Saturday, July 31, 2010

Six Sentence Saturday

Welcome to Six Sentence Saturday.
Where I try to express my thoughts on recent reads using only 6 sentences!!!!.
At the end of each review I will post a
rating scale of 1-5 using the cute and original (lol) Playing Cards.
Rating scale will be as follows:

5 of Hearts- You must read this book NOW!!
4 of Hearts- A great read, put it on your TBR list.
3 of Hearts- Happy that I read it...a good read.

2 of Hearts- Just O.K but nothing to write home about.
Joker Card - Don't bother (why did I?)


The House Next Door- Anne Rivers Siddons
After reading Lesley and Kay's reviews of this one, I just knew that I had to read it. This is unlike any book that I've ever read by Siddons because this one was tense and scary! A few reviews on Goodreads note that this is cheesy, but I honestly didn't think so. It was written in 1978 and so you need to keep that in mind while you're reading it. Siddons gave the house characteristics that made it seem like a breathing entity and she builds up the malevolence coming from the house and draws you deep into the evil. I thought she wrote a heart-pounding horror story that I totally believed in!
My Rating:







Blind Hope by Kim Meeder, Laurie Sacher
This book is basically about how to give up all of your ways and to trust in Jesus. The story is told through recollections from the author and her friend Laurie. Laurie adopted a dog in need and discovered that she was slowly losing her sight and had numerous medical problems. Laurie learns life lessons from her dog Mia. Kim is moved enough to want to share her story with others in the hopes that it will bring someone closer to Jesus. I thought this was a good book and I really did enjoy learning about how Laurie trained Mia as she lost her eyesight. Another thing that I liked was learning about Kim's foundation, Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch. This is an o.k. read that makes you feel good and might have you re-examining a few things in your own life but be forewarned....it is very preachy.
My Rating:
This was book was provided for review by WaterBrook Multnomah.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Thrifty Thursday Final Post

Synopsis of The Space Between Us from inside flap:
The Space Between Us is an intimate portrait of a distant yet familiar world. Set in modern-day India, it is the story of two compelling and achingly real women: Sera Dubash, an upper-middle-class parsi housewife whose opulent surroundings hid the shame and disappointment of her abusive marriage, and Bhima, a stoic illiterate hardened by a life of despair and loss, who has worked in the Dubash household for more than twenty years. This extraordinary novel demonstrates how the lives of the rich and poor are intrinsically connected yet vastly removed from each other, and how the strong bonds of womanhood are eternally opposed by the divisions of class and culture.





I want to thank Lisa for hosting this read-a-long and to let her know that she picked an awesome book. I'm missing these characters already and I know that I will read Umrigar's other works for sure.

Final Chapters
  • Bhima is betrayed
  • social class is EVERYTHING. Those in power may do to you what they will with no repercussions. The poor truly rely on other people's mercies and whims.
  • felt that I needed a chart to figure out the class systems...too many to wrap my mind around. Parsi, Sikhs, Hindu jaat, Muslim, Brahmin...etc.
  • Universal truth: "We women, we live for so much more than just ourselves." p. 296
Final Thoughts:
This book is about the human connection and love. But it also shows how fragile that connection is when class divisions become a part of the picture. This is a moving story and gives the reader much to contemplate. Would most certainly make for a great book club discussion read!!

