Thursday, September 15, 2011

Island of Flowers by Nora Roberts

A newer cover pictured here than the actual book I read, but that's ok. This is one of Nora Roberts earlier works, and fits very well into the light romance genre it was published under. This was Book 10 in the Language of Love series. Romantic, a little twist to provide some tension, and the beautiful setting of Hawaii! What more could you ask? Oh...yes...boy does get girl in the end...but you knew that....right?

Knit Two by Kate Jacobs

This followup book to "The Friday Night Knitting Club" was good, but a bit light for my taste. I found that the story seemed to skip around a lot, although in the end all those loose ends tied themselves together quite nicely and I liked that. We pick up the story again a few years further down the road and check in to see how all the Knitting Club members are doing and what changes have happened in themselves, and their lives. "Knit Two" is a comfortable, light read. Good for a quiet evening. I think it's necessary to read "The Friday Night Knitting Club" first, tho, to put this one in it's proper perspective.

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Empty Chair by Jeffery Deaver

Lincoln Rhyme and Amelia Sachs are at it again, but this time they've left their usual environment and so part of the story revolves around how to solve the crime when you don't have all the resources you are used to. Some time has passed since the last story, as well, and so we are given tiny glimpses into the progression of the relationship between Rhyme and Sachs. (No first Rhyme would's bad luck)

Keep you guessing until the last chapter....even the last page! That seems to be Jeffery Deaver's modus operandi. It works. Although I wasn't as taken with "The Empty Chair" as I have been with the first two books in this series, it was still an enjoyable book. I'll be picking up the next in the series for sure! No disappointment here.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Everest: Book One: The Contest by Gordon Korman

A good Young Adult for the young adventurer in your life. A contest...a win...a dream come true. Who will be the next youngest person to climb Everest? There's actually a contest within a contest here. First you have to win by collecting the words that spell EVEREST, and then once you've one, you're competing with others to see who will be in the final pick to do the actual climb with a chance to be the youngest to ever climb everest, and therein lies the story. A group of adolescents who are competing against each other for those few spots include a troublemaker, a few with various problems, and a few to whom climbing is everything! Who wins the coveted spots, and how does it all work out? I'm off to read the next one in the series! Know any young adventurous types who might like a cool story to read and be entertained by?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards

I had to give this story some time to settle once I finished reading it. The story catches you up in the first few pages and you are mesmerized as you follow the lives of a father, a mother, a son, dealing with the loss of a daughter, a twin sister. A loss that is a lie known only to the father. A lie that becomes a catalyst unknown to those affected by it. How that lie can gain a life of it's own and create ripples of distruction throughout those lives. It is also a story of a woman with the courage to correct a wrong. To stand up for what's right while still keeping the lie secret. To love, care and fight for another's rights. This is the kind of story that will not leave you unaffected...good or bad. Yes, I recommend it.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Scent of Jasmine by Jude Deveraux

This is the fifth book in the Edilean Series. The first three were great, but I think this one is even better. Now that I've sort of figured out the back and forth in history, I'm enjoying the series more. I think each book could be read on it's own, or in a different order with the same enjoyment. I loved the development of the relationship between Cay and Alex. The story moved quickly and the plot outcome unexpected...well, until we get to the boy and girl live happily ever after part. :) Book 4 is a Vook which I am not able to view and so I'm sorry that I'll be missing that part of the story, but not sure if it matters. Since this book was so great, I'm eagerly awaiting book 6, due out in Aug. 2011. I'll be interested to see where Ms Deveraux takes the story next.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Island in the Sky by Ernest K. Gann

Although this book is around 60 yrs old, at this time, the story is still vibrant and alive! The author, Ernest K. Gann, takes you into the heart of what being a pilot is. The comraderie, the love of flying, the risks taken and lengths they were willing to go to to save one of their own. The story is set during WWII when even airline pilots were called to duty, flying to support the war effort. When one of their own goes down in bad weather and an unknown location, they all come together to search for the crew with a "never say die" attitude. If you have a love of flying, if you understand what brings a pilot to the skies, then don't miss this book.

