Month: April 2010

Desolate Angel by Chaz McGee

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From Amazon.com:

He was once a second-rate cop, a mediocre husband, and an absent father. But ever since he was killed in a drug bust gone bad, Kevin Fahey’s been a lost soul in limbo. Until he encounters a dead victim whose murder he thought he solved, a girl who points him to a fresh body. And Fahey realizes he imprisoned the wrong man-and the true killer is still on the loose.

My Thoughts On Hidden Places by Lynn Austin

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After suffering through Lynn Austin’s ‘Candle In The Darkness’, I was not very anxious to start Hidden Places. It was only after my sister’s assurance that ‘it was not that bad’ that I finally started reading it.

Around Page 30 I rolled my eyes because things were laying out in a predictable manner. Enter handsome stranger who steals the heart of a strong woman. Ugh.

This book was saved by the side character Aunt Batty (Betsy, Betty). She is fabulous, and I loved her faith and her strength.

Though things were looking predictable, there were a few surprises. One I guessed when she started juggling. The last I was never 100% sure of until he disclosed it himself.

So read, and enjoy, it’s not that bad!

South Jordan Book Club Selection: Hidden Places

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From Amazon.com:

“How’s a scrawny young thing like you, with three little kids to raise, ever going to run a big outfit like Wyatt Orchards?” the widowed Eliza Rose Wyatt is asked. She’s desperate to hold on to the only real home she has ever known, but Eliza believes it will take a guardian angel to help her succeed. When the handsome hobo, Gabriel Harper, comes into her life, Eliza at first holds him at arm’s length, wondering whether the aptly named mysterious stranger could be the guardian angel she’s been waiting for. The strength of this beautifully descriptive book is its characters, from the whimsical, eccentric “Aunt Batty” to the one-eyed dog, “Winky.” Austin incorporates subtle allusions to the angel theme throughout the text in everything from a Christmas tree ornament to the birth of a calf. Underlying layers of the story deal with the impact a father has on future generations and the importance of following one’s dreams in spite of opposition. Throughout, readers are teased with misconceptions about Gabriel that are resolved in an unexpected manner. The flashbacks to the past can feel somewhat jarring, but Austin’s writing is strong enough to take the reader through them with only a few difficulties. If Christian fiction fans haven’t discovered Austin before, this appealing book will send them to her backlist, wanting more.

My Thoughts On Prayers For Sale by Sandra Dallas

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I loved this book. It was a collection of stories woven together so masterfully. In the book, a new young wife, Nit, meets a much older woman, Hennie, in a small mining town in the Rockies. Nit reminds Hennie of herself when she first moved in to the area — a little lost and a lot lonely. Through their visits, Hennie tells fabulous stories of the area, and it is very entertaining.

My only complaint is that I predicted the ‘surprise ending’ on Page 109 which would be fine if the book ended on Page 110, but it doesn’t. Not even close.

The title comes from one of Hennie’s stories. At a happy time in her life, she tells her husband that she is so content that she has prayers to sell — she has nothing to ask for. I think that is a beautiful thought, and it was a beautiful book.

Prayers For Sale — What I’m Reading Now

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From Amazon.com:

In her charming new novel, Dallas (The Persian Pickle Club; Tallgrass; etc.) offers up the unconventional friendship between Hennie Comfort, a natural storyteller entering the twilight of her life, and Nit Spindle, a naïve young newlywed, forged in the isolated mining town of Middle Swan, Colo., in 1936. When the two meet, Hennie recognizes her younger self in Nit, and she’s immediately struck with a desire to nurture and guide Nit, who is lonely and adrift in her new hometown and her brand-new marriage. As Hennie regales Nit with stories and advice, the two become inseparable and pass several seasons huddled around their quilting with the other women of Middle Swan. Even though Hennie maintains an air of c’est la vie as she unravels her life story, Nit and the reader soon realize there are tragedies and secrets hidden behind Hennie’s tranquil demeanor. This satisfying novel will immediately draw readers into Hennie and Nit’s lives, and the unexpected twists will keep them hooked through to the bittersweet denouement.