My rating:
4.5/5 

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

'An Irish Country Girl' by Patrick Taylor

1. Title of book: An Irish Country Girl by Patrick Taylor

2. Words to describe the book: Irish to the core with a healthy dose of storytelling

3. Location or characters you met:
  • Maureen 'Kinky" Kincaid: A housekeeper for the doctor in the village of Ballybucklebo. She is getting the house ready for Christmas dinner and in the course of the day she tells the young children stories about fairies, spirits, and the banshee. Once the children leaves, she takes a break and spends time with the memories of her family, her dreams and ambitions, and how she handled being born 'fey' or also known as the sight.
  • Ireland : you can't read this book and not feel that Ireland isn't a main character. I could feel the breeze, see the multitudes of flowers, experience the stinging cold of the blizzards, smell the sheep, taste the food. I truly felt that I was there!
  • Maureen's family and friends: Each family member has something to add to the story and I loved how the author weaved them into the tapestry of the pages seamlessly. They all were needed and not once did they detract from the story.
4. Things you liked/disliked:
  • Loved the setting
  • The storytelling...I felt like I was at a cozy pub listening to an Irish folkteller. It reminded me of the days when I was younger and my grandpa would get all of us grandkids into one room and he would regale us with stories of his youth. I could sit there for hours and listen to his grand tales!
  • The characters- they felt like family by the time I finished this story.
  • The Irish Mythology was very intriguing and I love learning about different cultures and their folklore.
5. Rating:  4.5/5 


Thank you to Nicole Bruce of The Book Report Network and Forge for sending me a review copy. I was not compensated for my review.
My thoughts on this book were in no way influenced by the author or publicist.
They are my personal reflections based solely on MY experience while reading this novel.

Review Style patterned after Show Me 5 Saturday.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

'A Note From an Old Acquaintance' by Bill Walker


Author: Bill Walker

About: Two people who loved each other but went their separate ways. Each experiences their own heartache. A chance email may change both of their lives.

Descriptive Words: true love, soul mates, writers, artists, big shots, money, greed, cheesy at times

Thoughts: I wasn't sure what to expect when I opened the pages of this book. At first I couldn't really make any sense of the Buddha and the rose, but after the first 75 pages that mystery was easily solved. This is the debut work of Walker and I think he did a pretty decent job. I'm not sure that he struck a chord with me as a female reader though. I found myself at times thinking the plot was a bit hokey and the characters very typical of this sort of storyline. I knew exactly how this story was going to end and nothing was a surprise..which I have to admit was a bit of a letdown. The description on the back mentions the word 'suspense' to describe this book....that is wrong. There wasn't anything suspenseful going on, in my humble opinion. In the end, I felt so-so about this one...I don't think it's horrible, but nor do I think it's one you need to run out and read immediately. Even with that said, I would give this author another try as I think he just needs time to find his voice!

Source: Pump Up Your Book Promotion

Why I Chose: Offered the opportunity to read and review for Pump Up Your Book and I always like to read new-to-me authors.

Recommend? I would lend it to a friend without a problem, but I'm not sure that I would urge anyone to buy their own copy.

Rating: 2.5/5


 Other Reviews:
Drey's Library
Chocolate & Crossaints




Thank you to Tracee  for sending me a review copy. I was not compensated for my review.
My thoughts on this book were in no way influenced by the author or publicist.
They are my personal reflections based solely on MY experience while reading this novel.




Review style courtesy of Lynne's Book Reviews

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Mailbox Monday and It's Monday..What Are You Reading?


Mailbox Monday
is hosted by Marcia at The Printed Page.
We share what books that we found 
in our mailboxes last week.


 Dracula in Love-Shelf Awareness
Shoulder Bags & Shootings- FSB Associates review book
True Colors- from my friend with a big heart, Julie!

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Hosted by Sheila
One Persons Journey Through a World of Books
Weekly meme where we discuss the books you've read
and those you plan to read in the coming week.



Read and reviewed last week:
Never Let You Go- Good Christian suspense read 3/5
Hidden Wives- disturbing and thought provoking book about polygamy 4.5/5
Six Sentence Saturday books:
Letters to My Daughter- well-written and engaging 3/5
Benny & Shrimp- disappointing ending ruined the book for me! 2/5

Tentative reviews for this week:
A Note From an Old Acquaintance- Tuesday
An Irish Country Girl- Wednesday
Thrifty Thursday Update- Thursday
Six Sentence Saturday books:
Blind Hope

Books on deck for next week:

Still need to get to this one
This one seems to keep getting passed up!! I will read it....I swear I will!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Six Sentence Saturday

Welcome to Six Sentence Saturday.
Where I try to express my thoughts on recent reads using only 6 sentences!!!!.
At the end of each review I will post a
rating scale of 1-5 using the cute and original (lol) Playing Cards.
Rating scale will be as follows:

5 of Hearts- You must read this book NOW!!
4 of Hearts- A great read, put it on your TBR list.
3 of Hearts- Happy that I read it...a good read.