*PS. Many thanks to Karl Friedrich for reminding me of this great author! I'll be on the lookout for more books by Ernest K. Gann.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Coffin Dancer by Jeffery Deaver

Well, Book two in the Lincoln Rhyme series did not disappoint! I enjoyed The Coffin Dancer every bit as much as The Bone Collector. The action is fast paced and the setting was particularly interesting since I love planes and flying. Once again, the story keeps you going, thinking you know who dunit and you find out in the wouldn't really want me to tell you...would you? ;) If there's a movie of this book, I'll be watching it. I'm looking forward to the third installment in this series and can't wait! That should tell you all you really need to know!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Coraline by Neil Gaiman

Coraline was a fun and entertaining quick read. The story is well-written, but if I had only read the cover notes, I would hesitate to recommend it to some children, even tho it's written for Young Adults. It's hard to feel comfortable recommending a book that has "One of the most frightening books ever written (New York Times Book Review)" at the top of the front cover. It is tense, it is imaginative, but I didn't find it frightening. I would not hesitate to recommend this book for children 12 and up...maybe younger if they enjoy scary books! LOL I haven't seen the movie and don't think I'll run out and rent it, but the book was worth the read.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Scarlett Nights by Jude Deveraux

I've enjoyed this book, once again returning to Edilean. I felt that this story had more to it than the previous two, but then again the others are building background for this one as well. I found the relationship between Sara and Mike to be fun and believable. I loved the added touch of a mystery and a bad guy who seems to know more about it than anyone else. A fun read and I'll be looking for the next in the series.

The Bone Collector by Jeffery Deaver

Wow! I can't believe I haven't discovered this author before now. This book is great and I'm not surprised there's a movie. I've probably got to see that soon. The book is practically written to be made into a movie! There are elements in it that you find in such shows as Criminal Minds, CSI, The Mentalist and Bones and yet it is completely different. I was hooked from the beginning and totally absorbed by the time things were coming together to solve the crime. I'm definitely continuing on with this series.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The World That Made New Orleans: From Spanish Silver to Congo Square by Ned Sublette

All I can say is that I wish I'd had this book before my visit to New Orleans, but, that being said, I do plan to go back. It is a wonderful history of the development of New Orleans and it's history. I look forward to re-visiting sites that impressed me the first time, but that I can now look at with a more knowledgeble eye. I learned a lot from this book, not just about the history of New Orleans, but also the world events that affected it's growth and development and why it's culture is so very different from other parts of the US. This book makes it to my keepers list! If you haven't been to New Orleans and you enjoy history, this is a good place to start, but whether you read it or not....New Orleans is a wonderful place to visit!

Wings! A Novel of WWII Flygirls by Karl Friedrich

Submerge yourself in the era of WWII and firsts for women! Wings: A Novel of WWII Flygirls is just that! I truly enjoyed this story about Sally Ketchum who finds herself enrolled in the WASP program, a government sponsored program for women to learn to fly aircraft so that men were freed up for the war effort. This story is just a small example of what women had to deal with in terms of getting the right to fly an airplane and today we can be very thankful for those who blazed the trails we take so much for granted. Being a huge fan of flying and aviation in general, I loved this book! I've read many books about flight over the years, and found this one very similar in mood to those of Richard Bach. The difference was that there was less focus on Sally's relationship with the planes and flying them, and more focus on the influences in her life. The war that women waged to even have the opportunity to fly when so many were against a "skirt" in the cockpit is just a small part of the history of women's rights, but an important one. Those men who supported them and helped train them are to be commended for giving them a chance. Sally's story of dirt-poor-Texas-farmgirl being liberated and becoming strong and independent is a strong background story as well. Her love of Tex, losing him, and then being freed from her father's heavy handed influence leaves her alone in the world and considering her background, I found her actions true to form. She has guts and a natural talent for flying. Bravo! This one is definitely on my keepers list but please do get your own! I will be reading this one again and looking for more of the same.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Days of Gold by Jude Deveraux

I'm finding this series a little confusing as a series and hope that it will all tie together in future books. The first book, Lavender Morning was set in present times, and was a great story.
In Days of Gold, the second book, we've all of a sudden jumped backwards in time to the "beginning" of the story of Angus and Edilean who founded the town of Edilean, which the series is named after. What I've found so far, is that each story could stand on it's own. The ties connecting them aren't strong. The story in Days of Gold is a fun romp with a the requisite strong and stubborn characters who simply refuse to get along. I enjoyed this book as I do any of Jude Deveraux's and would recommend it especially to lovers of historical romance.

