Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Kindness of Strangers by Katrina Kittle

This book deals with a very difficult subject—child molestation, child pornography, and incest. That being said, The Kindness of Strangers was a very good book and worth reading.

Sarah Laden is a widow who is trying to raise her two sons on her own. Her older son, Nate, is often in trouble at school. Her younger son, Danny, has recently had a falling out with his friend Jordan. One day, Sarah sees Jordan walking to school in the rain. She offers to drive him to school, but before they arrive, a tragedy occurs. It is soon revealed that Jordan is the target of molestation. After Jordan’s mother is arrested and his father flees, Sarah and her sons decide to take Jordan in as a foster child. It’s a story of hope and healing.

I finished this book in one day. Once I started reading it, I couldn’t put it down. The story is told in rotating points of view, so readers get insight into several characters. Katrina Kittle takes a subject most people don’t even like to think about and treats it with sensitivity. She shows that family takes many forms and doesn’t always have to be the family you were born into. At times, the book is graphic, but overall, Kittle doesn’t go into so much detail that the book is impossible to read.

If you liked this book, you might also like Lost in the Forest by Sue Miller.


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Driving Mr. Yogi by Harvey Araton

Cover imageHere is a sports memoir that is not so much about the game as it is about the friendships that develop.  Driving Mr. Yogi focuses on the relationship between two Yankee Hall of Famers - the incomparable catcher Yogi Berra and the ace pitcher Ron "Gator" Guidry.  Yogi Berra returned to the Yankee fold in 1999 after a reconciliation with Yankee owner George Steinbrenner following a fourteen-year absence.  Berra and Guidry first met in 1976, when Guidry was a young Yankee pitcher and Berra a bench coach.  Their paths crossed throughout the years, but they didn't truly become friends until Guidry volunteered to pick Yogi up at the Tampa airport for spring training in February 2000. Guidry took his responsibility seriously, chaufeurring Berra to and from the stadium and taking him to dinner.  Over the years other rituals were added, and soon Yogi became the respected elder statesman, inspiring the young Yankee players by his mere presence.  The book is poignant, as it shows Yogi's frailties, but hope always springs eternal.  When the team heads north, Yogi and Gator know that they can always "wait til next year" to start the ritual again.


If you enjoyed this book, you will also enjoy Ron Santo: a Perfect 10 by Pat Hughes

Monday, May 21, 2012

Sidney Sheldon's Angel of the Dark by Tilly Bagshawe

Cover imageAngel of the Dark is classic Sidney Sheldon - deceit, murder, revenge, and much in-between. Rich, older men, all married to much younger women, are ending up dead. The crimes are all very similar even though they are committed continents apart. LAPD Detective Danny McGuire is given this case, and although unable to solve it, he is never quite over it. After moving to France and getting a job with Interpol, out of the blue he is contacted several years later by a journalist who has also been following this case. As he gets deeper and deeper into the trail of the killer, he is stunned by what he uncovers. This novel is incredibly suspenseful; you won't want to put it down. And the ending...perfect!


Readalike author: Harlan Coben

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Postmistress by Sarah Blake

The Postmistress involves three women's experiences on the brink of world war. Iris James, postmistress of Franklin, Massachusetts silently observes what happens in town. She holds it all in tightly, never disclosing what she observes. Emma Trask has married Will Fitch, a young doctor in Franklin. Alone in the world, Emma hopes to find a home with Will. As daily life moves on, both women find themselves turning to the voice of Frankie Bard, American radio gal in Europe with Edward R Murrow and others, reporting from England as German bombs fall. Frankie, like the United States, is trying to remain separate from the approaching madness. The very separate lives of these three women begin to draw closer and gradually intertwine. One finds herself committing an act she never thought possible. Another is eyewitness to horrors she could have never imagined. The third waits for love to return. These three are drawn into the ever growing madness of war and all pay a price. Each must draw on personal strength and strength she has unknowingly gained from the others.

Large truths are often told through small stories and ThePostmistress does this with incredible grace and lyricism.       


Imagine: How Creativity Works by Jonah Lehrer

Many people assume that creativity is something that only certain “types” possess. Jonah Lehrer points out in Imagine: How Creativity Works that the opposite is actually true. He says that all people have the ability to be creative, that it’s just another skill people can learn. He goes in depth about the science behind creativity, discussing creative minds like Bob Dylan, William Shakespeare, and Arthur Fry, the man who invented Post-It Notes.

