Showing posts with label 4 stars. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 4 stars. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

YA Wednesday - Ophelia

OpheliaOphelia
by: Lisa Klein
Genre: Young Adult
Rating: 4 Stars


Summary from Goodreads:
He is Hamlet, Prince of Denmark; she is simply Ophelia. If you think you know their story, think again.
        In this reimagining of Shakespeare's famous tragedy, it is Ophelia who takes center stage. A rowdy, motherless girl, she grows up at Elsinore Castle to become the queen's most trusted lady-in-waiting.  Ambitious for knowledge and witty as well as beautiful, Ophelia learns the ways of power in a court where nothing is as it seems. When she catches the attention of the captivating, dark-haired Prince Hamlet, their love blossoms in secret. But bloody deeds soon turn Denmark into a place of madness, and Ophelia's happiness is shattered. Ultimately, she must choose between her love for Hamlet and her own life. In desperation, Ophelia devises a treacherous plan to escape from Elsinore forever . . . with one very dangerous secret.



My Thoughts:
This is a wonderful story. It goes into a character of Shakespeare's Hamlet to try and explain her madness. Klein does an excellent job of bringing that world to life. She creates a plausible and wonderful situation. I love the complexity she adds to a character who has been cast as a minor and insane character by the world. AND I love that she understands that she isn't Shakespeare and doesn't try to make herself seem that way. She takes the plot that we know and then makes it her own. The story begins before Shakespeare starts his story and ends years afterward making it solidly its own work.

Ophelia herself is a strong character who has faults enough to be human, yet is someone who is easy to sympathize with. I love all of the herb-lore she has in this book and how she puts it to good use. 

This was a wonderful read, written with a fast pace and with a compelling plot line it is a book well worth reading



Friday, December 23, 2011

Fluffy Friday - Belonging

Belonging (Where The Heart Lives)Belonging 
By: Robin Lee Hatcher
Genre: Historical fiction
Rating: 4 stars


Summary from Goodreads:
In the high desert town of Frenchman's Bluff, Idaho, Felicia Kristoffersen has set out to create a future for herself that is better than her painful past. Alone in the world with only her faith to sustain her, she must prove herself as this tiny community's new school teacher. She cannot, must not, fail. But, there are those who never wanted her there to begin with. 

Five years after the death of his wife, local merchant Colin Murphy cares about just one thing: raising his daughter, Charity. Colin wants to give her the educational advantages he never had. The new schoolmarm's inexperience doesn't sit well with him, and if this teacher up and marries like the last one did, Charity's heart will be broken once again. 



Felicia was a nice main character, she had the elements of personality which I find mandatory to have in a teacher. She cared about her students and wanted them to life up to their full potential and knew that there was more to teaching than memorization. Collin Murphy was a great leading male as well. Of the supporting characters I really like Charity, Collin's 9-year-old daughter. Children are very risky things to make main characters in an adult novel. Either they are made too mature or immature for their age. Here though I think that Hatcher did a very nice job keeping Charity at the age she was supposed to be.


The only changes or additions which I would have made to this novel would have been a follow up on the Rolf Kristofferson plot line. I thought it was mentioned enough times that it would have been more involved in the later part of the novel rather than just disappearing. **HUGE spoiler** (highlight to see) It would have been nice to know how they would have reacted to her marriage, since they had been so wanting her to marry Rolf. **spoiler done**
Overall I thought it was a very nice read and am planning on reading a lot more from this author.



Many thanks to Zondervan for giving me a copy for review!!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Fluffy Friday - A Vision of Lucy

A Vision of Lucy (A Rocky Creek Romance)A Vision of Lucy
by: Margaret Brownley
Genre: Historical(ish) Fiction
Rating 4 Stars


Summary from Goodreads:

