I was fortunate enough to be selected to receive this book through Goodreads First Reads program. Once I began reading it, I couldn't put it down.
Pea...moreI was fortunate enough to be selected to receive this book through Goodreads First Reads program. Once I began reading it, I couldn't put it down.
Pearl of China tells the story of Pearl Buck, the Pulitzer Prize winning author of The Good Earth, as told by her fictional best friend Willow. Pearl, an American, has been living in China because her parents are Christian missionaries. Her father, Absolom, is particularly passionate to the point of being a distant father and husband. The book delves a great deal into the missionary work that Pearl's parents did in China and the impact they had. Christianity becomes extremely important in the life of Willow and her family and this sustains her through the challenges of an abusive marriage, a miscarriage, political turmoil and violence in China, etc. While Pearl of China delves into the history of China (particularly the politics) it primarily focuses on the sustaining friendship between two extremely strong women.
Anchee Min creates a captivating picture with her imagery of China. She has an enchanting writing style that I enjoyed very much. I plan on reading her other novels, Becoming Madame Mao and Empress Orchid in the future. She also succeeded in introducing me to an important literary contributor that I was not aware of prior to this book. I will also add Good Earth to my list of books that I intend to read in the future. (less)
I was so fortunate to be selected to receive this book through Goodreads First Reads program. I received the Advanced Reader's Edition of the book. Th...moreI was so fortunate to be selected to receive this book through Goodreads First Reads program. I received the Advanced Reader's Edition of the book. The publication date of A Young Wife will be June 14.
Minke is just fifteen years old when she is hired to care for Elisabeth van Aisma, a wealthy woman who is dying. The arrangement is made between her parents, who live in a small town in the Netherlands, and Elisabeth's husband Sander. Once naive Minke meets Sander her life will never be the same.
After Elisabeth's death, Sander proposes marriage to Minke. Despite their age difference and the questionable circumstances of Elisabeth's death, Minke agrees. Very shortly thereafter, the two set sail for Comodoro Rivadavia. Although she loves Sander, Minke learns eventually that her husband has many secrets. These secrets ultimately tear her life apart, causing her to lose her first-born son Zef in a mysterious kidnapping and uproot their lives.
I find this review a bit difficult to write because I don't want to reveal any spoilers and the plot contains a lot of twists and turns which will keep you guessing at which characters can be trusted and where the story will take you. I couldn't stop turning the pages, wanting to find out what happens next.
Minke is an endearing character who you will want to root for. When we are first introduced to her she is quite naive, but she has great spirit and a quiet strength which develops even more as she moves from one adventure to the next. As we read of Minke's adventures, from Amsterdam to Comodoro Rivadavia to New York City, we are there with her - breathing in the crisp sea air on the Frisia as it crosses the ocean, feeling the ground shake beneath our feet as the gauchos gallop across the pampas, fearing the watchers at Ellis Island will turn you away and your long journey will have been for naught. I found A Young Wife to be a very enjoyable read, one that I could barely put down. This is a book that I definitely will be recommending. (less)
I was fortunate enough to be selected to receive an Advance Reader's Edition of Becoming Marie Antoinette: A Novel. I was thrilled to be selected beca...moreI was fortunate enough to be selected to receive an Advance Reader's Edition of Becoming Marie Antoinette: A Novel. I was thrilled to be selected because I have always found Marie Antoinette to be an interesting person in history. Many have portrayed Marie Antoinette as self-absorbed and dimwitted. I was quite intrigued to see how Juliet Grey would present her in this novel.
Maria Antonia grew up in Austria always knowing that one day she would be a "sacrifice to politics". Her mother, Maria Theresa, was the Empress of Austria and demanded great things from her daughters. By the age of 10, Antonia had been promised in marriage to Louis Charles, the dauphin of France. A complete intellectual and physical transformation had to be undergone to prepare Antonia to become the dauphine of France and eventually their Queen. Finally, at the age of 14, the marriage was ready to move forward. Antonia had to leave nearly everything behind; her family, her servants whom she loved like family, her homeland, her language, her customs, etc. She had to convince the people of France to love her, despite the fact that many had preconceived notions about Austrian women. One of the people who needed the most convincing was her new husband, Louis.
Through the pages of this book, Juliet Grey shows us what a strong and compassionate person Marie Antoinette was. Despite constant criticism from her mother, she constantly strove to make her happy. Within the corrupt world of Versailles, Antoinette worked hard to keep her morals. Antoinette struggled to learn who she could trust and who she could not and it becomes clear in this book how lonely of a life it must have truly been.
Thoroughly researched and well-written, I very much enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone. This is the first book in a trilogy and will be released on 8/9/11. The second book in the trilogy, Days of Splendor, Days of Sorrow, will be released in the summer of 2012. The third and final book will be released in 2013. I look forward to reading the next two books in the trilogy.
