Saturday, August 14, 2010

Book #75 of 2010

Book #75 of 2010 was ... "Look Again" by Lisa Scottoline.

Ellen Gleeson was balancing life as a single mother and a feature reporter as well as could be expected. She had taken on single parenthood voluntarily, having fallen in love with her adopted son, Will, now three, when he was a very sick infant. A have-you-seen-this-child postcard featuring a child who could be Will’s twin catches Ellen’s attention, and while she should be pursuing her assigned story about the emotional effect of Philadelphia’s high teenage murder rate, she instead becomes obsessed with the missing child and with pursuing more details about Will’s background. Her questions multiply when she learns that, just three weeks after she adopted Will, the attorney who handled the proceedings killed herself. Where is the birth mother, and why doesn’t her family seem to know that she was pregnant? The answer only leads to danger, but Ellen, her reporter’s instincts on high alert, is hell-bent on finding the truth, no matter the cost.

This was the first book by the author I have read. While it was a quick read it was not a satisfying one. The events don't seem plausible and the ending was just ridiculous. I would have preferred the author not force such a " happy ending".

Up next is "Prodigal Son" by Dean Koontz. It is a series based on his take of the Frankenstein story -- but set in modern times.

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Thursday, August 12, 2010

Book #74 of 2010

Book #74 of 2010 was "Crow Lake" by Mary Lawson.

Here is a gorgeous, slow-burning story set in the rural badlands of northern Ontario, where heartbreak and hardship are mirrored in the landscape. For the farming Pye family, life is a Greek tragedy where the sins of the fathers are visited on the sons, and terrible events occur offstage.

Centerstage are the Morrisons, whose tragedy looks more immediate if less brutal, but is, in reality, insidious and divisive. Orphaned young, Kate Morrison was her older brother Matt's protegee, her fascination for pond life fed by his passionate interest in the natural world. Now a zoologist, she can identify organisms under a microscope but seems blind to the state of her own emotional life. And she thinks she's outgrown her siblings Luke, Matt, and Bo who were once her entire world.

Lawson is one of the best writers out there right now. She does not write cheerful tales about hardworking farm folk but instead her writing is rather gritty - and often harsh. If you enjoy character studies, you will enjoy Lawson's writing.

Up next is "Look Again" by Lisa Scottoline.

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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Book #73 of 2010

Book #73 of 2010 was ... "The Help" by Kathryn Stockett.

hree ordinary women are about to take one extraordinary step.

Twenty-two-year-old Skeeter has just returned home after graduating from Ole Miss. She may have a degree, but it is 1962, Mississippi, and her mother will not be happy till Skeeter has a ring on her finger. Skeeter would normally find solace with her beloved maid Constantine, the woman who raised her, but Constantine has disappeared and no one will tell Skeeter where she has gone.

Aibileen is a black maid, a wise, regal woman raising her seventeenth white child. Something has shifted inside her after the loss of her own son, who died while his bosses looked the other way. She is devoted to the little girl she looks after, though she knows both their hearts may be broken.

Minny, Aibileen’s best friend, is short, fat, and perhaps the sassiest woman in Mississippi. She can cook like nobody’s business, but she can’t mind her tongue, so she’s lost yet another job. Minny finally finds a position working for someone too new to town to know her reputation. But her new boss has secrets of her own.

Seemingly as different from one another as can be, these women will nonetheless come together for a clandestine project that will put them all at risk. And why? Because they are suffocating within the lines that define their town and their times. And sometimes lines are made to be crossed.

The one thing I didn't like about this book is that it had to end. An excellent first novel from a truly gifted writer.

Up next is "Crow Lake" by Mary Lawson.

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Monday, August 09, 2010

Long time no blog ... Books #71 and #72

I've been slacking in my book updates, forgive me. I've got some weird medical issues that have been consuming a lot of my time and my mind. Of course nothing short of death would stop me from reading so ...

Book #71 of 2010 was "The Girl Who Played with Fire" by Stieg Larsson.

Mikael Blomkvist, crusading publisher of the magazine Millennium, has decided to run a story that will expose an extensive sex trafficking operation. On the eve of its publication, the two reporters responsible for the article are murdered, and the fingerprints found on the murder weapon belong to his friend, the troubled genius hacker Lisbeth Salander. Blomkvist, convinced of Salander’s innocence, plunges into an investigation. Meanwhile, Salander herself is drawn into a murderous game of cat and mouse, which forces her to face her dark past.

These books are not for everyone - the violence portrayed is extremely brutal. Typically this is a not a genre I would even consider but something keeps drawing me back to the books.

Book #72 was "The Other Side of the Bridge" by Mary Lawson.

Two brothers, Arthur and Jake Dunn, are the sons of a farmer in the mid-1930s, when life is tough and another world war is looming. Arthur is reticent, solid, dutiful and set to inherit the farm and his father’s character; Jake is younger, attractive, mercurial and dangerous to know – the family misfit. When a beautiful young woman comes into the community, the fragile balance of sibling rivalry tips over the edge.

Then there is Ian, the family’s next generation, and far too sure he knows the difference between right and wrong. By now it is the fifties, and the world has changed – a little, but not enough.

These two generations in the small town of Struan, Ontario, are tragically interlocked, linked by fate and community but separated by a war which devours its young men – its unimaginable horror reaching right into the heart of this remote corner of an empire.

This is definitely one of my top 10 favorite reads of this summer. This is not a fast-paced novel which was nice after "The Girl Who Played with Fire" but it was a satisfying read.

Up next is "The Help" by Kathryn Stockett. I am probably the last person on earth to have read it.

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