Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness

Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness  By Alexandra Fuller   The tales continue to flow from the lives of the Fuller family. Some stories reminiscent from Alexandra's childhood and others dating back to her parents and grandparents lives. They all wind one way or another back to the land they love, Africa. Similar to her first novel, Don't Lets Go To The Dogs Tonight, a phenomenal memoir, the reader can enjoy everything from funny anecdotes to more serious situations that make living in Africa abundantly rich and unpredictable. Ms. Fuller is a delightful writer, her prose is easy to read and enjoyable. This book is more of the same stories, it would probably benefit to read them in order of publishing. What a lucky writer to have such a rich loving unique history and the talent to share her life with us all.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Great Fire

The Great Fire  By Shirley Hazzard   This novel is set in 1947. It is post WWII in East Asia. Much of the story regards the relationship and love story of Aldred Leith, a British war hero studying the aftereffects of Asia post war (of which I'd actually hoped there was more information) and Helen Driscoll, a 17 yr old daughter of a cold hearted Austrailian officer with political aspirations. Ms. Hazzard's writing is like poetry. Every word in every sentence is like a melody, it flows and melts into the next sentence. It is a pleasure and calming experience to read her writing. The reader can hear her voice. On the other hand, new characters were introduced constantly and with needless depth into their lives that the reader never returned. It broke the beautiful prose and caused the reader to constantly look back and question who it was they were reading about. It would be ludicrous to insinuate that Ms. Hazzard's writing is anything less than magnificent but the story itself was not enjoyable.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Weight of Water

The Weight of Water  By Anita Shreve    In the late 1800's many fisher families from Norway emigrated to America in search of industry and a new life. Some of these immigrants made their way to the Isles of Shoal, a chain of islands off the coast of New Hampshire. Maren and her new husband John establish themselves on Smutty Nose Island. And it is there they experience harsh, solitary, difficult, long winter months. After a few years Marens sister, brother and sister-in-law arrive, along with her husbands brother. The addition of family makes times more tolerable but even so Maren has deep rooted problems with her sister and unwarranted love for her brother. There is murder, there is mystery. Intertwined with this story is Jean, her husband Tom, their daughter Billie and another couple on a sailboat near Smutty Nose in present day. Jean is doing a photo shoot for a magazine regarding the famous Smutty Nose murders that happened more than 100 years earlier. The weather turns badly, and so does the sailing trip. The writing of this story is captivating. It is eerie and suspenseful and it is a book I could not put down.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Then Came You

Then Came You  By Jennifer Weiner     Jules is a Princeton graduate that becomes an egg donor. Annie lives outside Philadelphia and is a very young mom of two that becomes a surrogate to earn much needed cash and help her family, Bettina is billionaires daughter that hates and is suspicious of her new stepmother, and India is the stepmother that is unable to have a baby on her own. This book is filled with warm, likeable, intelligent women that come together under extenuating circumstances that would have once been deemed unique but in recent years become commonplace. It is a story full of lives, mostly realistic, some too predictable but nevertheless, Jennifer Weiner manages to pull it together with her wit, humor, kindness and characters. If you haven't read one in awhile, its a pleasant easy read that is surprisingly enjoyable.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

French Lessons

French Lessons  By Ellen Sussman    Three french tutors.  Three students. One day in Paris. Chantal, Nico and Philippe are tutors for a language company in Paris. They teach outside the classroom walking the streets of Paris while conversing with their students about, food, history, art and on this day, love. Suffice to say, they are all searching for love and romance. They have been heartbroken and disappointed but are still hopeful which is the essence of romance. Chantal walks Jeremy through the city while his famous wife shoots a movie, Nico accompanies Josie who has just been devastated by loss and Philippe teaches french to Riley who has two infants and is barely speaking to her husband. This read is an easy, enjoyable trip to Paris. A quick read that that is truly delicious. S'amuser!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Marriage Plot