2 of Hearts- Just O.K but nothing to write home about.
Joker Card - Don't bother (why did I?)


Letter to My Daughter- George Bishop
Source: Shelf Awarenss/Random House Publishing
I actually enjoyed this book for the most part. It consists of short letters written to Laura's daughter who has just run away from home. Laura decides to share her own turbulent youth with her daughter in hopes that when she returns home they can make a connection. A lot of people have been blown away by how the author, who is a man, was able to convey the sort of emotions and reactions that a mom would have. I thought he did a pretty good job and I really did like going back into the past and seeing how Laura became the sort of parent that she did, now lets just hope that she's learned from the mistakes she made and gets a second chance to have the type of relationship with her daughter that she yearns for. This book took me less than 2 hours to read, I was satisfied at the end, and can easily recommend it to others.
My Rating:








Benny & Shrimp - Katarina Mazetti
Source: Caitlin Price, FSB Associates
I love quirky books and I really love them when they work from the beginning to the end. So here I was vastly invested in Benny and Shrimp, hoping for a realistic conclusion to their crazy love affair. Then came the last chapter and I found myself shaking my head trying to figure out what just happened. Then I read the author's notes and found out there is a sequel to this book, but I'm not sure if I care enough at this point to go search for it. I am glad to have met Benny, he was a character that I truly enjoyed, but Shrimp on the other hand was someone I really didn't warm up to.
Good book until the last chapter....beware reader!
My Rating:

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Thrifty Thursday Update

Synopsis of The Space Between Us from inside flap:
The Space Between Us is an intimate portrait of a distant yet familiar world. Set in modern-day India, it is the story of two compelling and achingly real women: Sera Dubash, an upper-middle-class parsi housewife whose opulent surroundings hid the shame and disappointment of her abusive marriage, and Bhima, a stoic illiterate hardened by a life of despair and loss, who has worked in the Dubash household for more than twenty years. This extraordinary novel demonstrates how the lives of the rich and poor are intrinsically connected yet vastly removed from each other, and how the strong bonds of womanhood are eternally opposed by the divisions of class and culture.



 Well, we're quickly coming to the end of this breathtaking story and I will be sad to see it come to a close. Here are some bullet points from my reading of Chapters 16-20.
  • workers are a dime a dozen, and illiterate is the way the boss man likes them.
  • women and girls have little value. Only boys need to be educated.
  • Bhima faces humiliation daily by her lack of education.
  • Bhima's world changes quickly after her husband is hurt on the job. He quickly spirals into alcoholism and takes his anger out on Bhima.
  • Living in a Bhaleshwar slum is better than living in the streets.
  • Bhima's shame for not being able to read is what drives her fierce desire that Maya continue with college. This is her only goal!
Food and lots of it:
Bhelpuri
Chappatis
Milk Kulfi
Panipuri

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

'Hidden Wives' TLC Book Tour Stop

Author: Claire Avery
Published: June 8, 2010 Forge Books
Pages: 336
Genre: Fiction
Source: TLC Book Tours
Synopsis from TLC:Fifteen-year-old Sara and her beautiful sister, Rachel, are too young to legally drive a car—but are approaching spinsterhood in Utah’s secret polygamist Blood of the Lamb community. Having long since reached the “age of preparedness,” they will soon be married off to much older men selected by the hidden sect’s revered Prophet. As Sara, chosen to become her uncle’s fifth wife, grows more distraught over her impending incestuous marriage, she begins to scrutinize the faith she has followed blindly her entire life. But for Rachel, who will be married to one of the many powerful community leaders vying for her hand, disobeying the Prophet means eternal damnation. Her friendship with the newest member of the community, the young and handsome Luke, starts as an attempt to save his agnostic soul, but ends with the pair falling helplessly in love. When Rachel is forbidden to see him, her absolute faith in the Prophet is severely tested. When Rachel’s future husband is finally announced, violence erupts, and the girls must find the strength to escape the only life they have ever known…before it’s too late.


