Current reads

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

March reads

Some great reads this month! The Help may be my favorite book of the year and the Study series were very good also. The Kind One was also good. I wasn't sure if I'd like it, so ended up pleasantly surprised!

Black & White by Dani Shapiro 3* the relationship between a mother and daughter is strained because the mother (a professional photographer) gains fame using her daughter as a subject throughout her childhood. The controversial nude photographs make her feel like an object. After the daughter becomes an adult she runs away from home and doesn’t speak to her mother for 14 years until she gets the call from her sister that her mother is dying.

The Kind One by Tom Epperson 4* set in the 1930’s California, Danny has amnesia but is told he works for Bud “the Kind One” Seitz, a mobster. Danny questions everything he is told about himself because he doesn’t like guns or know how to shoot or like violence. He is asked to protect Bud’s girlfriend who he starts to fall in love with. He starts to learn nothing is as simple as it seems, including himself.

‘Til Morning Light by Ann Moore 3* the continuing story of Gracelin. Good story, but wrapped up a little too neatly (and unbelievable).

The Help by Kathryn Stockett 5* may be the best book I’ll read all year, definitely the best I’ve read in a while. It is set in Jackson, Mississippi in the 60’s. The story revolves around a young white woman who starts writing about the plight of black maids in the south. I laughed and cried, such a great read. It’s hard to believe people ever thought that way and that is was accepted and passed down from generation to generation!

Irreplaceable by Stephen Lovely 3* a man’s wife is hit by a truck while riding her bike. She is an organ donor so her heart goes to a woman who is a wife and mother. The story revolves around him, her and the man who hit his wife. I just never really felt any connection to any of the characters.

Wake by Lisa McMann YA 3* Janie gets sucked into other people’s dreams when they fall asleep. Interesting concept that didn’t really go anywhere. The rest of the story was pretty unbelievable. Light, easy read.

The Laws of Harmony by Judith Ryan Hendricks 3.5* Received as an ARC. Sunny grows up on a commune in New Mexico and dreams of the day she can get away to a “normal” life. The accident that kills her younger sister continues to haunt her. After college she ends up in Albuquerque living with Michael. After he dies in a car accident she finds out he wasn’t all that he seemed. She once again runs from her life, this time to a small town on San Miguel Island. She finds that the past never goes away though and she must deal with it. Overall a pretty good read, I was actually disappointed when the story ended.

Sister of my Heart by Chitra Bangerjee Divakaruni 3.5* Sudha and Anju are cousins who grow up in the same house close as sisters and best friends in India. Then, they both are forced to get married when their financial situation suddenly changes. One will go all the way to America, the other will stay in India and have a traditional marriage.

Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder 4* Yelena is in the dungeon waiting to be hung for murder when she is picked to be the Commander’s food taster. She learns all about poisons, but she also befriends some of the staff in the castle. She also starts to understand her past a little better. Great read, can’t wait to read the next in the series.

What I Saw and How I Lied by Judy Blundell YA 3* set right after WWII, it shows how sheltered teens were back then. Evie falls for her step father’s war buddy, and life changes for them all.

Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork 3*, Marcello (who has Asperger’s Syndrome) has to go work for his father’s law office for the summer “in the real world”. There he meets Jasmine, a nice pretty girl who works in the mail room and Wendell, the spoiled son of one of the partners. He finds out things are not always black and white and people not always what they seem.

Magic Study by Maria V. Snyder YA 4.5* the continuing story of Yelena. She travels to Ixia to meet her real family and learn to control her magic. She finds not all family members are welcoming, as some think she’s a spy from the north. I couldn’t put this book down until I was done, even better than the first one. Can’t wait to read the next!

Unwind by Neal Shusterman YA 3* the stories of 3 teens whose parents want to “unwind” them aka donate all of their body parts. They go on the run to avoid going to the harvest camp and end up in “the Graveyard”, which is a safe haven for teens such as themselves.