I was fortunate enough to be selected to receive this book through Goodreads First Reads program!
Life is beautiful and inspiring, but at times it can...moreI was fortunate enough to be selected to receive this book through Goodreads First Reads program!
Life is beautiful and inspiring, but at times it can be difficult, traumatic and painful. Eventually we all seek solace. Solace In So Many Words offers readers a glimpse of how others have found their solace. Death, aging, and tragedy are some of the central themes and I feared that reading this book would bring me down. However, the beauty of this small book is that it doesn't profess to be "self-help" in nature yet it manages to soothe the soul. I'm going through a rather difficult time myself and I found this book to be very reassuring. I particularly fell in love with the following poems: - For All A Baby Knows Antler - First Breath Last Breath Antler - And What If I Spoke Of Despair Ellen Bass - Don't Expect Applause Ellen Bass - The Thing Is Ellen Bass - Veritas Premitur Non Opprimitur Brent Calderwood - Flowers Donna Hilbert
and the following short stories: - Details Joan Corwin - Stops and Starts Kathleen Donahoo - Nagasaki Shadows D.J. Lachance - Lead Us Not Kerry Langan - Heartbeat J. Scott Smith
I'm so excited that I was chosen to receive this book through Goodreads First Reads Program. I'll be anxiously watching the mailbox and will post my r...moreI'm so excited that I was chosen to receive this book through Goodreads First Reads Program. I'll be anxiously watching the mailbox and will post my review soon!(less)
I was selected to receive this book through Goodreads First Reads Program. Both my 10-year-old daughter and I read the book.
Journal of a Schoolyard B...moreI was selected to receive this book through Goodreads First Reads Program. Both my 10-year-old daughter and I read the book.
Journal of a Schoolyard Bully: Notes on Noogies, Wet Willies, and Wedgies is a book similar in style to Diary of a Wimpy Kid and The Dork Diaries. It features cartoons alongside text to tell the story of Niko Kaylor, the school bully. Niko has been asked to keep a journal by his therapist.
This book does have several amusing moments. I did find myself chuckling out loud a couple of times. However, I have to say that I was very disappointed overall in the tone of the book. Slated to be released in September 2011, the time when kids will be returning to school, I think that this book is really more of a celebration of bullying than a lesson to bullies. The author, Farley Katz, touches on issues of why Niko may bully such as an absent father and weight issues. However, I kept hoping that the bully would change his ways and become a better person and that never happens. At a time where bullying has become a serious epidemic, I fear that this book may only make matters worse.
My daughter states that she thought that the book was going to be really funny. She thought that in the end the bully would see the error of his ways. Instead, it seemed to encourage bullying and gave bullies ideas on how to be a "better" bully. At the end of the book he didn't discover the error of his ways but decided to try to become an even better bully. She thought it was a very bad book for children - especially her age or younger. She thinks this book could cause big problems. She gives the book only 1 star.
I received this book through Goodreads FirstReads Program.
Lucia Greenhouse tells her story of being raised in Christian Science and how it impacted h...moreI received this book through Goodreads FirstReads Program.
Lucia Greenhouse tells her story of being raised in Christian Science and how it impacted her life and the life of her family. One of three children raised in an affluent family, Lucia was not allowed to receive immunizations, antibiotics, or even to take pain relievers such as Tylenol because it went against her religious beliefs. When Lucia reached her teenage years, as is common with so many of us, she began to seriously question her religion and have doubts. She struggled with her father’s strict adherence to Christian Science and his dictating all of their lives. She decided Christian Science was not for her, despite the fact that her father had become a practitioner and her mother a “nurse” in the religion. The divide between her and her parents grew as she became more and more frustrated with Christian Science.
In 1985, Lucia realizes her mother is sick. Because of the tenets of their faith, her mother and father decide not to seek the help of medical professionals but to rely on Christian Science to heal her. They completely refuse the concept of going to a hospital. Her illness worsens. Eventually she is taken to a Christian Science nursing home called Tenacre. Lucia and her sister and brother are increasingly concerned for her welfare. Lucia’s father tells them not to inform other members of the family who are not Christian Science members as they would not be supportive. The siblings fear the worst for their mother, but also fear the wrath of their father. Their mother continues to becoming increasingly ill.
What would you do if your faith required you to shun medical treatment when you knew your parent, child, or spouse would likely get better if he/she received it?
I found this book to be incredibly frustrating. I wanted to scream at the author, the father, the mother, her siblings and family members – “DO SOMETHING!” “HELP HER!” I was frustrated by the fact that the author seemed to recognize that her mother was likely dying and that she could possibly (probably?) be saved with traditional medicine, yet was too afraid to do anything to about it. I wanted somebody, anybody, to rescue this poor woman before it was too late. The book was well written, but it did tend to be a bit whiny and it could have been shorter. I think a short story would have sufficed, perhaps without quite so much complaining. (less)