It took me a little while to really get into this book, in fact, it took me about a month to read it but once I got into it, it was hard for me to put...moreIt took me a little while to really get into this book, in fact, it took me about a month to read it but once I got into it, it was hard for me to put it down. This novel has so many different themes:
the inhumanity of slavery maternity and the sacrifices women make for their children race relations the importance of education friendships between women But I think the overwhelming theme (and the one that is probably most relevant to today’s audience) is that women are worth more than their “lady parts.” The main character, Lizzie, drives this point home at the end of the novel when she is thinking about the things she needs to teach her daughter so she could survive in a world where her skin and sex determined her worth:
Never forget your name. Keep track of your years and how old you are. Don’t be afraid to show how you feel. Learn a craft so you always have something to barter other than your private parts. (p. 238)
Wow. This is a powerful statement that simply permeates the novel. The slave women are concubines who are treated as sexual playthings by their masters and scorned by their mistresses, yet, they try to carve out some semblance of love and respectability amongst themselves and others within the slave community.
I’d recommend this novel as an additional reading source for a college level American history course. Tawawa House was a real place and the relationship described between the slave masters and the slave women is one that hasn’t really been explored in other writings but could lead to some interesting in~class discussions (especially when considered alongside the relationship between Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings).(less)
This book was an average read, I think I was disappointed because it wasn’t what I expected it to be. I thought it was a book about a serial killer wh...moreThis book was an average read, I think I was disappointed because it wasn’t what I expected it to be. I thought it was a book about a serial killer who finds redemption through salvation, instead I received a vampire book. I found this to be incredibly surprising, given the book was provided to me by a Christian book publisher. The novel is the continuation of a series of murders that began with Thirsty. Fortunately, you don’t need to read the first book to follow the story line.
Lauryn, the main character, was likable (in fact, I sorta enjoyed her sardonic wit) and I found myself wishing things would work out for her in the end. Her life just seemed to be full of loss and emptiness, which mirrored the loss and emptiness felt by Amede, the protagonist in the story. Both women were leading tandem lives ~ searching for love, acceptance and a sense of belonging. This novel is part romance, part mystery and a whole lot of vampire lore and if that’s your thing, this book is for you. It’s not mine so…
The one thing that I kept waiting for was the Christian aspect of the book (not anything preachy, but something that indicated that this book is geared towards those who practice the Christian faith), and when it finally came, it was rushed. I think the overall message of the book is that even though we may feel alone, God is always with us.(less)
This book broke my heart. From the moment the first sentence began until the last sentence ended, my heart felt as if it were folding in on itself. Bo...moreThis book broke my heart. From the moment the first sentence began until the last sentence ended, my heart felt as if it were folding in on itself. Bouncing back and forth between a call~and~response type pattern with flashes forward into the future and tumbles into the past, this is an emotionally charged narrative that will leave you wondering why?
Emma Jean’s desire for a daughter was born of her own need to feel loved, wanted and needed (an overall theme in this book, which is why I think the characters in this book are so relatable). But it’s not just the emotional, physical and psychological damage that is done to Perfect that begs to be examined, it’s the damage that was been done to Emma Jean in her past that made me pity her. No member of the Peace family remains unscathed by this tragedy and Black does a wonderful job of exploring the hurt and rage that the revelation of the truth provokes.
This novel made me question everything that I associate with gender and sexuality ~ what does it mean to be a girl or to be a boy? Can one’s gender be changed by nature or nurture?
What I liked most was that Black didn’t wrap the book up with a pretty little bow at the end, the characters are given some measure of healing but deep down you know that they’ll continue to pay the price for Emma Jean’s deceptions for the rest of their lives.(less)
Absolutely haunting. Those are the only words I can use to describe this novel. I've read a few Holocaust based novels and each time I've been left fe...moreAbsolutely haunting. Those are the only words I can use to describe this novel. I've read a few Holocaust based novels and each time I've been left feeling numb but this one was different because it is the story of a child told from the point of view of a reporter with a startling connection to the story.
Bouncing back and forth between the past (Sarah's story) and the present (Julia's story), de Rosnay did a wonderful job of tapping into my emotional center and making me care very deeply about all of the characters in the story (even Julia's husband). This is not an easy read because of the topic but it's worth the heartbreak and the tears.
I've taken classes on European history and not once do I ever remember reading about the roundup of Parisian Jews by the French police. I ended up doing supplemental reading to find out more about the roundup of French Jews and their fate ~ a very tragic story. This is a part of history that needs to be re~examined and studied so that the deaths of so many people (especially the heartbreaking deaths of so many children) will never be forgotten.
Note, if you're in a book club, there are book group discussion questions at the end of the novel.(less)
I had a difficult time getting into this book. I'm not sure if it's because environmentalism isn't of interest to me or if it was the Jeffrey's writin...moreI had a difficult time getting into this book. I'm not sure if it's because environmentalism isn't of interest to me or if it was the Jeffrey's writing style. That being said, I do understand the thesis of his book which is that environmentalists have become so intent on preserving Earth that they are pushing people to the side and creating an opening for the usurpation of American sovereignty to environmental agencies. These environmental agencies are creating laws that threaten to undermine the financial stability of the United States, which Jeffrey believes will lead to the ultimate ruin of America.
As a believer in the word of God, I see where Jeffrey draws his inspiration and I fully endorse his arguments, I just wish the writing was a little less dry.(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)
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 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.
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)