Thursday, April 16, 2015

Review: Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear

Hello Bookworms!,

            I’ve got a brand new review for you all today! I’ve read the first in a mystery series set in 1920’s England! Let’s explore Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear!!


            Brilliant, beautiful Maisie Dobbs came from humble beginnings/ The daughter of a struggling costermonger, Maisie is sent to work for Lord Julian and Lady Rowan. When her brilliance is discovered by Lady Rowan, who is looking for a way to promote the lower classes, Maisie is introduced  to Dr. Maurice Blanche who teaches Maisie to use her mind.

            Years of education and one horrific war later, Maisie is taking over Dr. Blanche’s practice as an investigator. But her first case is more that it appears. What was to be a simple case of proving or disproving whether a man’s wife is having an affair, Maisie will uncover the sinister truth behind a well-guarded facility for disfigured war veterans and potentially save the life of Lord Julian and Lady Rowan’s son James…But how much will Maisie’s experience with the war affect her judgement?


            Oh my word readers…I am in awe! Jacqueline Winspear has created a masterpiece  in Maisie Dobbs. The New York Times Book Review said it best when they said “be prepared to be astonished”.

            Maisie Dobbs is a smashing heroine using her mastery of psychology (a subject I love), her keen intellect, and resourcefulness to bring truth to cases that are out of the ordinary. And yet she does it all with an amazing heart for other people. Maisie’s compassion for her clients is incredible.

            And every character in the Maisie Dobbs book is amazing! No character is wasted; everyone has something to contrub ite to the story. The cast of characters who will most likely become staples in the Maisie Dobbs series all have incredible depth and are as entertaining as they are insightful.

            For history buffs, this story is an amazing portrait of how World War I changed England forever and at what price. The journey through the year just before, during, and immediately after the war is sure to please those who have ample knowledge or simple a mild curiosity about English history.

            This writing is worthy to stand among the greats such as Sherlock Holmes and Miss Marple. I have been made an instant Maisie Dobbs fan through the reading of this book and I have every intention of reading the rest of the Maisie Dobbs series!

            I highly recommend that you read Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed!


Until next time,

            Lizzie <3

Review: Not My Father's Son by Alan Cumming

Hello Bookworms!,

          April is National Child Abuse Awareness Month and in this month, I want to bring you a review of a book that will shed some light on what abused children go through. So this year, I want to review Not My Father’s Son by Alan Cumming!


          Alan Cumming is a well-known celebrity, having played roles in GoldenEye, The Good Wife, Caberet (on stage), hosting PBS’s Masterpiece Mystery. But before that, he was a young boy growing up on Panmure Estate in Scotland, the son of head Forestry worker Alex Cumming.

          Alex Cumming was an extremely harsh man who put both Alan and his brother Tom through years of torment and abuse. This abuse has had lasting effects on both boys even into adulthood.

          When the popular Genealogy show “Who Do You Think You Are?” asks Alan to be a guest, and takes him on a journey to discover the truth behind his Maternal Grandfather who went missing, and a tabloid ignites Alex Cumming’s rage again, Alan’s life suddenly becomes very complicated as new revelations about himself and his family come in waves.


          Alan uses this book to brilliantly illustrate what it was like to grow up abused and to live as an adult in the aftermath of the abuse. At first, the constant switching between the past, the recent past, and the present seems haphazard, but as one continues, it becomes clear that the book is arranged this way to show how each experience is linked.

          The use of telling his own story and telling his grandfather’s story side by side is brilliant. Alan highlights the similarities between the life experiences of himself, his mother, his grandmother, his grandfather, his father, and his brother to show patterns in life experiences of different people who all took very different paths in their lives and how these similarities all meant different things for each person.

          This book is brilliant look into what it is to be abused and to try to overcome the effects of abuse from the mind of a person who ahas lived it. It is a great book to read if you are looking to understand what kind of effect abuse has on a child into their adulthood. I also love that Alan admits that he has had therapy to help himself overcome the abuse and you can see the positive application of the things Alan has learned in therapy in his daily life and in moments of crisis throughout the book.

          I applaud Alan Cumming for being so honest because it sheds a lot of light on the plight of abused children. If you are being abused, or know a child who is being abused, say something. Silence hides violence and allows it to continue. It IS your business and your responsibility to say something if you know a child is facing abuse. Speak to the proper authorities. Call DFACS or CPS, the school social worker, or the police and report what you know.

          People saw evidence that Alan was being abused, but no one did anything. Alan only escaped when he became and independent man. He was more fortunate that the many who die as a result of abuse every year.

If you know something, say something.



Until next time,
                   Lizzie <3

Mysteries May Help Dyslexic Children Enjoy Reading!!

Hello Bookworms,

            For children and adults with dyslexia, reading may not always come up on their list of favorite hobbies. Fortunately, Dyslexia doesn’t have to define you or take away your enjoyment of reading.


On Tuesday, March 24th, 2015, award winning actress and author Octavia Spencer (of The Help & Mom the TV Sitcom) admitted that dyslexia presented her with a challenge when trying  to read growing up. Octavia (I just LOVE that name! Don’t  you?!?! ) told the ladies of The Talk that she struggled to engage with most stories.

            What helped her learn to love reading? MYSTERIES!! Octavia said that mysteries were the stories that actually engaged her and encouraged her to finish the book.

            The Talk guest host Kelly Osborne also admitted to having Dyselxia and credited mysteries with helper her read as well. Kelly said that reading about crimes and investigations were helpful because it was based on seeking facts and once those facts were discovered in the story they remained concrete and there was one aim, solve the crime and that helped her.

            Have a child with Dyslexia? Are they struggling to enjoy reading? Try introducing them to mystery books! It could be the answer to helping them learn to reading!

            Don’t get discouraged if your child doesn’t like the first book they try. Be willing to try different mysteries by different authors because each author has a different writing style and chances are, your child will find one they really love.

            Have you already tried this with your Dyslexic child? What stories did they gravitate towards? Share the titles here and help other parents and Dyslexic children find books that will help their child love reading!!

            Another benefit of reading Mysteries? They introduce your child to deductive reasoning which builds their ability to think and reason in other areas of their lives!


Until next time,

            Elizabeth Gaskins