My Thoughts:
I'm going to review this one a bit differently today. I'm would like to share my immediate thoughts and impressions as I was reading this thought-provoking book.

  • action begins immediately as the reader is thrust into the heart-pounding lives of Sara and Rachel.
  • wonder how the men would like it if the women had all the rights, choices, and power. Polygamy would die out...that's what would happen!
  • Law of Chastity: forbade sexual acts while the woman is expecting. What a FARCE! This law is so hypocritical, made me want to laugh and slap the men who created it.
  • By Chapter 3, I found myself to be filled with tension and feeling extreme revulsion at the god-complex of Prophet Silver.
  • p. 60 paragraph 4....pissed me off. This is where the men send the women into town to get their food stamps!! Why should WE, the taxpayer finance their way of life??? 
  • each girl is isolated from the outside world, which makes it so much easier for indoctrination and brainwashing.
  • the abuse these women, young girls, and children suffer at the hands of the men is making me physically ill.
  • Negroes aren't considered human. They are viewed as  Children of Satan.....really nice there Blood of the Lamb crazies!
  • sickening how all of the men blame Rachel for their lust. It's her fault...she's a witch, a temptress. The men are twisted and perverted.
  • Must wear sacred undergarments which are to protect them from the outside world. A lot of good these undergarments do when they don't protect the young girls in their own home and from the evil in their community.
  • Hope- the central theme throughout the book. In the end this is what we must all hang on to for comfort.
This book touched me on so many levels as you can see from my notes above. I am always struck by how easy it seems for people to get sucked into cults, because this is what I view communities that advocate this way of life. I have tried really hard not to judge others, but when it comes to captivity, physical, sexual, and emotional abuse of children, I have to draw the line. If an adult chooses to live a polygamist life, whom am I to judge them? But when it infringes on the safety and well-being of innocent children.....well, they must be made to answer for their crimes. The authors did a wonderful job of setting the story and giving us two extremely well-written characters to relate to...Rachel and Sara. I felt like I was propelled into their lives from the very first page. I cried with them, felt scared with them, and in the end rejoiced with them. This would make an excellent choice for a book club pick.

Rating: 4.5/5
Highly Recommended!



Thank you to TLC for asking me to be a part of this book tour.
Check out the other tour stops HERE.




CLAIRE AVERY is a pseudonym for a writing team of two sisters.
  Mari Hilburn, an attorney, and Michelle Poché, a screenwriter.
Being raised in a Mel-Gibson-Catholic-fundamentalist type of home was anything but ordinary.  Add in a little socialism, a healthy dose of old fashioned guilt and a father who was so charismatic that you lost yourself in his dream, and you have all the necessary ingredients for a fiction writer’s ideal childhood.  His charisma laid the foundation for a group that has since grown to thousands nationwide.  Growing up in this fundamentalist community provided us with a real-life cast of characters worthy of a John Irving novel.  This included Barefoot Guy, an ex-monk who went barefoot even in harsh Chicago winters as a reminder of Christ’s sacrifice.  It wasn’t until Barefoot Guy accompanied us on a ski trip, then stood outside in the snow proselytizing to other skiers sans the footwear, did we realize what an extremely weird childhood we had.
To further complicate the fragile eco-system of our brains, our father decided the world was ending.  This Yale-educated urbanite became convinced that to save us from imminent death, he needed to move his family and many others from the community to a rural, mountain commune out of state.  We built a bomb shelter and attempted to raise chickens and grow our own food in order to survive the forthcoming nuclear winter.   The collective disaster at living “off the land” eventually led to a mass exodus back to the Windy City, leaving only our family and a granola-eating survivalist (later becoming a Neo-Nazi who attempted to kill us by shooting out the bay windows of our home).
A strange childhood, but at least our father’s religious dogma didn’t force us to marry men five times our age.  We didn’t have to give up our education, freedom or dreams.  And if one of us met the love of her life, she was free to marry him.  Most importantly, she wouldn’t have to share her husband with sister-wives.
There was nothing in our childhood that even remotely resembled the lives of young girls being raised within polygamous cults in 21st century America.  Even though we grew up in a “cult” type environment, we were never subjected to the dehumanizing abuse that so many women and children living in polygamous communities endure in the name of religion.
Thankfully we left our childhoods behind, stronger as a result and empathetic to the individuals trapped in extreme circumstances like those portrayed in Hidden Wives.
Connect with the authors:
On their Website
On Facebook
On Twitter

