Thursday, September 23, 2010

Sister Mine

Sister Mine by Tawni O'Dell

This is the story of Shae-Lynn Penrose, a forty something former police officer turned cab driver
who returns to the coal mining town in Pennsylvania where she grew up. Then her younger sister, presumed dead for 18 years, shows up along with a New York attorney, a Connecticut housewife, and a Russian thug. It is a story of complicated relationships dealing with such issues as abuse, betrayal, abandonment, perseverance, and reconciliation.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

A Painted House

A Painted House by John Grisham

"A Painted House" is the first John Grisham novel that I have read. If I have read another, I don't remember. Although the back cover says this is "the kind of book you read slowly because you don't want it to end", it is another that I read in two days, all 465 pages. The story takes place during the summer of 1952 in the Arkansas Delta and is told through the eyes of 7 year old Luke Chandler whose family rents and works a cotton farm. Two different groups of migrant workers take up residence on the farm, each with a dangerous man in their midst. As events of the summer unfold, Luke finds himself keeping more and more secrets. This is a story of murder, suspicion, gossip, passion, mystery, danger, and hardship and written in style that kept me turning the pages.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Big Cherry Holler

Big Cherry Holler by Adriana Trigiani

This novel follows Big Stone Gap. The characters have grown over the last eight years.
Ave Maria married Jack MacChesney and moved into the homestead instead going off to find her place in the world. But did they live happily ever after? This book combines, love, romance, and forgiveness, in the mountain of Virginia and Italy.

Friday, September 3, 2010

The Blind Assassin

The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood

This book was here for me to read at just the right time. At 521 pages, and with many things to do other than reading, I had hesitated to pick it up it. But I somehow managed to pinch a nerve and was in pain with limited use of my right arm and hand. So for a week while I alternated heat and ice, and rest, I used my left hand to hold the book and began reading. Although not a page turner, as some books are referred to, I did want to keep reading, but I could put it down, when something or someone called. I love Margaret Atwood's style of writing. It is very descriptive, and though I often skip over a lot of description, I wanted to read her every word. The Blind Assassin has joined some others at the top of my list of favorite books and will definitely seek out other books by the author.

The Blind Assassin is really a novel within a novel with three plots that alternate throughout the book. It is the story of two sisters growing up in Canada whose family was affected by WWI, the Depression and Communist witch-hunts. The story is told by the oldest sister, Iris Chase Griffin, now in her 80's and suffering from a heart condition. It is a family chronicle of love, greed, danger, anguish, and secrets.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Black Notice

Black Notice by Patricia Cornwell

I was unaware that this is one of several of Patricia Cornwell's Kay Scarpetta novels. Kay Scarpetta being a Chief Medical Examiner. This book is a mixture of action sequences and forensic sequences. I much prefer the action to the forensics. The story begins with finding the remains of a stowaway in a cargo ship and takes the reader on an adventure filled with intrigue as Kay Scarpetta works with her cohort to solve the mystery.

While I Was Gone

While I Was Gone by Sue Miller

There was much in this novel that I could relate to, a characteristic of good fiction. After a rocky young adulthood in the 70's Jo Becker becomes a respected veterinarian, wife of a minister and mother of 3 daughters. Then someone from her past reenters her life and things change dramatically. This is about relationships and emotions with an unexpected twist. There is one graphic description of a sexual encounter between Jo and her husband that seemed somewhat out of place and unnecessary. I will look for other books by this author.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Glass Castle

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

This is the memorable story of Jeanette Walls as she grows up in a incredibly dysfunctional family. Moving from place to place, she and her siblings learn to take care of themselves under extremely dire conditions. Growing up in Western Pennsylvania there were many things that I could relate to, and many more that I couldn't even imagine. It is an inspiring story of resilience and success.

Running With Scissors

Running With Scissors by Augusten Burroughs
This is an amazing recounting of the author's teenage years. It is funny, shocking, bizarre, sad, strange, unreal, and unbelievable. I can't sum it any better than some of the reviews.

"Written with humor and clear affection for its oddball characters, Running With Scissors is a story of shocking discovery and unlikely survival." - The Onion

"Screamingly funny ... In the end, the book celebrates Burrough's resilient, upbeat spirit, which helps him surmount one of the weirder childhoods on record." -Deirdre Donahue, USA Today

It is one of my favorite books and I recommend it, with caution.

Wild Mountain Thyme

Wild Mountain Thyme by Rosamunde Pilcher

This was a love story with rich description of the characters and settings, taking place in London and the Scottish Highlands. Although it was somewhat predictable, there were a few unexpected though not surprising turns of events. Victoria Bradshaw is in love with playwright Oliver Dobbs.
Years after he left her, he turns up on her doorstep, a widower, with his 2 year old son whom he has just kidnapped from his his maternal grandparents. They travel to Scotland to stay with an acquaintance of Oliver and the story unfolds from there. Enjoyable.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Five Star Fraud

Five Star Fraud by Margaret Cahill

Five Star Fraud is gripping and timely considering the news on any given day. The author gets right into the story and keeps it moving. As two stories are intertwined, an enlightening account of the inner workings of a corrupt business, a government mired in red tape, the dealings of unscrupulous attorneys, and an upright citizen’s struggle to save all the things in his life that are meaningful emerges. This is a compelling story with believable characters. I read the book in two days.

Three Cups Of Tea

Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson

You will never think of Pakistan or Afghanistan the same again after reading this book.

What starts out as a promise to build a school as a thank you for saving his life turns into a quest for Greg Mortenson to educate the children, especially girls, in remote areas of these countries. Greg Mortenson can truly be called a hero in a day when the title is sometimes bestowed too loosely.

Big Stone Gap

Big Stone Gap by Adriana Trigiani
A charming, quirky story with a lot of interesting characters. This is a story of small town life and love, reminiscent of the TV show Twin Peaks. This was a light and enjoyable summer read.