I just could not get into *Goldengrove*. I'm not fond of novels that start off with a death and having to read hoAs posted in [http://www.amazon.com]:
I just could not get into *Goldengrove*. I'm not fond of novels that start off with a death and having to read how everyone around has to deal with it. It's almost always depressing and *Goldengrove* is no exception.
Margaret and Nico are close sisters. Margaret is dating Aaron, despite the fact that her parents think he has a loose screw. Adamant to see Aaron, Nico gets involved to lie for her sister and enjoys it.
On this particular day, Nico and Margaret are bonding out on the lake. Margaret takes a dive and drowns. The world is no longer the same. The mother has been popping pills. The father is busy working on a book at a bookstore he owns. Nico just tries to live day by day. She also hangs out with Aaron, behinds everyone's backs.
And that is basically it. Everyone is dealing with Margaret's death and trying to move on. Nico's hang-outs with Aaron becomes gradually odd. Nonetheless, I found *Goldengrove* to be depressing. ...more
I really tried to like this book since it was written by Julia Glass. I've heard so much about Glass and "The ThrAs posted in [http://www.amazon.com]:
I really tried to like this book since it was written by Julia Glass. I've heard so much about Glass and "The Three Junes". However, I just could not connect to this story.
*I See You Everywhere* is about 2 sisters, who have grown apart through the years. Yet, they remain in touch or even visit, especially during tragic events. Louisa, the elder sister, is the stable one with a rooted job and a consistent love interest. Chem, the other one, travels the world, as a biologist, studying and saving the animals. She goes through men like underwear.
The sisters' perspectives are tag-teamed throughout the book...that is, until one of them dies. And the story should have stopped there because it was already dead before then. Unfortunately, Glass continues the story and it was just pointless.
Basically, this story is just about sisters picking on each other on why they aren't like the other (being stable vs. being free). They only band together when it comes to their parents. ...more
I'm not sure why I got Cassella's *Oxygen* because the synopsis in the back made me hesitant. But something justAs posted in [http://www.amazon.com]:
I'm not sure why I got Cassella's *Oxygen* because the synopsis in the back made me hesitant. But something just told me to get it. Boy, am I glad. I was hooked from the first page to the end.
Dr. Marie Heaton is an anesthesiologist at a top Seattle hospital. She's living the usual life of a doctor, working shifts here and there. She really enjoys her job as she also comforts patients, knowing that they entrust their lives in her hands.
Meanwhile, in her personal life, she keeps regular contact with her sister, Lori, who lives in Fort Worth. They both keep tabs on their widowed father, who is gradually losing his vision. She also has a close telephonic relationship with her neice, Elsa, because she just cannot get along with her mother.
Overall, life is grand for Marie...until that one life-changing event. An eight-year-old girl dies in the middle of an operation. The blame falls on Dr. Heaton, despite the fact that she did try to save her life. Almost immediately, the hospital and the lawyers get together with Dr. Heaton to prevent this from becoming public.
Dr. Heaton is no stranger to death. However, this was her first death that involved a child. Thus, her nightmare has only begun. She has to tell the mother, who has no other family. She has to fill out paperwork. She has to wait for the autopsy, which could make or break her. She has to attend millions of meetings, with the insurance company, with the hospital administrators and, of course, with the lawyers.
Cassella does a great job, drawing us into Dr. Marie Heaton's personal thoughts and feelings. Guilt and remorse are constant throughout, despite the fact that she did her best in this situation. At the same time, Cassella provides an element of frustration. Marie is "thrown to the dogs" as the hospital thinks of their reputation and leaves her to fend for herself. So much for the comfort that she did her best in the girl's surgery.
Seeking solace, Marie reconnects with a colleague, who was once her lover. And she also takes off to Texas to be with her family. While waiting for the verdict, all she can do is take a breather.