Come Into the Water by Merlyn Janet Magner

Come Into the Water: A Survivor's Story is a very quick read about the flooding of Rapid City in 1972. As a book about a bit of local history and a commentary on surviving such a horrific natural disaster, this book is very interesting. My heart went out to the young girl who suffered through such a traumatic event and survived. My biggest question throughout was "Why didn't someone help her deal with it all?" It's very obvious throughout that Ms Magner carried the effects of the flood and her losses throughout her life. It seemed to me that had there been some kind of support system for her at the time, it might not have taken most of the rest of her life to come to terms with these events. I hope that in some way, this book has been a cathartic and cleansing tool for her to find the peace she needs.
As a story, I would have preferred more direct information about the flood with Ms. Magner's events woven into it. The letter from the former Mayor of Rapid City helped to understand just how much the flood affected the community. Would I recommend this book? I'm not sure. If you have an interest in surviving natural disasters, then yes, this would be a book for you.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Lavender Morning by Jude Deveraux

Jude Deveraux never fails to please and Lavender Morning is no exception! A young woman who grows up torn between two worlds, her mother's that included afternoon teas and private schools, and her local handyman father's. Losing her mother at an early age, and gaining a step-mother and a couple of step-sisters (shades of Cinderella), she feels like an outsider. Enter Edilean Harcourt, sixty years older but a kindred soul who understands her. There we have the beginning of a beautiful friendship. This forms the basis of a story that includes a little bit of romance, a little mystery, a little humour and a lot of feel good! I can't wait to get started on the next one in this series!

Friday, May 20, 2011

The Girl Who Could Fly by Victoria Forester

The Girl Who Could Fly is a great, fun, quick read! Written for Young Adults, it is still a fun story for adults as well. I tended to forget the age of the characters while reading and simply enjoyed the story. A young girl discovers she can fly but that makes her an outcast until she goes to a special "school" where she meets other children with unique abilities. Who hasn't dreamed of having a special or unique ability! This is a great book if you want a light, fun read! It's a great book to give your Young Adult or even read to a not quite Young Adult.

The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs

I enjoyed The Friday Night Knitting Club. It is one of those comfortable, interesting life stories that is able to keep your attention, but not so much so that you can't put it down. The friendships that developed through the Friday Night Knitting Club and the lessons learned are ones we can all recognize. I won't elaborate on the ending except to say that it came out of left field at me, but then that just gave it authenticity because that's exactly how life really is. Read this book if you've ever had friends that you've shared secrets with, argued with, cried with, not spoken to, and re-established an old friendship with...or not. I think you'll understand.

Trouble in Mudbug by Jana Deleon

One of the things I really enjoy when reading a new book is when the author takes the story in a new or different direction from the usual. Jana Deleon did just that with this one. What a fun little romp through the bayou this story is! Light? Yes. Fluffy? Yes. Feel-good? Yes. Enjoyable? Most definitely! A really cute idea for a series subtitled "A Ghost-in-Law Mystery Romance" and I'll be looking forward to reading the next two.

The Thomas Berryman Number by James Patterson

I am reassured in reading others reviews that my feelings about this book are not misplaced. I did finish it, but I didn't enjoy it. I can't say that the writing is not good, but I do feel that the story is disjointed and therefore comes together in a confusing manner. Not enough of a story and not one I'd recommend.

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Originally published in 1988, this book is being called a modern classic. I read this book because of all the hype I'd heard about how great it was, and I have to agree. It's a quick and easy read, about a deep and absorbing subject wrapped up in a manner that anyone can understand. It is a simple fable about following your dreams. If you haven't already read it, please do! You won't regret it.

