I admit that I wanted to read this book because it was written by J.K. Rowling. I continue to believe that Ms. Rowling is a brilliant writer and wasn´...moreI admit that I wanted to read this book because it was written by J.K. Rowling. I continue to believe that Ms. Rowling is a brilliant writer and wasn´t disappointed with her first effort at an adult novel.
The story begins with the death of Barry Fairbrother, a parish councilman in an idyllic English village named Pagford. His untimely death creates a casual vacancy for the council seat he holds and the reaction to this news sets the story in motion. Each of the characters tries to take advantage of the vacancy to serve their own purposes to gain the political power that goes with the councilman position. Never mind that a decent human being has died, the villagers only consideration is what will benefit each of them.
As Ms. Rowling tells the story of various village residents, she covers several themes that provide the backdrop for the tragedies that unfold. (SPOILER) Some of the themes include child abuse, drug addiction, rape, teen-age sex, deception, lying, spitefulness, etc. There are enough themes to keep the story moving along to fill the entire 503 pages. This brings me to some of the disappointments that I had with the book. For one thing the book is long and is tedious in some spots. Ms. Rowling is a master at character development but there are so many characters that it is hard to keep them straight. There is colorful language that is used that at times looks like it is just tossed in for no apparent reason. Finally, the story is told from many characters points of view that is hard to follow at times with very few likable characters. That being said, Ms. Rowling does a brilliant job of bringing together all the subplots in the book so there is a satisfying conclusion to the story. (less)
A charming book about the friendship of three college students, Pen, Will and Cat. While they were close friends, to almost the exclusion of others, u...moreA charming book about the friendship of three college students, Pen, Will and Cat. While they were close friends, to almost the exclusion of others, upon graduation the separated and didn´t remain in close contact. Years later Cat sends a message requesting that they all meet for their 10 year college reunion. Will and Pen, sensing Cat is in trouble, meet at the reunion but Cat is no where to be found. Pen and Will are devoted to Cat and their quest to find her forms the basis for the rest of the story. Ms de los Santos is a very good writer and excels at character development. Other reviews of her work describe her writing as poetic and I agree with this assessment. Falling together, is my introduction to her work and I am looking forward to reading her two previous books, both of which received good reviews.(less)
Kate Morton is a very good writer. What I like most is her descriptions that set the time and place so vividly. That being said she almost overwhelms...moreKate Morton is a very good writer. What I like most is her descriptions that set the time and place so vividly. That being said she almost overwhelms her readers with endless detail and could easily have shaved off 100 pages. What is outstanding are her characters and the interweaving of the plot that brings the character´s lives full circle at the end. I admit I was a fourth of the way into the book before I really was interested and after that I was annoyed with life´s interruptions that kept me from finishing the book. The story is also very depressing but I am likely to read it again simply because the complicated plot is so compelling.(less)
Blueberry Summers: Growing up at the Lake is a charming book that just about everyone can relate to on some level if you grew up in Minnesota. Since t...moreBlueberry Summers: Growing up at the Lake is a charming book that just about everyone can relate to on some level if you grew up in Minnesota. Since there are lakes in abundance practically everyone spends time at a lake with family and friends at one time or another. Curtiss Anderson shares his coming of age experiences with us through his stories about his Norwegian family as they spend their summers at the lake in a primitive farmhouse; no electricity or indoor plumbing. The stories are laugh out loud funny at times and deeply emotional at other times. One reviewer stated that the book isn´t a page turner, but I have to respectfully disagree because so many of the carefully crafted characters reminded me of people I knew when I was growing up and brought back happy memories for me. If you are looking for a book about life in simpler times I think you would enjoy reading this book as much as I did. (less)
This charming story by Lois Lenski, part of her Regional Series of books for children, is about a family's adventures aboard a houseboat as they trave...moreThis charming story by Lois Lenski, part of her Regional Series of books for children, is about a family's adventures aboard a houseboat as they travel down the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. Patsy and her family are happily living in River City, Illinois. Patsy loves going to school with her friends, but unfortunatly, her Daddy has river life in his blood and is never content to stay in one place too long. He builds a houseboat for his family to live in, plus other boats that are necessary for him to earn a living on the river as a fisherman. Lucky for him, his wife understands his wunderlust tendencies and packs up the family to begin their adventure. Patsy and her siblings are somewhat resentul that they have no choice in the matter but slowly they learn to live with situation and adapt to the adventure of living life on the river. The family meets with obstacles but Patsy's bravery plays an important part in resolving conflicts. This is a very appealing story that girls especially will enjoy reading.(less)
The story begins a few days before Christmas. Stacy is very happy because her relationship with her boyfriend, Bruce Seerie, seens to be going well. H...moreThe story begins a few days before Christmas. Stacy is very happy because her relationship with her boyfriend, Bruce Seerie, seens to be going well. However, Stacy is often frustrated because Bruce's manipulative mother is still very much in control of his life, and Bruce's failure to stand up to his mother is a constant source of irritation to Stacy. Stacy's relationship with her family is difficult at times and she doesn't always get that they are just trying to do their best for her. Later, Bruce suffers a terrible disappointment that changes the course of his life. How the characters work through their conflicts is very satisfying and this book proves to be a successful conclusion to the Belford series.
