Three years after the death of her sister, Nina Sankovich takes on the project of reading and reviewing a book a day for a year. She felt the need toThree years after the death of her sister, Nina Sankovich takes on the project of reading and reviewing a book a day for a year. She felt the need to slow down from the hectic life she had been trying to life for herself and for her sister. While she had specific goals for her project, Sankovitch found so much more in her connection with books and sharing them with others.
Having lost my own sister to complications of cancer when she was only 16, I was afraid Tolstoy and the Purple Chair would be difficult for me to read. In some ways it was as it brought back the memories of emotions felt so strongly 14 years ago but at the same time Nina Sankovitch provided comfort by expressing so many of my own thoughts. She gave voice to some of the questions and ideas that I could never find the words to convey.
Reading a book a day and then reviewing it for a year is a very ambitious project. Although I am an avid reader, I would be unable to stick to that kind of schedule. The list of books that she read is impressive but more compelling are the stories that the books bring out of Sankovitch and others she connects with on her reading journey. The characters and places she visits in the books remind her of the universal qualities of human life - the joys, sorrows, fears, worries, kindness, and beauty. Through books, she connects on a different level to family and friends and other book lovers she will never meet in person. While she never stops grieving her sister's death and the life that her sister will never complete, she comes to a realization that she carries her sister with her as she moves forward with her own life.
Tolstoy and the Purple Chair is not a book to be rushed through but one to be savored. Sankovich has chosen her words carefully and expresses her thoughts precisely. She reads deeply, immersed in worlds not her own, but returns each day to share the ideals found in books with those around her. Her family stories and her thoughts and emotions tied to those stories work very well with the actual discussion of the books she read. It is only in combining the two elements (books & personal stories) that Tolstoy and the Purple Chair works on such an emotional level. After all who would want to read a book comprised solely of books reviews?...more
It isn't often that I read "chick lit," not because I don't like it but because I tend to forget about it. It isn't the type of book that I think to sIt isn't often that I read "chick lit," not because I don't like it but because I tend to forget about it. It isn't the type of book that I think to seek out when I'm in a library or bookstore. So I'm always glad when I read something for a book club that I wouldn't have picked up on my own and rediscover why I enjoy something.
Can You Keep A Secret? was just that kind of book for me. It reminded me that sometimes I need to take a break and read something that is fun and light on the surface even when it does examine some deeper aspects of relationships. I was hooked on Emma from the beginning of the story. Her chatty voice drew me in and I listened along as if I were on a journey with a close girlfriend. Sometimes I struggle with books that are supposed to be funny when the main character has everything go wrong because I don't see the humor in the suffering. With Emma, I was totally mortified right along with her as Jack hinted at her secrets in various situations but I was able to find it funny as well.
My heart dropped with Emma's when there was a twist that I didn't see coming and I wondered if miscommunications and secrets really would be the end of things for Jack and Emma.
Can You Keep A Secret? was a fast read and a bit of an emotional roller coaster with more depth than seen at first glance....more
The President's Vampire is the second installment in a series from Christopher Farnsworth featuring Nathanial Cade, the vampire of the title, and hisThe President's Vampire is the second installment in a series from Christopher Farnsworth featuring Nathanial Cade, the vampire of the title, and his human partner Zach Barrows. This time the unlikely pair faces an outbreak that threatens the whole of humanity. Old enemies return and new ones pop up in unexpected places.
The President's Vampire is another intense cross between political thriller and horror story. Farnsworth's characters use science in ways that are almost too scary to contemplate making the threat in the book seem almost a realistic possibility.
It did take me several chapters to settle into the story but I experienced the same thing with Blood Oath and knew the main story would be worth taking the time to regain my bearings in this world. Changing time periods and locations allows Farnsworth to present information that would not otherwise be available to Zach and Cade but that will help fill in the big picture for the reader.
Although he still makes rookie mistakes, Zach is finally starting to really grow into his role as liaison between Cade and the President. Cade shows a bit more personality in this book as well.
