Friday, February 27, 2015

These Things Hidden by Heather Gudenkauf

Image from LibraryThing

Two sisters, perfect from the outside until...

Allison, the perfect, is just released from jail - for a death.  Her younger sister, Brynn is avoiding Allison at all costs because seeing her would bring it all back.

And in the midst of all this sibling turmoil readers are introduced to Claire and her bookstore.  Claire, the adopted mom of Joshua who kindly offered Allison a job in her bookstore.  And then there is Charm, the girl who hangs out in the self-help section at the bookstore and wants to be a nurse.

These four women cross paths - and of course things are changed forever - this wouldn't be a great book if things like that didn't happen!

This is a book written by the sister of one of my coworkers.  :)
I've been slow to read any of Gudenkauf's books. It's sort of like my hesitancy to watch a movie everyone else is recommending - what happens if it doesn't live up to others' recommendations?
Well - this lived up to the recommendations!  Read it!

Ahab's Wife: Or the Star-Gazer by Sena Jester Naslund

image from LibraryThing
This book was recommended to me by a seed corn dealer convention!  He told me it was his favorite book.  I was in need of a new one - so I started reading.  It is odd to read a book about characters you sort of know...I have never read Moby Dick, have actually had no desire to attempt it, but even I know who Ahab is and how his life goes.  But, I really liked this book and was drawn in very quickly!

That's because of Una! With a name like Una, you have to be something special.  And she certainly was!

Her life was anything but ordinary - especially for a woman the early 1800s!  She was born in Kentucky, the daughter of a fanatic, bible-thumping father and open -minded mother.  Her first contact with the ocean was living with her aunt, uncle and cousin on the shores of a beautiful lighthouse island in the Atlantic.

And then she was drawn to the sea.

This is one of those big fat books that draw you in.  Una sees the world differently and her descriptions about life and faith and nature are beautiful and thought provoking.  This has made me want to spend more time at the ocean - not on a whaler, but along the shore!

I can't say this was my favorite book - but it was one that I am glad that I read!

Department of Speculation by Jenny Offill

image from LibraryThing
The story of a marriage in bits and pieces.

Reading this felt like I was watching through a window at someone else's life or secretly finding pieces of notes found in the bottom of a purse.

This is the story of a marriage  - from beginning to middle to not quite the end.

It was haunting and beautiful and confusing and incredibly honest and depressing and hopeful and ridiculous and lingering.

It was a poem to the reality of marriage.

The Museum of Extraordinary Things by Alice Hoffman

Coralie is a sheltered girl.  Hidden away from the world by her over-protective father on Coney Island in her fathers museum. Coralie is one of the specimans in the museum because of a webbing between her fingers. Her father has her don a mermaid contraption and swim in the tank with a small clear tube for air.  Coralie's mother died when he was young and she completely depends on her father.

At the same time there is another story unfolding.  Eddie grew up has a good little Jewish boy escaped from Russia and slaving by his father's side in the garment district.  But, then things changed.  Eddie's father was afraid of life and what the world handed them - and Eddie couldn't take it anymore.  He left and found his true passion - photography.  He came across an old man in the woods around NYC taking pictures of trees in the darkness.  And everything changed.  Eddie changed his name and embraced a new life as an apprentice.  And then the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire happened.

Coralie and Eddie cross paths briefly once, twice - and then their worlds became completely entwined.

I really liked this book.  There were times that were rather preachy - like we were in a history class listening to what Coney Island used to be like.  But there were also so many quirky personalities - including the main characters.

One other thing - the cover image - WOW! I kept imagining Coralie looking out of her tank with those eyes!  completely admit it was the cover that pulled me in to this story!

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Revenge of Seven by Pittacus Lore

image from LibraryThing

So I am sucked into this ongoing series. Each time a new installment  of this series comes out I feel obligated to read it. And it takes me a while to remember what is going on and what has already happened. It is my ongoing complaint against series books! 

 That being said, I really do enjoy these. I like the quirky characters and the story told in multiple voices. This books brings the horrible Morgadorian aliens to earth and the war begins... Sort of

Friday, January 9, 2015

The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell

image from LibraryThing
What a story! There were times when I felt I was wandering along Jacko's labyrinth totally blind and simply trusting that I remembered the path.  I think that is just what David Mitchell wanted for his take us to a part of our world we could barely fathom and could really only briefly grasp.  And at the center of all that unknown is Holly Sykes the girl/woman/old lady whose heart is filled with a no-nonsense love that gathers people towards her.  

That doesn't sound as enticing as this book actually is.  This story spans Holly's life- from her running away from her pub home as a 15 yr old to the final moment on the shores of Sheep's Head island watching her cherished family float away on a small boat,  Through a series of 'chance' meetings Holly has brushed against an ancient evil built on a blind shaman's desire for immorality. This immortality is taken from the bone clocks (humans) they brush against. Holly becomes an integral key to an opposing force.
I truly loved this book! I loved the impossible symmetry of this story...a world spinning along beside Nd underneath and all around without us even knowing!

One of my very favorites!'

Saturday, January 3, 2015

The Bane Chronicles by Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan, and Maureen Johnson

I LOVED the first books in this series - the Mortal Instruments.
I liked the Infernal Devices series.
I am just tired of them now.

Here is my pet peeve.

I read the books years ago - they have very detailed and intricate story lines. Magnus is an important character - but honestly I have forgotten most of the details of his part.

Now this book comes up and it makes me feel like I am on the outside of the cool kids inside jokes.  I wish there would more background - or more connections or something.

So - I did enjoy most of the later stories - the first few really fell flat. But the very last story was by far the most frustrating for me. I can't remember anything of the events.
I didn't like this book nearly as much as I did the others.
Shucks - I really wanted to because I liked Magnus!