Lenora Mattingly Weber's formula for writng teenage romance books includes young coming of age heroines, who though flawed try to do the right thing;...moreLenora Mattingly Weber's formula for writng teenage romance books includes young coming of age heroines, who though flawed try to do the right thing; large families with conflict among siblings; over whelmed single parents; romance with less than worthy suitors; constant striving for imagined ideals followed by the realization that what they already have is what was wanted in the first place. These themes provide very satisfying reading about the world of teenage angst. In "I Met a Boy I Used to Know," Katie Rose is drawn to a new boy in high school, Gilmartin Ames, a young, swaggering, self-centered cowboy, who proves irritating from the start. He gets himself into a lot of trouble because of his attitude, yet at the same time Katie sees a softer side that attracts her to him. The conflict in their relationship is the basis for this well written story. What I especially like about Ms. Weber's writing is the way she provides food for thought for her readers. My favorite quote from this book is on page 33, "...poets are men or women who have the gift of putting into words the longing, despair, or ecstacy other people feel but can't find words for." I like this quote as I am one who lacks talent for writing poetry and have learned to appreciate writers who have that gift.(less)
I started this book a year ago and then read other titles so I just got back to it and finished it today. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and recommend...moreI started this book a year ago and then read other titles so I just got back to it and finished it today. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and recommend it. It is the story of 16 year old Katie Rose who is given the opportunity to run the family household when her mother and grandmother leave to help relatives in Ireland. She makes assumptions about her family and rushes to judgement when she is in charge and running the show. This all gets resolved in a very satisfying way and we, as readers, get to appreciate the characters and how they support Katie who sometimes doesn't really deserve it. There are a few sub-plots that keep the story interesting.(less)
I enjoyed this book and thought it had a well crafted plot with lots of twists and turns that will keep you guessing and intriguing characters that ar...moreI enjoyed this book and thought it had a well crafted plot with lots of twists and turns that will keep you guessing and intriguing characters that are likeable and despicable. This is what a well written mystery novel is all about. (less)
I count the mother/daughter writers known as PJ Tracy to be one of my favorites. They haven't released a novel in a of couple years so I was really lo...moreI count the mother/daughter writers known as PJ Tracy to be one of my favorites. They haven't released a novel in a of couple years so I was really looking forward to the publication of this book. The series is set in Minneapolis, my hometown, so all the scenes that are described are very familiar to me. I liked this book for its plot and colorful characters but it is not as good as their first novel. Some of the very funny dialog is trite and the constant repetition with regard to the dark side of the Internet is tedious. That being said, I liked the book and look forward to future publications.(less)
This is the story of two families, the white McAllan family and their tenents, the black Jackson family, who struggle to scratch out a living on a dec...moreThis is the story of two families, the white McAllan family and their tenents, the black Jackson family, who struggle to scratch out a living on a decript farm in the proverty stricken rural South Delta region in Mississipp after WWII. The oldest Jackson son, Ronsel who served with a tank crew under General Patton's command during the war, returns home a hero, but finds nothing has changed since he left and he is forced to live under the same barbaric Jim Crow laws and attitudes in place when he left. The McAllan's are facing equally difficult situations with their returning WWII veteran and a demanding, demented father. The author uses a first person narrative to tell the story which gives the reader the opportunity to experience the thoughs and feelings of the most important characters with racism, betrayal and murder as the main themes. This is a very good book and only the ending, while satisfactory, prevents me from giving it a 5-star rating.
This is not an easy read as it follows a young girls struggle to survive after she becomes a infected with leprosy. The story is compelling and very w...moreThis is not an easy read as it follows a young girls struggle to survive after she becomes a infected with leprosy. The story is compelling and very well told.(less)