Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Book Review: Pretty Girls  by Karin Slaughter

Pretty Girls by Karen Slaughter is a hard hitting, can’t put it down but can’t bear to read it story of a family devastated by the disappearance of their daughter oldest Julia after 20+ years.  The mystery surrounding her vanishing  erodes the sanity of the father, propels the middle sister into addiction and so flatlines the affect of the youngest sister that she plays into the hands of the fiend who is the instrument of the destruction of her family and the families of many across the world.  Fast paced and one of the most painful reads of my life, I  gave it four stars because the violence and creeping psychological menace almost overwhelmed me. However,  the mark of a great writer is that she can move hesitant romance/inspirational readers like me out of their comfort zone and move their broken reading hearts through connection with  characters.   An unforgettable read.  Please pick it up. 

Review by Karen

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Heart to Heart

Valentine's Day is rapidly approaching and if you are running out of ideas, why not try writing a love poem?

Here are some titles for inspiration.

Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair by Pablo Neruda is a collection originally published in 1924. It has been translated into English by W.S. Merwin.

Dizzy in Love is a collection of poems by teens. Who knows the angst of love better than teenagers?

Aimless Love New and Selected Poems by Billy Collins is a compilation of new and selected poems from four previous books. Collins is a two term Poet Laureate.

Of course, you can go traditional with these works.

The Sonnets - Poems of Love by William Shakespeare.  You can't go wrong with Shakespeare. 

Burns:poems by Robert Burns contains the classic "A Red, Red Rose".

Give poems a try!

Review by Cara 

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

On a quiet street near a pub in a working class neighborhood is Slade Alley from which one might find Slade House. Slade house residents discreetly lure certain people to visit...a visit from which they will never return. Visitors find the short and narrow black iron door, which is the entrance to Slade House at 9 year intervals beginning in 1979. After each disappearence, there is a flurry of activity to locate the missing person which eventually ends. During the interval years the missing people are forgotten until a new disappearence occurs. Events come to a climax in 2015 with a hair raising conclusion that the reader will not see coming.This is a true modern day horror story! The premise is original, the suspense electric, and the protagonists portrayed in each chapter are characters with whom the reader can  relate. It so grabs you that it can be read in one sitting.  A most intelligent, thought provoking and profoundly disturbing read. 

Review by Karen 

Friday, December 4, 2015

Book Review:  Between the Notes by Sharon Russ Roat
Ivy Emerson’s life is forever changed when her father’s business fails and the cost of her brother’s therapy for a disability causes the family to lose their home.  The family moves from a posh, affluent neighborhood to Lakeside which for Ivy is the same as living on the wrong side of the tracks.  The new apartment, a quarter of the size of her home will not fit her beloved piano! Ivy’s piano is the primary way she deals with her emotions which she expresses by composing and singing about the events of her life.   Ivy hides the change from her high school friends and a cute new guy with whom she hopes to start a relationship.  The more Ivy tries to hide the change in her life with lies the more complicated things become.  Along the way she also sees how much she thinks she knows about her friends and new people she meets in Lakeside that she thought she could never like.   As events unfold Ivy learns that not everyone is who she thought they were…including Ivy herself. 
A delightful and charming story that is sure to be enjoyed by teen readers and adults alike!

Review by Karen    

Monday, November 16, 2015

Beautiful Life Lessons....

Image result for very good lives

Book Review:  Very Good Lives; the Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination by J. K. Rowling

J.K Rowling, the perennially popular author of the Harry Potter series, and also titles for adults shares her brand of wisdom about handling failure, and still living a very good life.   It is her address to the 2008 graduating class of Harvard University.  The benefits of failure and the power of imagination propel one forward and provide the resiliency necessary to handle both success and disappointment.  Imagination was instrumental in keeping her focused during periods of poverty.  “You will never truly know yourself or the strength of your relationships, until both have been tested by adversity” she says.   “Life is not a checklist of acquisitions or achievement; your qualifications or curriculum vitae are not your life”. Very Good Lives, the Fringe Benefits of Failure Importance of Imaginations is a powerful and instructive reading experience.    

Review by Karen

Thursday, November 12, 2015

The search begins!

Where'd You Go, Bernadette
By Maria Semple

Bee's mom has gone missing, and Bee's not going to stand for it. Told through e-mails, notes, video footage, and anything a private investigator might get her hands on, this is the story of the search for Bernadette Fox. Bernadette has made plenty of enemies since moving to Seattle, but her daughter, Bee, idolizes her. This precocious, brilliant 15-year old, is thoroughly devoted to her mom but she hasn't noticed some of her flaws. For instance, Bernadette's fervent desire to avoid contact with anyone outside their family. Or her intense fear of leaving the house, so much so that she hires a woman in India to take care of all of her affairs via the internet. When Bee gets a good report card and tries to cash in on her parents' promise to take her to Antarctica, Bernadette agrees. But through an unlikely and increasingly madcap series of events, planning for this trip brings the Fox family's world crashing down around them. And then, Bernadette is gone.

Though it may seem like Bernadette is the clear victim here, she's quite a polarizing figure. My sympathies veered wildly between the characters at times, and Bernadette's bitter view of the people around her is occasionally difficult to swallow. But Bee's optimistic attitude and the bizarre actions of some of Bernadette's rivals help the entire book come together as a story of a woman against the world. In the end, you really do wonder what happened to her. And you're rooting for Bee to find out.

This title is available as a book, an audiobook, and a downloadable audiobook. I listened to it, so if you've got a commute to work consider this a recommendation for you.

Review by Danny Hanbery