Books To Take You Away From It All

Monthly Archives: April 2013

Georgie Burkhardt’s sister Agatha is dead. Everybody says so. They have a body and it’s wearing Agatha’s blue-green ball gown. But Georgie doesn’t believe.  So she sets off on a journey into the western frontier with her determination, her Springfield single-shot rifle and a mule named Long Ears. Georgie knows in her heart that Agatha must still be alive and she is bound and determined that she will find her.




Sissy:  This is another book that may at first seem too young for our demographic because the protagonist is only 13.  But it is another book where that supposition would be wrong.  It is good writing that transcends all age groups (well, probably not pre-school age, but you know what I mean).  How often, these days, do you get to (or even want to) read a good Western?  Cuz that’s what this is–True Grit meets The Birds.

 Bubby: Yeah, the birds kinda freaked me out a little bit. I am sad (I guess) that there are no more passenger pigeons flocking about the countryside – evidently they moved in these massive migratory patterns consisting of thousands and thousands of birds – but I am glad that I don’t have to live in a place that is full of pigeon doodoo. But the story is good and that’s all that matters.

Sissy: I do know that I never want to be in the middle of a pigeon migration. I never want to be in a pigeon hunter’s camp. And yes, I thought the birds were creepy. Georgie, however, I really liked. That girl has some spunk and tenacity. She was not going to be moved from what she believed and acted on it, even in the midst of some pretty dangerous times. I understand her point of view but I would also duct tape my 13 year old to the wall if they ever tried to do what Georgie did.

Bubby: Can you imagine, Sissy? If one of your older kids disappeared and then was presumed dead? And then your 13-year-old decided it wasn’t true and took off with his trusty rifle in the midst of the lawless wild west to go find his missing sibling? Terrifying! I really feel for Georgie’s mom. Here she is mourning the loss of one child and then the other runs off to who knows where. At least Georgie is not alone on her adventures. She has Billy McCabe, her sister’s former beau along to take care of her – although she ends up taking care of him instead!

Sissy: This story was engaging and fun to read although I wanted more out of the ending. I wanted Georgie to grow up and fall in love with Billy.

Bubby: Me too! Dangit!

Sissy: But that’s not what Georgie wanted. Her life goal was to be an unmarried shopkeeper and she had a great head for business. So I cannot impose my desires onto her life, although it would have made the story better I think.

Bubby: Who knows what the future could hold for Georgie? I personally see a sequel in the future. You know, Georgie’s store gets robbed and she heads off to deal some vigilante justice and ends up marrying the misguided thief who has a heart of gold. It could happen. Hey Amy Timberlake! You listening?

Sissy: Why don’t you drop Amy Timberlake an email right away – -I’m sure she’s just sitting waiting for your story ideas.

Bubby: I’m just saying that it could happen. You don’t know. At any rate, it was a great book. There were twists and turns that I didn’t anticipate and I truly didn’t know until the very end if Agatha was dead or would turn up alive. Definitely worth a read. 4 dusty, pigeon feathered bubbles from me, pardner.

Sissy: Oooh, stinky, Bubs! One Came Home is a quick, fun title to read. I give it 4 squeaky clean bubbles.

Bubby: Fine. I’m changing my bubbles to blue-green silk ball gown fabric covered bubbles. (Read the story, you’ll figure it out.) Ha!

Sissy: Much better.

Click HERE to buy One Came Home by Amy Timberlake at

© Bubble Bath Books 2013

Sissy:  We have a winner, Bubby!  A very lucky lady won the above-pictured basket of bubble bath joy (jealousy all ’round) and will receive it in the mail next week.

Bubby:  And who, pray tell, is our very lucky winner?

Sissy:  None other than Mrs. S. Lindley from Logan, Utah!!  Congratulations!!

Bubby:  Yeah!!  Confetti!!  Applause!!  Now to all of you readers who didn’t enter our contest–look what you missed out on!!  Don’t let it happen again!! Enter and feel the love!!

