Sunday, November 28, 2010

Review: Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly

RevolutionRevolution by Jennifer Donnelly

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book switches back and forth between the story of Andi, a privileged and musically talented teenager who is about to get kicked out of her prestigious Brooklyn high school and Alexandrine, a young girl living in the midst of the French Revolution 200 years ago. Andi is grieving the death of her brother two years earlier, living in a fog of sadness. Her father takes her away to Paris for the Christmas holidays in hopes of resurrecting her school career and upcoming graduation.

I had high hopes for this book and I was let down a bit. I know that it is the norm, but I just didn't enjoy Andi's foul mouth and down-in-the-dumps attitude. I know she was devastated by her brother's death and feels responsibility, but it was a drag to read. I guess I am more in the mood for something happy that takes me away. There was also one part of the book that was just too out there for me, and I had a hard time suspending my disbelief. I did like the voice of the character, Alexandrine, she had beautiful prose in telling her part of the French Revolution. I liked reading about the French Revolution and I was impressed with the extensive bibliography in the back of the book.

All in all, I was underwhelmed but there were enough parts that I did like that I gave it three instead of two stars.

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Monday, November 22, 2010

Review: Courting Trouble by Deeanne Gist

Courting TroubleCourting Trouble by Deeanne Gist

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

So this is really more like a 3.5 star for me. I thought the story was delightful. Reading it was just like settling down with a really yummy bit of candy. I loved the main character, Essie. She has spunk, style, intelligence and kindness to boot. Unfortunately she also likes to ride bikes, fish, hunt and gallivant around unlike a lady in the 1890s is expected to do. Essie's antics have earned her the reputation as the town spinster at the crumbling age of 30 (gasp). She decides to secure herself a husband and makes a list of the pros and cons of the eligible bachelors in town. Things don't go quite as planned and finding a husband turns out to be more difficult than Essie bargained for.

This religious historical fiction had more religion in it than some of the other novels this author has written, but it was still ok for me. The ending was a little different than what I was hoping for, but I can still appreciate where the author was going. This is a great light read with entertaining characters and setting.

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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Review: The Persian Pickle Club by Sandra Dallas

The Persian Pickle ClubThe Persian Pickle Club by Sandra Dallas

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Set in rural Kansas during the 30s, this story is about a group of women who have formed a quilting group, the Persian Pickle Club. Not only for quilting, these women rely on each other for compassion and friendship during the best and worst of times. A new girl moves to town and joins the Pickles. She is a little different from the typical farm wife; bent on becoming an investigative journalist, Rita threatens to overturn a secret that the group has sworn to keep.

At first, I really didn't like this book. I don't care for all the small town idiosyncracies and odd names and fussy old ladies, but as the story unfolded, I enjoyed it more. I could understand the characters for who they are and where they are coming from. I'm probably not going to run out to get another book by this author, but it was a pleasant, simple read.

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Saturday, November 13, 2010

Review: Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

Never Let Me GoNever Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ruth, Tommy and Kathy were raised in an isolated boarding school in the countryside. Now, several years later, Kathy questions whether or not her childhood was as ideal as it seemed.

Such a heart-breaking novel. I give this four stars not so much because it is my favorite book ever, but out of admiration for the author. Ishiguro has envisioned a world where some people have been created for a certain purpose and nothing more. The way that he wrote this book is deliberately vague, revealing the plot layer by layer, creating an urgency to read and finish. This is a hard review to write without giving too much away, suffice it to say, the writing is excellent, the tone of the novel is quite grey and bland which fits exactly what it should be and the characters are admirable. I look forward to discovering more about this author's other works.

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Revew: Cutting fo Stone by Abraham Verghese

Cutting for StoneCutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was one of the most moving and beautifully written books I have ever read. The tale of Marion; a twin abandoned by his surgeon father at birth and left motherless when his mother passes away in childbirth. Raised by loving adoptive parents in the heart of Ethiopia on a small mission hospital, Marion and his twin Shiva fall in love with medicine. Marion later makes his way to America and becomes a trauma surgeon. His life comes full-circle when he runs into trouble that only his birth father and estranged twin can solve.

I loved the setting of this novel. I love reading books that teach me about another time or another part of the world. The writing is rich and detailed. I love the descriptions of the sky, the people and the food in Ethiopia. There is also quite a bit of surgical jargon and descriptions of surgeries. These are tactfully written, with enough detail to paint a picture for the reader, but not enough to make a squeamish person vomit.

I fell in love with the characters in this book. They are each quite developed and unique. A treasure to read and savor.

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