Wonderful novel of one's reflective journey through tribulation. ...more
For me, *The Poisonwood Bible* could have been on top of my personal list as an all-time classic. Alas! It does nAs posted in [http://www.amazon.com]:
For me, *The Poisonwood Bible* could have been on top of my personal list as an all-time classic. Alas! It does not.
I thoroughly enjoyed the first half of this novel. In 1959, Nathan Price, a fire-and-brimstone Baptist envangelist/missionary, uprooted his Georgian family and takes them halfway around the world to the Belgian Congo. Including him, his wife (Orleanna) and his 4 daughters (Rachel, Leah, Adah and Ruth May) were totally unprepared for life in the Congo. I mean, they had packed boxes of Betty Crocker cake mixes.
Though not one to give up, the Price women did their best to mingle and play with the natives. More often than not, they've had to "make do" while still holding on to some semblance of an American life on foreign land. Meanwhile, through frustration and bitterness, Nathan cannot understand why he cannot lead the native souls to salvation. The natives have explained why as well as their worldview. In simplicity, Nathan just had to modify to the natives' interests. However, remaining adamant to his style of belief and salvation, Nathan began to develop a personality that's similar to Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. This transformation alienates him from the natives and even his family.
All this change when a tragic event occurred. The Price women had enough and returned home in Georgia.
At this point, it would have been great...along with a short story of what happens to everyone in the aftermath. But no, Kingsolver doesn't stop here. She continues the story well into the girls' adulthood, which they're the polar opposite than what they were as kids. And it just doesn't make sense, which made me scream out in frustration. Simply put, the second half killed my interest/liking of the novel. ...more
*We Disappear* is a haunting novel about a mother and her grown son poring over missing children cases.
A young boy has gone missing, which Scott gets a call from his mother, Donna, asking him to come down to Kansas from Manhattan to solve this crime together. Addicted to meth, Scott relents and because his mother is sick with cancer.
However, he soon discovers, after his arrival, that his mother was once a victim of abduction as a child but was safely returned. For years, this "safe" abduction has bothered Donna. When she becomes too sick to carry on, Scott and her best friend, Dolores, continue to piece together this vague recollection of the abduction.
While she's sick and deemed delusional (of the alleged abduction), Scott doesn't realize that she has crafted a way to draw out her son from the world of meth.
I really enjoyed this haunting novel of a mother and son bonding over a hobby, an addiction and a past. ...more
For his 50th birthday, Joseph Licht is making special recipes for one big dinner for his sons. However, Joseph haAs posted in [http://www.amazon.com]:
For his 50th birthday, Joseph Licht is making special recipes for one big dinner for his sons. However, Joseph has an ulterior motive and that is to ask his sons for forgiveness for what happened 20 years earlier.
20 years earlier, Joseph, a literature professor, meets Rabbi Yoel Rosenznweig, who is something of a genius/prodigy of the Torah. Something connects between the two of them. Almost without a second thought, Joseph abandons his faithful wife and 5 sons...only to discover that Yoel has committed suicide.
I felt that *Light Fell* was a frustrating book because Joseph works hard in preparing the arrival of his sons. His sons are spoiled, judgmental and unappreciative. In addition, Fallenberg doesn't give the sons any depths as he has given to Joseph. Perhaps if we knew more about the sons' views, we might be able to understand their position with their father. ...more
Wow! I'm not sure if I'm supposed to like the book because of the style of writing and the bold approach of a topAs posted in [http://www.amazon.com]:
Wow! I'm not sure if I'm supposed to like the book because of the style of writing and the bold approach of a topic or if I'm supposed to hate it because of a sensitive topic. I can say one thing...that Erian didn't hold back her creative juices. It's so good I thought that it was actually a memoir.
Feeling threatened by her daughter, especially when her boyfriend spills a revelation, thirteen-year-old Jasira is sent to live with her Lebanese father in Houston. Prior to this, Jasira's relationship with her father was practically non-existent. Both father and daughter try to make the best of the new living situation.