Love and Smoke by Jennifer Blake

I've been a Jennifer Blake fan for quite a few years now, so when I came across this older novel, I just had to read it. I love that she sets her stories in a favourite place of mine, Louisiana. This is the story of a young girl whose life starts down the wrong path but through the love and protection of an older, successful gentleman, she is able to overcome the hardships she has faced to become strong in the face of adversity. Not your usual romance, but a good love story in the end.

Slow Surrender by Bronwyn Williams

Your usual historical romance. The heroine is a bit different....kind of like taking a girl from today and placing her back in the days of bustles and petticoats where women weren't supposed to know about things like sexually transmitted diseases and whores and babies born out of wedlock, etc. Take a woman whose mother has a societal conscience and teaches her daughter to stand up for the underdog, then add in a gentleman who mostly has a bit part in this story, but it's a very important bit part...he's just absent for much of his part, and he also misunderstands much of the situation...but that's where the story comes in and the romance develops and you've got a historical romance!

The Silver Boat by Luanne Rice

This was the first book I've read by Luanne Rice, and I loved it! The story involves three sisters, whose father left when they were young, and whose mother has recently died. They gather at the family home to pack everything up in preparation for selling the property. This leads them on an alternately sad and heart-warming search that re-affirms the bonds of family. If you're a Luanne Rice fan, don't miss this book, and if you're not yet a Luanne Rice fan, I'd recommend this as a great place to start! I'm now planning to read more by this great author.

Firestorm by Nevada Barr

I found this book to be an ok read. The ending was a bit unexpected, and having never read any of the previous books in this series, I didn't have the background of previous stories that was referred to occasionally. I would read others in this series, but it wasn't complicated enough that they would be my first choice. Otherwise, it was a decent enough story if you need something to pass the time. The author definitely kept me guessing about who-dun-it! That in itself makes it worthwhile for a mystery lover.

When the Spirit is Willing by

This book is fun, light-hearted, and makes you wish you had a ghost in your house! Who wouldn't want a friendly spirit around? I found it an interesting take on the usual boy-meets-girl romance and a great way to pass some dreary hours.

Elizabeth I: A Novel by Margaret George

Generally I enjoy a historical novel. I've certainly enjoyed other works by this author, but for some reason I just didn't get caught up in this one. I felt like I had walked into the middle of the story and somehow missed the back story. Names and events rang bells, but on the whole, I just couldn't get into this one. I can't say it's any fault of the author's either. I don't think I have enough knowledge of Elizabeth I's reign or the historical events surrounding it to even comment. I also don't know what part Lettice actually played but she certainly shows up in the book. I felt Elizabeth came across as rather cold for the most part, but if you are a fan of this period then this book just might be the one for you. For myself, I spent two months on this book and still was only half-way through. I'm passing it on to someone who will enjoy it much more.

The Exile: An Outlander Graphic Novel by Diana Gabaldon

As much as I love Diana Gabaldon's novels, I did not enjoy this book. I think Graphic Novels are just not my cup of tea. It was different, interesting and a quick read. I didn't spend a lot of time on the pictures and that's why I think it's just not for me. Some would really enjoy the artwork, and I have great respect for those who are able to portray the writer's conception of their characters so well. For me, tho, I'm very used to my own imagination filling in the details. One of the reasons I don't like to see a movie before I've read the book. For diehard fans of the Outlander series, give this a try. Don't take my word for it. The story is still about Jamie and we all love Jamie....don't we?

10,001 Ways to Live Large on a Small Budget by The Writers of Wise Bread

In these days of recession and pinching pennies, of prices constantly rising and cut backs everywhere, this book is full of 10,001 ideas of how we can manage to live better on less. No, I didn't count all the ideas. I even skipped some that weren't appropriate to my situation. Some I had heard before, and some were new to me. Some were really interesting and some not so much. If you're looking for some new ideas on how to make those pennies stretch a little farther and how to get by a little better, check this one out. It can't hurt now, can it?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Gianna: Aborted...and Lived to Tell About It

Amazing! This isn't my usual type of reading material, but the title caught my attention. This true story has an amazing beginning just like Gianna's life has had. Her young mother, unsure and afraid in the situation she is in as an expectant mother, goes to an abortion clinic. The procedure doesn't work and thanks to the baby being almost term, the mother gives birth to a very much live baby girl. It is a wonder that Gianna survived the abortion procedure, and didn't have more health problems than she did. Her story is one of strength in the face of adversity and faith. Her courage is to be admired and her ability to face things head-on is inspiring.