Lucy Fairbanks dreams of working as a photographer at the Rocky Creek newspaper. Her deepest hope is that her father will see her as an artist, the way he thought of her deceased mother, whose paintings still hang on their walls. But disaster follows Lucy on every photo assignment: a mess of petticoats and ribbons, an accidental shooting, even a fire.When Lucy meets David Wolf-a rugged, reclusive man who lives on the outskirts of town-she thinks she can catch the attention of the town with his photograph. She doesn't count on her feelings stirring whenever she's near him. Two things happen next that forever change the course of Lucy's life. But will these events draw her closer to God or push her further away? And how will David accept this new vision of Lucy?
I didn't know that this was the third book in the series, it does a very good job as a stand alone. I was left somewhat confused as to which character was who in the beginning but when you jump in half-way that is to be expected. 
I thought it was fun and fresh and I could totally relate to all of the scrapes which Lucy found herself in because, Well, I have been known to set the occasional fire and other such mishaps. And how she babbles on and on when she is nervous...that is something that I am really trying to get over. Anyway, what I am trying to say besides revealing way too much personal stuff, is that Lucy was likable and easy to relate to. 
I really liked the quotes which began each chapter and thought that this author had a wonderfully fresh perspective.  The bad guy totally comes out of the blue - a rare thing when you read as much as I do - and was still plausible.
Well done Margaret, and many thanks to Thomas Nelson for giving me this book for review.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Misc. Monday - Pearl in the Sand

Pearl in the Sand: A Novel Pearl in the Sand
by Tessa Afshar
Genre: Christian Historical Fiction
Rating: 4 stars


Summary from Goodreads:
Can a Canaanite harlot who has made her livelihood by looking desirable to men make a fitting wife for one of the leaders of Israel' Shockingly, the Bible's answer is yes.   Pearl in the Sand tells Rahab's untold story. Rahab lives in a wall; her house is built into the defensive walls of the City of Jericho. Other walls surround her as well-walls of fear, rejection, unworthiness. A woman with a wrecked past; a man of success, of faith - of pride; a marriage only God would conceive!  Through the heartaches of a stormy relationship, Rahab and Salmone learn the true source of one another's worth and find healing in God.


I really liked this one. I thought it was well researched, well written and covered some difficult issues with aplomb. While fictional, I would like to think that this was Rahab's back story. Also I have been reading a lot of books that just end at the wedding. I like that this went beyond that to show that marriage is hard. The wedding isn't the goal, making the marriage work despite what obstacles come your way. 

The writing style was nice, nothing brilliant, it was the content that made this book for me. This one was more overtly religious than what I have been reading recently, but as it is an actual retelling of a bible story, I see no real fault in that. 

This is one that I would pass on to my friends if I had a hard copy of the book rather than an e-book.

Many thanks to Moody Publishers for giving me a copy for review!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Fluffy friday: To Win Her Heart

To Win Her HeartTo Win Her Heart
by: Karen Witemeyer
Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating: 4 Stars

Summary From Goodreads:

Having completed his sentence for the unintentional crime that derailed his youthful plans for fame and fortune, Levi Grant looks to start over in the town of Spencer, Texas. Spencer needs a blacksmith, a trade he learned at his father's knee, and he needs a place where no one knows his past. But small towns leave little room for secrets...
Eden Spencer has sworn off men, choosing instead to devote her time to the lending library she runs. When a mountain-sized stranger walks through her door and asks to borrow a book, she steels herself against the attraction he provokes. His halting speech and hesitant manner leave her doubting his intelligence. Yet as the mysteries of the town's new blacksmith unfold, Eden discovers hidden depths in him that tempt her heart.
Karen Witemeyer is one of my favorite authors and once again she comes through. She is perhaps one of the most balanced Christian novelists I have come across, she has neither too much Christian stuff in there that I feel like I am being preached at, but there is enough for it to definitely be a Christian read. Levi is one of my favorite romantic heroes, with bulging biceps and a massive vocabulary what's there not to love...oh that's right...his murderous past. This has many great ties to the parable of the Prodigal Son and I couldn't put it down.
I really liked Eden, she was spunky, confident, not worried about Prince Charming, and she had her own library - what is there not to like? Not only did she start out great, but she also was allowed to grow throughout the story.
This was wonderfully written, the story woven very nicely, I found the conflict plausible (in historical romances that has been a very rare thing for me) and both leads well rounded and I liked the secondary characters as well. One that I might buy to have for my collection


Sunday, November 6, 2011

Misc. Monday - Lonestar Angel

Lonestar Angel (Lonestar Series, #4)Lonestar Angel
by: Coleen Coble

Genre: Christian, Suspense
Rating: 4 stars

Summary from Goodreads:

Years ago Eden and Clay Larson's baby was stolen. Kidnappers demanded a ransom, but something went horribly wrong at the exchange: the kidnapper's car crashed into the river and was never recovered. Eden blamed herself, Clay lost himself in work. Their young and rocky marriage ended. Or so Eden thought.
Now she's met Kent. He's everything Clay wasn't: funny, stable, and eager to please her. Just as he's about to propose marriage at a romantic dinner, Clay arrives and tells Eden she can't marry Kent. She's still married to him. He never signed the divorce decree. Even more earth-shattering than this news is that he's never stopped looking for Brianna. Based on a tip, he thinks their daughter is in Bluebird, Texas, at a youth ranch. All five little girls there are the right age, but he's not sure which is Brianna.
To discover the truth, the couple becomes counselors to the girls at Bluebird Ranch. They move into small quarters in the bunkhouse and oversee the kids as they try to find out more. As they work together, their love for the children grows and their love for each other is rekindled.
Many thanks to Thomas Nelson Publishing for giving me this book for review. 
I usually put that at the bottom but I put it first to explain why I am beginning a series at the end. I don't normally read suspense. I am more of a happy kind of person and want my stories to be that way too, despite this fact, this book was one that I really liked. Coble did an excellent job of not only developing the characters of the Eden and Clay but of the little girls who they take care of on the ranch. I find that most authors have difficulty with accurately portraying the personalities of children but these were very well done.
The suspense builds nicely and at the climax you get hit by something that you might of suspected but didn't necessarily see coming. I was pleased with the story and didn't feel like it was a waste of time.
I will most likely go back to read the rest of the series and other books by this author.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Halloween Special

Product Details
Isn't that a pretty cover?
So horror is not something that I generally like to read. The most intense book I have ever read...well, I'm currently in the process of reading...is Dracula. Because of the new craze on Vampires, I decided I wanted to go back and see how they all began.  And I am loving it so far. It has been written in a series of letters and journal entries which gives Stoker an excellent control over what the reader knows and when it comes to horror when dramatic irony comes into play. I sadly haven't had the time to finish it but the second I do I will let you know the rest of my review.


So what about the rest of you? What is the book you turn toward when it's Halloween? Are you an Edgar Allen Poe fan? Or does Henry James' Turn of the Screw do it for you?

Comment and let me know what your favorite spooky read is I would love to get a head start for next year.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Just For Fun Friday - Wings of a Dream

Wings of a Dream
by: Anne Mateer


Genre:Historical Christian Romance
Rating: 4 Stars


Summary from Goodreads:

Rebekah Hendricks dreams of a life far beyond her family's farm in Oklahoma, and when dashing aviator Arthur Samson promised adventure in the big city, she is quick to believe he's the man she's meant to marry. While she waits for the Great War to end and Arthur to return to her so they can pursue all their plans, her mother's sister falls ill. Rebekah seizes the opportunity to travel to Texas to care for Aunt Adabelle, seeing this chance to be closer to Arthur's training camp as God's approval of her plans.
But the Spanish flue epidemic changes everything. Faced with her aunt's death, Arthur's indecisiveness, and four children who have no one else to care for them, Rebeka is torn between the desire to escape the type of life she's always led and the unexpected love that just might change the dream of her heart.

This is by far my favorite Christian fiction that I read this school year. If I am going to like the book I am going to really have to like the leading lady and Rebekah is likable. She is hard working and willing to go out and get what she wants instead of sitting at home complaining that life isn't going her way.  She has a smart head on her shoulders and a strong and tender spirit to match it. She was well rounded and developed nicely throughout the book instead of the sudden change at the end which generally isn't entirely believable

This book didn't really focus on the romantic aspect so much as how much love Rebekah has for the children who she looks after. I believe that's what set this book apart from all of the others of this kind that I read this year.  The pace was gentle - I wasn't racing along but it didn't plod either, and it was a new era. The Spanish Flu is something that can be overshadowed by WWI and so it was nice to get an idea of how people might have lived with it.

Only 1 problem with it, and I may just be too picky but I feel like the editors should have caught this. The Great War wasn't called World War I until much later...until after WWII. So that phrase should never have been in there. That's pretty much the only thing that bothered me when I was reading.