The Marriage Plot  By Jeffrey Eugenides    Three students about to graduate from Brown University in 1982. Madeleine Hanna is a waspy, intelligent, beautiful girl searching for her voice, her path, her destiny and true love. She is dating Leonard Bankhead who is a brilliant, handsome, science student who is a bit odd but very charming when he chooses to be. Leonard and Madeleine are on an emotional rollercoaster when Leonard is diagnosed with a medical condition. Mitchell, the third main character is a brilliant theology student who is secretly or not so so secretly in love with Madeleine. They are all three confused about their next step, their future lives and what real love truly means. The characters are all interesting and charismatic. The beginning feels scattered, it is hard to decide where this story is going but the characters are likeable enough to continue on. It feels like the author is sometimes trying too hard to impress but ultimately brings it full circle very successfully.

Friday, October 14, 2011

One Day

One Day  By David Nicholls     Emma Morley and Dexter Mayhew attended the same university in England. He, over the top gorgeous and popular and she, a very pretty intellectual type. Their paths rarely crossed until a big graduation party. One night together could have been chalked up to drinking too much and celebrating the end of college and beginning of real adult life but at the last minute they decide to exchange numbers and (albeit hesitantly!) to keep in touch. And so begins their 20 year relationship. They have their ups and downs and way way downs. They connect on many levels, laugh, cry and become the best of friends. One Day is funny and descriptive and nostalgic until the end, the very bitter end. The reader cannot help but picture darling Anne Hathaway as Emma and although I have not seen the film, can imagine she would play it perfectly. Strangely the end is rather disappointing. After being thoroughly immersed into these characters it ends with a race to the finish. One of the signs of a good read, I wanted more.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

The Social Climber's Handbook

The Social Climber's Handbook By Molly Jong-Fast      Dick and Daisy Greenbaum are a very very very rich couple in NYC. They have two spoiled annoying children that act like they are 25, when they are only 8 yrs old. Dick is an extraordinary math genius with a mediocre background that has climbed his way to the top of The Bank. Daisy is an insecure but outwardly sweet character that never fits in no matter how hard she tries. This drama of affairs, schemes, wealth and ultimately murder is at times funny and well written. It revolves around the current financial collapse and escapades of both banks and investment firms, ultimately showcasing how ridiculous it all has become. It is an easy read but not my cup of tea, my TBR list is just too long!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Ellen Foster

Ellen Foster  By Kaye Gibbons   Fall in love with this spunky, honest, smart, clever, brave young girl named Ellen. In a small backward southern town Ellen's mother dies from a heart condition and pure sadness. Her no good father drinks heavily and verbally abuses her daily. She has noone to hold her, noone to love her until through her own determination and Gods will she finds her new mama and becomes Ellen Foster. A classic story for all to enjoy. Take a moment to reflect on Ellen's struggle and faith that family and happiness are out there somewhere. She never stops hoping.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Cleaning Nabocov's House

Cleaning Nabocov's House  By Leslie Daniels   Barb Barrett's  husband has told her how he would like the dishwasher loaded. He is handsome, successful, always right and a manipulating, condescending man. Barb takes her two kids on an unannounced extended camping trip and is later accused of kidnapping. She loses her two beautiful children, leaves her "experson" and starts her new life. Alone, penniless, sad and broken in their small town, Onkwedo (his hometown), in upstate New York. This is where the story begins and then it turns and turns and turns until you are upside down with Barbs new business, new friends and new life. Superb writing, hilarious details and laughs along the way. Barb finds herself and the reader finds out that just about anything is possible. An excellent, enjoyable, easy read, don't miss it!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