My Thoughts on the book “Little Bee”

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I was intrigued by the inside cover of Little Bee. The publishers wrote:

We don’t want to tell you what happens in this book. It is a truly special story and we don’t want to spoil it. Nevertheless, you need to know enough to buy it, so we will just say this:

This is the story of two women. Their lives collide one fateful day, and one of them has to make a terrible choice, the kind of choice we hope you never have to face. Two yars later, they meet again — the story starts there. . .

Once you have read it, you’ll want to tell your friends about it. When you do, please don’t tell them what happens. The magic is in how the story unfolds.

Doesn’t that sound fantastic?!!?!! I was very excited to read the book after reading the inside cover, but, sadly, the inside cover is the best part of the book.

In Little Bee there are 100 pages of build up to explaining the ‘fateful day’ and when you get to it, you think, “hmm, that’s pretty much what I thought.” It’s horrible and tragic but anticlimatic at the same time.

Don’t give up! Another twist is coming up 90 pages later. And once you get past that one, the last five pages contain another one.

It’s well written, and it addresses an important and current subject. I’m just not sure if it lives up to the inside cover, but, then again, what could?

Discussion Questions for the Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time

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From About.com:

1.Were you confused by Christopher’s odd way of telling a story when you first began the book? Did that frustrate you or draw you into the novel?

2.Did the story help you understand people with autism any better?

3.Talk about the relationship between Christopher and his father. Do you think his father does a good job of dealing with his behavior?

4.Do you sympathize with his father’s actions, or do you think they were unforgivable?

5.Talk about Christopher’s relationship with his his mother. How do the letters he finds help explain her actions?

6.Is it easier for you to forgive his father or his mother? Why do you think it is so much easier for Christopher to trust his mother than his father? How does that reveal the way Christopher’s mind is different?

7.What do you think the illustrations added to the story?

8.Did you enjoy Christopher’s tangents?

9.Was the novel believable? Were you satisfied with the ending?

10.Rate this book on a scale of one to five.

Little Bee — What I’m Reading Now

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Review from Amazon.com:

The publishers of Chris Cleave’s new novel “don’t want to spoil” the story by revealing too much about it, and there’s good reason not to tell too much about the plot’s pivot point. All you should know going in to Little Bee is that what happens on the beach is brutal, and that it braids the fates of a 16-year-old Nigerian orphan (who calls herself Little Bee) and a well-off British couple–journalists trying to repair their strained marriage with a free holiday–who should have stayed behind their resort’s walls. The tide of that event carries Little Bee back to their world, which she claims she couldn’t explain to the girls from her village because they’d have no context for its abundance and calm. But she shows us the infinite rifts in a globalized world, where any distance can be crossed in a day–with the right papers–and “no one likes each other, but everyone likes U2.” Where you have to give up the safety you’d assumed as your birthright if you decide to save the girl gazing at you through razor wire, left to the wolves of a failing state.

Janue Austen Ruined My Life: My Thoughts

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Sadly, the best part of this book was the title and the cover. The book itself is a little cheesy, corny, although the ending was not predictable! But that’s because the ending fell flat. Way flat. Ugh.

The idea behind the book was fascinating — a compilation of unpublished Jane Austen letters being guarded by a secret society of a very few women. According to the book, Jane Austen did not write anything — that has survived into our day — for three years (1801-1804). The author takes the liberty of inventing a love story that ends in tragedy to explain the silence. It’s an intriguing thought. But not an intriguing book.

What I’m Reading: Jane Austen Ruined My Life

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Review from Amazon.com:

Emma Grant, the heroine of Pattillo’s first outing, has a major beef to settle with her literary heroine, Jane Austen. Austen’s novels taught Emma, a college professor, to believe in happy endings, but her own happy ending goes up in flames when she discovers her husband, Edward, in the arms of her teaching assistant, after which the two have her professionally discredited by claiming she plagiarized a paper. Disillusioned and disgraced, Emma flees the U.S. for her cousin’s house in England after being contacted by Gwendolyn Parrot, an elderly woman claiming to be in possession of a stash of lost Austen letters. Rather than simply handing over the letters, Mrs. Parrot sends Emma on a succession of tasks that gradually reveal a secret about Austen’s life previously unknown to scholars. Along the way, Emma reconnects with Adam, her former best friend whom she fell out of touch with after marrying Edward. Filled with all the whimsy and romantic literary fun the title promises, Pattillo’s novel is a rewarding read.