Wednesday, June 19, 2013

We Are Their Heaven

We Are Their Heaven
by Allison DuBois

If you are paying attention you probably realize by now that I lied.  This book was not on my next 20 books challenge.

Oops.

In my defense, most all of the books on my challenge are owned by me as paper, glue & ink books.  I was about to leave town for a whirlwind three day trip to Seattle last Friday and the book I was currently reading was on my bed stand as a hardbound, big and heavy book which I did not want to carry on the plane.  I also did not want to download a new Nook book with so many unread books right in front of me.  So I grabbed this one.

That's my story (true) and I'm stickin' to it!

This is the kind of book that you read if you believe in what Allison does. She is a medium and she doesn't try to convince anyone that she is what she is, but simply tells us about what she knows and sees. She does this through her own eyes as well as some of her clients' stories.

I read this at a particularly good time for me to read it, just after my mother-in-law passed away. It was very comforting to have some of my beliefs validated by Allison.

This book not only helps me strengthen my belief in life after life, but it also strengthens my belief that those that have passed are still close by and caring for us. There is nothing contrary to God and Heaven in what she does or believes, which is also important to me.

Although I am grateful for what this book has given me, I only gave it 3 shots (3.5 actually) because I felt it was repetitive where it didn't need to be and possibly could have been better written or edited. It was a quick and easy read and I do recommend it if you are of a like mindset.

On another note, I would love to meet Allison DuBois!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Fairytale (Fairies of Rush #1)

Fairytale (Fairies of Rush #1)
by Maggie Shayne

I was going to call it a modern day fairytale, but really it's not, it's a modern day story about fairies.  More specifically, fairy twins who were taken from their magical homeland for their safety.  They became separated when one of them was adopted from an orphanage and the other was not.   They each had a hand made fairy book which told their story. As they grew up one girl held onto it as the truth, while the other eventually began to believe it was a story the nun at the orphanage told to help her cope.

Fast forward to the current time. The sister who knows she is a Fairy (Princess, no less!) decides it's time to find her sister and reclaim their kingdom in their magic homeland. Of course there are evil fairies involved and danger to be faced.

Not to mention the "I-didn't-know-I-really-am-a-fairy" sister may not be 100% convinced it's a good idea.

No spoilers from me.  The rest of the story is the why you want to read the book, right? 

This was a light and airy read with a steamy chic lit romance involved. I did feel there was far more time than necessary spent on gazing into one another's eyes and recounting the lies and secrets that cannot yet be revealed.  Too much of that stuff at the expense of a more intricate story.

All in all I gave it 3 of 5 shots.

Hope Town

Hope Town
by Brendan P Myers

This isn't a book I would normally be drawn to.  Indeed, the only reason I had it was because I had gone through a period of downloading free ebooks for my Nook.  Recently I needed a book I could read in the dark, so Hope Town it was.

The action/adventure/mystery-thriller genre is not one I venture into on a regular basis, but it was a good time to read this book.  A great diversion from the "real world" with problems and issues that were completely not something I could relate to.  Great escapism!

Parker and Jessica meet in a bar one evening just after he's been fired and she's had a horrible day. Sometime later they leave the bar together and thus begins their romance.  Unfortunately, they were a couple of innocent people who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. 

Other activities at the bar that evening eventually lead to a murder.  Parker and Jessica find themselves in danger yet are unsure why.  In a small town where murder is rare, people seem to be dropping like flies.  Before Parker realizes the danger, Jessica has been kidnapped and he's got to find her before it's too late.

Part of my enjoyment of this genre is wondering if the "solution" I have arrived at is the correct one for the final outcome.  In my case, it was. 

I have searched for this book again on barnesandnoble.com and cannot find it.  But that is another mystery. 

I gave this book three of five shots. I was fun and enjoyable, just not my usual read.   

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Dinner

The Dinner
by Hermann Koch

I found this to be an interesting novel translated from Dutch to English.  The characters could easily have been American as the story felt very relatable in American culture. 

Two couples meet for dinner at an upscale restaurant.  One of the couples is a politician and his wife.  He is running for president or prime minister (don't remember which) of the country. The other couple is the brother to the politician and his wife. The story is told through the voice of the brother.

The couples are meeting to discuss a terrible event their sons were involved in together.  Not immediately disclosed, the background and event are revealed slowly to the reader as the dinner moves along and each person remains unsure what the others know.Ultimately, they must decide what they will do in regard to their sons' actions.

Upon finishing this book my initial reaction was that I hated it.  It was very disturbing and not at all what I was expecting.  The author is very clever at taking you along, introducing you to his characters and making you believe them.  But in the end, is what you thought you believed real and are the people you felt empathy with worthy of it? 

I share a similar response to this book with many whose reviews I read (after the book) on Goodreads.com.  That is that I want to give the book only 2 or 3 shots (stars), but since it keeps staying with me and I keep thinking about it, maybe it deserves more?

Nowhere But Home

Nowhere But Home
by Liza Palmer

My daughter picked out this book for me from work.  My copy was an ARC (advance reader copy) which bookstores are privileged to receive.  I do miss working at the book store.

Nowhere But Home is chic lit and I am a fan of a good chic book.  Starting with oddly named characters, we are introduced to a woman who felt she was always an outcast due to her low social status in the town she grew up in. Despite attending and graduating from college, she felt the need to redefine herself and moved around the country with little success of finding happiness.  She eventually returns home with her tail tucked between her legs, and a chip on her shoulder.

The story is one of finding one's own self worth rather than running from a past that cannot be changed.  Nowhere But Home is a feel-good book, although I have to admit there were times I wanted to grab Queenie and just yell at her.  It seems the good stuff can be right in front of you if you just open your eyes and stop listening to the voices. 

Four of five shots.

What I've Already Read & Reviewed

This is simply the list of books by title that I have read and reviewed through this blog site. If you wish to see what I had to say, including any comments of my followers, just click on the book title.

Books read prior to 2013 are listed here.

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake (a catch-up blog)

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake
by Aimee Bender

Barnes & Noble synopsis:

  • Discovering in childhood a supernatural ability to taste the emotions of others in their cooking, Rose Edelstein grows up to regard food as a curse when it reveals everyone's secret realities.

Yes, that's their entire synopsis.

I really didn't care for this book at all, although I really wanted to like it.  It's been a few months since I read it so I can't really write a good review decently expressing my own thoughts, but many of the reviews on Barnes and Noble accurately reflect my feelings.  The one good puzzling mystery kept me reading to the end only to discover there was never going to be an adequate explanation or solution.  Bleh.  Don't read it.

The Houserkeeper and the Professor (A catch-up blog)

The Housekeeper and the Professor
by Yoko Ogawa

Synopsis from Barnes and Noble:

  • "He is a brilliant math Professor with a peculiar problem - ever since a traumatic head injury, he has lived with only eighty minutes of short-term memory." "She is an astute young Housekeeper, with a ten-year-old son, who is hired to care for him." "And every morning, as the Professor and the Housekeeper are introduced to each other anew, a strange and beautiful relationship blossoms between them. Though he cannot hold memories for long (his brain is like a tape that begins to erase itself every eighty minutes), the Professor's mind is still alive with elegant equations from the past. And the numbers, in all of their articulate order, reveal a sheltering and poetic world to both the Housekeeper and her young son. The Professor is capable of discovering connections between the simplest of quantities - like the Housekeeper's shoe size - and the universe at large, drawing their lives ever closer and more profoundly together, even as his memory slips away." The Housekeeper and the Professor is an enchanting story about what it means to live in the present, and about the curious equations that can create a family. 

I recall not being particularly taken with this book.  The "50 First Dates" aspect of the loss of long term memory intrigued me, but I really didn't find much of a story to bite into.

I gave it 3 of 5 shots.

Belated Posting and a Challenge

It's been several months since I've done a book review. I have been reading but the desire to write has been missing.

If you know me personally, you are probably aware that I have a lousy memory.  It's partially responsible for my blogging as a way to recall what I've read and what it was about.  With that in mind, I am going to do a few short blogs to catch up with the books I've read recently, but the reviews may be non-existent, as long as I can add the cover blurbs.  I apologize in advance. 

As to the my challenge.  This is a challenge to myself to catch up on my wish list of reading. That list grows longer almost daily with more books being added and few being read and removed.  I have a Goodreads.com account where I keep my complete list of books I've read and want to read.  Recently I discovered that Goodreads.com offers book giveaways and as I've entered to "win" books they have been added to my "want-to-read" list causing it to grow even more quickly.

Ack!!!

My new challenge to myself is to start at the oldest end of my list and read 20 books from it before allowing myself to read any other books already on the list or not.  I'm not going to require that I read them in any particular order, other than the first oldest 20.  So for the next period of time, the following list,in no particular order, is my-read-it-or-delete-it reading profile.

The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch
American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld
Looking for Salvation at the Dairy Queen by Susan Gregg Gilmore
As Always, Jack by Emma Sweeney
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
The Tower, The Zoo, and The Tortoise by Julia Stuart
Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer
The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
Loving Frank by Nancy Horan
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
Civil War Wives by Carol Berkin
The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson
Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin
Circle of Friends by Maeve Binchy
A little update:  I've moved the books I've read (in the order I read them) to the bottom of my list.  It's an easy way for me to see that I am making progress.  In regard to that - I'm really enjoying this self made challenge and also enjoying the books that I've put off reading for so long! 

If you've stumbled upon this particular post and would like to read any of my reviews of the books I've completed and listed here, just click the photo. 
First book completed of 20 book challenge

Book 2 of 20
Book 3 of 20

Book 4 of 20