Friday, April 27, 2012

Carry The One by Carol Anshaw

Carry the One by Carol Anshaw

I read a review.  A review in a national newspaper.  A paper with a wonderful book section that I read regularly and admire for its candor.  A review very unlike the ones I write in this blog that I like to think are genuine and from the heart.  My reviews are not written to sell a book, but only to offer my opinion and interpretation of the written word so that you can make an informed choice on how to spend your reading time.

The review I read on Carry The One pulled me in hook, line and sinker.  The story of a family impacted by a tragic accident drew me in.  After Carmen's shotgun wedding, her brother and sister get in a car with Olivia, the driver who is stoned out of her mind.  On the dark rural roads the car ends up wrapped around a tree and a young girl walking along the road in the middle of the night is dead.

Carry The One follows the twists and turns of the siblings lives, each dealing in separate and different ways.  The story had great possibilities for rich, deep characters and raw emotions, things I love in a novel.  However Carry The One could not deliver.  The story line spans many years and I struggled to know how much time had passed between the scenes.  Based on the action I expected one thing to happen only to be told that I was in a totally different place in time.

This isn't the first book I've read lately that felt the need to throw in the events of 9/11.  I don't even think Hemingway or Steinbeck could fully express the emotions of that day in a way that would touch me as a reader. It's too big to undertake even for the expert writers.  The characters here, had some drab discussion about it that might have been meant for me to see the burden they had been carrying all these years.  Frankly at that point I could really care less about them. Any glimmer of hope I had that might have redeemed them by the end of the story was gone.

Someday I may learn the lesson.  Don't be dragged in by an enticing cover or a sparkling review.  Carry The One is shallow and poorly written yet I was convinced it was the next great American novel.   Next time I promise I'll do my homework first, and slow down before taking only a second to download and investing hours in reading.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen

The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen

Emily comes to Mullaby after the death of her mother.  Her mother's legacy awaits her and let's just say no one is welcoming her with open arms.  She's put in the care of a grandfather she's never met.  He's a kind and gentle giant, towering over everything and everyone.  Vance Shelby is constantly looking in the clothes dryer and inquires often about the wallpaper in Emily's bedroom upstairs.  He hasn't seen it in years but he knows its pattern changes. Emily politely updates him and one day flowers become butterflies.  Her transformation is about to begin.

Julia is searching for herself in this odd and magical town.  She bakes cakes.  Wonderful and marvelous confections she hopes will mend her heart.  She harbors a deep secret.  Befriending young Emily elevates Julia's baking to a new level leading her back into the arms of Sawyer, her love with the sugar scent. He is the reason she bakes the cakes.

Unusual things happen in Mullaby under the spell of the full moon, sparkling lights, new loves, pasts left behind and secrets revealed.  I love the magical, mystical writing of Ms. Allen.  The characters are rich, the settings, divine.  The Girl Who Chased the Moon didn't disappoint.  

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Beautiful Girls by Beth Ann Bauman

Beautiful Girls by Beth Ann Bauman

I don't recall how this book ended up on my Kindle but I'm happy it did.  My sister may have recommended it.  I think this book is right up her alley.  And mine too.

Appropriately titled, this is a collection of short stories about women of all ages and stages of their lives.  Cute, quirky tales about us from a woman's point of view.  Each story showcased a woman and sometimes just a girl, falling in love, falling out of love and the struggle in between.  Filled with emotion, I got on the ride along with each one of them. I'm amazed how hard I fell for each character.  The author did a fabulous job of creating each piece with rich details and depth within the confines of a short story.  Trust me, as a writer, that is not a simple task.

I love short stories. I love fun and humor.  I love characters that make me feel real.   Beautiful Girls had all that and much, much more. It is a delightful read. This book is a celebration of everything that makes all women, forever beautiful girls.     

Friday, April 6, 2012

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

In case you were wondering.  I'm still an addict.  Mockingjay was the great ending to a great story about life, love and strength.  Katniss is a hero who never looked at herself as one.  She simply did what she had to do to save her self and protect those around her. Books about strong women are good for us all. They don't come along very often. Their stories help us to touch and nuture our own inner strength.

There were parts of this book that dragged along a little too slowly compared to the first two books.  It contained alot more war than I thought was necessary. I remained in suspense until the final pages and I have to admit, the story ended as I always hoped it would.  Enough said.

City of Thieves by David Benioff

City of Thieves by David Benioff It's World War II in Leningrad, Russia.  17 year old Lev elected to stay behind in the city when h...