The story pulled me in and the last quarter of the book was seriously creepy! Unfortunately, the very end felt inconsistent to me. I appreciated LaceyThe story pulled me in and the last quarter of the book was seriously creepy! Unfortunately, the very end felt inconsistent to me. I appreciated Lacey's strength throughout the entire book, and to leave any doubt about Lacey's sanity in any context felt like a last minute cheap shot at manipulating reader emotion. Perhaps I am missing the point or seeing something that isn't there (which means the ending isn't as clear to readers as it should be) but if that last little bit at the end had been left off, it easily would have added another star to my rating....more
Good continuation of the series, though I liked the first half of the book significantly more than the last. The end was rather bleh and abrupt. I didGood continuation of the series, though I liked the first half of the book significantly more than the last. The end was rather bleh and abrupt. I didn't care for being left hanging about who was supposedly waiting for him in the hotel lobby though I have my suspicions. I do plan to read the next book in the series, but not because the author didn't tell me who it was in the lobby....more
I wanted to like this book more but I couldn't get invested in the story. The plot and characters were too flat and and a bit flavorless for my taste.I wanted to like this book more but I couldn't get invested in the story. The plot and characters were too flat and and a bit flavorless for my taste. I did enjoy The Cross Gardener so it must be this series and not necessarily the author's style....more
Author Jennifer Holt draws on personal experience to add emotion and perspective to both sides of the adoption process in her debut novel, DeliveringAuthor Jennifer Holt draws on personal experience to add emotion and perspective to both sides of the adoption process in her debut novel, Delivering Hope. The first section of the book pulls the reader into the anticipation and then ultimate heartbreak of Olivia, who wants more than anything to have a child, and her husband, Michael, who worries he is losing his happy, loving wife to the bitterness of infertility.
In the second section of the book we meet Allison, a good, intelligent LDS high school graduate with a scholarship and plans for the future. She makes a poor choice after a graduation party and learns that every wrong choice has consequences, in this case, a pregnancy. The father wants nothing to do with the baby, and Allison soon falls in love with the tiny, innocent life growing inside her. Allison is hard-working with a supportive family and she is looking forward to raising her daughter. As time goes on, though, Allison realizes she must decide if, as a single mother, she can provide everything her precious baby needs.
While Delivering Hope is more tell than show, I was pulled into the stories of these two families enough that it didn’t really matter to me. I especially felt Allison’s anguish as she tried to decide whether to place for adoption the baby girl she wanted to keep so badly. There was one particular quote that touched me during a scene with Allison and her father:
“When the heartache became almost more than she could bear, her dad squeezed her tighter, and Ally’s heart broke as she realized that her baby would not have the safety of a father’s arms to be held in when she cried.” -page 118
There are strong themes of turning to the Savior, repentance, forgiveness and love running throughout the story that will uplift all readers, and those who have had experiences similar to the characters will particularly enjoy Delivering Hope.
Well-written, engrossing and heart-breaking story of the Haitian people after the horrible earthquake several years ago. Full review at www.ldswbr.comWell-written, engrossing and heart-breaking story of the Haitian people after the horrible earthquake several years ago. Full review at www.ldswbr.com.
What drew me in to The Shaken Earth at first was the glimpse into daily life of the Haitian people. That interest carried me through the entire book. I was curious about what was making Yolisha sick, but that question never really gets answered. While Yolisha is a young, naive girl who initially is demanding, lacks patience and whines a lot, she settles as reality sets in and she accepts what her life will be, at least temporarily, in the aftermath of the earthquake.
The people who truly make The Shaken Earth memorable are the side characters. Though we see everything through Yolisha's point-of-view, it is Webster, Mona, and even Gessy, that make the story. I knew very little about Haiti or it's history, but I learned along with Yolisha during Webster's lessons as he cooked. I witnessed the struggles of the people even before the earthquake, and how much worse it became afterward. There was depravity and crime, but there was also strength and resilience. I can honestly say this is a book I won't soon forget.
The Shaken Earth is well-written, memorable, and eye-opening. While not horribly graphic, there are a number of disturbing details included. If you are one that likes to snack while you read, you may want to reconsider eating while reading this book if you are sensitive to that sort of thing. While there are LDS missionaries and some talk of the gospel, it is not the main theme of the book. If you enjoy reading books about other countries as well as life-changing experiences, then I would recommend The Shaken Earth....more
The Rent Collector is a humbling read that taught me a little about Cambodian history and a lot about human nature, hope, sacrifice, and love.