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

'Never Let You Go' by Erin Healy

Author: Erin Healy
Published: May 2010
Pages: 320
Genre: Christian Fiction/Suspense
Source: Amy Currie of Phenix & Phenix Literary Publicists
Synopsis from Phenix & Phenix:

In “Never Let You Go,” Lexi is a young single mother learning to cope with the aftermath of a family disaster and the decisions of her husband, who left seven years ago. With little left to hold on to, she devotes her life to her only daughter, and is determined to do anything—work grueling hours, sacrifice financially—just to make her happy.


But when her estranged husband unexpectedly reenters their lives, her sister’s murderer comes up for parole and an unwanted acquaintance returns demanding payment of an old debt, Lexi’s world is quickly turned upside-down once again. As hidden sins are exposed and a whirlwind of mysterious forces begin to surface, her tenuous grip on life and her loved ones is threatened.

My Thoughts:  This book is very reminiscent of Dekker and Peretti's past work. These two authors were my introduction into Christian suspense and I've pretty much enjoyed all of their works. Now, I have a new author to add to that list.....Erin Healy. This is an age old story of good versus evil with a twist of supernatural added to the mix. Overall, I thought Healy wrote a compelling page turner and I savored the time I spent with MOST of the characters. I have to admit that I felt that Warden was a bit of a cliche' in regards to the portrayal of the devil. At times, I found myself rolling my eyes at some of the words and expressions he exhibited. I would like to see the author grow in this regards, and really make the reader struggle in answering who is good and who is bad. I like trying to figure that out. But even with that, it didn't detract enough from the story to discourage me from finishing it. There is that knowledge going into this genre that all things will turn out for the good and yes, it is fairly predictable, but I think that is one of the reasons I enjoy reading these books.   For those that like suspense with a Christian undertone, I think this would be a good choice for a future read.

Rating: 3/5


Thank you to Amy Currie  for sending me a review copy. I was not compensated for my review.
My thoughts on this book were in no way influenced by the author or publicist.
They are my personal reflections based solely on MY experience while reading this novel.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Mailbox Monday and It's Monday...What Are You Reading?


Mailbox Monday
is hosted by Marcia at The Printed Page.
We share what books that we found 
in our mailboxes last week.




Infinite Days (Vampire Queen #1)- Rebecca Maizel
 * From publisher for review

An Echo in the Bone (Outlander #7)- Diana Gabaldon
* TLC Tour Book September 2nd

---------------------------------------------------------------------

Hosted by Sheila
One Persons Journey Through a World of Books
Weekly meme where we discuss the books you've read
and those you plan to read in the coming week.


Read and reviewed last week:
When She Flew- loved this one 4.5/5
The Murderer's Daughters- excellent book 5/5

Tentative reviews for this week:
Never Let You Go- Tuesday
Hidden Wives- TLC Book Tour stop Wednesday
Six Sentence Saturday-
Benny & Shriimp
Letter To My Daughter

Books on deck for review next week:

These books have found a new home.....

