My Own Little Book Corner

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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