I can hoThe Rent Collector is a humbling read that taught me a little about Cambodian history and a lot about human nature, hope, sacrifice, and love.
I can honestly say I’ve never read a book quite like The Rent Collector. It is a fascinating glimpse into the life of a young woman, Sang Ly, and her husband, Ki Lim, who support their little family by picking through the garbage at the dump to find recyclable items they can exchange for enough money for food to eat that day.
Sang Ly strongly dislikes Sopeap Sin, the woman they call the Rent Collector, because she is harsh and angry. But when she comes to collect rent one day, her reaction to a book Ki Lim found and brought home for their son causes Sang Ly to realize that the woman she hates could be the one to help her give her son a better life–if she agrees to teach Sang Ly how to read.
The events that follow Sang Ly’s request result in her seeing Sopeap in a way she never could before. She learns that Sopeap used to be a teacher of literature, and that she suffered something horrible in her past that causes her to drink so much rice wine. When Sang Ly is ready to move beyond basics and begin studying literature, Sopeap agrees to continue their lessons. It is then that Sang Ly’s education truly begins.
Whether we like it or not, hope is written so deeply into our hearts that we just can’t help ourselves, no matter how hard we try otherwise. –page 125
I truly enjoyed reading The Rent Collector. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but I was soon caught up in the story and couldn’t put it down. As Sang Ly’s heart changed regarding the calloused and angry woman some called the Cow, I found my heart changing as well. I was reminded that everyone has a story. I liked Sang Ly’s personality and voice, and loved watching her grow as a character.
As I sit on my comfortable couch, pausing to eat a filling and balanced meal, clean drinking water only a few steps away, I have no way of knowing what the type of life Sang Ly lives would be like. Yet she is able to find happiness living her simple life, and feels privileged to have gained the ability to read with hope for a better future for her son.
The Rent Collector is a memorable read, one that will stay with me for a long time. It’s a perfect choice for book groups, providing plenty of discussion material. I highly recommend The Rent Collector to everyone.
Review originally published on LDS Women's Book Review - www.ldswbr.com FTC FYI: received a free softcover ARC in exchange for an honest review....more
Though YA is not my usual genre choice, I was very curious about The Fault in Our Stars after reading the summary above. It was a fascinating read forThough YA is not my usual genre choice, I was very curious about The Fault in Our Stars after reading the summary above. It was a fascinating read for me and provided a glimpse into a world I know absolutely nothing about. The story of Gus, Isaac, Hazel, her parents, and a bitter, alcoholic author named Peter Von Houten pulled me in and kept me reading.
I knew about the emotional aspect ahead of time so I kept the tissues nearby. I used them more than once. The first time was during one of Hazel’s flashbacks with her parents when she was really sick at first and they were getting ready to say goodbye. As a mother, I couldn’t help it.
I wondered why I kept reading when I knew this couldn’t end well (meaning happily ever after, right?) and yet I kept turning pages. Is it worth the read? In the end, it just depends on how the reader feels about what is lost vs. what is gained. Is love worth the agony? Would the reader rather have “painless” ignorance or experience once-in-a-lifetime love that can only end in heartache?
While this is a YA novel, if my 14 year old were to express a desire to read it I would ask her to wait a year or two and then we would discuss the content issues below and decide from there. Some of the LDSWBR adult readers may hesitate if they prefer to keep their reads very clean. The story was strong enough to carry me past the content issues because I really wanted to see how things would end.
I haven’t read any other novels by John Green so I don’t know how this book compares. I will not make any recommendations about who might enjoy this book because it is such an individual choice with stories like these. I don’t know if it is a book I will read again or not at this point, but I do know that it will stick with me for a long time.
Language: Some swearing, there may have been one F-bomb near the end (I’ve read a few books since this one so I can’t say for sure)
Sexual: One instance of premarital sex, no description; one vague, brief mention afterward of a condom problem
Other: The tone of the book is more mature than might be expected considering the age of the main characters; some blunt references to body parts and functions but nothing explicitly coarse.