This Beautiful Life

This Beautiful Life  By Helen Schulman   Jake Bergamot is an  15 yr old boy in NYC. He receives an inappropriate email from a young girl begging for his attention. He forwards it to a friend, and so on and so on. These boys that forward the email are removed from school, the word lawsuit, expulsion and crime are on the lips of everyone involved. The parents are distraught. This situation puts an enormous stress on Jakes parents, Richard and Lizzie, who are in an already precarious marriage and new location due to Richards recent job change. The questions of loyalty, friendship, sexuality, curiosity and parenting skills are all addressed in this come of age novel. The times of cell phones, instant access, constant communication and minimal parent supervision have taken over the world and all the families in it. Interesting story. Captivating writing. A bit of a rush to closure at the end leaves the reader hanging or wanting more. A read that should not be missed.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

A Year and Six Seconds

A Year and Six Seconds  By Isabel Gillies  A memoir written by author/actress/mother/daughter/friend Isabel Gillies. Ms. Gillies is everywoman. She is honest, funny, witty, clever, resourceful and smart. She shares her story as a continuation from her excellent first memoir Happens Everyday, which detailed her idyllic life in Ohio and her heartbreaking and all too commonplace divorce from her husband a short time later. Every woman can find some aspect of this story to relate to, whether its divorce or simply having a similar relationship with your own mother. Its a quick, smile to yourself, a tear in your eye, one night read. Enjoy. Learn Something. And note to self: Read Happens Everyday first.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Sugar in My Bowl

Sugar in My Bowl   By Erica Jong    Collection of essays/short stories written by excellent, top quality women writers. These women range in age by many decades. They write about their sexual experiences that were most meaningful or memorable to them for one reason or another. Some women reach back to their first time, while others regard their spouses, exes, children and parents influence. Each story was like a secret peek inside a womans diary. Easy and enjoyable, just as it should be.

Monday, September 5, 2011

The American Heiress

The American Heiress  By Daisy Goodwin   Cora Cash is the wealthiest debutant in America. It is the late 1800's and every wealthy family in America has but one dream for their daughters, and that is the one thing money cannot exactly "buy", a title. Cora is a smart, outspoken, beautiful girl of 19. Her mother's dream is to have Cora marry an English aristocrat, which is exactly what Cora does.  Duchess Cora quickly learns how very different English society and social circles work. She learns that she cannot trust  her closest friends and even her husband has mountains of secrets that all of London seems to be whispering. Cora has to make hard choices. She married for love and dreams and is still young enough and rich enough to believe in them. This book is a light, airy read that takes the reader on a short enjoyable journey through another time.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Private Lives of Pippa Lee

The Private Lives of Pippa Lee   By Rebecca Miller    Pippa Lee is a 50 year old woman living with her husband, Herb, in an adult community called Marigold Village. Her husband, the love of her life is 80 years old and they have liquidated their two huge homes and downsized to live a smaller, simpler life for Herbs semi retirement from the publishing world. Pippa feels like they are at deaths door, she begins worrying incessantly and sleep walking. Herb is acting strangely.  Her children are worried about them. Entwined with small flashbacks from Pippa's erratic childhood and very wild early adult life, Pippa Lee is a character you have never met. Fun, quick read. When does life really begin and when does it end. Does your career and money really define your place or does age. It is all relative. Highly recommend this read.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Swan Thieves

The Swan Thieves  By Elizabeth Kostova    Robert Oliver is a talented, gifted painter. He is married to Kate and has two small children. He is well respected in his field and teaches to bring in some sort of steady income. Kate and Robert live in a small college town in Greenhill North Carolina. He obsessively paints and draws a woman from the 19th century, in detail, with a passionate love, and all from imagination.  After a minor incident Roberts true and deep psychological issues surface. They are extremely hard to understand, tolerate or live with. The psychiatrist Andrew Marlow helps Robert discover the truth about himself and the mysterious life he has created. The descriptive art world is told in a poetic manner through this story of love, friendship and fate. It has been a long time since I read a book I could not put down, finally!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Winter Garden

