The House at Rose Creek is a well-written debut novel with a deeper, more layered story than I expected. While it was definitely a love s**4.5 stars**
The House at Rose Creek is a well-written debut novel with a deeper, more layered story than I expected. While it was definitely a love story, the romance was not always front and center. There was a rediscovering of love of home and family as well as a developing love and respect for those who came before. In a way, there was also a retelling of romance past as the main character reads about Ian and Jennie in his journal.
I didn’t really care for Kate at first but she quickly grew on me. I could feel the connection between her and Andrew right away. Andrew was really great, but I’m glad he had a bit of a history to keep things real. The secondary characters had dimension and personality, even if I didn’t like how they reacted some of the time, but that’s what made them more realistic. The situation with Kate’s family was relatable, tense at times and not quickly or easily resolved, but efforts and progress were still made even if everything wasn’t tied up in a pretty bow at the end. There was only one part, the sudden appearance of a former love interest, that felt a bit contrived to me.
I liked how the journal of her ancestor tied into Kate’s story and inspired her, not just in her investigation into the Church but in learning more about her family history. I, too, felt inspired to delve back into my family history. I enjoyed learning about Ian and looked forward to reading each of his journal entries throughout the story.
Readers who like a story with history and a nice romance will enjoy The House at Rose Creek. The writing is clean and easy to read, effectively evoking the emotion of the scene. I hope Jenny is hard at work on her next book because I look forward to reading more from her.
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.
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
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