Saturday, February 15, 2014

Book Review: The Book Thief - Markus Zusak

The Book Thief
It is 1939.  Nazi Germany.  The country is holding its breath.  Death has never been busier, and will become busier still.
Liesel Meminger is a foster girl living outside of Munich, who scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can't resist--books.  With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement.
In superbly crafted writing that burns with intensity, award-winning author Markus Zusak, author of I Am the Messenger, has given us one of the most enduring stories of our time.

4/5 stars (really liked it)
I have had this book on my to-read list for quite a while and finally decided to read it.  This book is told from the point of view of Death, which I thought was a very interesting concept.  I wasn't sure how the narrator would work but the author made it work very well.  Not only did we learn about the life of Liesel but we also learned about what was going on at that time.  There were many interesting characters in this book, such as Liesel's best friend Rudy, her foster parents, Max the Jewish man hiding in their basement as well as all the neighbors she interacts with on a daily basis.  I got so attached to some of the characters that when they died I was sad.  We follow Liesel from the time she arrives at her foster home until the day she dies.  Wonderfully told story!

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Book Club: Crow Lake - Mary Lawson

Crow Lake
Crow Lake is that rare find, a first novel so quietly assured, so emotionally pitch perfect, you know from the opening page that this is the real thing-a literary experience in which to lose yourself, by an author of immense talent.

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.

In this universal drama of family love and misunderstanding, of resentments harbored and driven underground, Lawson ratchets up the tension with heartbreaking humor and consummate control, continually overturning one's expectations right to the very end.  Tragic, funny, unforgettable, Crow Lake is a quiet tour de force that will catapult Mary Lawson to the forefront of fiction writers today.

3/5 stars (liked it)
This book is told from the point of view of Kate and has many flashbacks to her childhood.  Her parents died when she was about 7 years old and she was raised by her two brothers, Luke and Matt.  Throughout the story we know that something occurred to cause a drift between herself and Matt but things unfold slowly throughout the book.  The thing I liked about it is that even though things are not revealed right away the author writes the story in such a way that I want to continue reading it.  I was happy with the conclusion of this story.

Our next book:  Fun Home - Alison Bechndel

Sunday, February 02, 2014

Book Review: Possession - J.R. Ward

Possession - J.R. Ward
Possession (Fallen Angels, #5)
When Cait Douglass resolves to get over her broken heart, throw off her inhibitions, and start really living, she's unprepared for the two sensual men who cross her path.  Torn between them, she doesn't know which to choose--or what kind of dire consequences could follow.

Jim Heron, fallen angel and reluctant savior, is ahead in the war, but he puts everything at risk when he seeks to make a deal with the devil--literally.  As yet another soul is unwittingly caught in the battle between him and the demon Devina, his fixation on an innocent trapped in Hell threatens to sidetrack him from his sacred duty...

Can good still prevail if true love makes a savior weak?  And will a woman's future be the key, or the curse, for all of humanity?  Only time, and hearts, will tell.

3/5 stars (liked it)
Cait is new and improved, having had a bad break-up a year before and losing weight and at the beginning of the book getting a new hairstyle.  Then she meets the singer G.B. and in the same night she meets Duke.  Both very attractive men and she can't decide which guy to go for so she sees both of them.  There are twists in their story.  And I wish we could have gotten a better back story on Cait.   In there is Jim who is obsessed with Sissy.  So obsessed in fact that he doesn't get in the game of helping the soul until the very end.  But lucky for him that Adrian still cares.  Also some surprise deaths in this book.  I liked this book better than the last book although still not as good as Covet.

Book Review: Insatiable - Meg Cabot

Insatiable - Meg Cabot Sick of hearing about vampires?  So is Meena Harper. But her bosses are making her write about them anyway, ...