*Towelhead* is a book of contraditions, especially Jasira. Jasira, as a young girl, is naive to the things of the world and the desires of men. At the same time, Jasira knows what she wants, which is love and acceptance and she'll get it from anyone, whether it be from her father, her hunky married neighbor, her boyfriend or her other neighbor who is pregnant.
Confused yet eager, she choses to seek the company and attention of her hunky neighbor. This is where readers may be turned off and stop reading or cautiously continue. I can say that this is not easy reading not only because of the sexual nature but because of the eventual eruption of emotions and reactions to this incident.
You'll not only read their emotions but you'll feel emotional. You'll be angry at Jasira's mom for her ultimatums and blind devotion to her boyfriends. You'll react in shock to her father's discpline. You'll bite your nails while Jasira's boyfriend pressures her to do things. You'll want to slap the neighbor's kid and his "get-away-with-murder" antics.
*The Last Witchfinder* is one of the best historical fiction novels that I've read in recent years.
Jennet Stearne is furious because her father, the Witchfinder General Walter Sterne, had no choice to investigate the accusations that her aunt, Isobel Mowbray, educated and wise, is a witch. With plenty of witnesses, the Witchfinder has no choice but to burn her at the stake. This act has disgraced the Witchfinder and the Sterne family has no choice but to move from England to Massachusetts. The father is able to convince the government that a witchfinder is needed and is employed.
Not long after settling in Massachusetts, Jennet is abducted by the natives, which she marries and bears a child. Years later, she is rescued by the Americans, which she then marries a postmaster.
Somewhere along the lines, she learns that her brother has since become the next witchfinder. In addition, she's accused by her brother and his wife in dabbling with witchcraft. Jennet must now convince the court that she is innocent or she'll suffer the fate as her aunt.
This novel is filled with interesting characters, whom Jennet meets throughout her life. She meets Sir Isaac Newton, whom she carried a life-long grudge. She also has romantic trysts with Benjamin Franklin. She remains friends with a man who collects jars of deformed children and embryoes, who appears in her life at the oddest times.
Witchfinding is a practice that Jennet abhors ever since her aunt was erroneously accused and burned at the stake. Educated and brilliant like her aunt, Jennet, throughout her life, sought to convince the English Parliament and the American Puritan government to put an end to the witch hunts.
Wonderful novel of historical fiction that captured my attention from the first page of the book until the last page. ...more
Tom is a gay professor at a college in New York City. He reconnects with an old childhood friend, Ritchie. RitchiAs posted in [http://www.amazon.com]:
Tom is a gay professor at a college in New York City. He reconnects with an old childhood friend, Ritchie. Ritchie, then, begs him to join him as he has set up an upcoming date with an Internet friend.
Meanwhile, Tom has a platonic relationship with a "bi" student, whom he guides through about life using a series of poetry.
Between Ritchie and his student, Tom flashes back in his life to his younger days with Ritchie and a dear friend, Zach, who has since died from AIDS.
Contemplation and redemption is constant throughout the novel. Simply, a yawn. ...more
It's been AGES since I've read anything by Frank Peretti. The last time was during the hot times when he publisheAs posted in [http://www.amazon.com]:
It's been AGES since I've read anything by Frank Peretti. The last time was during the hot times when he published *This Present Darkness*, *The Prophet*, *The Visitation* and the like.
Then, I see a "new" book by him, including *House* with Ted Dekker. So, I thought, hmm, why not.
Wow, *Monster* is totally not what I expected from Peretti. Peretti is known for his novels on spiritual warfare...ya know, angels vs. demons. *Monster* contains characters like Bigfoot (plural: Bigfeet?), and something you'd see in the Resident Evil movies/games and maybe a little bit of King Kong (hostage situation).
Reed and his wife, Beck, are away in the woods for a wilderness survival experience. However, things soon go wrong when they encounter the death of another camper and not able to shake that sinking feeling that someone or something is watching them. The action really picks up when Beck is kidnapped.
