Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Christian Challenge - All She Ever Wanted

At first I just could not get this book going but I soldiered on and it turned out to be pretty good. I especially ended up liking the way Austin went from one life to another weaving the characters and their stories to get to the truth of Kathleen's life. It is a book about forgivenss and redemption. Kathleen learns of her mother and grandmother's poverty and the circumstances that caused it. In her lifetime it was easy to overcome her past but not so in her mother Eleanor and grandmother Fiona's. As she learns the truth she and her daughter finally break down the walls between them and discover a past that will bond them in the future.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Book Awards - My Antonia

The journey from pioneer life to city and back was a wonderful story. Antonia was such a strong character and I really enjoyed the imagery and plot of the book. Good character comparison between her and Lena as well. And that Jimmy I guess it is just as well he went the directioin he went in. I loved reading about the spirit of those pioneers. Life in Nebraska sure was not depicted as a place you'd want to live with those hot summers and freezing winters! All in all a good book of both the strong and weak and coming full circle in life.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Agatha Award - The Virgin of Small Plains

Great suspense book! A closely knit community, three sets of familes the closest of friends keep a secret for 17 years. The girl lays in an unmarked grave as the murder goes unsolved. Mitch disappears from the scene that fateful night leaving his girlfriend Abby to live those years in a state of questions. As the book unfolds more than one person wants answers to those questions. The secrets come out to a riveting finish. Perfect plot, wonderful characterizations and the best thriller I've read this year.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Books Around the States - Anybody Out There

In Marian Keyes Anybody Out There Anna finds herself thrown from her perfect world of great job, loving husband and good family and friends into a world of grief when her husband Aiden dies in a car accident. She survived and this book is a wonderfully, heartfelt look at what happens when you lose the one closest to you in life. This book is not a sad portrayal per se it is written in such a way that the reader is brought into her world and feelings. I felt every moment of her life. This is Keyes best book to date. Fraught with mishaps, frozen, painful feelings, humorous episodes with friends and family, anger, denial, desperation and hope. A five star read for me...

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Anthony Awards - Mercy Falls

In William Kent Kruergers Mercy Falls sheriff Cork O'Conner finds himself knee deep in a murder that turns into a hunt for himself. He finds himself embroiled in an investigation that involves a powerful, revengeful Chicago family. As he dodges imminent death he finds a link to his wife that further confuses him. In steps Dina, an investigator with strong ties and a rep of not being about killings for hire either.

This book is a real page turner! Highly recommended.

The ending is not wrapped up neatly as in most mystery/thriller books and I liked that. It leaves me wanting to read the next book! I now have to start at the beginning of this series. You know how that goes. If I had known it was a series would have had to start from the beginnning. Not too late now though.

I can see why it won an award. Excellent writing and quite a plot.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Around the World - Bookseller of Kabul

Author Seierstad moves in with an Afghanistan family to write about life there. She follows Sultan Khan's quest to become a successful bookseller. He does attain that goal and although he is a liberal man politically he reigns the family as a dictator in true Taliban fashion. I took heart with the women in this book as they were/are treated so much like nothing more than vessel bearing women and maids. For the most part at least. Leila is nothing more than someone to use and belittle as she tries desperately to find a way out of a life of dust, endless chores, not much female companionship and plans to arrange her marriage to men not to her liking or of her choosing. It is even frowned upon for a woman to go shopping that is usually the man's or old women's task. This is because women are not trusted and there is always a suspicion that they are breaking the "code" of not speaking to, being seen with or anything of the kind with the opposite sex. On the other hand men take wives at their whim. These new wives may very well live a life of no responsibility for taking care of the home as they are the younger, newer wives. This is one of many outrageous rules the Afghans adhere to.

I was left feeling no respect for Sultan even though he managed to keep his bookselling intact through three generations. As a book lover I will have to give him credit for diligence. It's funny though he was such a lover of the written word but wouldn't allow his own children an education. Many times during this book I felt that their lifestyle was just plain ridiculous. So many rules even after our country went in and started their path to freedom. Rules so ingrained that many just cannot let go and start anew.

This book would be a great one for discussion. I do follow politics but it was rather confusing at times as I have not delved that deeply into this culture. It is a shocking portrayal of a way of life that we as Americans cannot imagine without the help of a book like this. I gave it a 5/5 stars rating (you have to read this book to get the full force of it all and it is well worth the effort)

Friday, August 3, 2007

50 States - Wish You Well

My first book by Baldacci and I loved it. Lou and Oz live through a tragic accident and find their lives turned upside down. After being raised in New York city they are moved to the deep mountains of Virginia with their great grandmother. There they learn the virtues of hard work and a simpler way of living. Lou, at a critical age, is filled with anger and resentment over their plight and a deep anger towards her mother while Oz carries on with hope enough for both of them. I enjoyed reading about farm life in the foothills of Virginia. The descriptions were well written and I really felt I was there with them. A good comforting read sad but showing what strength of character can do for a person.