Great read if you want to catch something on WWI and the Spanish Flu epidemic without too much gushy stuff.


Thank you very much Bethany House Publishing for providing this book for review.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Historical - Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet
by: Jamie Ford


Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating: 4 stars


Summary from Goodreads:
 Henry Lee comes upon a crowd gathered outside the Panama Hotel, once the gateway to Seattle's Japantown. It has been boarded up for decades, but now the new owner has made an incredible discovery: the belongings of Japanese families, left when they were rounded up and sent to internment camps during World War II. As Henry looks on, the owner opens a Japanese parasol.

This simple act takes old Henry Lee back to the 1940s, at the height of the war, when young Henry's world is a jumble of confusion and excitement, and to his father, who is obsessed with the war in China and having Henry grow up American. While "scholarshipping" at the exclusive Rainier Elementary, where the white kids ignore him, Henry meets Keiko Okabe, a young Japanese American student. Amid the chaos of blackouts, curfews, and FBI raids, Henry and Keiko forge a bond of friendship - and innocent love - that transcends the long-standing prejudices of their Old World ancestors. And after Keiko and her family are swept up in the evacuations to the internment camps, she and Henry are left only with the hope that the war will end, and that their promise to each other will be kept.

Forty years later, Henry Lee is certain that the parasol belonged to Keiko. In the hotel's dark dusty basement he begins looking for signs of the Okabe family's belongings and for a long-lost object whose value he cannot begin to measure. Now a widower, Henry is still trying to find his voice - words that might explain the actions of his nationalistic father; words that might bridge the gap between him and his modern, Chinese American son; words that might help him confront the choices he made many years ago. 



This was one of my favorite reads of the summer. I found  Keiko and Henry some very endearing characters. This book was also eye-opening for me because I had no idea that this was going on during WWII. Yet he presented the facts and the story without any true political bias which was quite refreshing for a historical novel.
The language was beautiful, which was a nice break after all of the fluff I read this summer, and the story well developed. The only thing that is keeping me from giving it a 5 was because the internet wasn't used the way it was during the 1980 portion of the novel.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Classic Tuesday - Jane Eyre

Jane Eyre
by: Charlotte Bronte


Genre: Classic
Rating 4 stars


Summary from Goodreads:
Having grown up an orphan in the home of her cruel aunt and at a harsh charity school, Jane Eyre becomes an independent and spirited survivor-qualities that serve her well as governess at Thornfield Hall. But when she finds love with her sardonic employer, Rochester, the discovery of his terrible secret forces her to make a choice. Should she stay with him whatever the consequences or follow her convictions, even if it means leaving her beloved?


Isn't that the coolest cover you have ever seen? I really love this series that Penguin is producing.


And while you are judging this marvelous cover I shall talk about my impressions of the story. I have heard that you either really love the novel or you really hate it. I am happy to say that I defy this saying...I..um..didn't really love it or hate it. 


I loved the language of the story, the Bronte girls really know how to write. I just wasn't impressed with Rochester. He was too gushy for me. I had just finished my Austen course and was used to all of the gushy parts were glossed over so that may have contributed to it. But I was swept up in the novel's story and Jane herself. I am still trying to figure out how she forgave her aunt, I don't think that I could have in her situation. 


Read it, it is something that should be read - very good book for a winter day with a blanket and cocoa.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Classic Tuesday - Eight Cousins

Eight Cousins
by Louisa May Alcott


Genre: Classic
Rating: 4 stars


Summary from Goodreads:
Life with seven boy cousins isn't quite what Rose expected. Left an orphan after her father's death, Rose Campbell is sent to live at the "Aunt Hill" with her six aunts and seven rowdy boy cousins. For someone who is used to a girl's boarding school, it all seems pretty overwhelming. Her guardian, Uncle Alec, makes her eat healthy things like oatmeal, and even tries to get her to give up her pretty dresses for drab, sensible clothes.


I liked this one a lot more than Little Women, while it is still on the more didactic end of the spectrum it is a most wonderful little story. Now I must state that if you have read any Alcott the same basic principles apply. But unlike little women rather than having a narrator tell you how to live your life, the lovable Uncle Alec does so in a not too preachy manner. Now as the children are still children they are overly perfect and sweet, yet the adults (who are for the most part overlooked) are what makes the book for me. I love Aunt Jessie and wish that I had one or that I could be one sometime in the far distant future. 


I like how there is an emphasis on children remaining children. With my 6 year old sister asking to dye her hair blonde it seems like the final nail in the coffin of childhood is very close to being hammered down. This is a wonderful childhood classic and one that should be read rather than looked over.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Classic Tuesday

Cranford
by: Elizabeth Gaskell

Genre: Classic
Rating: 4 stars

Summary from Goodreads:
Gaskell's witty and poignant comedy of country town life - a gently comic picture of life in an English country town in the mid-nineteenth century,Cranford describes the small adventures of Miss Matty and Miss Deborah, two middle- aged spinster sisters striving to live with dignity in reduced circumstances.

Rich with humor and filled with vividly memorable characters—including the dignified Lady Glenmire and the duplicitous showman Signor Brunoni,Cranford is a portrait of kindness, compassion, and hope.



I listened to this while driving around this summer and the characters were so adorably funny that at times I almost had to pull over because I started laughing pretty hard. One of those memorable instances was when one of the esteemed ladies got dizzy when thinking that the earth is spinning around the sun not staying still. 
Rather than having any real plot it is a series of vignettes telling all of the secret foibles which can be found in the society of women. Gaskell teases in a gentle manner however, perhaps because she was aware of the restraints of the society which she created for them, genteel enough to not work but not wealthy enough to be truly independent. There really is very little for the women to do.
It is a wonderful comedy of manners which points out faults in these wonderful women what some of us can be sure to find in ourselves. It is an extremely happy read with endearing characters and a wonderful movie to go along with it (though it is a little mixed up as most movies are). I love Gaskell, I have since I first came across North and South, and this one is simply wonderful

Monday, August 29, 2011

Miscellaneous Monday -Christian Fiction


Widow of Larkspur Inn
By: Lawana Blackwell

Genre: Christian, Historical fiction
Rating: 4 stars

Summary From Goodreads:
Julia Hollis' opulent life in Victorian London crashes to pieces when her husband passes away. Worse, she is told by his bankers that he gambled away their fortune. Now, the family's hope rests on The Larkspur, an old abandoned coaching inn in the quaint village of Gresham. 
Driven by dread and her desire to provide for her children, Julia decides to turn the dilapidated inn into a lodging house. But can she--who was accustomed to servants attending to every need--do what needs to be done and cope when boarders begin arriving? And then an eligible new vicar moves into town....

Let me first say that with the school year now officially upon me I will most likely be taking more summaries from Goodreads

This was a wonderfully gentle read. It didn't particularly race along with its plot but rather moved at a sedate pace, meaning that yes in places it dragged for a bit, but on the whole was something that I read when I didn't need to think that much because I was recovering from studying for finals.  The characters are all likable, the plot doesn't really throw you for any loops and it has a nice message. There is a very strong Christian aspect (Main man is a vicar what do you expect?)

it's a perfect “recovery read” for when you simply want to relax and get a good story.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Fluffy Friday - Head in the Clouds


Head in the Clouds

by Karen Witemeyer

Genre: Chick-Lit, Historical Fiction, Christian Romance
Rating: 4 stars

Summary:
Adelaide Proctor finds herself in Texas following her Prince Charming, little does she know that he is really not the man she imagined him to be. With no job or other prospects she jumps eagerly at the chance to be a governess and tutor for a young Isabella, the mute adoptive daughter of British rancher Gideon Westcott. Gideon had come to America in the hopes of making something of himself and was given the charge of Isabella on the ship over. Far from the grasping hands of her uncle both Adelaide and Gideon believe themselves safe; little do they know that trouble is coming for them.

I really thought this was marvelous chick-lit. I give my ratings based on their genre and this one did its job marvelously. The characters were endearing and believable for the most part and I thought the writing style far surpassed in what can be found in Chick-Lit these days. The Christian aspect was balanced well, adding to the story rather than distracting you from it. 

Gideon was a perfect gentleman that women everywhere would swoon for and thankfully Adelaide deserved him. She was intelligent, and from her interactions with Isabella it showed that this author has actually interacted with children. it could be because I have so many dealings with them myself but when a writer writes children in I pay close attention to how they behave and most of the time they are either too young or too old for what their supposed age is. Here Isabella character perfectly suits her.

For those of you looking for some sweet summer reading this would be the perfect thing for a lazy afternoon or two. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

YA Wednesday - General Winston's Daughter


General Winston's Daughter
by: Sharon Shinn

Genre: Young Adult
Rating: 4 stars

Summary:
Averie Winston, daughter of the great General Winston, is tired of staying at home while he goes off to exciting places. So she and her guardian travel to join him and her gorgeous fiancé in the exotic Chiarrin.  She comes expecting a fun and tame adventure. However she discovers that the Chiarizzi are not at all happy with the occupation and there are rebels everywhere. Not only that her fiancé - the seemingly perfect Captain Morgan - isn't all that she thought him to be. 

I like how this had obvious ties to the British occupation of India and other countries.  It brings up thoughts on occupation in general and how those who are being occupied might feel about the situation.

At first glance it feels like just another female coming of age in a foreign culture. Shinn does a wonderful job in creating a new culture that is detailed and complete. Everything from food to fashion to religion is covered without feeling like the reader is being overwhelmed with the information. So I was up for another fun adventure story. 

Then it took a twist.

The ending made the novel take on a new depth in it's social commentary and perhaps is one of the most substantial novels written by this author. Anyway - I love it, and would definitely recommend it to all of my friends who are looking for a read that is not purely fluff but not too dense to handle.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

YA Wednesday


Calico Captive
by: Elizabeth George Speare

Genre: Historical Fiction, Young Adult
Rating: 4 stars

Summary:
In 1754 an Indian raid on her small New Hampshire town leaves Miriam Willard a prisoner of the Indians, forced to take part in a harrowing march north. Not knowing how it will end but expecting the gauntlet Miriam is not sure she can go on. Unbeknownst to her however is the fact that she is not being taken for the Indians but rather for the French. She is traded into the elite society of the French in Canada, with no way back home in sight.

I love stories with a strong female lead (can you tell?) and Miriam is very good at her job. She is neither perfect nor bratty but a wonderful spunky in between. She doesn't accept her new existence without a fight and that fight is what keeps her interesting throughout the novel. She makes the mistake of prejudice and has to grow up and come to terms with these new people who are not at all what she had imagined them to be. 

Another...very specific thing that I love to read about is sewing and dressmaking. I am pretty sure it's because I can't but I desperately want to. And as one could probably tell from the title, there is a lot of fabric in the course of the novel. Miriam happens to be quite deft with a needle and this talent is able to take her a long ways.

Also Speare has done a wonderful job in capturing the setting of the story. She describes everything wonderfully and you can tell that she has done her research.

Adding the above elements together comes a great young adult book which sadly seems to be overlooked. I would recommend this to anyone who wanted an easy read, but still full of fun, adventure and a little bit of growing up.


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Birthday Dedication!!


Island of the Blue Dolphins
by: Scott O'Dell

Genre: Young Adult
Rating: 4 stars

Summary:
In the Pacific there is an island that looks like a big fish sunning itself in the sea. Around it, blue dolphins swim, otters play, and sea elephants and sea birds abound. Once, Indians also lived on the island. And when they left and sailed to the east, one young girl was left behind.

This is the story of Karana, the Indian girl who lived alone for years on the Island of the Blue Dolphins. Year after year, she watched one season pass into another and waited for a ship to take her away. But while she waited, she kept herself alive by building a shelter, making weapons, finding food, and fighting her enemies, the wild dogs. It is not only an unusual adventure of survival, but also a tale of natural beauty and personal discovery.

Birthday dedications are when - on a follower’s birthday  (so if you want yours just let me know)- I review the book of their choice. This one is for a dear family member.

I read this for the first time when I was in third grade but have come back to it several times. I love the originality of it and how it is pieced together. First of all it teaches all of the the basic skills one needs - making a fence out of whale bone, how to catch an octopus and properly gather and prepare shellfish, all things every self-respecting child needs to know.  I love the stories of her daily routine and how she keeps herself alive.

One thing that really makes this novel is the fact that it is based on a true story. That was something I learned during one of my several re-readings of the book. The woman's name was Juana Maria and sadly after she was found and taken to the mainland she died in seven weeks.  You can actually visit her grave at the mission of Santa Barbra in California. 