Sissy:  Okay Mrs. exclamation point, I think they got the message.  Thanks to all our readers out there for your support–we appreciate you.  Until next time…Happy reading:)

Dr. Victor Frankenstein is dead but he has left something behind – two twin daughters. Now 17, these girls have recently learned of their true heritage after being raised by their maternal grandfather. They soon realize that they are not only wealthy but owners of an abandoned castle on an island north of Scotland. Even though the girls are identical twins, they couldn’t be more different. Ingrid is passionate about science and is drawn to the experiments her father tried to perfect. Giselle wants nothing more than a life of glamour and high society. But something evil is lingering at Frankenstein’s castle and the girls soon realize that there is nowhere safe to hide.

Bubby: Since Sissy is busy saving the world at the moment, I will start today’s review. This was just a fun read. I wasn’t sure what to expect when Sissy presented me with a book titled Dr. Frankenstein’s Daughters. Were they his biological daughters? Or were they creatures that he had created in the lab and was just calling his “daughters”? But no, they are the real flesh and blood daughters of Victor and his dear wife and as such, they seem to have channeled their parents’ personalities. Giselle is much like I imagine her mother was – beautiful, feminine and drawn to all things social and glamorous. Think “Real Housewives of Scotland”. Ingrid is scholarly and studious and cares nothing for fashion. Even their names seem to reflect their personalities.

Sissy:   I have to admit I am thrilled when I find a book that not only is well-written but also has a unique concept and is a bit bizarre–something that will make Bubby give me that look that means “what drivel have you dug up this time?” and then when she reads it she has to say those precious words “you were right!”  Bubby just showed her extreme grace and maturity by blowing a raspberry at me.  I think I am much more the Ingrid type in our sisterhood.  Oh, and by the way, this book has a gratifyingly disturbing twist at the end.  Shocking and goosebumpy.

Bubby: Oh, yes. I did love the twist. I was just reading along, thinking I knew what was going to happen, la la la la la and then suddenly it was “Oh my goodness! No way! Seriously!” and other such exclamations of delight and disbelief. Well done, Suzanne Weyn. Well done. As for Sissy being the Ingrid to my Giselle, well, I will just remind her that the book mentions several times how much more beautiful and polished Giselle was than Ingrid. And Ingrid is a little, well, obsessive. Especially about recreating her father’s experiments. So I suppose that if Sissy is the type to enjoy a good dissected corpse, then she would be the Ingrid! Giselle does have her moments though.

Sissy:  Black curses to the universe that I cannot retort as I wish to your comments, Bubby, else I would spoil the book for everyone.  I’ll just squirm, make a rude face, and change the subject.  The love interest for Ingrid is interesting and expands the plot ginormously–let’s just say that love can be blind and obsessive.  I always like a story where the heroine comes into a great deal of money by inheritance because I wish that would happen to me.  But since all my predecessors are penniless sheep farmers, all I can hope for is a wool blanket or two.  The island where this tale is set seems like the most bleak and dreary place in the world, so I wouldn’t want to inherit property there anyway.  I think I felt chilled throughout the whole reading experience, so my advice to you, dear readers, is to wear a warm cardigan whilst reading this entertaining little book.  That’s another thing I liked about it–it wasn’t 500+ pages long like some of Bubby’s favorites, so I could read it through without going into a coma.

Bubby: I do believe, dearest Sissy, that our dear departed Daddy referred to our ancestors as sheep stealers, not herders. And there is nothing wrong with a big book. Just because your ancient brain finds it difficult to maintain a coherent thought past 1200 words doesn’t mean – oh never mind. I am too tired to insult you properly today. I would suggest to our readers that they forgo the cardigan and instead employ the bubble bath, for this is a perfect book for it. It’s witty, different and keeps you guessing all the way through. I’d love to see a sequel done but due to the culminating events of the story, I don’t think one is possible. But who knows? They are, after all, Frankenstein’s daughters. Nothing is impossible. I give this lovely little creepy gem 4 bubbles.

Sissy:  Ooh, the possibilities are percolating in my brain…but again, I forbear to speak lest I reveal the plot too much.  This is a peculiar, but enjoyable read.  4 bubbles from me too.

Click HERE to buy Dr. Frankenstein’s Daughters by Suzanne Weyn at

Twelve-year-old Dana Shannon is not excited to spend her summer helping her parents remodel their “new”  over 100 year old home.  But when she starts to strip away wallpaper in an upstairs parlor, she discovers a hidden room — complete with a human skeleton! Dana finds a diary in the room, and begins to learn the answers to her many questions:  Who was the skeleton?  Why were they sealed up in that room?  How did they die? Amazing discoveries about the house, the family who lived there, and the underground railroad make this the most exciting summer of Dana’s life!

Sissy:  I picked Steal Away Home by Lois Ruby as my Friday Favorite for two reasons:  1. Though the target audience for this book is much younger than what we usually review for, I found it to be well written with a good story line and plenty engaging enough for me. 2. Two of my mom’s friends gave her this book when she first got sick with cancer and they inscribed it with a nice note including wishes that she get better soon (she never did).  She really liked the story and was distracted from her painful situation for a few sweet hours by it.  She then passed it on to my younger daughter.  So, there you have it.

Bubby: I can’t imagine finding a human skeleton in my house! I once found a skeleton of a small dinosaur (or rodent) when we remodeled our home as a child and that was enough for me. Whenever I read about the horrors of slavery I just can’t hardly believe that people can be so stupid and inhumane as to doubt the value of someone else’s life. Ridiculous. I am grateful to be living in a time where the color of someone’s skin has nothing to do with the value of their existence.

Sissy: I so much admire the people who participated in the underground railroad and were willing to put their own lives and the lives of their families in danger for the greater good of humanity. I hope that I would have not been too frightened to have done the same. I can imagine myself being terrified but hopefully a higher power sustains and encourages those who decide to do the right thing.

Bubby: On a lighter note, I can remember reading this years ago and liking it. What I didn’t remember is all the hijinks Dana and her friends get up to. Witholding evidence from the police? Watching horror movies (with equal numbers of boys and girls at age 12) and breaking into abandoned houses? I guess once you have children your viewpoint changes drastically. I found myself appalled more than once! (Yes, I am THAT MOM – my kids call me the Psycho Stalker Mom because I have to know everything about everyone always).

Sissy: While I am the mom who keeps forgetting the rules I’ve already set – but it’s ok because my kids keep them anyway, and I always pretend I am on the ball, so they don’t realize what they could get away with if they were evil miscreants. It’s mostly a moot point now anyway as I have only one minor left in my brood, and he gets in trouble for trying to get over 100% in his classes (can you just hear me saying “Young man, you will be satisfied with that 98% or you are grounded!).  I shall not complain.

Bubby: Yes, your kids are pretty dang awesome. Mine too.

Sissy: This book translated well to the adult audience for me because Lois Ruby is funny  and witty. The story could have gotten all bogged down with heavy subject matter and rhetoric but she managed to address a fairly serious topic in a balanced way.

Bubby: I agree. Good choice this week, Sissy. I give Steal Away Home 4 bubbles.

Sissy: I agree with your agreement, Bubby. 4 bubbles for me too.

Click HERE to buy Steal Away Home from

©Bubble Bath Books 2013

This retelling of Beauty and the Beast is dark and mysterious.  Calia Thorn lives a miserable existence in a small town at the foot of the Cold King’s mountain. She spends her days taking care of her younger siblings, doing endless hours of chores and trying fruitlessly to please her mean and lazy mother. But when the townspeople choose her to be the newest servant for the Cold King, she suddenly is afraid that she will be going from bad to worse. The Cold King has lived under a curse for over 300 years and is rumored to be an evil, unfeeling monster. Can Calia see beneath the mask and find the true man? Or will she be doomed to a life of servitude forever?

Sissy: I know what you’re thinking. “You’re reviewing another retelling of Beauty and the Beast?” The answer is a succinct YES! and get over it. This blog is not a democracy. It is a benevolent dictatorship!

Bubby: Um. Who, exactly, is the dictator here? I believe there can only be one dictator in a particular regime at a time and everyone else is a minion. . .

