My Own Little Book Corner

Friday, January 18, 2008

2008 Book Reviews - #2

Blood Orange by Drusilla Campbell

"Dana Cabot cannot remember the kind of person she was before May 29th, the day she became angry at God, at her workaholic attorney husband, and herself. The day her seven-year-old daughter, Bailey, disappeared. As the months wear on without a trace of her adorable but troubled child, Dana can't help blaming her husband's controversial defense of an accused abuser for playing a role in the abduction - and it shows in the strain on their marriage. But then a shocking event offers a clue to what really happened to Bailey - and Dana's unwitting part in it. Haunted by the unthinkable consequences of revealing everything she knows, Dana must decide whether to keep the truth to herself - or risk losing the rest of her family."

This story didn't exactly follow the path that I expected, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. I expected more of a "Deep End of the Ocean" story, but this is more of a story about what led up to the kidnapping and how the truth is revealed. It is well written and while there are no big surprises, it still keeps you interested.

4 stars

Angel's Rest by Charles Davis

"Growing up in Virginia's Allegheny Mountains, eleven-year-old Charlie York lives at the foot of an endless peak called Angel's Rest, a place his momma told him angles rested before coming down to help folks. In 1967 his town was a poor boy's paradise...until a shotgun blast killed Charlie's father and put his mother on trial for murder.

For mysterious reasons, his mother entrusts his care to an old black man named Lacy Albert Coe. Lacy tells simple stories about the good and the bad that compose life's sweetest music. But when a reclusive Korean War veteran is linked to his father's death and Lacy is victimized by hate crimes, Charlie hears only silence."

I really enjoyed this book. Mr. Daniels does a great job of developing characters that are real. One of my pet peeves with story tellers is that they often attribute more maturity to kids than they should. Mr. Daniels does not do that. In fact he does a great job of acknowledging Charlie's immaturity and understanding level. As the story unfolded I kept trying to figure things out and actually did at one time, but still was not quite sure until it was revealed. This is a believable story that covers many facets of our humanity.

5 stars

If I Gained the World by Linda Nichols

"Lenore and Daniel have a cozy home and a wonderful son, a mirror image of his father. Lenore loves her life and wants nothing to change - except one thing ...As innocent as it seemed, her request is the beginning of the end, and their life together unravels. Lenore takes little Scottie and begins her quest for meaning, purpose, and a new start - as far away from those bittersweet memories as she can get...How will these broken hearts move past their pain and find their way to faithfulness, grace and love?"

This was my least favorite book that I read this month. It is just not the genre that I am interested in reading. There were some interesting characters and it is an encouraging story as far as pointing out the things that are truly important in life. Stories of this type just seem a little cheesy and fake to me at times. I really want to like them, but they just don't strike the chord with me to make me want to read more. However, if you like a romance story that is a little on the fluffy side, this is a good one.

3 stars

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Friday, January 4, 2008

2008 Book Reviews - #1

Patty Jane's House of Curl by Lorna Landvik

"Maybe Patty Jane Dobbin should know better than to marry a man as gorgeous as Thor Rolvaag, but she's too smitten to think twice. Yet nine months into their marriage, with a baby on the way, Thor is gone. It's a good thing Patty Jane has her irrepressible sister Harriet to rely on - not to mention her extremely short, extremely rich almost-brother-in-law, Avel Ames."

This is a story of family, friendship and life. It is not a feel good story, but it is full of warm emotion. I enjoyed getting to know Patty Jane, Harriet, Ione and Nora. They each had highs, lows, good and bad - just like in real life and handled it in their own way. Through it all they were there for each other and for others too.

4 stars

Into Thin Air:A Personal Account of Mount Everest by Jon Krakauer

"In this definitive account of the deadliest season in the history of Everest, Jon Krakauer takes the reader step-by-step from Katmandu to the mountain's deadly pinnacle, unfolding a breathtaking story that will by turns thrill and terrify."

After watching "Everest: Beyond the Limit" on Discovery Channel, this book caught my eye. It was written after an expedition in 1996 that went horribly wrong. Mr. Krakauer was on the expedition to write an article for "Outside" magazine. After the expedition, he wrote the article, but decided that he needed to go back, re-address some of the facts and tell this story in more detail. It was interesting reading about the friendships that were made, the camaraderie between the guides, the conflicts, the government requirements and all the other side issues that arise for an expedition up Everest. The acclimation of the climbers, the actual climb and then the horror of what had happened was all told in a way that almost made me feel as if I were there. An interesting story without a happy ending.

4 stars

The Girls by Lori Lansens

"Since their birth, twin sisters, Rose and Ruby Darlen have been known simply as "The Girls." Raised by the Aunt Lovey, the nurse who took them in after their mother abandoned them, they have lived all their lives in the small town of Leaford, in an old farmhouse bordered by cornfields. This is the story of their shared life, two sisters who are ordinary in most respects but who have a relationship of profound and unmatched intimacy. For Rose and Ruby are conjoined twins, connected inseparably, facing the world side by side. "The Girls" is the affecting chronicle of their incomparable life journey, a heartrending story of love between sisters."

I wasn't sure about this book when I started, but was quickly drawn in. Rose and Ruby had a wonderful Aunt in Lovey. She saw them as individuals and made sure that they were as independent from each other as could be allowed. This is their life story as told by each of them. There are some twists and turns that I didn't expect. Ms Lansens tells the story in such a way that I had to remind myself that it is a work of fiction.

5 stars

Dark of the Moon by John Sandford

"In the small town of Bluestem, where everybody knows everybody, a house way up on a ridge explodes into flames, its owner, a man named Judd, trapped inside. There is a lot of reason to hate him, Flowers discovers. Years ago, Judd perpetrated a scam that drove a lot of local farmers out of business, even to suicide. There are also rumors swirling around: of some very dicey activities with other men's wives; of involvement with some nutcase religious guy; of an out-of-wedlock daughter. In fact, Flowers concludes, you'd probably have to dig around to find a person who doesn't despise Judd."

John Sandford can write very suspenseful, almost disturbing books. This is not one, which is why I enjoyed it. This follows Virgil Flowers as he figures out the murders in the small town of Bluestem. Mr. Sandford writes it in such a way that until the end, I was unsure of which person had done it. In fact, even when the truth came out, I was doubtful. There was enough suspense and side stories all the way through to keep it interesting.

5 stars

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