Monday, May 26, 2014

Dog Gone, Back Soon by Nick Trout

Dog Gone, Back Soon by Nick Trout

Dr. Cyrus Mills is a veterinarian pathologist who is used to a solitary career peering into a microscope.  When he inherits a failing veterinarian practice in a small town in Vermont, from his estranged father, he's forced to come out of his comfort zone. 

He immediately finds himself falling in love with an elusive woman, Amy while doing battle with a corporate veterinarian practice with very deep pockets, in the next town.  Cyrus appears to be losing on both fronts.  His investigative skills however, are winning back patients the corporate vets were unable to diagnose using their rigid and uncompromising methods.

Dog Gone, Back Soon is a charming, modern day All Creatures Great and Small.  Dr. Mills and James Herriot have been cut from the same mold.  The story includes many lovable characters on four legs and just as many captivating ones on two legs.  They all keep the story moving in a very enjoyable way.

Many thanks to Netgalley for my advance reading copy.  If you are a dog lover, Dog Gone, Back Soon is just right for you.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Confessions of a Call Center Gal by Lisa Lim

Confessions of a Call Center Gal by Lisa Lim

Madison Lee is fresh out of college and without a job.  Her best and only prospect is a call center job in Pocatello, Idaho.  She, along with her best friend, Karsynn, takes the leap into the working world.  Maddy catches on quickly to the inner workings of a call center, a world all its own, but even she is not smart enough to anticipate the wide variety of questions a customer may ask.

I have to admit I read this book only because I'm tossing about the idea of my own book based on my experience as a tax advisor.  I am lucky enough to work from home, but taking a customer service call is the same no matter where it's done.  Maddy had me in hysterics!  I, too, have had calls from people with names that use every letter of the alphabet and are unpronounceable.  Callers who are angry for no reason other than they like to be angry are a staple in this business.  And when someone gives an email address that has something to do with what they like to do in bed, the mute button is a good friend.  I've experience everything that happened to Maddy and it was just as funny for me the second time around as it was the first. 

Confessions of a Call Center Gal is not a great work of literary accomplishment.  But it's funny, light, and easy to read.  If you are considering a job taking inbound customer service calls, read this book first.  You will know exactly what to expect when you take the first call.  If you are looking for a beach read this summer, Confession of a Call Gal will fit the bill.  It's simply good, plain fun!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

The Eternal Wonder by Pearl S. Buck

The Eternal Wonder by Pearl S. Buck

The name of this blog is The Story Behind The Story with good reason.  Behind every good book there is a story.  The Eternal Wonder is a lost manuscript of Pearl Buck that was found forty years after her death in a storage unit in Dallas, Texas.  How it got there, no one knows.  

Rann Colfax is a bright and gifted young man in search of the meaning of life.  His journey begins for the reader while he is still in the womb and we follow him into adulthood.  He goes to college at a young age but is still unsatisfied so Rann heads abroad hoping to fill the hole in his inquisitive mind. 

I found the story dry and lifeless for the most part.  It had bits of brilliance like when as a little boy Rann's curiosity about little girls, though totally innocent, banned him from the company of other children.  Being the bright child he was, Rann moved on from the incident without much concern.  The entire time I was reading this book, I couldn't help but think about Forest Gump.  He and Rann had so much in common.  Life fell into Rann's lap and everything he touched turned to gold.

I love Pearl Buck and The Good Earth is a favorite of mine.  The Eternal Wonder, however, lacked her touch.  I found the story of the lost manuscript far more interesting than Rann's search for the eternal wonder.  

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

The Frangipani Hotel by Violet Kupersmith

The Frangipani Hotel by Violet Kupersmith

The Frangipani Hotel is a wonderful collection of stories about Vietnam and its people.  Several years ago, I had an opportunity of a lifetime to see Vietnam with a group of Vietnamese friends who were going home to visit family.  I tagged along and today the fond memories of the trip have stayed with me. 

Reading stories of snakes, Vietnamese sandwiches and leaving shoes on the doorstep,  I felt right at home.  I laughed, I cried, I understood.  I am an American on the outside looking in to this complex culture, and  Ms. Kupersmith captured it exactly as I remember, right down to the deliciousness of a Vietnamese sandwich.  I drooled for the taste of its unrecognizable meat and strange seasoning on a soft, perfect roll.  I'm still thinking about it and wondering when I will ever taste something so delicious again. 

Don't think the stories are all about food.  They are about love and deceit during a time of war.  They are about refugees trying to adapt to a new country.  They are about preserving a past when it seems to be slipping away.

The author is talented and accomplished in bringing the tales of Vietnamese culture to life in a fresh and invigorating way.  Two thumbs up.  I loved it. 

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty

What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty

Alice awakens on the floor of the gym, while being attended to by paramedics.  She has no idea why she would belong to a gym let alone be there taking a step class.  The clothes she's wearing are unfamiliar.  In fact everything around her is strange.  The last ten years of Alice's life have disappeared from her memory, simply erased like a chalkboard. 

All Alice can remember is Nick, her husband, the love of her life.  He, however, has left her and their three children and the divorce has not been amicable.  Alice is frustrated that he hasn't rushed to her bedside.  But then again, everything is frustrating Alice right now.

In What Alice Forgot,  the reader sees the world through Alice's eyes and her struggle to find her life again.  I am a huge fan of Liane Moriarty and she's done an excellent job creating the character's point of view.  Every action Alice takes and every word she speaks is true to Alice's condition. 

What Alice Forgot also has a message about what is important in life.  With her memory erased, Alice got a chance to start over.  The little things brought a smile to her face when in the past they had annoyed her.  There are times when we'd all like a chance to start over.  Alice shows us that it's not easy but it's never too late. 

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...