I absolutely adored this book! I’m a big fan of the Jazz Age and post~World War II African American culture, but those two topics are usually only cov...moreI absolutely adored this book! I’m a big fan of the Jazz Age and post~World War II African American culture, but those two topics are usually only covered within the confines of American society. Taking the concepts of racism, black womanhood, poverty and expectation across the Atlantic and intertwining it with romance, mystery, secrets and lies made for a delightful read.
This novel is part history lesson, part fantasy and a whole lot of “oh no she didn’t”. The sometimes antagonistic mother~daughter relationship is played out in a loving way that makes it relatable to women of all ages no matter what their relationships with their mothers. I also enjoyed the way Luckett handled the exploration of parents as people before they came together and created families. Did Mom or Dad really love someone before they met each other?
Overall, this is a terrific read and would make for some wonderfully creative book group discussions.(less)
I. Loved. This. Book. At the end. That's how I know I've read a good book, the end comes and I think Wow, that was worth the effort and, trust me, par...moreI. Loved. This. Book. At the end. That's how I know I've read a good book, the end comes and I think Wow, that was worth the effort and, trust me, parts of this book were an effort to get through. Those girls. Falling into roles prescribed to them by their namesakes and their parents' benign neglect, rather than discovering their own paths in life. And the many Shakespeare quotes. I admit to being really put off by all the quotes Gosh, I avoided reading Shakespeare in high school and college so I don't really want to read him in my novels but as I got deeper into the story, I realized the quotes were intentionally vague and crucial to the story ~ they were reflective of the girls' relationship with their father and, to an extent, their mother.
One of the things I found most interesting was the voice Brown used for writing this novel. Rather than writing from one person's point of view, she wrote from all three sisters' points of view, melding them into one. In the end, I felt like I was seeing the world through all three women's eyes and experiencing it with one heart.
This book would make a great read book club read, there are so many themes to explore: familial ties, birth order theories, the impact of illness on family members, escaping our pasts, confronting our futures, etc.(less)
This is a modern retelling of Paul’s conversion on the road to Damascus (Acts 9: 1~21) that’s set in a post~Apocalyptic United States that has been re...moreThis is a modern retelling of Paul’s conversion on the road to Damascus (Acts 9: 1~21) that’s set in a post~Apocalyptic United States that has been reduced to seven regions which mirror the last seven churches in the book of Revelation. And much like the Christians in the early church, Christians in post~World War III America have to live and worship underground or face prosecution.
I wanted to like this book because I’m such a big fan of the Left Behind series but I couldn’t suspend my belief long enough to let it happen. I don’t doubt for a minute that there will come a time when Christians will be persecuted (to an extent, Christianity and many of its core beliefs have already come under fire) but what I have a hard time believing is that the U.S. will reflect the last seven churches as portrayed in the book.
The characters are a little dull and the action is brutal/intense to say the least (there are a couple of murder scenes that are kind of gory). I just think there could have been more to this story than there was… Maybe if it had followed the Bible a little more closely and not been as contrived it could have been better. I didn’t mind it being set in the U.S., I just have a hard time with the obvious connection between the United Seven States and the seven churches of the last days (it just seems like that would be more of a Middle Eastern focus).
On the positive side, this was a quick and easy read that leaves just enough cliffhangers to flow into a series. It’d be interesting to see if the characters are more fleshed out and if the story aligns more closely to biblical prophecy than it does right now.(less)
This book is quite possibly one of the most disturbing books I've read. And that's why I gave it 4 stars. Any book that grab and twist my emotions is...moreThis book is quite possibly one of the most disturbing books I've read. And that's why I gave it 4 stars. Any book that grab and twist my emotions is a winner. I wanted to stop reading it ~ the abuse scenes were cringe worthy. Not just the physical aspects, but the mental aspects... a part of me just kept asking myself if there are really kids who are living under these conditions and I know there are which made this story all the more compelling.
Tangy and her siblings are sympathetically written. They have hopes and dreams, the need to be loved... All of this despite everything that their mother did to them. I like that the end of the book was open ended, instead of wrapped in a neat little package. Phillips debut novel is definitely an emotional journey not for the faint of heart.
I would recommend this novel for book discussion groups because of the varied topics: race relations, child abuse, color issues within the black community, poverty and education. Just be prepared to put the book down and walk away for a few minutes.(less)
If you’re looking for feel good Christmas stories without a lot of hokiness, this is the book for you. Filled with stories of rekindled hope, renewed...moreIf you’re looking for feel good Christmas stories without a lot of hokiness, this is the book for you. Filled with stories of rekindled hope, renewed faith and revived love, Merry Christmas Stories simply makes you feel good about the Christmas season. The twenty~five short stories cover a variety of genres ranging from the paranormal to adventure to romance and drama. There really is something in it for everyone.