  1. When She Flew-Stacybuckeye
  2. Disrupting Grace-Laura
  3. The Clouds Roll Away-Kay
  4. Never Let You Go-Robin
  5. Little Giant-Marjorie
  6. After the Fall-Myckyee
  7. Mr. Rosenblum-Molly

Thanks to everyone for stopping by and leaving nice comments for Marc!
He's doing pretty good with his driving so far and I'm really proud of him...now if I could just get a brake installed on my side of the Jeep!!!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Something for you...my friends!

For some reason my reading mojo has went a bit south this past week and so I have no books to review for Six Sentence Saturday...gasp!!!! I can hardly believe it myself, but it is true. The book I just finished took me 4 days!! But, I have been very busy with a summer rec program that I help run and with my son Marc, who just completed Segment 1 of his driver's training program. Reading has taken a backseat for my other activities for a bit!!
Marcus shaking hands with his instructor while getting his certificate!





Now here's the little something for you....

Rules:
  • You may pick all 7, but you will only get 1....this will be first come first serve
  • Must be in the U.S. or Canada- sorry, I can't really afford international on this giveaway
  • Must have commented on any of my posts within the last 30 days. I want to give my books to friends who have been loyal readers not to someone who is trying to snag free books all over the internet.
  • Please leave me your email in the comment !!!
  • Open until all books are spoken for
  1. When She Flew-Stacybuckeye
  2. Disrupting Grace-Laura
  3. The Clouds Roll Away-Kay
  4. Never Let You Go-Robin
  5. Little Giant-Marjorie- never got back to me with address, so I'm sending this to the next person edited 8/2/10
  6. After the Fall-Myckyee
  7. Mr. Rosenblum-Molly

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Thrifty Thursday Update


Synopsis of The Space Between Us from inside flap:
The Space Between Us is an intimate portrait of a distant yet familiar world. Set in modern-day India, it is the story of two compelling and achingly real women: Sera Dubash, an upper-middle-class parsi housewife whose opulent surroundings hid the shame and disappointment of her abusive marriage, and Bhima, a stoic illiterate hardened by a life of despair and loss, who has worked in the Dubash household for more than twenty years. This extraordinary novel demonstrates how the lives of the rich and poor are intrinsically connected yet vastly removed from each other, and how the strong bonds of womanhood are eternally opposed by the divisions of class and culture.



Sorry that this update is so late!!! Too many things going on today and not enough time to sit down and write this up!! I'm still enjoying this book...totally immersed into the Indian culture and trying to learn about the different ethnic groups within the country. This week we find out how Maya came to be an orphan. The author takes us deeper into Sera's life and how the physical abuse of her husband came to be. Domestic violence knows no age, sex, race....it affects women all around the world.

Here's what I've been contemplating this week:

  • HIV- huge problem in India. With such a large group of people that are illiterate and uneducated about the ways you can become infected with HIV, this disease has ravaged a lot of people. I've also decided that just by reading about their hospitals and lack of medical care, that we as Americans, really need to think twice before we complain about our own health care system. Try living in a third world country and see what kind of medical care you receive. If it's better than anything here in the U.S. then you may have a legitimate rant.
  • Parsi Women
  • Ethnic groups and prejudices- I believe that prejudice is everywhere, not just in America. Sometimes I think we all believe that it is better somewhere else. Sort of like that old adage, the grass is always greener on the other side, right?? Anyway, trying to understand the ethnic groups is difficult to say the least.
Parsi-The question of Parsi identity is a contentious one. There are those who say that the term Parsi (or Parsee) may only refer to the descendants of the original immigrants from Iran 1000 years ago. Others refer to just about anyone hailing from Iran as a Parsi regardless of when they came. Others still see anyone accepted as a Zoroastrian as being a Parsi by default. 
Genealogical tests of Parsis in Pakistan confirmed that their DNA was significantly more similar to Iranians than any other immediate geographic neighbours but other tests of the Parsis in India suggest that they have more in common with the Gujuratis, suggesting a greater degree of ethnic assimilation than might be comfortable for many proud Parsis. Parsis have always tried to be strict on not inter-marrying with other faiths and races in order to preserve their lineage but it's unlikely that such a strategy will prevent them from dying out in the near future.