Reed soon calls for help from the Park Rangers and his friends to rescue his wife, even if she might be found dead. Meanwhile, they soon learn that something is right in the picture. Nearby, there is a scientific research lab and the people there are tight-lipped.
On the other hand, Beck is a hostage to creatures that she has never seen before. Amazingly, she is alive but she must constantly remain submissive. However, despite their brute strength, stealth surveillance and strict hierarchy, they are afraid of something "out there". Who or what are they?
*Monster* isn't one of Peretti's best work. If this was to be a movie adaptation, I could imagine it shown in the Sci-Fi Channel. ...more
I'm not a fan of stories on witch trials and the like. However, the blurb in the book fascinated me. I'm so gladAs posted in [http://www.amazon.com]:
I'm not a fan of stories on witch trials and the like. However, the blurb in the book fascinated me. I'm so glad that I bought this book because I liked it, except for one part.
This story is set in Germany in the 16th century. The people of Tierkinddorf are suffering through one of the worst winters of its history. To make matters worse, famine is upon them. No thanks to the visiting friar, witchcraft is suspected. Everyone soon backtracks their memories to find the instigator.
Among the people is one particular family: Jost, Irmeltrud, his wife, and his two children. Also living with them is a widowed grandmother, Gude (Jost's mother).
Gude's childhood friend, Kunne, the local healer, is soon accused of witchcraft and burned at the stake. However, when the famine continues, the town soon looks for another instigator. At this point, Gude is nervous because she is not sure if she's involved with witchcraft. Lately, at nights, she's seen a coven of witches, a black cat, and some ungodly creatures. However, she's not sure if she was physically involved or if she was just dreaming them up.
With everyone on the verge of starvation, the men have no choice but to band together and hunt far away. Without the protection of her son, Jost, Gude comes under scrutiny for witchcraft, including her own family.
I thought *The Witch's Trinity* was a wonderful book! I loved the build-up of suspension and the heated dialogues between Gude and her daughter-in-law, Irmeltrud. I loved it all except the author had to ruin it by adding her own personal story/research on an ancestor who was twice accused of witchcraft. Bragging rights are ok, except this part was dry....more
A friend of mine warned me that this book was a flowery read. I have to agree. Everything is just pretty, word-wiAs posted in [http://www.amazon.com]:
A friend of mine warned me that this book was a flowery read. I have to agree. Everything is just pretty, word-wise. Things just happens the way they happened with no real drama or an impacting climax.
One has to remember how things were back in the days while reading this book. On a snowy night in 1964, Dr. David Henry is forced to deliver his wife's baby at his clinic, with his nurse, Caroline Gill, assisting. David delivers a healthy boy, Paul. To everyone's surprise, David's wife, Norah, is actually expecting twins. The second baby is a girl, Phoebe...but with Down's Syndrome.
Flashback'ing to David's childhood, he remembers his younger sister, June, who was rather a sickly child. Eventually, June dies...at a young age. David remembers the traumatic impact of June's death on his family. His family basically disintegrated.
Not wanting his current family to suffer like his childhood family did, David instructs Caroline to take Phoebe to an institution. At the same time, David tells Norah that the girl has died. Unknown to David, that moment sparked the disintegration of his young family.
From then on, it sounds like this book is gonna make you cry at the end. Actually, I found myself disappointed in some parts of the book. I felt like each of the characters here were readily acceptable of things in their lives. There was no real friction and the laying of the cards on the table. It just felt like when revelations were made, the characters just got mad for a minute or two and then moved on.
Don't get me wrong. It's a good book but it just could have been done better, especially towards the end or when the revelations were made....more
Alternating between times, prisoned in a nursing home, 90-something year old Jacob recalled his life in the circuAs posted in [http://www.amazon.com]:
Alternating between times, prisoned in a nursing home, 90-something year old Jacob recalled his life in the circus.