Winter Garden   By Kristin Hannah     Meredith Whitson runs her fathers apple orchard, Nina Whitson, her younger sister is a world renowned photo journalist. Their relationship has been close but tricky, their memories are loving and strong but their differences hold old resentments. Anya, their beautiful Russian mother has held her past and her secrets far from her girls. She has never been open and honest or loving. Until the day Nina pushes hard enough to force Anya to tell her story. And so begins their journey of understanding their mothers life, of the truth in the fairytale that they were always told at bedtime. Leningrad during WWII, the darkness, the cold and the death that many did not survive. The story of the sisters and a mysterious mother is too predictable. The writing is elementary and often filled with cliches. The Russian chapters more interesting and better written.  I had to force myself to finish.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Dreams of Joy

Dreams of Joy   By Lisa See   19 years after we fell in love with the Shanghai girls we read about Joy, a young woman at the University of Chicago. Joy's mother Pearl and her auntie May are still living the American dream in California. But Joy is disenchanted with her freedoms. She does not value the independence and opportunites that await her young adult life. Instead, Joy dreams of China, and the ideals that she have been convinced are equality, simple communal living and a Shanghai that her mother and aunt grew up in that no longer exists. So begins the adventure and unfolding drama of her and her mothers journey to find the truth and happiness they both have long desired. Many sequels do not live up to the original story but in the case of Dreams of Joy, I enjoyed it even more. Definitely recommend this read.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Miss New India

Miss New India  By Bharati Mukherjee    Fictional heroine Anjalie Bose is a middle class girl, living with her parents in a small apartment in a small town in India. Her mentor, an American teacher named Peter Champion sees possibility in Anjalie that noone else can see. Her father is desperately trying to match her with an appropriate husband, basing his decision on class, family background, future work prospects and most certainly not love! After a brutally failed attempt Anjalie, calling herself Angie, runs away to Bangalore. Even though this will destroy her parents, she knows that with her English language skills and the support of Peter she must at least try to succeed to a higher level position outside of her small town. Pretty, smart, English speaking girls have very good opportunity of work in the growing, ever changing cities with call centers, hosting companies from around the world. The family dynamics of her parents desperately holding onto tradition and Angie's burning desire to see the world lead her on an adventure to change her life. Enjoyable, easy read, very detailed world of the west invading Indian culture and a young adult finding true destiny.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Invisible Bridge

The Invisible Bridge  By Julie Orringer  The saga of a Hungarian family during WWII. This story is filled with love, friendship, and family during a time in history when Europe is torn apart by fear and hatred and fighting. Andras Levi and Klara fall into an unlikely love affair. Andras is a Hungarian studying architecture in Paris during 1937. He is much younger than Klara who has a 16 year old daughter and teaches ballet. Klara holds tight to a dark secret in her past, Andras will do anything to have her in his life. The story winds into a group of wonderful friends and a relationship of extraordinary closeness between Andras and his brothers. Sadly, when exploring the lives of a Jewish family during WWII, it is filled with heartache and loss. In contrast to many of the other WWII stories told, I was unaware of the status and part played by Hungary and its relationship as allies to the Nazi's but in many ways protecting the Jewish people as long as they were able. This novel is an excellent read of history through the eyes of the Levi family. It is long and some parts seem to last longer than necessary.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

22 Britannia Road

22 Britannia Road  By Amanda Hodgkinson   A young couple with a small child are separated for 6 years during WWII. They are from Warsaw and Januscz goes off to war, Sylvana is left with little baby Aurek. She tries to get to her inlaws home but the bus runs out of gas and all their lives are forever changed. They survive in the forest. By some miracle the family is reunited when she arrives with her son in England and Januscz tries in vain to make them a proper home, and start a new life. But the past is full of secrets and mysteries of war. Love and loss that is buried deep but cannot be forgotten. The reader can picture the characters and feel their sadness and their hope. Excellent story of love, history and moving on even if you have to take the past with you.