Gujarati people (Gujarati: ગુજરાતી લોકો Gujǎrātī loko?), or Gujaratis are an Indo-Aryan ethnic group that is traditionally Gujarati-speaking and can trace their ancestry to the state of Gujarat in northwestern India. Famous Gujaratis include Mohandas Gandhi, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.

The Marathi people or Maharashtrians (Marathi: मराठी माणसं or महाराष्ट्रीय) are an Indo-Aryan linguistic group, that inhabit the Maharashtra region and state of western India. Their language Marathi is part of the southern group of Indo-Aryan languages. Although their history goes back more than a millennium, the community came to prominence when Maratha warriors under Shivaji Maharaj established the Maratha Empire in 1674. Mee Marathi (मी मराठी, I am Marathi) are two words that have always inculcated Marathi pride.
Marathi Dancers  

 Please visit the other readers and see what their thoughts are so far:
Ti at Book Chatter
Kathy at Mommy's Reading
Booksync at Book In The City
Bailey at The Window Seat Reader
Mari at Bookworm With A View

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

TLC Book Review: 'The Murderer's Daughters' by Randy Susan Meyers

Author: Randy Susan Meyers
Published: January 2010, St. Martin's Press
Pages: 310
Genre: Fiction
Source: TLC Book Tours
Synopsis from TLC:
Lulu and Merry’s childhood was never ideal, but on the day before Lulu’s tenth birthday their father drives them into a nightmare. He’s always hungered for the love of the girl’s self-obsessed mother. After she throws him out, their troubles turn deadly.
Lulu’s mother warned her to never let him in, but when he shows up, he’s impossible to ignore. He bullies his way past ten-year-old Lulu, who obeys her father’s instructions to open the door, then listens in horror as her parents struggle. She runs for help and discovers upon her return that he’s murdered her mother, stabbed her sister, and tried to kill himself.
For thirty years, the sisters try to make sense of what happened. Their imprisoned father is a specter in both their lives, shadowing every choice they make. Though one spends her life pretending he’s dead, while the other feels compelled to help him, both fear that someday their imprisoned father’s attempts to win parole may meet success.

My Thoughts:
Randy Susan Meyers has crafted a world that pulls you in page by page and will not give you up until the very last word. Once I started this book I had a hard time putting it down. I was horrified by what Lulu and Merry had to live through, not only the murder of their mother, but then the total abandonment by their aunt and uncle to a girl's home. Each girl has to learn how to survive and to just get by one more day. Their coping mechanisms aren't always healthy and as adults, they will have to learn how to accept and heal from their past trauma. I loved how Meyers gave us a glimpse into each girl's life. I could so picture Merry and Lulu, as children and as adults. I found it fascinating how each one went into a career of helping others, yet they never gave themselves the attention and love that they offered others. This book truly made me stop and think about the children that are affected by the murder of a parent at the hands of the other parent. I believe that this novel would make a fantastic book club selection as there is plenty to talk about, especially the narcissistic father Victor. I really had a hard time with this character. I still don't believe that he was truly sorry for what he did. He never really showed any sympathy to Merry, nor did he apologize to the girls for killing their mother. Yet Merry went to see him weekly.....talk about guilt tripping your child.

Perfect example from book:

  "You think I'm a monster, Doc. Maybe I was." Daddy paused. "Yeah, I guess I was the worst kind of monster. But I was drunk and heartbroken. You think that doesn't excuse me, but I'm paying my dues."
  Doctor Cohen leaned in and spoke quietly.  "It seems your girls are paying those dues as much as you."
  "I guess it looks that way to someone like you, but from where I'm sitting, it looks like they're doing okay. They have you, right? From what Merry writes, your wife is a real doll." My father took off his glasses. His eyes reminded me of Grandma's. "The girls are getting good marks in school. Lulu is going to college."
  "But they don't have parents do they?" Doctor Cohen said. "Nothing makes up for losing a mother."
  "My girls have me. Their father."
  "Hardly," Doctor Cohen said.
  "I love my girls." Daddy's eyes narrowed. "And Merry looks out for me. She always will. right, Merry?"
  I held my breath and closed my eyes, wishing I were far away. Then I opened them. "Right, Daddy."
p.104-105

After I finished reading this book, I sat there for a while thinking of the lives that Lulu and Merry might have lived if their mother wasn't murdered. And then I wondered, how many Lulu's and Merry's are there in the world and my heart felt heavy.

Highly Recommended
5/5






Thank you to TLC for asking me to be a part of this book tour.
Check out the other tour stops HERE.

About Randy

The dark drama of Randy Susan Meyers’ debut novel is informed by her years of work with batterers, domestic violence victims, and at-risk youth impacted by family violence.

Randy Susan Meyers’ short stories have been published in the Fog City Review, Perigee: Publication for the Arts, and the Grub Street Free Press.

In Brooklyn, where Randy was born and raised, her local library was close enough to visit daily and she walked there from the time she figured out the route. In many ways, she was raised by books, each adding to her sense of who she could be in this world. Some marked her for horror. Reading In Cold Blood at too tender an age assured that she’d never stay alone in a country house. Others, like Heidi by Johanna Spyri, made her worship her grandfather even more.
Some taught her faith in the future.

A Tree Grows In Brooklyn by Betty Smith was the only bible Randy ever owned, her personal talisman of hopefulness. Each time she read it, she was struck anew by how this author knew so much and dared to write it.

Randy now lives in Boston with her husband and is the mother of two grown daughters. She teaches writing seminars at the Grub Street Writers’ Center in Boston.
She is also on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/randysusanmeyers and Twitter: http://twitter.com/randysusanmeyer.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

'When She Flew' by Jennie Shortridge

Author: Jennie Shortridge
Genre: Fiction

About: An Iraq vet and his daughter live in the wilderness quite content and happy until the police receive a report of a young girl who may be held against her will in the state forest. It's also a story about a cop who feels that following the "rules" will only damage the girl and decides to do the right thing, even though it may cost her everything she's worked for.

Descriptive Words: family, love, doing the right thing, understanding, nature, post traumatic stress disorder

Thoughts: I was captured immediately with the description of Lindy's love for birds and her hope to see a blue heron. I anxiously await each year the blue heron that visits my neighbor's pond. I love birds and owls, so I felt an affinity for Lindy. I was scared for her when the police invade her home and try to separate her from her father.  I'm always amazed at how easily people can judge someone else and this book really made me stop and think about what is a "proper" home for a child. Who makes the decision that your home isn't good enough? I can totally understand filth and dangerous conditions as being reasons for a child being removed from a home. But who decided that living off the land, treating nature with respect, being clean, fed, educated, clothed, and happy constitutes a neglectful living situation? Just from what was presented in the book, I felt that Lindy was a well-rounded kid and that her dad really was trying to do the best he could for her. What is equally intriguing is that this story is loosely based on actual events that took place outside of Portland in 2004. When I was finished,  I found myself asking what makes a home? Who decides which way is right about "education" and how to raise a kid properly? This book is an insightful glimpse into the world of our soldiers that return from Iraq suffering from PTSD. It also shows that human side of police officers who find themselves involved in domestic disputes and don't always agree with the law.

Source: 
Joan Schulhafer Publishing & Media Consulting


Why I Chose: I was taken by the synopsis of the story and wanted to see how the story ended.

Recommend? Absolutely..there's much to discuss with this one, especially knowing that something similar happened in real life. I think many people will find that they identify with Jess, the police officer, and I'm sure many will find themselves rooting for Lindy.

Rating: 4.5/5


Thank you to Joan Schulhafer  for sending me a review copy. I was not compensated for my review.
My thoughts on this book were in no way influenced by the author or publicist.
They are my personal reflections based solely on MY experience while reading this novel.



Review style courtesy of Lynne's Book Reviews