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 again....buy it....read 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 again....buy 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.