I enjoyed this book. It was science heavy, but Lehrer did a good job of making it easy to understand and also interesting at the same time. Besides discussing the science behind creativity, Lehrer also provides lots of tips on how to become more creative. 

If you like this book, you might also like Disciplined Dreaming: A Proven System to Drive Breakthrough Creativity by Josh Linkner.


Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Island by Elin Hilderbrand

Cover imageIf you are looking for a nice, quiet, family story then you cannot go wrong with this novel. The Island is the story of the Cousins women: Birdie, the mom, newly divorced and the rock of the family. Chess, the beautiful, talented youngest daughter who is going through a major crisis, and Tate, the oldest daughter who is independent but looking for love. They all, plus Aunt India, need a break from life in general. And what better place to do that than the old family home on Tucknernut, a small island off of Nantucket. On Tuckernut, there is no television, no radio, no Internet, and no cell phone service. The women will have 30 days of sand, surf, and each other - perfect solitude. But is that really what they need?

Read-alike author: Nancy Thayer


Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Crimson Rooms by Katherine McMahon

Evelyn Gifford is still reeling from the death of her brother James in the Great War when a young woman appears on the doorstep with a small boy who she claims is her son by James. Evelyn, herself, is trying to make a life and living as one of a small crop of female barristers reluctantly allowed by the 'old guard' to practice law.
On the professional front, she becomes involved in the defense of a former soldier accused of killing his wife. At home, her widowed mother and spinster aunt fight acknowledging their changing times and fortunes, and now appears this mysterious stranger with her statements and demands. Lastly, although Evelyn believes she has accepted her likely permanent status as a spinster, another barrister enters her case and her life. It is a topsy-turvy world and Evelyn is caught up in it totally.
Did Simon Wheeler really kill his young bride, Stella? If so, why? Although there is no doubt Edmund is James' son, what does Meredith really want and how does she plan to get it? And, most importantly, has Nicholas Thorne truly fallen in love with her despite his engagement to the wealthy and beautiful Sylvia Hardynge, or is she only a tool to keep him informed in the Wheeler case?
The Crimson Rooms was a good audiobook: easy to follow despite multiple characters and story lines, and the narrator was excellent. 


My Life from Scratch by Gesine Bullock-Prado

My Life from Scratch: A Sweet Journey of Starting Over, One Cake at a TimeTalk about a sweet read! Yes, pun intended. Gesine B-P is Sandra Bullock’s younger sister, but this is strictly about her – no celebrity trading here. It is a cheerful, down-to-earth story of a young woman who found her joy and chose to pursue it instead of the Hollywood scene. As the owner and chief baker in a small bakery near Montpelier, Vermont, she rises in the pre-dawn to begin her well-floured day. This is the story of how she came to that place and what it has meant to her.
As a dyed-in-the-wool cynic, I never would have believed this book would gather me in so totally, but it did. Her sanity and grounded philosophy made this a story of a physical, emotional, and, yes, a spiritual journey that made me remember the day I crossed the threshold for my first library position and the magic of being employed at doing something one loves.
Those of you out there with dreams unfulfilled, take My Life From Scratch home with you and think about the rewards a leap of faith can bestow.


A Duty to the Dead by Charles Todd

Bess Crawford is a nurse on a ship in 1916 returning wounded to England when the ship is sunk. Before the sinking, she promises to deliver a dying patient’s message to his family. When finally able to carry out her commission, she is surprised at the indifference with which it is received. Before leaving the house, a tragedy occurs and she is pulled into a web of mystery, intrigue, and danger.
This is the debut of a new series with an appealing heroine, fascinating historical detail, and, of course, a mystery. A Duty to the Dead is great way to spend time reading!


The Song Remains the Same by Allison Winn Scotch

Cover imageWho can you really trust? That is the question that runs throughout The Song Remains the Same. Nell Satterly wakes up in the hospital and discovers that she is only one of two survivors of a plane crash that killed over 100 people. Nell has no memory of the crash whatsoever. Furthermore, she has no memory of her past at all. Not her mother, her sister, her husband, her friends, her life! Now Nell must rely on these people, as well as the media who hounds her constantly, to fill in the pieces of her life. But are they telling her the truth?


Read-alike: What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty