Sunday, July 26, 2009

Surviving A House Full of Whispers

Have you ever known one of those people that just can't ever seem to catch a break? In "Surviving a House Full of Whispers", Sharon is just that person. Her young life was startled by physical and sexual abuse from a stepfather and although she had the courage to escape, the fear never left. Her fear chased her as her life went on-from living on the streets to the comfort of her own home among her husband and children. Eventually Sharon seems to escape the fear and break out into her own, yet life keeps throwing bumps in the road that just never give her a moment to be happy and really enjoy a true peace.

The book is written in a way that seems the reader is watching Sharon on her journey, rather than reading about it. I think the writing has an erratic quality, but it works. It works as it makes her story more real to the reader. My body felt erratic as I read it-the words transformed that feeling where I was nervous, excited, angry, and fighting to get in there and help her. I haven't been that affected by the power of a story in a long time. I would recommend this selection to everyone as it shows a person that suffered and made a life her own, while still struggling every day. I have to say that I was more than delighted as there will be a sequel that chronicles the next stages of her life.

Friday, July 24, 2009

The Scarecrow by Michael Connelly

The Scarecrow
Michael Connelly
Little, Brown, and Company (2009)
ISBN 9780316166300
Reviewed by Laura Johnson for Reader Views (7/09)

Michael Connelly is no stranger to the murder mystery genre. He is a #1 BestSelling Author that has written more than a dozen selections that chronicle the life of a reporter trying to get the story. In Connelly’s latest installment, “The Scarecrow,” he once again follows the path that has given him great success. Jack McEvoy, a cop beat writer for the LA Times, has been told that he will lose his job due to dwindling revenue and will need to train his replacement. McEvoy takes the news in stride and decides to leave the office in style, by discovering a story that could possibly earn him a Pulitzer.

McEvoy comes across the trail of a 16-year-old boy that has seemingly confessed to a heinous crime, yet there is more to the story after a closer look. McEvoy then teams up with Rachel Walling, a character from a former Connelly novel, and the two take off on a wild chase to find out the true story of the serial murders and just who the Scarecrow is. The book provides intrique, mystery, and enough action to keep you on the edge of your seat for what path McEvoy and Walling will take next. The reader knows early on in the book who the Scarecrow is, but will find himself fighting for the characters to figure it out, and deal out the justice that needs to occur. The ending was not what I expected and I have to wonder if there is more to come with this story.

“The Scarecrow” contains characters that have appeared in previous selections by Connelly, but the reader does not need to have read those to enjoy this one. I highly recommend this selection by Michael Connelly for anyone that is looking for a great who-done-it thriller story.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Let It Be: My Daughter's Legacy
Ruthe Rosen with Lisa Greathouse
KARmedia LLC (2009)
ISBN 9780578006383
Reviewed by Laura Johnson for Reader Views (7/09)

Karla is caring, brave, courageous, and for many, a hero. At the age of 14, she was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor that would eventually result in her death. This is the story of her life, as written by her mother, Ruthe Rosen. Ms. Rosen shares intimate details of the journey Karla took before and during her illness and the results that came out of the celebration of Karla’s life. Ms. Rosen successfully intertwined journal entries from Karla to get a first-hand account of her thoughts as she was going through such an ordeal. The book is a celebration of Karla and her short time on earth and what she brought to all of those around her.

This is a short read that shows healing from a hurting family is possible and that not all death means an end. I recommend “Let It Be: My Daughter’s Legacy” by Ruthe Rosen to anyone that is looking for an inspirational read on the power of family, faith, life, and death.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Call of the World by Trent Newcomer

The Call of the World: A Young Man’s Journey of Discovery
Trent Newcomer
iUniverse (2009)
ISBN 9780595506231
Reviewed by Laura Johnson for Reader Views (7/09)

“The Call of the World: A Young Man’s Journey of Discovery” chronicles the journey of the author, Trent Newcomer, as he travels the world over a period of a year and a half. Newcomer, at the age of 25, decided to quit his job and throw what he could fit into a backpack and take off. The book is a compilation of the journals from the experience, yet it is beautifully crafted into an easy to read, personal dialogue that I had trouble putting down. From near death bus rides, to having a gun pulled on him, to experiencing bed bugs, and the beauty of the animal kingdom on safari, the experience is one that many only dream of.

