Sunday, June 21, 2015

A Splendid Gift by Alyson Richman

A Splendid Gift by Alyson Richman

I first read The Little Prince in Mr. Marapodi's high school French class.  At sixteen however, the story's message of life was largely lost on me.  The assignment was simply a means to an end, a grade on my report card.

I'm grown up now and have read The Little Prince in English many times, loving it more each time.  So when I read the blurb for A Splendid Gift, I was sure I wanted to read it.  Alyson Richman chooses interesting and unusual story lines which also capture my attention. 

Silvia Hamilton sets her sights on Saint Exupery at a party in New York City, setting their love affair in motion.  Saint Exupery is struggling to write, to deal with his turbulent marriage and somehow win the war for France.  Silvia is able to bring him a sense of calm if only for the little time they are able to spend together. 

A Splendid Gift is a novella.  For me, it was just not enough.  This is a beautiful, intriguing story set with a backdrop of war.  As a reader, I felt I was only seeing a very shallow view of the characters and their faults. I wanted more depth from this story and it ended far too soon.  A Splendid Gift is written in a wonderful Richman style, but it left me wanting so much more from it.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King

Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King

Cujo was the last Stephen King novel I remember reading.  It came out in 1982. The story scared the holy crap out of me and I don't like being scared.  I steer clear of any zombies, Freddie Kruger, or Texas Chainsaw massacres. Even though Stephen King is an American treasure, I hope reading a good book will tap into my emotions, but not have me checking the locks on all my doors and windows. I've stayed away from all things Stephen King all this time.   

Deciding it was time for something new, I opened up Mr. Mercedes.  Kermit William Hodges is an overweight, retired detective who suddenly only has the television and his gun for company.  A cold case where a man wearing a clown mask, driving a stolen gray Mercedes plowed into a line of people waiting to enter a job fair, gnaws in Bill's gut. Several were killed, and more were maimed.  Against his better judgement, he sets out to solve the case.

What I realized by page two, is that Stephen King is a brilliant writer.  I was blown away by the telling of this story.  King's writing is earthy, no frills and only a few big, complex words sprinkled in so they were easy to pass over. But make no mistake, Mr. Mercedes is a creepy, edge of your seat, evil thriller.  I couldn't put it down.  One night when I couldn't stop turning the pages, I had to force myself to put my Kindle down or be useless at work the next day.  But my mind had been worked into such a frenzy, I couldn't sleep anyway.  I sat up in bed and read some more. 

It's good to get out of your comfort zone every now and then.  Mr. Mercedes took me to places I never knew existed and where I never want to go again.  The sequel is out now, Finder's Keepers, and I can't wait to find out what happens next.  But I'll read it with the lights on.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

I 've never really thought of myself as a serial reader.  Plenty of people I know read the same author's novels never sticking their toe into other waters.  I've taken pride in reading a variety of authors, topics and genres.  That is until I found Liane Moriarty. 

I liked The Hypnotist's Love Story, I loved What Alice Forgot and I adored The Husband's Secret.  It was a no brainer for me to read Big Little Lies. However, after reading the first few chapters of Big Little Lies, I was ready to throw in the towel. The strong-willed Australian women, who were trying so hard not to lead ordinary lives, left me uninterested this time.

Madeline is turning forty and although she wants everyone to know she hates getting old, she secretly loves all the attention.  While stopped in traffic, she gets out of her car to yell at a teenager who is texting and driving.  Her high heel catches in the pavement, she falls twisting her ankle.  Jane watches from behind the wheel of her own car and comes to the rescue.  Both, it turns out are on their way to kindergarten orientation at the same school with their children in tow. 

Now I've never been able to stop reading a book midstream no matter how much I hated it.  But I'm beginning to get a bit more discerning after being caught in a long string of really bad books I wasted alot of time on and didn't enjoy. I came so close to closing the door on this one but that little voice inside told me to keep going.  And I'm glad I listened to it.

There are no spoilers here but Big Little Lies struck a chord. Although women have come a long way in our society, we still have a long way to go.  Liane Moriarty put her own comedic spin on a very serious subject and anyone who reads this novel will remember it for a long time to come.  Today I'm an even bigger fan knowing there are more Moriarty novels waiting for me. But most of all, I'm glad I can add Big Little Lies to my list of favorites.

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...