Thursday, November 29, 2012

We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver

My rating: 4.8

This book is a series of very direct letters written by the mother of Kevin, a teenage boy who open fired on his classmates,to her husband and Kevin’s father. These letters deal candidly with her career, marriage, motherhood and family.

I had heard about this book for many years. I postponed reading it as I thought that since I knew Kevin had killed his classmates, that I knew what the book would be about.  I had no idea.  I enjoyed the unfolding and the way the author really got you to understand the relationship of Eva and Kevin, and also with Franklin. So many layers in all of their relationships and they wrapped me up in every one and pulled me in. This book was extremely well written and will haunt me for quite a while.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman

The Dovekeepers by Alice HoffmanMy rating: 3.6

In 70 CE, nine hundred Jews held out for months against armies of Romans on a mountain in the Judean desert, Masada. According to the ancient historian Josephus, two women and five children survived. This book traces four women, their path to the Masada massacre. It is a very well told story, although it felt a little long.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Absolutist by John Boyne

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is about the destructive powers of a painful secret, standing up for what you believe in, love, betrayal, the horrors of war and so much more. Tristan Sadler goes to visit the sister of Will Bancroft, a man who he fought alongside with in WWI and was killed. In the very beginning of the book, I felt I “knew” what the secret was and it irritated me how Boyne kept hinting at it. Once that secret was revealed, I had gotten to the point where I was absorbed – in the stories and the characters. It didn’t take long for me to realize that this was a powerful story, told by a powerful story-teller. I sat back and let it wash over me, and absorbed it all in. This is an extraordinary book that I highly recommend.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker

The Age of Miracles
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a very well written novel about Julia, an 11 yo girl’s coming of age story, that coincides with a global phenomenon called "The Slowing". Not only does Walker capture Julia’s experiences with wonderful insight but, she also described the phenomenon of the earth’s slowing in its rotation with wonderful descriptions and unexpected impacts. She uses some delightful prose, that moves ahead with good pacing. This would be a fabulous book for a young girl to read.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Orchardist by Amanda Coplin

The Orchardist
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

It is hard to explain why this missed that mark for me. It was good writing but, there was so much detail it just droned on, and on, and on, and on. It was boring but, don’t let that dissuade you. If you like dull tedious minutia, with depression (dead/missing sister, raped girls hanging themselves or falling to their deaths, lengthy incarcerations), this could be the book for you.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Tell the Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt

Tell the Wolves I'm Home
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is a cute book that a young girl would really enjoy. This is a young girl’s coming of age story in dealing with her Uncle’s death from aids, her sister and her having a rift and typical growing pains. Although it was well written, it felt very long. Despite some nice portrayals my overall impression of this book was that it was just ‘ok’. I think a young teenage girl would be totally enthralled with this book.

The Dog Stars by Peter Heller

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow! Finally, a book that had me lying in bed, thinking of getting a book light so I could read just a few more pages. When I woke up and in those first few moments of thinking of my day, I am instantly thinking of when I can get back to this book. I chuckled, I laughed, I cried. I want more. Yes, it is reminiscent of The Road by Cormac McCarthy in that it is in a post apocalyptic world and has beautiful sparse prose that takes a bit to get used to but, for me, The Dog Stars is so much more. It is sad but it was also funny. The characters have wonderfully complex layers (yes, I even loved Bangley). Hig with his heart and compassion (don’t even get me started on Jasper!). It made me feel the deprivation and want to go out and hug a tree and breathe it in deep. I loved that the ending didn’t have a neat bow on it. The only fault I have with this book is that it is over. I didn’t want it to end…..ever.

Peter Heller, where have you been all my life. I am so happy to have discovered you and that you have other novels waiting for me to lose myself in. Although I don’t generally like to reread books, I suspect that I will come back to this novel again one day to lose myself and fall in love all over again.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Before I Go To Sleep by S.J. Watson

Before I Go To Sleep
My rating: 3.6 of 5 stars

This book was a strange mix of very intense and yet dragged. I do understand the necessity of having to repeat a lot of things in the book to help us get a good understanding of how it would feel to be Chrissy. The author did a fabulous job of making you wonder and doubt everyone and everything….walking the line between being paranoid and trying not to be paranoid. You feel tension all the way through. I wasn’t sure if the sense of foreboding I felt was going to come through or if it was simply from Chrissy’s perspective. I wasn’t sure where the author was going (psycho thriller or just a plain drama/story unfolding). The ending was thrilling but wrapped up a little too neatly and maybe should have left a bit more wondering to the reader regarding how Chrissy’s life ended up.