorka

Through Blogging for Books, I received a review copy of ON HEAVEN AND EARTH, which is subtitled Pope Francis on Faith, Family, and the Church in the 21st Century. This is a bit of a misnomer since the entire book is a conversation between Pope Francis (before he was Pope and was an Archbishop in Argentina) and Argentinian Rabbi Abraham Skorka. The book is divided into short chapters which cover their conversations about a wide variety of topics and how they are viewed in the Catholic and Jewish faiths: God, family, sexuality, world issues, euthanasia, etc. It is easy to read and a great book to pick up if you only have a short time to read, as you can cover a chapter or two easily. I felt like I was sitting in a room, listening to these two men discuss the issues. Their conversations were insightful and intellectual, yet respectful and open.

Highly recommended if you enjoy reading and learning about religion or, if you are Catholic or Jewish, want to better understand your own faith!

Quick YA Review: RIPPED by Shelly Dickson Carr

I downloaded the YA novel RIPPED from Net Galley before our recent trip to Hawaii.  In this fast-paced and riveting story, teenager Katie Lennox discovers she can travel through time from present day London to the time of Jack the Ripper using the “London Stone”. Katie takes on the task of thwarting Jack the Ripper before he can do his evil deeds. She also holds in her heart the secret desire to see her deceased parents again. What Katie discovers is that changing history is no easy feat, and small events can have big consequences. The theme of “be careful what you wish for” is oft-repeated in this story.

I really enjoyed reading this novel!  I see that it has won several awards, which is not surprising as it is well-written and well researched. I love historical fiction and mixing it up with time travel just makes me love it more! It is a bit lengthy (over 500 pages in print), but eager readers should have no problem plowing through it.

I look forward to more novels from Ms. Carr, and I see she lives locally, so perhaps our paths will cross.

Thanks, Net Galley and New Book Partners Publishing, for my copy!


Hello! You haven’t heard too much from me lately because we are on vacation in Hawaii!

I try to unplug when we go on vacation, and while I do have a post or two scheduled to run, I will return to “regular programming” once I return at the end of the week.

I am reading a great YA book by Shelley Dickson Carr – RIPPED – about a teen who time travels in order to thwart Jack the Ripper; and I’m also reading CALL ME ZELDA by Erika Robuck, about Zelda Fitzgerald’s time in a mental hospital (it’s a great read!). I recently finished ON HEAVEN AND EARTH which is a conversation between the current Pope (before he was Pope) and an Argentinian Rabbi as they discuss everything from heaven to hell to gay marriage to the role of women.

I wanted to post a picture of the beauty here. This is the view from our lanai (balcony).


Hawaii pic2

Giveaway!! STONEFLY by Scott Holliday

This week I am really excited to be hosting a giveaway!! (cue cheering and clapping)

STONEFLY by Scott Holliday is the first book in the Jacob Duke series. I am reading it now, but Amazon blurbs it as:

Jacob Duke has come back to Braketon­–a sleepy, backwoods town bordering Dover, the mental institution where he spent his formative years. Jacob’s intention is to enjoy Braketon’s woods and water for the first time as a free man, but he soon discovers that Dover isn’t through with him yet. Driven by a curse that compels him to grant any wish he hears, Jacob is drawn back into his disturbing former life by a young boy’s desire to see his own father dead. Complicating things is the irresistible and erratic Lori Nelson, who continues to put new boyfriends in Jacob’s path, along with Motown, Jacob’s friend from his years at Dover, who carries a secret that rocks Jacob’s foundation and makes him question his own morality.

Here’s the rules:

1) You MUST be a follower of my blog to enter. You can follow my blog itself, or follow me on Twitter (@BethsBookBlog), or be one of my personal friends/family members who connect through Facebook.

2) Leave a comment and say “hey!” and tell me how you follow me (honor system here, folks!).

3) ONE entry per person.

4) Open to US and INT’L!!

5) I will use to generate the winning entry number. I will post who the winner is by Monday, August 26. You can contact me with your mailing info, which I will send in to the publicist for your copy.

Quick YA Review: SURVIVING THE ANGEL OF DEATH by Eva Mozes Kor and Lisa Rojany Buccieri

This YA read is subtitled The True Story of a Mengele Twin in Auschwitz. Jewish twins, Eva Mozes and her sister Miriam, along with their parents and sisters, are sent to Auschwitz in 1944 from their home in Romania. While their family is sent to the gas chambers, Eva and Miriam are selected to be part of Mengele’s study group of twins. While their treatment is considered better than the regular prisoners (but don’t kid yourself- this is a concentration camp and no one is treated well!), Eva’s determination to protect Miriam and survive the war gives her an incredible resiliency and strength to carry on.

This was a very short read for me – less than 200 pages – and it follows Eva and Miriam’s story from being taken to the camps, to their experience there, to their survival after the war. Aimed for a middle to high school audience, the book is less graphic than other Holocaust stories, but it is understandably still highly disturbing. The inclusion of pictures from before and after the war are a nice touch. Written as a memoir, we get Eva’s voice throughout. Particularly touching in this book is how Eva found forgiveness in her heart years after her war experience was over.

Thank you, Net Galley and Tanglewood Press, for my review copy.

See this book on Amazon where I am an Associate:

Review: HEIRS AND GRACES by Rhys Bowen

My readers know that I LOVE Rhys Bowen’s historical cozy mysteries series – especially the Molly Murphy series and the Royal Spyness series. The latest Royal Spyness book – HEIRS AND GRACES – has just come out and I received an ARC from Rhys herself to read and review.

First let me say just how very EXCITED I was to get a book from Ms. Bowen herself and even signed by her! Yeah!! (I follow her on Facebook and she had mentioned having a few if any bloggers wanted one.) Lady Georgie is one of my favorite characters in cozies. She’s so likable and yet so ordinary. She’s clumsy and unsophisticated, and always struggling to make ends meet. Yet she’s intelligent and spunky and keeps the most remarkable company (ex-police officer grand-dad, actress mummy, cousin the Queen of England, etc.). You can’t help liking her and wanting her to be successful!

In this story, Georgie is sent to a friend’s estate to help a new family member adjust to life as a noble. It seems that an heir has been found for the Altringham family: a heretofore unknown son of the son who died in the war. This young man, Jack, has been born and raised in Australia and is now found and coming to “train” so he  can eventually claim the title (a bit against his will). The family is in an uproar and the head of house, the very unlikable and unfriendly eldest son and Duke, is giving Jack less than a warm welcome. Then the Duke is found dead with a knife in his back – Jack’s knife. Can Georgie figure out who the killer really is and save the day?

This might be my favorite Georgie title yet! There was no dearth of suspects and even though I figured it all out, the mystery was cleverly plotted. Familiar friends Darcy and Belinda plays their parts as well.

Definitely one to read for those who follow the series – and for those new to the series, too!

THANK YOU, Ms. Bowen, for my copy!

Saturday Snapshot: More Friends in the Backyard!

In keeping with the theme of critters in the backyard, here’s a family of turkeys that like to strut through once or twice a week!

We also have a lovely fox that comes through, but he’s much harder to catch on camera.

photo (8) TURKEYS

Saturday Snapshot is hosted by Melinda at

You can participate by posting a picture and linking it to Melinda’s site. Appropriate pics only, please!