Sunday, July 10, 2011


Juliet  By Anne Fortier   If you love the infamous Romeo and Juliet, you may have wondered if it was originally based on a true story. This historical novel follows that very ideal and takes the reader on a journey from 1340 through today to the very descendants of Romeo and Guilietta.  Julie Jacobs finds out she is a descendant of the real life Juliet and sets out on an adventure to learn more about her past and mysterious deaths of her parents. Julie finds herself traveling through modern day Italy on the adventure of a lifetime. The story is a bit slow midway through but when the pieces begin to make more sense it quickly gains momentum. Overall a fun, easy read and most interesting take on the most famous love story ever told. Recommend!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Postmistress

The Postmistress  By Sarah Blake      Once upon a time people mailed actual letters to each other. With a stamp and an envelope and waited across mountains and oceans for their letters to be received. Then, they waited even longer for correspondence to be returned from afar. People searched their mailboxes everyday for news of birth, marriage, war and death. A lost or undelivered letter could change the course of many lives. This is a story during the early 1940's in a small town in Massachusetts. The postmistress is an organized, meticulous woman who is the bearer of good news and bad. A love story between the town doctor who goes off to help during the blitz in London, a radio announcer who brings the war to America for the first time through voices of refugees. A vital letter that goes undelivered. Excellent character depiction. Love story and historical fiction intertwined throughout the lives of this small town during a tumultuous time. Highly recommend this summer read.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet  By Jamie Ford    Part historical fiction, part love story. Henry Lee grows up in China Town of Seattle during the 1940's. WWII is the dominant theme in their lives and Henry struggles being the minority on scholarship at an all white school. Then he meets Keiko, who lives in Japantown. Their special friendship is frowned upon by Henry's father who is obsessed with the Japan China war in their mist and Americans are becoming more and more suspicious and prejudice of any Japanese people regardless of their American citizenship. A reminder of a time when Americans gathered innocent people into camps out of fear and desire to blame. These people were sadly forced to leave their homes and all of their belongings. Many of them, like Keiko, were born in the US and did not even speak Japanese. Other than the historical value of this story, the writing is rather elementary and was extremely predictable. The story was descriptive and although the characters were likeable, it lacked any real substance.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Paris Wife

The Paris Wife  By Paula McLain    The telling of the romance and marriage of Ernest Hemingway to his first of four wives, Hadley during the early 1900's. It is the jazz era in Paris, the Hemingways, young ambitious and newly married are part of an art scene with friends such as Ezra Pound and Scott Fitzgerald. Ernest is trying to find his words and although he loves Hadley very much, he often needs to shut her out completely to do this. Their friends are surprisingly forward thinking for this time regarding open marriage and acceptance of their circumstance in their often bizarre romances. Slowly as Ernest is finding his fame the lure of this life is pulling him towards drink and other women. This story is moving, interesting and a bit predictable, only because most readers have heard about the philandering of Hemingway. The writing is excellent as the story played out in my mind. Very much reminded me of Loving Frank, if you enjoyed that one, you will certainly enjoy this. Highly recommend.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Major Pettigrew's Last Stand

Major Pettigrew's Last Stand By Helen Simonson   A quiet, sweet, thoughtful well written story about a late in life romance. In a small English village Major Pettigrew and Mrs. Ali, two widowers, find themselves in a most unlikely romance and the opinion of the entire village in an uproar. Throw in a spoiled, selfish son named Roger, a pair of famous Churchill guns, a cultural clash and many a tea time and you have Major Pettigrew's Last Stand. It is a about love, compassion, friendship, desire and loyalty. It is not over until its over and every day is another chance to let go of the rules we have created and abide by and enjoy life to its fullest. A thoroughly pleasurable read.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Say You're One of Them

Say You're One of Them  By Uwem Akpan   Short stories from life in Nigeria. As Mr. Akpan was growing up in a small village, he experienced and witnessed an extraordinary amount of love and compassion in this turbulent land. He was ordained as a Jesuit priest later in life and then continued on with and MFA in creative writing. This interesting mixed education brings his short stories to life. Some of these are incredibly sad. This writer has an intense connection to his characters that enables the reader to both visualize and care about each and every one of them. There is so much turbulence in Africa, yet the people can still stare up at a beautiful starry night and appreciate the beauty in which they live. If you enjoy reading about Africa, this is a good read. It is not necessarily enjoyable as much as deeply thoughtful.

Friday, April 1, 2011


March  By Geraldine Brooks     If you are a fan of Little Women, By Louisa May Alcott, there is no doubt you have wondered what Mr. March was like, where he went during the war and how it affected his lovely girls. This story is a gift for a reader that treasures those last few pages slowly and does not want the story to end. Finally, more! What an interesting mix of historical fiction during the civil war, our beloved March sisters and the small town of Concord , MA. Throw in Thoreau and Emerson and portray Mr. March on the real life of Bronson Alcott. In addition if all this history intrigues the reader you must read American Bloomsbury By Susan Cheever for the real life saga that is the birth of American Literature.

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Book of Tomorrow

The Book of Tomorrow  By Cecilia Ahern  Tamara Goodwin leads the idyllic teenage life in Dublin Ireland. That is until her father dies and she and her mum are left with nothing but debts and regrets. They move in to stay with family in a small village on the grounds of an ancient castle. Tamara is lonely and sad with no prospects for improvement. One day Tamara finds a diary that is filled with magical entries regarding her future. As Tamara learns to trust and love again she grows up quickly and family secrets that have been buried for many years are slowly revealed. All of Ms. Aherns books are filled with magical hope and a dash of surprise. This story is both entertaining and heartwarming, just an easy smile and who couldn't use a dose of that?

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Rehearsal

The Rehearsal By Eleanor Catton      There is a scandal at Abbey Grange Highschool. Mr. Saladin, the jazz instructor has been having a love affair with a student named Victoria. Drama is high and girls are hungry for the details of Victoria's experience and betrayal. The relationships are described in a dark comedy tribute to the torture girls can endure and solicit during these emotional teenage years. Simultaneously another drama is unfolding at the local Drama Institute where the first year actors have chosen their initial production as the portrayal of this local scandal. Paths, genders, and passions cross the lines of trust and deception. The chapters timelines are confusing but the writing is excellent and if the reader can let that go and enjoy the soap opera unfolding, this is an enjoyable and unique read.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


Poser   By Claire Dederer  A fresh, witty, secret smile to yourself memoir. This author shares her innermost thoughts and feelings from her childhood through the 1970's and her parents divorce to her married adult life raising two children in Seattle. Claire finds yoga comforting, challenging and questionable. She intertwines her obsession/love of yoga with her daily life as a mom, daughter, wife, friend and writer. Yoga is always there for her and always changing.  Claire is funny and warm and this is an easy enjoyable read that I highly recommend.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Shadow Tag

Shadow Tag By Louise Erdrich    Irene and Gil are married and have three beautiful intelligent children. Gil is a famous renowned painter and Irene is his wife, his model and his muse and always has been. Irene keeps two diaries, one is her truth, it is locked away in a bank vault and the second is her manipulative imagination because she knows Gil is secretly reading her diary and she intends to punish him. They are both descendants of American Indian tribes and the author works very hard, not always successfully, to bring this thread of Native American history and culture into the story. The novel depicts a violent relationship, both emotionally and physically, and its effects on their children. There is not a single character that is likable and it is hard to become emotionally attached to the any of them. The writing is excellent but at times the story is hard to follow and there is just something missing. 

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Lunch in Paris

Lunch in Paris  By Elizabeth Bard   One of the most delicious daydreams come true. Meet a handsome man in Paris, have lunch, fall in love, move there and live happily ever after. This is the life Elizabeth Bard shares with her readers in this honest, funny memoir that warms you like sunshine. Nothing could have brightened my weekend more than this light, witty account of living abroad mixed with a passion for cooking and fabulous recipes. Viva la france!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


Room  By Emma Donoghue    Jack and Ma live in an 11 x 11 square foot shed they call Room. Jack is five and has never been outside of Room. Ma has lived in Room for 7 years. This story is told by the voice of a precocious, intelligent and loving Jack. Their life together and their strong attachment to each other are remarkable. They find comfort in the simplest things that life has to offer. Until one day. Once you start reading this novel, it cannot be put down. It is emotional, scary, insightful, sad and can still make you smile at times. People do all sorts of things on a daily basis out of habit and routine, things that make us feel human and normal. Or at least what we think is normal, never questioning its meaning or importance until it is taken away. Room is a book I will never forget and highly recommend.

