Monday, June 10, 2013


Happy Monday all.

I hope everyone enjoyed their weekend! As always it does go by so quickly. As promised, I will be giving away a lovely copy of THE CAGED GRAVES by Dianne Salerni. BUT... before I announce the winner, I would like to give my review.

As not to spoil the complete story for all who wish to read this fascinating novel, I'd like to review it a bit differently.

For me The Caged Graves sends the reader back in time. The author, Dianne Salerni, transports us back to rural nineteenth century Pennsylvania. A simpler, gentler, yet, naive and superstitious era of young America. A time where woman are submissive, and were raised to marry young, bear children, and listen to their husbands. But Verity Boone is different. She is opinionated, stubborn, and passionate. Very much like Jo March in Little Woman.

The author's prose flows beautifully, mirroring Alcott's own days. The struggles, the desires, and innocence of Verity. The dialogue is effortless, as if the author herself conversed with Alcott over afternoon tea.

It seriously blew my mind. If I didn't know better, I would have believed this novel was written in the nineteenth century.

But our author does something more intriguing than just penning a story of a young woman on the verge of marrying. She ever so subtly introduces a mystery. And it was this mystery that our heroin pursues, even jeopardizing her future, to find the answers. WHY? What was this obsession that drove her to find out the truth. Who were the unfortunate souls buried in these graves, and WHY were they entombed in cages outside the cemetery?

One must read the full novel until the end to find out. It's a slow and steady build up with lots of interesting subplots, mysterious and chilling characters, as well as more that one love interest to keep the reader turning the page.

I thoroughly enjoyed The Caged Graves. Not your typical historical novel by any means. What really fascinates me the most is that Ms. Salerni wrote this novel after discovering the original Caged Graves on a trip to Pennsylvania. Now imagine going to a cemetery, picking a few names off headstones, and creating a whole scenario with the spirits from the past. It takes a great deal of imagination to do this successfully and I am happy to say that Ms. Salerni pulls it off amazingly well.

Thank you Dianne, for creating such a memorable story for us to step back in time.

Dianne K. Salerni
We Hear the Dead (Sourcebooks)
The Caged Graves (Clarion/HMH 2013)
The Eighth Day (HarperCollins 2014)


AND, now for the winner of a hard copy, plus signed book plate. I was so happy to see who came up as the winning number ....

CONGRATULATIONS ..... MELISSA BRADLEY! What a fun surprise for me that one of my fellow Chicago blogger buddies won.

SO Melissa, let me know how you'd like me to give you your prize... Shall it be in the mail or in PERSON.... I see another six hour chat-a-thon coming up at Cafe Baci in the very near future. LOL.

I hope you all enjoyed my review and I hope you all get your copy. Every reader needs to escape from time to time and why not go BACK IN TIME.... You will be glad you did.

Have a great DAY EVERYONE!!!!


  1. Congratulations, Melissa!! That will make her day.

  2. Great review. And I really enjoyed this too for the reasons you mentioned. I'm interviewing Dianne today. She's one of my writing heroes.

  3. I can't wait to read about the mystery of the cages. The idea of them is kinda creepy. :)

  4. Loved reading your thoughts, Michael. Dianne is a beautiful writer, and this story is just fabulous. Congratulations to Dianne, again!

  5. Hi Michael .. I'm so looking forward to reading Dianne's "Caged Graves" and you've definitely made me want to hurry to read it ... such a great review ...

    Congratulations to Melissa - lucky lady and how fabulous you can get to meet up again .. and have a chat-a-thon about all things blogging and writing and designing .. and ....

    Cheers to all - Hilary

  6. Congratulations, Melissa!

    A nice review. I haven't read it yet - yet, because it's on my TBR list. But I'll looking forward to it.

  7. Such a lovely review, now on the TBR list! Such an intriguing concept, caged graves! Definitely want to know more!

    Excellent job Michael and Diane, and congratulations Melissa!

  8. Congrats, Melissa!

    Caged graves are just so intriguing. I look forward to reading the book.

  9. I have this book on my TBR pile on Kindle. Will get to it soon.

  10. I love a story that opens the door to the past and puts you on the spot. I like it when the story fits the era it's set in. Today everything is fast. Nineteenth Century was slower paced so it sounds like the author captured that feeling without losing the push of the story and the events.

    Very nice review!

    Congratulations Melissa!


  11. Congrats, Melissa!

    I've been intrigued by this story ever since I first read about it. I enjoyed reading your review, Michael.

  12. I've seen this book several places today. I'm fascinated by the subject and the books sounds equally as fascinating.

  13. Great review! It sounds like a wonderful book...
    Congrats to Melissa!
    Writer In Transit

  14. Sounds the way...YOU WON...check my post today!!!

  15. Michael, Thanks for the lovely review! I'm so glad you enjoyed the book, and congratulations to Melissa. I hope you two go out and have a great lunch! Wish I could be there!

  16. Congratulations to Melissa!!! This sounds like a great story, Michael :)

  17. This book is going to the top of my TBR pile. It sounds wonderful!

  18. Congratulations, Melissa!

    great job with the review, Michael. I thoroughly enjoyed Dianna's book(s), too.

  19. Excellent review; and congrats to Melissa.


  20. Hi Michael (((throws hat in ring))). Sorry. Red face. Sorry I'd overlooked your last visit friend. I'm getting a bit unhinged with not being able to fix my blog problem.

    Lovely review. You do it so well. Lucky Melissa. Sounds a beautiful book. Love Little Women.

    Can't wait to hear what you come up with for June Wedding. And hey, we don't usually do hearts and flowers. I'm going non fiction this time. May actually do two if I get a story idea.


  21. Wonderful review, Michael. Caged Graves is on my TBR list. I'm looking forward to it.

    And congrats to Melissa!

  22. Congrats Melissa! This sounds like a really interesting book.

  23. I've always wondered what kinds of books you read in your spare time! You're hard to predict--I can see you reading a variety of genres.

    Wonderful review, Michael. Even your reviews are well-written and engaging!

  24. Great review! Congrats to Melissa. Have fun at Cafe Baci- now that sounds like a blast! :)

  25. Well done, Melissa and Congrats to Dianne again ;)

    I also wanted to say thanks very much for stopping by and commenting on my recent D-Day post. (I'm still working through all the comments!)

    CSM Ryan's story has received an incredible amount of support and a HUGE *Thank you* goes to DL Hammons - and all the Blitzers :)

    PS: Bill said to let everyone know he really appreciated all the personal comments directed his way :)

  26. Congratulations to Dianne on her release!

    Congratulations Melissa on your win.

    And oh yes - *checks date* - Go Hawks Go! Local boy in nets!