Sissy: You are, of course, Bubby! I however am not a peon, but the Dowager Empress. Which means I get all the prizes and none of the responsibility. Give me a pony!

Bubby: Really I wonder what people think when they read our mad ravings. We are actually very normal in real life, readers. Really. I swear. Now back to the story!

Sissy: What’s great about this book is all the horrible people. Calia’s mom is hideous, all the townspeople are despicable and even the Cold King is borderline demonic. It challenges your thoughts about the wrongness of ordering someone to come be your servant when in fact your life is much more comfortable and meaningful and happy in that forced environment.

Bubby: Yes, I found it interesting that all the servants of the Cold King – people who were pitied and despised in town – were actually very happy and pleased with their lot in life. In fact, when Calia “gets” to go home for a visit, it’s just horrible for her and she can’t wait to get back to the King. She thought that being chosen to serve the King would be the worst possible fate. Instead, it is rather wonderful. Hmmm. I wonder how this can be applied to real life? It’s kinda like going to the dentist – horrible in the anticipation but once it’s over and you have lovely clean healthy teeth instead of dentures, you are so happy!

Sissy: So profound, Bubby, I could almost call you Oprah and faint. What do you do with heinous loathsome people? Are they heinous and loathsome out of fear and tradition or are they just rotten to the core? There are some of both in this story. The fact that my visceral reaction to them was so strong and I wanted to go all ninja on them tells you that Amber Jaeger did some good characterization.

Bubby: I think that the Cold King falls into the first category. He’s been cursed and had people fear him for so long that he has forgotten how to act with common human decency and kindness. He’s not intrinsically evil, like the rotten brothers back in the town who abuse any woman they can get their hands on. He’s just out of practice.

Sissy: And in the case of the Cold King, it’s worth it to love him enough that he wants to change. In the case of the stinky town brothers, it’s probably wise to feed them strychnine-laced hush puppies and be done with it! We all have mean people in our lives. We just have to have the foresight to know whether to go with love or strychnine!

Bubby: That point right there is one of my big issues with this book. As much as I love a good romance and a redemption story, I don’t ever want my children to fall in love with someone thinking that love is going to change them into someone nice and wonderful. It can work, but more often it’s a disaster. As Dr. Laura used to say, “A damsel in distress is only ever going to be a distressed damsel.” I also had a hard time with the casually cruel nature of the Cold King. I’m not sure I could ever love someone who locked me in a dungeon “for my own good” or believed that I had inflicted grievous injuries on myself in order to find out my beloved’s secrets. If I come home all beaten to a pulp and I tell my husband that so-and-so did it, he’d better believe me and go whup up on somebody!

Sissy: True on all counts, Bubby. But what is the likelihood of one of your children being forced into servitude by a magically cursed king? If they ever are, it would probably behoove them to get into his good graces, be crowned queen and send me fabulous and lavish gifts. If they fall for a real life person who is casually cruel but sometimes kind, who seems to have emotional and mental disorders, they should be shipped off to boarding school immediately!

Bubby: Correct as usual, Queen Friday. All in all, The Cold King by Amber Jaeger was an interesting and entertaining read with good characters, a lavish setting and a happy ending. Good enough for me! 3 2/3 bubbles.

Sissy: I suppose you can have 2/3 of a bubble if you’re the dictator. I enjoyed this somewhat gritty retelling of Beauty and the Beast, and recommend that you all take a look.  3.5 bubbles from the dowager empress who is in her corner castle suite doing nothing important or responsible.

Click HERE to buy The Cold King by Amber Jaeger from

© Bubble Bath Books 2013

Sissy:  It is time for our first annual Bubblicious Spring contest.  Our lucky winner will receive an indulgent gift basket of all things bubble bath-y. Wondrously good smelling bath salts, elixers, lotions and potions will go perfectly with your current bubble bath reading material.  Doesn’t this sound divine, my darling Bubby?

Bubby:  Too, too perfectly divine, Sissy.  What does one have to do to be entered into this delicious contest?

