Current reads

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

December reads

Some good ones and some real duds this month!! I read outside of my normal comfort zone, so it was interesting.

So Long at the Fair by Christina Schwarz 4* a finely woven story about a man who is having an affair with his co-worker (who is being stalked by an admirer), the man’s wife and another co-worker also tell their stories. Plus the story of their parents back in 1963. All of it happens over one day. Hated that it ended though, I wanted more!

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins YA SF4.5* my husband saw a review on this book that said it was going to be as big as Harry Potter so of course we had to look into it! My teenage son read it first (loved it) and then I read it. Very good book, set in a fictional world where the US is no longer and is now 13 different districts. Each district has to send 1 boy and 1 girl (randomly drawn) to the hunger games. It’s a fight to the end, and only the last person alive wins. Not my type of book normally, but I found it fascinating and can’t wait for the next in the series (at the end it says “end of book one” so I am assuming she’s planning on more!).

Somebody Else’s Daughter by Elizabeth Brundage 3* 2 drug addicts have a baby girl and give her up for adoption. The father (now off drugs) teaches at a school where the girl now goes as a teenager.

Oxygen by Carol Cassella DNF I wanted to like this book, and I wanted to finish but halfway through I still didn’t care, so I gave up. It’s the story of an anesthesiologist who has a patient die while in her care and is subjected to a lawsuit.

What Was Lost by Catherine O’Flynn 2* barely finished it, just didn’t like the writing. The story of a young girl who disappears, a neighbor boy is accused of the crime.

Impulse by Ellen Hopkins YA 4* didn’t like the way it was written at first (verse) but after a few pages I got into and got used to it. Good teen book, the story of 3 teens who meet at a living facility for suicidal teens after failed attempts.

The Returning by Ann Tatlock 2* ARC as an Atheist I was surprised to find this was Christian lit, so take my review with a grain of salt. I like the concept of the book, a man gets out of prison after 5 years and returns home to his wife and children. Of course there is an adjustment period for all of them. I felt the book could have been so much more than it was. I felt that it was sappy and the ending was unbelievable and trite.

Graceling by Kristin Cashore YA 4* Katsa is “graced” with killing and is being used by her uncle to torture people who disobey him. Her life changes when she meets Po, another graceling.

Phytosphere by Scott Mackay SF 4* aliens put a shield around the earth that blocks the sun, killing off all plant life and leads to total panic and riots due to food hoarding. A scientist on earth and one on the moon work to find a solution before everyone starves. Couldn’t put it down, but found the ending wrapped up way too quickly.

Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank 3* the story of survival in a small town in FL after nuclear war in other parts of the country and world

Earth Abides by George R. Stewart 3* the world is devastated by a virus and only a few people are left. Love the premise, but the main character left a lot to be desired (it took him over 24 hours to think of calling around to see if his family was alive).

On the Beach by Nevil Shute 2* the end of the world due to nuclear war. I started skimming about halfway through, felt nothing for the characters and the story was just boring, kept waiting for something to happen….

Princess Ben by Catherine Gilbert Murdock YA 3* Princess Ben discovers a secret magic room in her castle after her parents are assassinated

Blood Orange by Drusilla Campbell 4* a couple’s daughter is kidnapped and everyone blames it on the husband’s defense of an accused child killer. The wife is shocked and dismayed when she learns it could have been from something she did.

World War Z by Max Brooks 3.5* it’s basically a report after the zombie war is mostly over. It explains how governments and people reacted during the panic and after. It was pretty interesting and outside of my normal range of books.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

November Reads

The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher by Kate Summerscale 3* the true crime story of the killing of a 3 yr old boy who is murdered in 1860. Interesting look at that time, but boring in places, information overload.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shafer and Annie Barrows 5* set in England after WWII, the story is told in a series of letters from a writer to a book group in Guernsey. They share their stories of the war and it’s after-effects. I couldn’t put the book down and read it in less than 24 hours. I hated that it ended! It had parts that made me laugh out loud and parts that made me cry.

Bound by Sally Gunning 3* the story of a 7 year old girl who comes from England with her family, but due to hardships on the crossing her father has to use her to pay his debts by making her an indentured servant. Luckily she is picked by a benevolent family and is well taken care of until the daughter marries. Alice goes with her to the new husband’s house. Things change dramatically there, and Alice has to run away. The story starts out strong but ends a little weak, overall a pretty good read.

The Given Day by Dennis Lehane 3* set in 1919 in Boston The story revolves a round a black man, Luther and a white cop, Danny and their families. While I love historical fiction, I think Lehane was so busy trying to tell the story of the times that the characters fall flat.

The Road Home by Rose Tremain 4* Lev leaves his country in Eastern Europe to find work in London so he can send money back home to his mother and daughter. It was interesting to see what immigrants go through when coming to a new country, and the reasons why they come. I found the ending a tad unbelievable but overall it was an excellent book. I like that she didn’t make Lev perfect since everyone has flaws.

Pioneer Women by Joanna L. Stratton 3* true stories of pioneer women in Kansas, parts of it were fascinating, I just wish she had just compiled all the letters/stories of each woman instead of just putting pieces in.

Not Me by Michael Lavigne 4* a man is taking care of his father who has Alzheimer’s when his father gives him a set of journals. Through the journals he finds out his father isn’t who he always thought, a kind giving Jewish man, but a Nazi war criminal.

She Was by Janis Hallowell 3.5* a 60’s radical has turned her life around and become a wife, mother, and doctor and feels safe when her world comes crashing down with the appearance of an old college friend.

The Wedding Officer by Anthony Capella 2* romance set during WWII in Italy. I love that time but just too romancy for me….

Anybody Any Minute by Julie Mars 3* a woman buys a house in the middle of nowhere during a midlife crisis

After River by Donna Milner 4* a teenage girl’s life changes after an American draft dodger comes to work at her family’s Canadian farm

Soiled Doves, Prostitution in the Early West by Anne Seagraves 3* interesting look at the old West, great pictures, but really no new information to me.

The Rope Walk by Carrie Brown 3* would have been 4* but the story is told by a 10 yr old but the thoughts were just too adult for a child, drove me crazy. Alice becomes friends with a bi-racial child (who is a curiosity in her small Vermont town) and an elderly man with AIDS the summer she turns 10.

The Girls Who Went Away by Ann Fessler 4* true stories told by many woman who gave up their children for adoption in their teens between 1940 to 1960-ish. Hit home for me as my father was an adopted child in the 50’s. The only bad thing was I felt it got a little repetitive by the end.

Women of the West by Cathi Luchetti 3* no new info to me, but great pics and still interesting reading

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher YA(audio) 4* a teenage girls sends out 13 tapes to 13 people she feels that led to her suicide. I think listening to the book as opposed to reading it is the way to go with this story since you get to hear her voice and then the voice of the boy listening.