After discovering that the novel - though fiction - became more to me. I loved it more because it became all the more real and wonderful. It is a great read and while it is targeted at a younger set it is fun to go back and read it again.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Miscellaneous Monday - General Fiction


Loved Walked In
by: Marisa de Los Santos

Genre: General Fiction
Rating: 4 Stars

Summary from Goodreads:
When Martin Grace enters the hip Philadelphia coffee shop Cornelia Brown manages, her life changes forever. But little does she know that her newfound love is only the harbinger of greater changes to come. Meanwhile, across town, Clare Hobbs—eleven years old and abandoned by her erratic mother—goes looking for her lost father. She crosses paths with Cornelia while meeting with him at the café, and the two women form an improbable friendship that carries them through the unpredictable currents of love and life.

This book impressed me because it isn't what you first expect it to be. I came into it thinking it would be your typical "Guy meets girl, they fall in love but complications arise; complications are then resolved and then we all live happily ever after" chick flick. It wasn't. It was beautifully written with an ending which was perfect for the situation without any real hints of sappiness to be found.

 The story is told from both eleven year old Clair's frame of mind and from that of Cornelia the other protagonist of the plot. The way that the two points of view complement each other is wonderfully done and I really loved the overall effect of the writing. The book also wasn’t entirely predictable. It took a little while for things to be pieced together and for the story to unfold.  Because of the way it was done it felt like I had an opportunity to savor what I was reading and fall in love with the language of the piece. Granted that De Los Santos used several movie references that I really didn’t understand (hey I read books not watch movies) I thought that as a whole the piece was delightfully executed. 

Friday, July 29, 2011

Just For Fun Friday Sarah's Key


Sarah's Key
by: Tatiana de Rosnay

Genre: Historical Fiction, general fiction
Rating: 3.5 Stars

Summary:
Paris in 1942 finds Sarah and her family arrested and rounded up with all of the other Jews in Paris but not before Sarah has a chance to hide her little brother in a closet with a promise to come back in a few hours.

When journalist Julia Jarmond is asked to write an article for the 60 year commemoration of  the Vel' d'Hiv' round up she stumbles upon the story of a little girl whose family is connected to her own. She is drawn to this little girl and her story and begins to weave it together and in the process begins to reflect more on her own life.

This was one I listened to in the car and I found it very well done. One thing that I really loved about this book was in the parts where it was from Sarah's point of view, we don't get names. Her mother, father and brother don't really develop much of a personality and we don't really get to know them. This had the effect of making this tragedy apply to every family that went through it. it was a way to remember all of the victims. The Starzynski's didn't have a corner on the pain and suffering.

This is a book that will make you think and will make you remember. I believe that Julia's journey is one that we should take ourselves. She becomes a deeper person because she faces the past rather than rejecting it.

The book did have occasional slow points and the ending did seem rushed but the overall theme of the novel is one that is still powerful even with these flaws. I believe that it is a wonderful book which will make you think and remember even if it is hard to do so.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Historical Thursday


Code Talkers
by: Joseph Bruchac

Genre: Historical Fiction, Young Adult
Rating: 4 Stars

Summary:
Follow the life Ned Begay. In his childhood people tried to erase all that was Navajo from his live, later during the Second World War, he and his companions become invaluable as code talkers. Ned goes to through the Pacific side of the war  from Guadalcanal to Iwo Jima. The things he experiences will change him like nothing else will.

I remember falling in love with this when I first read it in 7th grade. Since then it has been recycled through both of my brothers and several of my cousins. I tells a wonderful story that shouldn't be forgotten. When I first read it, I simply loved learning about the war and all of the separate aspects of it. Now though it seems to me to be something which can show how we mustn't undervalue other cultures. 

It was hard for me to read the first part of this again because it shows to what great lengths the authorities went to ensure that the young Navajo children because as white in culture as possible. Cultural preservation is what led up to the unbreakable codes used in WWII. 

It is definitely written for a younger crowd, simpler language and such, but the story is one that can reach all ages and one which should be remembered.

Buried Secrets

Buried Secrets By: Rachel Good Genre: Christian Fiction Rating: 4 stars Summary: Three years after the accident that almost claimed he...