Life pretty much changed overnight for Jacob Jankowski. Jacob dropped out of veterinary school. He just had to take the last test before graduating. However, his parents' sudden death changed all that. Now, Jacob could have gone back and finished the test. However, he felt guilty once he learned that there were no money left from his parents because they spent all they had to finance Jacob's schooling.
By some strange turns of events, Jacob found himself riding with a traveling circus, one that aimed to be better than the Ringling Bros. It's here that Jacob is made the circus veterinarian over the circus' animals. However, Jacob is falling for the Jekyll/Hyde-ish ringmaster's wife.
I don't know if it was a reading fluke or not but I just couldn't get into the book at the beginning. I wanted to like the book because my friends were telling me how great it was. I just couldn't get into it. After about 100 pages and days later, it finally picked up for me.
Overall, the story was interesting as it was something that you don't see often. Plus, archived pictures at the end of some chapters made the book even more interesting. I became so engrossed in the story that it looked like Jacob's adventures with the circus spanned over years when it actually spanned over weeks. So, it was a good read but not one of my favorites. ...more
I've never heard of this book until a friend recommended this book to me while we were helping a friend move. TheAs posted in [http://www.amazon.com]:
I've never heard of this book until a friend recommended this book to me while we were helping a friend move. The friend that was moving had set aside a box of books that she was going to donate. Of course, being the bookworms that we are, we couldn't resist the urge to rummage through. Thus, I was directed to this book.
I cannot believe that I had never heard of this book before. Most of the reviews give this book a high praise. While it isn't the best book that I've read, it's is one of the best books that I've read recently.
Like the Library Journal says, it's all about alcoholism, adultery, abortion, adoption and abduction. Dominick is a 15-year-old young man in Holedo, Massachusetts. He accompanies his mother at the end of the day, looking for his drunk father in bars. If his father is not found in any bars, there's only one other place he can be...at his mistress', Edie.
The thing is Dominick and Edie begin a secret and "innocent affair". Dominick feels responsible for her, especially after they discover that she's pregnant by his father. However, unknown to everyone, Dominick's mother is also pregnant.
The book moves somewhat slow but soon picks up the pace after Dominick's mother is found dead in a motel when she tried to do a homemade abortion. At the same time, Edie disappears. Dominick feels extremely guilty because he stole money from his mother to help out Edie. Edie promised to pay him back. Dominick is angry and decides revenge. But first, he must find her.
"Boy Still Missing" is a good read, filled with suspense and twists....more
I've heard so much about *The Kite Runner*. There are mixed reactions from friends who have read this book. I tolAs posted in [http://www.amazon.com]:
I've heard so much about *The Kite Runner*. There are mixed reactions from friends who have read this book. I told myself that I would read it but kept putting it off. It wasn't until the release of Hosseini's newest book, *A Thousand Splendid Suns*, that I told myself that I just had to buy the book and read it. I'm so glad that I did because I just fell in love with the whole story. I loved it even more when I closed it with a good cry. Now, that's a good author with a good book!
*The Kite Runner* is a story about two Afghan boys, Amir and Hassan. Amir is a Sunni and is the motherless son of a wealthy man, Baba. Hassan is a Sha'i and is an illiterate servant of Amir's household. Think of it almost like India's caste system.
However, these societial rules and roles doesn't prevent the boys from playing with each other. They're not just friends but more like "brothers". They are that close to each other. Meanwhile, other boys often ridicule Amir for being close to his Sha'i servant. Despite their friendship, Hassan knows his position and remains closely devoted to Amir. Amir loves Hassan but sometimes takes their friendship for granted.
All I can say is that this book keeps you entertained with Amir's rocky friendship with Hassan, his enigmatic relationship with his wealthy father, the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, his immigration to America, his marriage to Soraya and his return to Afghanistan in search for Hassan.
Hosseini does a fantanstic job with scenery description, personal thoughts of Amir and the build-up of suspense. With all of these, no wonder the story was awesome. Plus, with a good cry at the end, you just cannot help but love the book. I will definitely get the second book! ...more