The President's Vampire is another solid hit from Farnsworth. My only question is "When does the third book come out?"...more
Tamara Goodwin's life is turned upside down when she and her mother must move in with her aunt and uncle after her father commits suicide. She is boreTamara Goodwin's life is turned upside down when she and her mother must move in with her aunt and uncle after her father commits suicide. She is bored in the country with no way to get into town and her aunt constantly looking over her shoulder so when a traveling library stops at the house she jumps at the chance to take a ride. A locked book with no author and blank pages turns out to be her diary but the entries seem to write themselves and they are always dated a day in the future. Tamara hardly believes it is possible until the events recorded in the book start happening and then she reads eagerly wondering if she can change them. Each evening she reads about the next day discovering clues along the way to family secrets long buried which will change what she knows about her life forever.
Cecelia Ahern writes interesting but very flawed characters and wonderful description. The book started a bit slowly and unevenly but that felt like it mimicked Tamara's emotions as she struggled to find her footing in the strange and uncertain world after her father's death. So many times Tamara and the reader are given clues that things are not quite what they seem or what she has been led to believe but it takes quite a while to put it all together. Questions arise but are left hanging until almost the end of the book. I think this is in part because Tamara doesn't know enough to know what to ask and in part because she senses that the answers could impact her in a fundamental way and so she brushes things aside not really wanting to know.
The Book of Tomorrow was a very fast and interesting read. I enjoyed the story, the writing, and the way the characters changed throughout the book....more
It is no secret that I absolutely love Kelley Armstong's Women of the Otherworld series and Frostbitten reinforces that love completely. Elena MichaelIt is no secret that I absolutely love Kelley Armstong's Women of the Otherworld series and Frostbitten reinforces that love completely. Elena Michaels is the female werewolf who started the whole series and it is so nice to return to her as the central character. Taking Clay and Elena away from the Pack and their children was a great way to keep the focus on how they interact as a couple. I found out a lot more about Elena's past in this book and that gave great insight into her motives, methods, and pressure points.
There is a lot going on in this book to tie together the many different threads that Clay and Elena must follow. Armstrong keeps things moving quickly but also provides down time to think things through, talk things over, and plan their next moves. The dialogue between Clay and Elena easily moves between playful, serious, and sexy. Elena shows her tough side when dealing with other werewolves but lets her guard down a bit with Clay. Armstrong writes such full characters along with the great story lines.
One thing that I really enjoy about this series is that the focus shifts to different characters for different books. This means that it isn't critical to read the books in order as long as you keep the books with the same main characters together. This was definitely to my advantage because I skipped over Frostbitten to read the hardcover of Waking the Witch because Savannah is one of my favorite characters. I thought the Savannah books might be my favorites of this series but I think Frostbitten actually beat Waking the Witch for me! I am looking forward to returning to Savannah in Spell Bound but now I really want more Elena. I hope we see more of what the Pack looks like in the future....more
If I were to base my enjoyment of this book simply on the publisher's description I would have been sorely disappointed. The novel that I read bears lIf I were to base my enjoyment of this book simply on the publisher's description I would have been sorely disappointed. The novel that I read bears little resemblance to the blurb on the back cover. The back cover states "When a box of Iris's belongings arrives on Sam's doorstep, she discovers things about her mother she never knew -- or could even guess. But she is puzzled by much of what she finds. She learns that Violet, the woman she knows as her grandmother, left New York City as an eleven-year-old girl and found a better life in the Midwest. But what was the real reason behind Violet's journey? And how could she come that far on her own at such a tender age?" While it is true that a box of her mother's things does arrive on Sam's doorstep and that she is puzzled by what she finds, she does not find any of the answers hinted at in the description. As the reader, I learned Violet's story of travel on the orphan train but Samantha does not actually learn for certain that Violet was in New York City. In fact, Samantha spends very little time looking through the things in the box.
With all that said, I did enjoy the majority of this novel. Each chapter focused on a different woman which meant that time was very fluid. For the most part the time shifts were easy to follow, although there were a couple of overlaps between Samantha and Iris that found confusing. Even within a chapter, time is fluid as the main characters move through their memories as well as current events.
I connected to Samantha instantly as she struggled with being a new mother and leaving her child with someone else for the first time. So much of what she was feeling was familiar to me. The struggles of Iris and Violet were much less familiar but no less moving. As compelling as the stores were, I was unsatisfied when I reached the end. Violet and Iris's stories reach the expected conclusion but Samantha's story simply ends abruptly. It is clear that Samantha has some major realization at the end of her story but I am uncertain how it impacts her view of life going forward....more