At the beginning of The Moon Sisters, we meet sisters Jazz and Olivia. Olivia finds her mother dead in the kitchen, with the gas stove on. A letter is...moreAt the beginning of The Moon Sisters, we meet sisters Jazz and Olivia. Olivia finds her mother dead in the kitchen, with the gas stove on. A letter is on the table; Olivia hides the letter in her pocket.
The book is divided into five parts: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and finally Acceptance. Sound familiar? Anyone in Psych 201 learns about these five stages from Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross.
The two sisters move on with their lives after their mother's death; they go through the five stages. There is tension. We learn about Jazz's birth, the reason for her name and about Olivia from the letters written by their mother.
The end shows how much of what is assumed to be reality is simply that -- an assumption, a misconception. What is reality? (less)
What would you do if you run across an envelope that says, "Do not open until the event of my death"? What if the person who wrote the envelope is sti...moreWhat would you do if you run across an envelope that says, "Do not open until the event of my death"? What if the person who wrote the envelope is still living? Would you open the envelope?
This is the very beginning of The Husband's Secret. Cecilia tells her husband that she found the envelope. He is another continent away. He asks her not to open it.
Temptation strikes. She succumbs to it. Envelope opened.
Fortunately we do not have to read the whole book before we find out what the husband's secret was. The rest of the book then tells how Cecilia, her husband, and other people cope with the event that surround the secret.
The novel is set in Australia, so at times I would do a double-take at reading about Easter during a beautiful autumn day.
Do you ever wonder "what if....?" The epilogue was the best part of the book -- it brought the book from a regular chick-lit novel up to an "ohhhhhhh my word!" (less)
When I received this 941-page (not including the index) volume, I began reading at my birthyear, on up to today. Some ideas surprised me: "hey, this d...moreWhen I received this 941-page (not including the index) volume, I began reading at my birthyear, on up to today. Some ideas surprised me: "hey, this didn't happen until I finished college!" Then I went back to the very beginning at pre-500 CE and skimmed through. I read pages connected with my ancestors' birthyears more closely.
This volume has over 900 striking illustrations, charts and photography, which add much to the enjoyment of this volume.
I recognized several terms from watching The Big Bang Theory (every episode guarantees a laugh), such as Higgs Boson (1964) and String Theory (1969).
This book rates only 4 stars because the type-face is very small with faded print. Eye-strain was a result. If we could make it 1002 Ideas, I'd recommend a darker print for this book. (less)
Don't you sometimes wish you could kick yourself for not doing something sooner? I had a copy of an advance reader's copy of If You Find Me for a year...moreDon't you sometimes wish you could kick yourself for not doing something sooner? I had a copy of an advance reader's copy of If You Find Me for a year before picking it up to read. Once I started, I was absorbed!
Carey and Jenessa live an isolated life in Obed Wild and Scenic River National Park in Wartburg, Tennessee, which is less than 70 miles from where I am. Carey raises her sister from infancy because of their mother's addictions. After they are rescued, they discover life in civilization, life with new coats, full meals, and kind people. We enjoy reading how Carey copes with teenage social life. Jenessa has selective mutism; Carey is so afraid she will be kicked out after others discover the reason for the mutism.
If You Find Me is Murdoch's debut novel. It has been nominated for the 2014 Carnegie Medal. I have my fingers crossed that the book will win. (less)
Girard opens his book telling us about Mendel (the father of genetics), moving on to the more recent science of genetics, study of DNAs and cloning. I...moreGirard opens his book telling us about Mendel (the father of genetics), moving on to the more recent science of genetics, study of DNAs and cloning. I would have liked biology better if Girard had been my professor.
Girard makes three chilling statements even before his story begins: Scientists isolated DNA factors. "Once isolated, analyzed each factor to understand how it really worked. Once understood, explored how to modify." The scientist who led the team that cloned Dolly the Sheep, said in reference to cloning humans, "It would be naive to think it possible to prevent." Cloning humans, by the way, is still completely legal in the United States. Everyone just assumes it's not.
What a super background for such a suspenseful novel. Fiction: the U.S. Department of Defense cloned serial killers to develop a new bio-weapon. Yes, fiction ... but it could happen. What if serial killers were cloned in order to study nature vs. nurture? What if some of these teenage clones left the compound on a rampage? A former special ops soldier is asked to track them.
S H U D D E R
That is what I did when I read Cain's Blood. You will too. To be honest, parts of this book held too much horror and gore for me, even though I enjoy reading novels about serial killers.
Cathy and Roxanne are best friends. They have been best friends for life. Cathy is married to Nick Chance; it is a marriage made in heaven -- they are...moreCathy and Roxanne are best friends. They have been best friends for life. Cathy is married to Nick Chance; it is a marriage made in heaven -- they are perfect for each other.
Roxanne has issues and visits psychologists frequently. One afternoon Cathy and Roxanne go for a drive in Roxanne's car. There's a wreck. One dies. One lives.
My review stops here. I do not want to say anymore because of the danger of spoilers. Suffice to say I was absorbed in the book. Some characters I liked, some I didn't, some I sympathized with. We are treated to different POVs (points of view). I wanted to know what would happen next. Even though I had suspicions about what happened, there was a surprise twist at the end.
