Sunday, August 8, 2010

Sunday Salon: A Review or Two

There should always be a day just to sit back, relax with a great cup of coffee (tea or any beverage of your choice) and browse through new books to enjoy.

Today I’m offering several reviews for your reading pleasure. Normally I like to feature reviews one at a time, sometimes two. On this occasion I’m offering four. I apologize now for the length of this post, but I have a good number of reviews to post this month as well as numerous wonderful authors who are gracious enough to guest blog here. The reviews will include a children’s book, a graphic novel (a sequel), a spiritual reference guide, and a mystery thriller.

DINGLE by Audrey Kinsella

This 24-page paperback book will be a delight for youngsters. It is beautifully illustrated by Susan Anderson-Shorter.

Dingle is a lovable dog owned by Aunt Reeny, a cantankerous older lady who wants to do everything herself. The only problem is, Aunt Reeny is wheelchair-bound and does have some limits to what she can do. Dingle isn’t a trained service dog but wants to help.

It’s a hot summer and Aunt Reeny, along with family, spend a lot of time at the nearby ice cream stand. Dingle looks for a way to help out. With the help of Aunt Reeny’s nephew, Roddy, Dingle creates the perfect saddlebags to wear so he can help carry the ice creams in the heat.

DINGLE, THE HELPFUL ICE CREAM CONE DELIVERY DOG is a great way to teach children about helping others and maybe, at the same time, show some resistant people with disabilities its okay to accept a little help from others. 

Audrey Kinsella's website is  

Dingle, The Helpful Ice Cream Cone Delivery Dog by Audrey Kinsella, Illustrated by Susan Anderson-Shorter, AuthorHouse, @2010, ISBN: 978-1-4490-8362-5, Paperback, 24 pages

This is the second of four full-color Disney Fairies graphic novels from Papercutz.

This 80-page paperback contains five delightful stories, plus a special preview of a story from the Disney Fairies #3. It is beautifully illustrated with vibrant colors.

In the first story, ‘Colors of Friendship,’ you meet Bess. Prilla and Bess search for colors to use in an art contest Queen Clarion is holding.

The second story, ‘The Lost Fairy,’ introduces Lily with the Never-Ever -Flower. This very special flower only blooms once every thousand moons.

The third story, ‘The Most Beautiful Dress,’ features Beck and true beauty. Beck and Vidia are having a hard time finding the right dress to wear to the Festival of Dazzling Colors where the prettiest dress wins a prize. When Vidia takes the dress Beck wanted, the butterflies come to her aid.

The fourth story is ‘The Wings of Rani.’ This features Rani, a wingless water-talent fairy who helps Beck when a practical joke threatens her life. Rani recalls how and why she lost her wings.

The fifth story, ‘Barefoot’ highlights a new fashion trend in Pixie Hollow. The fairies forgot to pickup Queen Clarion’s shoes from the polishing-talent fairies and she must go to the Gazebo without shoes.

This book will quickly be a favorite of older children, who might have to share with the adults in the household as well.

Tinker Bell And The Wings Of Rani (Disney Fairies Graphic Novel #2), Papercutz, @ 2010, ISBN: 978-1-59707-226-7, Paperback, 80 pages

PERSONALITREES by Joan Klostermann-Ketels

This could be called a coffee table book except it is small, light weight and has only 112 pages. It does, however, feature a subject that would be perfect for causal conversation - trees with personalities. Through the book, author Joan Klostermann-Ketels guides the reader to experience the personality of various trees.

A brief synopsis of the book says: “Enjoyed for pure fun or treasured as a spiritual reference guide of personality traits that make our human existence meaningful, the reader will never again look at trees in the same way.”

I have to agree. Once you view the beautiful photographs in the book and read the quote with each, trees will look a little different to you next time you stroll through the woods or even the park.

PersonaliTrees: Let the Human Spirit Awaken in the Presence of the Trees by Joan Klostermann-Ketels, Findhorn Press, @2010, ISBN: 978-1-84409-191-1, Hardcover, 112 pages

FEVER DREAM by Lincoln Child and Douglas Preston

It begins with a safari in Africa where Helen Esterhazy Pendergast is accidentally killed by a lion with a red mane.

Twelve years later her husband, Special Agent Aloysius Pendergast of the FBI, makes a startling discovery. When he finally takes a close look at the gun Helen was using on the lion hunt, he find blanks had been substituted for the real bullets. Her death was no accident, but cold blooded murder.

Pendergast is determined to find his wife’s killer. He enlists the help of his friend, NYPD Lieutenant Vincent D’Agosta. The search takes them to Africa and back, as well as numerous locations throughout the U.S.

Pendergast learns his wife, a medical researcher, had been searching for a lost painting by John James Audubon called the ‘Black Frame.’ He finds there were many secrets his wife was keeping from him.