Fire Study by Maria V. Snyder 4* the third book follows Yelena to the Keep where she is working on being a soul finder, but once again there are forces against her. This time it comes out of fire. Not as good as the second book (spent too much time recapping the other 2 books IMO), but still very enjoyable.

A Mouthful of Air by Amy Koppelman 3* a woman has depression and tried to kill herself and the book is about her trying

Thursday, March 12, 2009

February reads

No stand outs this month, just okay books....

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood 3.5* set in the future, where there is no longer a United States, it’s now the Republic of Gilead. Women are not allowed jobs or money, or any freedom. There are several classes of women : childless Wives, the housekeeping Marthas, and the reproductive Handmaids, who turn their offspring over to the "morally fit" Wives.

Leaving Ireland by Ann Moore 3.5* the continuing story of Grace, this time her travels to America and her life and friends there.

The Little Giant of Aberdeen County by Tiffany Baker 3* Truly is a “little giant” her entire life and suffers for it, while her sister is the complete opposite…..just ehhhh for me, though I know everyone is raving over this book.

Wife Goes On by Leslie Lehr 3* chick lit about a group of divorced women

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie YA 3* the story of a teenage Indian boy who decides to go to the local “white” school instead of the one on the reservation

The Wishbones by Tom Perrotta 3* a man plays in a wedding band and finally asks his girlfriend of 15 years to marry him…then regrets it.

They Did it With Love by Kate Morgenroth 3* chick-lit mystery, The story of 5 rich women in a CT suburb who are members of a mystery book club. One of them is murdered and the rest try to solve who did it.

Perfect Family by Pam Lewis 3* the youngest sister of a “perfect family” is found drowned at the summer home. They find out their family is not as perfect as they all believed. The book starts out strong, but the ending is a tad hokey.

Cost by Roxana Robinson 3* the youngest child of a family is addicted to heroin. It’s the story of the family’s struggle to get him clean.

The Professor’s Wives’ Club by Joanne Rendell 3* chick lit about professor’s wives

Touching Snow by M. Sindy Felin YA 4* a story of abuse told by a young Haitian girl

Two Rivers by T. Greenwood 3* a widower raises his daughter by himself after his wife dies when the baby is born. A train derailment in the town he lives in changes his life when he takes over a black pregnant teenager.

When the Finch Rises by Jack Riggs 4* historical fiction set during the 60’s, revolves around 2 12 yr old boys who are friends and live in a small mill town in NC.

Picturing the Wreck by Dani Shapiro 3* a psychoanalyst has an affair with a patient. His wife leaves him, taking his son. 30 years later he finds his son and makes contact.

The Common Bond by Donigan Merritt (ARC) 3* I received as an ARC a few months ago but had trouble starting it as I had so many other good books in my TBR pile. Once I did finally start it, it was just ehhh. I loved the Hawaiian setting, the people and the culture. The other part was basically a love story between Morgan and Victoria. It’s ill-fated from the start as she was dating his best friend when she cheated on him with Morgan. The book starts when Morgan returns to Hawaii after Victoria’s untimely death, which he blames himself for.

The Air We Breathe by Andrea Barrett 3* set during WWI in a hospital for destitute tuberculosis patients in the Adirondack Mountains in NY. One of the wealthier patients that lived in a nearby house starts a weekly learning group that ends up causing tragedy.

Thousand Pieces of Gold by Ruthanne Lum McCunn 4* biographical fiction of Lalu Nathoy/Polly Bemis. Sold by her father during hard times in China, captured by bandits, sold as a prostitute, she eventually is brought to America where she is bought by an evil Chinese saloon owner. She befriends another saloon owner and her life eventually begins to change for the better. Told during the gold rush years, very interesting look at life during that time.

The Secret River by Kate Grenville 3* William commits a crime in 1806 in England and is sent to Australia to serve his sentence. There he eventually tries to better his life by acquiring land, but the native people are not too happy about his (or the other white settlers) presence. Reminded me a lot of the Native Americans and the white settlers in America.