Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Higher Power of Lucky by Susan Patron

This book is about Lucky, age 10, who lives in a tiny town in California (population 43), with her dog and the young French woman who is her guardian. Lucky, who is totally contemporary, teeters between bravado--gathering insect specimens, scaring away snakes from the laundry--and fear that her guardian will leave her to return to France. Her best friend, Lincoln, is a boy with a fixation for tying knots; another acquaintance, Miles, seems a tiresome pest until Lucky discovers a secret about his mother. This is a fun plot and the characters are endearing. Lucky is not perfect and she does some cowardly things, but she takes pains to put them to rights.  It says Grades 4 to 6 but I would say Grades 7 to 8.  A cute read.

Rating: 3 OK

East of Eden by John Steinbeck

I wanted to like this book.  I read 300+ pages of this book and although I can appreciate the literary gifts of Steinbeck, the characters are flat. No anger, no passion, no happiness….nothing. My g/f Ann is reading this book and thoroughly enjoy it so now I feel like a heathen!  I may try to go back to this book but, right now, I just need a break from it.

Rating: 2 Do NOT recommend

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Summer Guest by Justin Cronin

How to do this book justice?  From the first page, I was enthralled and couldn't wait to turn the next page. Light, easy and completely a pleasure to read. This is such a beautiful book.

Each chapter is told by a different person and at the end of each chapter, I miss that person's voice until I start the next chapter and am completely engrossed by the new voice. This amazing book spans 30 years and the individual's stories and perspectives unwind and interwine seamlessly. A definite MUST read. including love, war, disease, loss, betrayal, and redemption. The book revolves around the story of Harry Wainwright, a wealthy entrepreneur who falls in love with the camp as a young man and returns decades later for one last day of fishing before he succumbs to terminal cancer. I was sad to finish it as I didn't want it to end.

Rating: 4.7  Definite Recommend!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Miraculous Journey Of Edward Tulane

I absolutely LOVED this book! It is *perfect* for a young girl as it is a young adult book but, even old adults will enjoy this charming story. A quick and thoroughly enjoyable read.   Thanks to Melissa for loaning this to me or I never would have discovered this wonderful book.

Edward, a china rabbit, is the main character in this thoughtful tale by Kate DiCamillo. Edward is dearly loved by a young girl named Abilene. One day he is lost over the side of a boat. His journey leads him to a older couple who dress him like a girl rabbit, a hobo and his dog, a young girl and her brother and, finally, to a doll shop. Along the way, Edward learns to love the people he encounters. He also learns that family members can be cruel to one another; that hobos have family that they love dearly and don't want to forget; that no matter how much you love someone, she may still die; and that no matter what happens in life, never give up on love. A beautifully crafted telling with beautiful drawings to accompany it.  It says for Grades 2-4.  I don't have children but think that it may be for older children as it deals with death, being homeless and other facts of our cruel world that younger children may not be equipped for.

Rating: 5 - Definite Recommend for Young Adult, especially a young girl

Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Guernsey Literary Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Schaffer

Cutsey and light. Enjoyable but not a MUST read. Interesting how the story unfolded in letters.

Set in both London and Guernsey Island, this novel follows author Juliet as she becomes friends with the inhabitants of the island shortly after the end of World War II. Told in epistolary style, Juliet learns of the occupied island and its deprivations, as well as the resounding spirit of the people who live there. As she writes, she becomes more and more intrigued with the stories of the people who survived the hard times, and she decides to create a book based on their experiences. In order to gather more information, Juliet moves temporarily to the island and soon finds herself immsersed in the culture and relationships.

Rating: 3.7 Ok

Monday, October 12, 2009

Matilda by Roald Dahl

From the author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is, Matilda the story of a precocious four-year-old whose parents are crass, dishonest  and regard her as "nothing more than a scab." (ala Lemony Snicket).  Life with her beastly parents is bearable only because Matilda teaches herself to read, finds the public library, and discovers literature. When she starts school, the headmistress, Miss Trunchbull, is "a fierce tyrannical monster".  Thankfully, her teacher Miss Honey is an angel who sees the brilliant promise of Matilda and encourages her.  A cute read for ages 9-11.

Rating 3.4 Ok

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Mudbound by Hillary Jordan

Each chapter is told from a different person's perspective. A wonderful read.

Laura marries Henry but gets more than she bargains for when Henry moves her from the city to a remote farm (no water or electricity!) where she also has to try to get along with Henry's Pappy who is a very ornery man and his charming brother Jamie. One of their tenants on the farm is Hap, his wife Florence and their children, including their grown son Ronsel who has been serving in the first Black infantry in WWII. A great plot that the author unfolds in an effortless way. A truly good story that I kept wanting to get back to.

Rating: 4.8 Recommend