Sissy:  Glad you asked.  Our readers simply have to (1) Share this post on their Facebook timeline and (2) Write a comment with it telling why blogs such as are so fabulously useful in finding good books to read.  When they do these two things they will be entered automatically!

Bubby:  So exhilirating!   Next Friday, April 12th, we will do a random drawing of the names of those entered, et voila!  The winner will be announced and the fantastic basket of bubblebath wonders will be sent out!

So there you are, readers–enter away!

34 year old Mallory Hale is happily working away at Capitol Hill, minding her own business, when Mr. Right appears out of nowhere. Before she can even blink, she has fallen desperately in love with Daniel Everson and his son Nick. When Daniel receives an unexpected job offer in Texas, he asks Mallory to marry him and come to Texas with him and Nick. She accepts and soon they are living a wild adventure in Moses Lake, Texas.

Bubby: This gem of a novel is a find from Sissy. We had run out of books to review recently so Sissy popped herself on over to the local library and grabbed us up a bunch of options – some better than others! This one was the clear winner of the bunch. I mean, we’ve got romance, adventure, mystery and a cast of quirky locals. What’s not to love?

Sissy: At first glance I thought this was going to be a regular sappy romance with the usual pattern of first love, then there’s a problem they have to resolve and then after much angst they get back together, blah blah blah. But that’s not how it goes AT ALL. It takes a left turn and off we go to Moses Lake, Texas and find ourselves smack dab into a mystery and a half! I also appreciated the small town quirky characters such as Pop Dorsey and Sheila who own the local grocery store/bait shop/restaurant  and the Docksiders, retired fishermen Burt and Nester. I love the Wall of Wisdom at Waterbird Bait and Grocery (as referenced above) where patrons can leave quotes, many of which are shared as chapter headings.

Bubby: Yes, let’s talk about that “left turn” into nowheresville. The first chapters are such a whirlwind – in a short 47 pages Mallory Hale goes from being a lonely 30-something congressional staffer in DC to a married, stay-at-home stepmother in Texas. I can’t decide if I applaud Lisa Wingate for just getting on with it all or if I want to smack her upside the head for not making this into two books. I could have done with a little more back story, a little more romance, a little more, period. At the same time, the meat of the story is in the goings-on in tiny Moses Lake, Texas and I can appreciate that the author fast-forwarding through the mushy and getting to the nitty-gritty.

Sissy: Yes and it speaks well of Lisa Wingate that we want more. This book is published by Bethany House, a Christian publisher. I dislike in-your-face Christian novels but really like more subtle, “this is how I live my life” sort of Christian novels.  Firefly Island falls into the latter category. I liked how our main character, Mallory, falls in love with little Nick. The way the author describes how Mallory feels about the lovable little boy traits –  “a knobby-kneed little body, a case of bedhead under my chin, feel the soft, downy hairs tickle my neck, hear the first snuffly breaths of morning”, took me back to when my own boys were little. I wanted to have them snuggled up to me again and kiss their sweet little chubby cheeks.

Bubby: Me too! Unfortunately, our boys are no longer little, chubby or naturally sweet-smelling and I certainly DON’T want to smell their first morning snuffly breaths! They are still nice to hug and snuggle, though. Back to the book! The plot is nicely interwoven between the issues dealing with the poverty-stricken folk who live up in the hills, the mystery surrounding Jack West, Daniel’s new billionaire boss, and Mallory’s struggles to adjust to motherhood and small town life. I’ve never lived in a huge city (although I have lived close to a few) and I think adjusting to city life would be extremely difficult for this small town girl. I can imagine that for Mallory, the adjustment is just as difficult. Throw in a very new husband who she really doesn’t know all that well, a new son, a really crappy little house in the middle of nowhere and I am amazed at how well she keeps it together!

Sissy: ‘Nuff said. This is a solidly good book, one in a series of books set in Moses Lake, Texas (which I shall have to read more of). I give it 3.75 bubbles.

Bubby: 3.5 bubbles from me too!

Click HERE to buy Firefly Island by Lisa Wingate at

© Bubble Bath Books 2013