I hope the author will continue to write and publish more. (less)
Reflections: me climb mountains? Hah! The closest I ever did that was Stone Mountain near Atlanta. We rode the cable car up the steep part and walked...moreReflections: me climb mountains? Hah! The closest I ever did that was Stone Mountain near Atlanta. We rode the cable car up the steep part and walked down the sloping side. I tripped, slid on my stomach several feet, and ruined my favorite pair of slacks. Didn't even skin my knees, but it was enough to turn me off climbing.
Steph Davis is completely opposite of me. That is what makes reading books so much fun --- we live adventurously through them. Davis dropped out of law school and climbed wherever and whenever she could. "It was a life of pure adventure, and nothing about it was safe," she said. However her marriage and career as a professional climber unraveled. What next?
Davis describes her discovery and exploration of free fall, skydiving, and BASE (building, antenna, span, earth) jumping. Always at her side was her dog Fletch.
I enjoyed reading about Davis' adventures; my favorite parts were when she talked about Fletch, the four-legged love of her life. Fletch tugged at my heart. I felt the book could have been better edited and organized chronologically. Rather it jumps from one scene to another several years in the future back to the first. She describes how she met Fletch and her husband in several points in the book. Fortunately there's an index in the back which I frequently used.(less)
Reflections: Aeons ago I had a student with Asperger's. He had difficulties reading emotions on people's faces and understanding why they were so mad....moreReflections: Aeons ago I had a student with Asperger's. He had difficulties reading emotions on people's faces and understanding why they were so mad. He adored writing stories, creating scenarios and names for his characters, and told me about a girlfriend he met on the Internet because both of them wrote stories.
Ahhh, when I read Anything but Typical, I kept nodding ... my student could have written this.
Jason Blake is 12-years-old. He has difficulties in school and in the community because he is autistic. He calls non-autistic people neurotypical. They don't understand him, they don't understand his thinkings, they have issues with him. Jason enjoys sharing his stories on the Storyboard website. He meets PhoenixBird (gasp! a girl!) on-line. She could be his first real friend.
Jason suggests various ways to be a good writer, such as "Names are important." One of his characters is a dwarf named Bennu. We go "ah-ha!" when we discover why he chose this name.
"Books are like brownies." is another gem we pick up from Jason. There is no one way to write a book, just as there is no one way to bake brownies (chewy or cake-like? one egg or three?) The author, Baskin, has written a perfect book. (less)
Reflections: Ten years ago, a U.S. Army soldier named Jessica was captured in Iraq when her convoy was ambushed. She was rescued by a Special Ops team...more Reflections: Ten years ago, a U.S. Army soldier named Jessica was captured in Iraq when her convoy was ambushed. She was rescued by a Special Ops team. Two years ago, a humanitarian aid worker also named Jessica was kidnapped by Somali pirates and held for 93 days. She was rescued by SEAL Team Six.
Sniper Elite: One Way Trip is a fiction book about Gil Shannon, one of the most lethal SEAL snipers ever. Gil lives in Montana with his wife when he is not on a military mission. However, he considers his true home to be the Navy. The book opens on Gil's hunting of a bull elk and the calculations in his brain while looking through the rifle scope. We learn through his flashback about his first kill.
In the meantime, a female Black Hawk pilot, Sandra Brux, is captured in Afghanistan. The scenes of what her captors do to her are difficult to read.
The military code is: Leave No Man Behind. It also should be Leave No Woman Behind.
However, the President of the U.S. orders that Brux not be rescued. Say what?! Gil and the others in the special ops community plan to defy this order.
Our hearts race with adrenalin when we learn about another One Way Trip. Gil talks to Brux's husband. He calls his wife --- this phone call is a tear-jerker. No spoilers here about the rescue attempt. At the very last page, a cold chill ran down my spine. (less)
Reflections: I have been told I should write a book --- truthfully, I'm more of a reader than a writer. I'm content with this blog, my too-many Facebo...moreReflections: I have been told I should write a book --- truthfully, I'm more of a reader than a writer. I'm content with this blog, my too-many Facebook posts, and notes to friends.
Natalie Goldberg holds writing workshops. Her newest book The True Secret of Writing: Connecting Life with Language focuses on a mantra: Sit. Walk. Write.
Another mantra is: Shut Up and Write!
Goldberg describes her childhood and marriage; then gives exercises and lists of things to meditate upon and write about. This was an interesting book to skim through, however I was not motivated enough to actually want to sit down, shut up, and write. (less)
A debut novel based in London tells the story of a backpacking young woman called to come home because of the impending death of her father. It also t...moreA debut novel based in London tells the story of a backpacking young woman called to come home because of the impending death of her father. It also tells the story of a homeless man in London.
Is there a connection between the two people? Yes. Early in the book, the reader will figure out the connection.
Both characters are written in first-person; I had difficulty at the beginning figuring out which person was speaking. If I could use half-stars, this would be 3.5 stars. We follow the past and present of the two characters. The city of London itself can be considered a character as well.
Each chapter begins with a delightful list of "Ten Things ...." Some examples:
Ten ways other people might describe me. Ten inappropriate thoughts during my father's funeral. Ten things I'd say about London. (less)