One of my favorite stories in the collection is “Bag Lady Blues” about a homeless woman who recounts her life and the joy that she had with her family before things started to fall apart. The message of the story for me is that you don’t know how someone may have ended up in their circumstances, but the one thing we all have in common is the need for love and companionship.
"I don’t understand why I look out at the world with all my young thoughts, yet when I look in the mirror I see an old lady. When did that happen? My soul wants to dance, yet my body can’t even walk straight."(less)
I wanted to like this book, I really did. I think Tatiana de Rosnay is a fabulously talented writer but this book left so much to be desired. First of...moreI wanted to like this book, I really did. I think Tatiana de Rosnay is a fabulously talented writer but this book left so much to be desired. First of all, there was the really weird relationship between Antoine and his sister. OK, perhaps there wasn’t a “relationship” per se, but he admired his sister’s body in ways that made me more than just a little bit uncomfortable.
And speaking of Antoine, I thought he was too whiny. About everything. I wanted to grab him by the collar, shake him and tell him to man up! I know parents feel guilt over divorcing and they have a hard time reprimanding their children, but allowing them to become juvenile delinquents is not the answer.
Also, without giving away the family secret, I think a homicide would have been a far better choice…
The one positive in this story had to be Angèle. She warrants her own story. I like the way she talked about death and how we have to come to grips with the death of loved ones and the fact that we won’t always have answer to the “whys” of life.(less)
Do you like realistic Christian fiction? Then you will absolutely love this book. The action is fast paced, the drama is intense and the plot is belie...moreDo you like realistic Christian fiction? Then you will absolutely love this book. The action is fast paced, the drama is intense and the plot is believable (something I usually find lacking in Christian fiction). Set in the present, the book covers 6 days in the life of undercover agent David Shirazi as he tries to prevent the Middle East from becoming a powder keg.
Normally, I don’t read suspense/espionage books but I was immediately caught up in the story. Rosenberg creates a realistic scene where the long awaited Twelfth Imam has taken control of the Middle East and started preparing them for all out war against Israel and the United States. It’s like reading a story that’s been ripped from the headlines and put in novel form. Furthermore, the dialog between the characters is believable and flows naturally (sometimes trying to incorporate faith into a suspense novel can make the dialog a little stilted). Seriously, there’s a little bit of everything in this book for everyone: romance, explosions, chase scenes and espionage, all from a Christian perspective without being overly preachy.
Regardless of your religious or political beliefs, I think this novel is a must read.(less)
Every time I read a book by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins, I learn something new. Based on their best~selling Left Behind series, Are We Living in t...moreEvery time I read a book by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins, I learn something new. Based on their best~selling Left Behind series, Are We Living in the End Times is a three~part book that examines today’s culture to determine if we are the generation who will see Christ’s return. The second part of the book takes a step~by~step look at what will happen to those who are left behind after the Rapture and the last section examines the personalities who will shape end time events.
After discussing what the Rapture means to and for Christians, the authors go on to explain in great detail the horrors those who’re left behind will suffer. This period, known as the tribulation, will be a seven year series of climate, economic and physical trials that will befall the unrepentant. The authors go to great extremes to explain that these trials aren’t meant as punishment but as a last ditch attempt by God to persuade them to come to the truth of His love before it’s too late.
While the book relies on the Left Behind series for jumping off points, I like that the authors use the Bible, the words of prophecy experts such as John Walvoord and examples from current events to support their theory that we are, in deed, living in the end times. Some of the events that they discuss that point to this being the end times are:
*apostasy within the church (think Chrislam) *increased interest in the occult *deaths from diseases thought to have been irradicated, famine and warfare
I’d recommend this book for anyone who has an interest in biblical prophecy or end times studies. Whether you’re new to the topic or have studied the subject extensively, I think you’ll find this book informative, thought~provoking and useful. And, hopefully, it will make you consider your relationship with the lord.(less)
Oh. My. Word. I wanted to reach into the book, snatch that woman up by her throat and slap her around. And I’m not a violent person. But Lenora Stone...moreOh. My. Word. I wanted to reach into the book, snatch that woman up by her throat and slap her around. And I’m not a violent person. But Lenora Stone like to have driven me to drink. And I don’t drink. Yes, her crazy was that bad.