Their investigation draws attention and soon key witnesses are murdered. An attempt is made on Pendergast, but D’Agosta is shot instead. While D’Agosta is hospitalized, Pendergast joins forces with NYPD Captain Laura Hayward, D’Agosta’s girlfriend.

The adrenaline rush of the search will hold you captive from the first leg of the investigation until the very end. There is never a dull moment and the action is fast pace. There are several surprises along the way and unexpected twists that take the reader on a roller coaster ride of excitement.

The only odd part of the plot is a side story about Constance Greene, Pendergast’s ward. She returns to the U.S. by ship and she allegedly threw her baby overboard before the ship docked. Her story has no real bearing on the hunt for Helen’s killer.

The story ends with a number of questions still left unanswered and the perfect lead-in to another spine tingling thriller featuring Pendergast. This is a stand alone book even though are other books in the Pendergast series. Having listen to this book, I now want to see how Pendergast and D’Agosta became friends and why Captain Hayward dislikes Pendergast so.

Fever Dream by Lincoln Child and Douglas Preston, Read by Rene Auberjonois, Grand Central Publishing, @ 2010, ISBN: 9781607881940, Unabridged, 12 Discs, Run time 14 hours

FTC Full Disclosure - Each one of these books were sent to me by the publisher in hopes I would review them. However, receiving the complimentary copies did not influence my reviews.


  1. Hi Mason the Personali book on trees looks really interesting .. especially with the photos interspersed with comments .. while the mystery Fever Dream - really entices me in .. I love Africa having lived there for a while .. a must read ..

    Thanks - have a great Sunday .. Hilary

  2. I do love trees - that book looks fabulous!

  3. I like the look of the PersonaliTrees book!

  4. I think we are all in agreement that the Peronali Trees book wins. How clever.

    the children's books look very interesting too.

    Preston and Child- hmm. I don't like unanswered questions nor loose ends unless there is a good reason.

    I don't want to write like that and will send you my one of my book's final drafts so you can tell me where there are loose ends. (Don't worry I won't do that to you. But, you do have that eye for detail....)

  5. Oh, I love trees, and the idea of personalities for them intrigues me...I also think I'd like the book Fever Dream. It sounds like a good mystery.

    Here's my salon, in a new venue:

    I also added the link in the URL box below.

  6. I'll chime in on the trees, very interesting!
    And we have a bday coming up in a couple weeks for a friend's little girl, she loves dogs, maybe I'll take a look at Dingle!

  7. Fever Dreams is not the best Pendergast book, but Lincoln & Child's worst is better than most author's best.

  8. Hilary, the descriptions of Africa make it sound so intriguing. Hope you enjoy the book.

    LadyFi and DJ, the PersonaliTrees book is an interesting book. I've always enjoyed strolling through the woods but now I think I'll look at the trees a little differently.

    Teresa, to me the unanswered questions just make you what the next installment in Pendergast's adventures. In fact, (not to give anything away), but it is left with him and a 'suspect' making plans for a trip. Thanks for the nice words about my eye for detail and I'd love to read anything you write.

    Laurel, the quotes that go with the photographs adds that much more to the thought of them having a personality.

    Julia, the children's book is cute. It doesn't mention what age group it's for but I would say pre-school up to maybe second grade.

    Alex, I've heard others say this isn't their best. This is my first time to read one of their books so I'm curious to find out what their 'best' is after this.

  9. I'm glad to see you liked Fever Dream because I have it in audio too. I've been saving it for my next car trip.

  10. I'm going to have to get the Preston & Child book for my husband (I'll look to see if it can be downloaded to the iPad). And I want PersonaliTrees. I have always been fascinated by the shapes and angles of trees.

    Thank you very much for these reviews.


  11. That three book looks like exactly my thing! I find trees very beautiful and often they do look like they have a personality. I also liked the review for the kiddie book with the helpful dog. My nephew would love that (any chance it's out in Norwegian anytime soon? ;) )

  12. Kathy, I enjoyed listening to it in the car on my way to and from work.

    Helen, hope Fever Dream is available for iPad and if your fascinated by trees' shapes and angles you will definitely enjoy PersonaliTrees.

    Cruella, I'm not sure if Dingle is available outside of the US. But here is the author's website (I'm going back and include it in the review, which I forgot to do)

  13. That tree book looks absolutely awesome! I'll ahve to look for it :)

  14. Fever Dream is waiting for me on my iPod - I'm trying to go through them in order, so I have the two previous ones to listen to first. It sounds exciting, though!

  15. I've just started reading Preston & Child's work and can't wait to get to Fever Dreams.
    And I've made note of PersonaliTrees as a gift for my daughter, a tree hugger.

  16. I love the Preston/Child tandem. Read every book except for this one. I'll have to pick it up from the library this week. Thanks for the review.

    Stephen Tremp

  17. Oh, and I added you to my blog roll, something I should have done long ago.

    Stephen Tremp

  18. Hi, very interesting post, greetings from Greece!


I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's post. Thanks for dropping by.