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

There is sometimes a feeling of loss when you finish a good book and that is what I felt on finishing this one. I had read all three books in just over a week and been totally immersed in the story. Although I didn't enjoy this one as much as the first two, I think it was because of the feeling of it being the last and therefore the story came to an end. There is definitley enough room there for the series to continue, but for now I guess we just treasure that it was written at all. This is definitely a series I would recommend whether you are 10 - 12 - or 112! It bears reading again and could very well become a classic in time. Once it....enjoy!

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

I was so enthralled by the first book in this series that it was a really good thing that I already had the second and third one waiting to be read. I flew through this one just as quickly as I did the first, which is to say in just 2-3 days! Believe me, this series cost me sleep....but I didn't really mind. The writing is great, the suspense doesn't quit, and ya gotta just love the characters! Once it, read it and share it! I don't think you'll regret it and feel free to comment! :)

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

I loved this hugely popular book (and series)! Written for young adults, it is nevertheless complex enough to satisfy adults as well. The story and the world it is set in are well developed. The pace is very quick with enough action to keep you glued to the book every moment you can spare! The characters are the kind you cheer for and you can't help being on their side! Well, the main characters at least. There are of course the requisite "bad guys". Buy it! Read it! Share it with that young adult in your world! (Or if you're the young adult....share it with a grownup. They'll thank you for it!) ;)

Turnabout by Margaret Peterson Haddix

This was an excellently written story of a thought-provoking topic. As a Young Adult novel, the writing was not complex, but interesting enough that I read through very quickly. A story of a couple of elderly ladies, part of a group that is on the verge of death but are given a new drug that is supposed to allow them to 'un-age' to at time when they are younger and then an 'antidote' is given to stop the process. The ladies find life getting younger a challenge and therein lies the story. I won't give away the ending, but who hasn't wondered what it would be like to find some kind of fountain of youth? A great story for that progressive young reader in your life, and not bad for adults either!

Women, Food and God by Jeneen Roth

I found this book a very quick and easy read. No preaching. No expounding on ideas or techniques that discourage more than encourage. Instead, a gentle, understanding chat with someone who understands. It was definitely thought-provoking and definitely not a diet or a plan. This is not just a book for those who need to lose weight, but is more a book about our love-hate relationship with food and ourselves. For anyone who wants to look further into their relationship with food, I'd recommend this book.

I participated in a Book Group discussion of this book and it was very much enjoyed by all. Women and men alike. If you have the opportunity, you will definitely get more from the book by the discussion that arises in the group situation.

Heat Wave by Richard Castle

As a fan of the TV show "Castle", I'd recommend this book! It's just like reading the show. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it but would have eliminated the scene on page 105 (as referred to in the show). I much prefer the sexual tension between Becket and Castle in the show, but then this is "Castle's Book"! Otherwise, it's a fun, light read, very much in the same spirit as the show. For "Castle" fans....that's all we need!

The Lake House by James Patterson

This sequel to When the Wind Blows was a bit of a stretch for me. The premise behind the first book was interesting given current research in the direction of cloning, etc., but the second was to much. The story flowed well, I just didn't buy the story.

When the Wind Blows by James Patterson

Having never read any of James Patterson's works before, I decided to give this series a try as it only consists of two books, When the Wind Blows, followed by The Lake House. I understand it also ties into the Maximum Ride series written for young adults. Although I found the story interesting, I found the writing somewhat immature. I felt that aside from the violence, the book is ok for young adults to read. Neither the writing, or plot are very complicated. I felt that this was a storyline that could have been fleshed out so much more. That being said, the story was a quick read that mostly held my attention. It is a story developed from headlines concerning genetic manipulation and creating a "better" human. I found it enjoyable from the perspective of children who can fly, and who wouldn't want to be able to fly, but wish the science and development had been more in depth.