Without giving the book away, let’s just say that Lenora did everything wrong that you could possibly do when you’ve won the lottery. Furthermore, she was the least sympathetic character I’ve read about in a long time. And, honestly, I think that’s why I became absorbed in the story. I kept hoping and wishing that Lenora would show some signs of growth, development, maturity, wisdom, something… But, um, no, she didn’t.
I also felt like the writing on this book wasn’t as tight as it usually is with a Connie Briscoe book. Lenora was incredibly frustrating as a character and, as a person, I would have cut her loose as a friend. And the other characters in the story were just there. They didn’t do anything to add or subtract to the story, they really seemed to serve as emotional punching bags for Lenora.
I think if you’re looking for a quick read, this is the book. If you’re looking for something with a little more depth, pass on this one.(less)
I remember taking French History when I was in college and being totally smitten with the story of Louis XIV, there was just so much decadence. Have y...moreI remember taking French History when I was in college and being totally smitten with the story of Louis XIV, there was just so much decadence. Have you seen pictures of Versailles? The pompadours and powders, oui! And, dude, what was up with the man in the iron mask? That’s probably one of the most enduring legends from the reign of Louis XIV and still there are no definitive answers about the who or why…
Meticulously researched, this book has everything ~ mystery, intrigue, romance, lust, politics ~ too bad I couldn’t keep it all straight. The cast of characters is way too large and, even with the guide at the front of the book, it was hard to keep track of who did what with whom and how they were related to the king. But I don’t necessarily fault Koen, I think the confusion is probably reminiscent of the confusion of the court itself. Seriously, during a time when even your own brother may be plotting against you, how can there not be a bit of discombobulation?
I’d recommend this book for someone who has a decent grasp of French history or is at least more than casually familiar with the story of the Sun King. As for me, I simply couldn’t get in to this book.
I’m not a real big self~help book reader but this book truly resonated with me. You’ll find out exactly why in the next few weeks… Anyway, in my young...moreI’m not a real big self~help book reader but this book truly resonated with me. You’ll find out exactly why in the next few weeks… Anyway, in my younger days, I craved change. I thrived on waking up and not knowing what I was going to do from one minute to the next. I know, not exactly conducive to my life in the Army but, believe it or not, I was able to make it work. In the last 13 years or so, I’ve become complacent ~ I go to the same grocery store, shop at the same clothing stores, speak to the same people, very little in my life changes. And I’ve become used to it. I find a great deal of comfort in the routine of it all. In fact, going to new places scares me.
This fear is a new emotion for me…
I miss the fearlessness. I miss that desire to experience new ~ new people, new surroundings, etc. And Jolt! has given me just the er, um,” jolt” I needed to reclaim the dreams that I once had. Cooke offers tips on how to make changes or adapt to changes that confront us by going back to our childhoods and recalling the dreams that we had when nothing was impossible. He asks us to think big and imagine there are no limits, then focus those dreams within the realm of the possible.
Cooke also stresses the need for us to stop looking backward and reliving past failures. Moving forward and changing one’s life requires forgiveness (of ourselves as well as others). My favorite quote from the book is “Some think it’s holding on that makes one strong; sometimes it’s letting go” by Sylvia Robinson, a vocalist. This book is chock full of inspirational quotes by everyone from Ronald Reagan to Fyodor Dostoevsky.
I would recommend this book to anyone who’s experiencing change in their lives or anyone who’s desiring to make significant life changes.(less)
I used to love to watch investigative/justice themed/debate shows, there was just something about watching an investigative reporter go after folks an...moreI used to love to watch investigative/justice themed/debate shows, there was just something about watching an investigative reporter go after folks and say all the things to them that I was thinking. Honestly, I used to wonder, how'd she get in my head? I'd sit there glued to the television as the host would all but pronounce judgement on the accused. Not once did I ever question the credibility of the host nor did I ever wonder about the accuracy of the reporting, I just assumed that because it was on television and it had a quasi~legal environment that everything said had to be true without the slightest bit of embellishment. Bad librarian.
For me, the biggest takeaway from this book is to abide by John 8:7 which states:
They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, "All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!"
Sometimes in our daily lives, we are quick to judge the lives of others without knowing all the details. And, really, who are we to judge? Shouldn't that role be reserved for the One who is sinless? Without being overly preachy, this book is a lesson on judgment and how quickly reputations and lives can be ruined by baseless accusations.
I’d recommend this book to readers who are interested in suspense intermingled with romance and faith. Bonus points for the book being faith based without being overly preachy and not using any profanity without being too precious. (less)