Friday, July 30, 2010

Books #69 and #70 of 2010

Book #69 of 2010 was a teen novel "Shiver" by Maggie Stiefvater.

Grace, 17, loves the peace and tranquility of the woods behind her home. It is here during the cold winter months that she gets to see her wolf—the one with the yellow eyes. Grace is sure that he saved her from an attack by other wolves when she was nine. Over the ensuing years he has returned each season, watching her with those haunting eyes as if longing for something to happen. When a teen is killed by wolves, a hunting party decides to retaliate. Grace races through the woods and discovers a wounded boy shivering on her back porch. One look at his yellow eyes and she knows that this is her wolf in human form. Fate has finally brought Sam and Grace together, and as their love grows and intensifies, so does the reality of what awaits them. It is only a matter of time before the winter cold changes him back into a wolf, and this time he might stay that way forever.

If you like the teen angst of Twilight, you will probably like this book. I have read that Stiefvater wrote this book before Twilight was a twinkle in Meyer's eye so you could say she started the supernatural trend. "Shiver" is certainly not an earth shattering read but it was entertainment.

Book #70 of 2010 was "Mudbound" by Hillary Jordan.

It is 1946 in the Mississippi Delta, where Memphis-bred Laura McAllan is struggling to adjust to farm life, rear her daughters with a modicum of manners and gentility, and be the wife her land-loving husband, Henry, wants her to be. It is an uphill battle every day. Things started badly when Henry's trusting nature resulted in the family being done out of a nice house in town, thus relegating them to a shack on their property. In addition, Henry's father, Pappy, a sour, mean-spirited devil of a man, moves in with them.

The real heart of the story, however, is the friendship between Jamie, Henry's too-charming brother, and Ronsel Jackson, son of sharecroppers who live on the McAllan farm. They have both returned from the war changed men: Jamie has developed a deep love for alcohol and has recurring nightmares; Ronsel, after fighting valiantly for his country and being seen as a man by the world outside the South, is now back to being just another black "boy."

Told in alternating chapters by Laura, Henry, Jamie, Ronsel, and his parents, Florence and Hap, the story unfolds with a chilling inevitability.

This is one of the best books I have read in a long time. I knew from the first paragraph that I'd be drawn in. Jordan has a gift for writing and I look forward to her future novels.

Up next is "The Girl who Played with Fire" by Stieg Larsson.

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