Tuesday, June 28, 2011

This Great Struggle: America's Civil War by Steven E. Woodworth

Civil War historian Woodworth has given us a thrilling, easy-to-read, single-volume history of the War, just in time for the sesquicentennial.  All of the battle details are here, but Woodworth deftly covers the political details as well.  He gives us the Congressional machinations regarding slavery that preceded the first strike at Fort Sumter, and he delineates the personal clashes between figures.  Whether it's Lincoln vs. McClellan or Davis vs. Beauregard, the internecine battles are almost as crucial as the field ones.  This book is essential reading for everyone who forgot most of what happened during the most critical four years in American history.



Wedding Belles by Haywood Smith

Southern charm is the main theme of this fun & sweet story Wedding Belles. Georgia, Pru, Teeny, Diane and Linda have been friends forever, so much so that they even keep a set of rules. Of course, there are no secrets between them, and they are the ones you can count on no matter what. And Georgia needs them more than ever because her 28-year-old daughter Callie has decided to marry her father's best friend, Wade Beaumont. Georgia is horrified, as Wade has quite a past. But what's a mother to do???


Sunday, June 26, 2011

What the Night Knows by Dean Koontz

  This novel has all the elements that we are accustomed to in reading Koontz's novels - blood, guts, sex, murder. What sets What the Night Knows apart is the believability of it all. Police detective John Calvino seems to have a wonderful life; a good marriage, 3 children, and a perfect house. But John has not always had it so wonderful. When he was only 14-years-old, a horrific event took place that scarred John in many ways. Now, 20 years later, his past and biggest fears have come back to haunt him. Literally!


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

SISTER by Rosamund Lupton

This debut novel is not for the emotionally faint of heart. If you have a sister, beware of its impact. The book opens with Tess already dead, but is told by Beatrice (Bee) the elder sister. She covers the time from receiving news that her sister is missing forward as a narrative addressed to her sister. There are flashbacks to earlier times in the way we do when something in the present triggers a shared memory. There are apologies and criticisms and tears. But this is no weepy-waily-oh poor me story – Bee evolves into her best, strongest self as she works to uncover the truth of her sister’s death. What grabbed me was the grinding sense of loss that permeates the narrative on an almost subconscious level – always present but not overt. This felt universal to one who has three sisters and never even wants to imagine this loss. Beautifully written and with a great twist at the end, I’m glad it’s fiction.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty

  What Alice Forgot is a really interesting story of an amnesia victim. Certainly not your typical character hits head, wakes up and does not know who they are. No, in this story, 39-year-old Alice Love does fall and hit her head, but when she wakes up she thinks it is 1998. She remembers her family, her husband, her past. However, a lot has happened in 10 years...


Monday, June 6, 2011

Familyhood by Paul Reiser

Comedian and actor Paul Reiser returns with the next book in his series on marriage and parenting.  Familyhood picks ups 15 years after Babyhood ends.  Reiser reflects on his experiences as a father in a series of short vignettes.  In "The Car Door Dings" he worries about his son's penchant for being a "creative manipulator of the facts."  In "Leave a Tender Moment Alone" he regales the reader with his inept attempts to photograph and record EVERY fleeting tender moment.  And in "Bad Words" he agonizes over his younger son's discovery of four-letter-words.  Fans of Reiser will be happy to learn that years of family life have given him more comedic moments to share.


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