Newcomer engages the reader to catch the travel bug and leave on their own journey of discovery. Yet, the reader only needs to delve into the pages of this book to start on that journey. The book is written for all of those that love to travel and all of those that just want to take a trip without leaving the comfort of their own home. The journey is ultimately about discovery, and the author realizes that discovery does not come just from traveling the world.

While reading “The Call of the World: A Young Man’s Journey of Discovery,” felt as if Newcomer was talking to me in a private conversation, rather than me reading the written words. I was at times jealous of his travels, at times sitting on the edge of my seat to see what would happen next, yet, always engaged and sad when I reached the last page. However, I realized that although the travel journey was over in the pages of words, I would still continue on into my own journey of discovery.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Across The Pond by Storyheart

"Across the Pond" can be described simply as: Boy journeys across the pond. Boy meets girl. Boy gets girl. Boy journeys back across the pond.

Fred Squire finds himself traveling from England to America to stay with friends of his parents, while they take a vacation. Fred is not happy that he is being essentially cast away so that his parents can enjoy a trip without him. However, Fred is in for a rude awakening once he reaches his destination in America. He meets Brittany and realizes the trip might not be so bad after all. Fred's journey will take him on an adventure of barbeques, new friends, new enemies, and a baseball game that could change his life.

I do not typically read books that are geared towards younger readers or young adults, but I am very glad that I decided to try this book. It is very well written and kept me engaged to continue reading and finish it in one sitting. It is a heartwarming story of teenage life, love, and angst, as seen by characters that live in different settings. Yet, it is universal in its story, where anyone that reads it, will be able to relate to it. It did not have the quality of being a book that was "too young" for me to read and I believe it will reach readers on every level. I highly recommend this selection.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Summer Affair

Claire Danner Crispin, mother of four young children and nationally renowned glassblower, bites off more than she can chew when she agrees to co-chair the Nantucket's Children Summer Gala. Claire is asked to chair the benefit, in part, because she is the former high school sweetheart of rock star Max West. Max agrees to play the gala and it looks like smooth sailing for Claire-until she promises a "museum-quality" piece of glass for the auction, offers her best friend the catering job, goes nose-to-nose with her Manhattan socialite co-chair, and begins a "good-hearted" affair with the charity's Executive Director, Lockhart Dixon. Hearts break and emotions are pushed to the limit in this riveting story of one woman's attempt to deal with loves past and present, family, business, and high-powered social pressures. Elin Hilderbrand's unique understanding of the joys and longings that animate women's lives will make this her newest summer bestseller.

I have five copies of this book to giveaway. Please leave a comment with your email address. Become a follower of my blog and receive an extra entry. This contest is open to USA and Canada, sorry no P.O. Boxes. The winners will be chosen on July 15.

Stand The Storm

Even though former slaves Annie Coats and her son Gabriel have managed to buy their freedom, their lives are still marked by constant struggle and sacrifice--to the extent that Annie secretly recalls her days on the plantation with fondness. Washington's Georgetown neighborhood, where the Coatses are seeking to build their new lives--with Gabriel, a tailor, producing uniforms for soldiers and fine suits for pompous politicians, and Annie, a seamstress and laundress, catering to the nearby brothels and stately homes--is supposed to be a safe haven, a "promised land" for former slaves, but is effectively a frontier town, gritty and dangerous, with no laws protecting black people. In fact, the city's own emancipation efforts in 1862 serve only to compromise the Coats family's status, putting Gabriel's three young daughters (each of them born free of free parents) at risk of becoming the property of the Coatses' former master. The remarkable emotional energy with which the Coatses rise their daily battles--as they negotiate with their former owner, as they assist other former slaves en route to freedom, as they prepare for the encroaching war, and as they struggle to love each other enough--is what fuels this novel and makes its tragic denoument so devastating.

I have five copies to giveaway of this book. Please leave a comment with your email address. Become a follower of my blog and get an extra entry. This contest is open to USA and Canada, sorry but no P.O. Boxes. The winners will be chosen on July 15.