Friday, February 4, 2011

The Angel's Game

The Angel's Game  By Carlos Ruiz Zafon   David Martin is a writer in Barcelona in the early 1900's. After a tumultuous childhood, alone in the world, David begins work at a newspaper as a helper. Enveloped in dreams of writing, he is finally noticed and begins to author a popular column of dark Barcelona stories. Pedro Vidal is a wealthy writer on the paper that mentors David and looks out for him and his opportunities. After some success David is able to support himself and move into the abandoned tower apartment he has always dreamed about. This tower becomes part of Davids being for better or worse. Its past and history become his life. In a twist of fate David's love of writing becomes his doom. Author Zafon's writing is a magnificent poetry that brings the dark gloomy and dangerous Barcelona to life. The readers imagination is flooded with description that in itself becomes the page turner. If you LOVED Shadow of the Wind, you will LIKE this read, for some of the same reasons. There is a bit of the rush to the end routine with a cast of predictable characters but if you enjoy his writing it just won't matter.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Stormchasers

The Stormchasers  By Jenna Blum  Karena is a writer in Minnesota. She is a bright smart 30 ish independent woman recently divorced. Karena has not seen or heard from her twin brother Charles in 20 years. They were very close as children in spite of the fact that Charles exhibited bipolar disease at a young age and Karena continually took care of him and deeply loved him despite his erratic and sometimes violent behavior. Karena is set on finding Charles and helping him manage his mental issues. Charles's obsession is stormchasing and chasing tornado's in this part of the country is an interesting hobby if not lifestyle. This story is unique regarding the  twin relationship and that of stormchasing (think movie Twister). The writing starts out very strong but unfortunately falters with a cliched romance and a rush to the end finale. It was an okay and easy read but nothing like the authors first novel Those Who Save Us.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Some Girls

Some Girls  By Jillian Lauren  This is the memoir of a young girl who drops out of college and falls into the underworld of NYC. After leaving NYU theater school, Jillian waitresses, strips, works for an escort service and ultimately receives an opportunity to be a party girl in Brunei for a prince, in a palace. The brother of the Sultan of Brunei has an extraordinary amount of money and although he has three wives (news reports there may be many more) he has about 40 girlfriends whom attend a party that never ends and get paid well to make it seem like a lot of fun. The sex is less than you would expect because there are so many girls but their freedom is nil and the lifestyle is unimaginable. Jillian is a smart pretty girl who is trying to find out who she is and what she wants out of life. The story is interesting, shocking at times and her writing is good. It's hard to feel sorry for her (not that she wants you to) because she is incredibly aware of her decisions as she makes them. Her story draws a fine line between love, money, freedom and relationships. It becomes hard to tell one from the other. Interesting read.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Extraordinary Ordinary People By Condoleezza Rice

Extraordinary Ordinary People  By Condoleezza Rice    Easily should be called, extraordinary woman who was raised by incredible loving intelligent parents. This memoir is a moving and interesting story of Condoleeza's life from early years in Birmingham Alabama to the classes at University of Denver and later tenure at Stanford. Condoleeza grew up to the "you need to be twice as good" anthem and later followed in her fathers footsteps of educational advocacy. She is a smart, kind, well spoken, well written and genuinely caring person that has used her gifts to help others throughout her life. Condoleeza has worked with and for some of the most interesting leaders of our time. In this book she takes the reader on a pleasurable and easy to follow journey that one would not want to miss. We are not talking republican or democrat here, we are talking about an extraordinary role model and person.