Thursday, June 30, 2011

Freedom Giveaway!

Head on over to my new blog to enter into the Freedom Giveaway!

Friday, June 24, 2011

A new post!

I've got a new review up on my new blog.  Go check it out!
A Mile High Pile of Books

Monday, June 20, 2011

New Book Blog

I have decided to change my focus a bit and so, to reflect that change, have a new book blog here. 
Instead of just trying to follow the bestseller lists, I will be reading whatever sounds good to me and a lot of it is likely to be Young Adult although I will still read adult fiction.  I will still be reading mostly current fiction but may add in older books and nonfiction.   I won't be giving books movie ratings but I will mention in the review what, if anything, I found objectionable in the book.  However, I will be rating the books I read as far as how much I like them.  This blog will still be available to read and I will have links on the new blog to the reviews on the old one.  I hope that you all will follow me on over to my new blog!

Monday, June 13, 2011

A Turn in the Road by Debbie Macomber

I have always wanted to do a meandering and completely spontaneous road trip, visiting quirky and out-of-the-maintstream places.  This road trip, undertaken by three generations of women, sounded like a lot of fun.  I would have done it!
Bethanne has managed to do well in the six years since her husband Grant left her for a younger woman.  At first she was traumitized but, with the help of her knitting friends, she got back on her feet and established a thriving business.  She has been the rock in her children's lives just as she was in Grant's while they were married.  She has also grown tremendously since the divorce, gaining in the confidence she was somewhat lacking while married.  Grant, however, has been through his second divorce and wants to reunite with Bethanne.  He has floundered both personally and professionally and belatedly realizes just how much he relied on Bethanne.  Bethanne is unsure about ever trusting Grant again but feels pressured to give him a chance. 
The other members of the trio are Grant's mother Ruth who has hopes of seeing her high school sweetheart at her 50th reunion (the reason for the cross-country trip) and Bethanne's daughter Annie who feels betrayed by her boyfriend when he plans a year-long trip to Europe without telling her about it until the last minute. 
Bethanne, in addition to considering Grant's proposal to begin dating again, meets someone new on the road which further complicates things.  Each of the women has relationships and decisions to ponder.  Through their adventures on the road, they learn more about themselves and each other, regret some of their past decisions, and find clarity to make new ones.
Although some reviewers were irritated by Bethanne's indecision, I found it to be a true-to-life portrayal of what it can be like to make such a momentous choice, especially one that is so connected to strong emotions.  Bethanne is feeling pulled one way by the wishes of her family and her sense of obligation to Grant (and is swayed by his manipulating, controlling personality) and another way by the exciting, new feelings that Max brings out in her.  Her wishy-washy behavior is indicative of just how difficult this choice is for her.

Things I didn't like:  Annie's immaturity and whining, I wanted to smack her!  I thought that the whole prom reenactment was cheesy.  Grant was pretty irritating too.

Things I liked:  The ending!  I liked Rooster, Max's friend and I liked the way we learned about Max and his life.   I liked that Bethanne let go of some of her rigid self-control and just enjoyed the experience.  Guess I'm a bit jealous of that...And I liked that it, as all Debbie Macomber's books are, was a very clean read!
Rated PG for a few minor swear words and some adult situations.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Crunch Time by Diane Mott Davidson

I really shouldn’t read these kinds of books when I’m trying to lose weight.   The daily discussions about food are filled with detailed descriptions of dishes that sound downright delectable.  (How’s that for alliteration?)  Included at the end of the book are recipes of some of the dishes.   It’s just not right.
Unfortunately, the recipes were my favorite part of the book.
Goldy the caterer and amateur sleuth really has her hands full this time.  When Goldy’s fellow caterer Yolanda, and Yolanda’s great-aunt Ferdinanda, need a place to live temporarily after their rental is torched, they move in with Ernest McLeod, a private investigator who hires Yolanda to cook for him.  Ernest is found dead and his house is later also torched, actually while Goldy and Yolanda and Ferdinanda are in it.  Goldy offers her home to Yolanda and Ferdinanda, who came over from Cuba decades earlier.  She also becomes highly involved in solving the mystery of who murdered Ernest and who is setting houses on fire, along with a few other mysteries which completely befuddled me and made it nearly impossible to sort out just what was going on even though Goldy lays everything out multiple times.  That was a major problem with the book.  There were too many story lines and even at the end, it just didn’t gel.  Another major problem is that Goldy keeps sticking her nose in to things she knows darn well she shouldn’t.  She is married to Tom who is an investigator with the county sheriff’s department.  He is frequently upset with her because of this habit of hers but she does it anyway, gets in trouble, and then does it again the next day.  It doesn’t make sense to me.
I really wish I liked these books better because, despite Goldy’s proclivitiy for getting into trouble, I like her and Tom and several of the other characters too.  My favorite in this book was Ferdinanda, the irrepressible former member of Castro’s army.  She had become disillusioned with communism and emigrated to Miami in the 60’s.  She was shrewd and tough for an old lady in a wheelchair and I loved the parts with her in them.
Was it a clean read?  Yes, for the most part.  There was mild swearing  in the book and several things best described as adult situations, such as adultery, prostitution and drugs that would make it PG-13, but not too bad overall.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

If I Stay by Gayle Forman

I was happy that I had not heard anything about this book before I read it because apparently it was a much-hyped, well-loved book.  When that happens I have a hard time being objective and either I fall in line with everyone else's opinion or I become the nay-sayer.  I don't really like either choice.  I read this one in anticipation of reading  Where She Went  which I have on hold at the library. 
Mia, and her boyfriend Adam, are seniors and musicians which means that they are trying to figure out life after high school.  Adam is a rocker whose band is starting to do well in their home state of Oregon and Mia is a cellist with hopes of going to Julliard.  After being in a horrific crash, Mia is in a coma.  She has a prolonged out-of-body experience wherein she wanders the halls of the hospital and listens in on the conversations of family and friends.  She discovers that she has the choice of whether or not to live.  She ponders this choice, and thinks about her life both past and future.  In this way, we get to learn more about her family and friends. 
I suggest reading this book and it's sequel together because, although we have a pretty good idea what Mia's decision is, the book doesn't really feel complete.  It is a short book, not quite 200 pages, and reads quite quickly.  I liked the story, and most of the characters, but was dissatisfied with the brevity of it.  I liked that it wasn't like all the other young adult novels, that it discussed death and choices and the possibility of an afterlife.
Problems:  Too many f-words and a little more sex than I care for in a young adult novel.  Rated R.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Night Road by Kristin Hannah

The main voices in Night Road are Lexi, a teenager tossed from one foster home to another until ending up with her great aunt, and Jude who is, well, a helicopter parent.  Jude and her family, including the twins Zack and Mia, are a well-to-do close-knit family.  Mia has always been shy and insecure, virtually without friends except those girls who want to get close to Zack, who is the all-American teen:  good-looking, athletic, and confident.  When Lexi goes to her new school, she meets both Mia and Zack and instant friendships are formed.  Lexi is welcomed as almost a member of the family and for the almost the next four years all is good.
Their senior year they are, as most seniors are, intent on college applications and are thinking of themselves as adults with the accompanying adult behaviors of sex and partying.   Although Jude is strict with her children, she has loosened up a bit and allows them to go to a party where she knows they will drink.  She allows it as long as someone is a designated driver.  Of course, things go wrong and well, I'm not going to give anything else away.
I keep thinking that this was a young adult novel.  It reads like one-the heavy-handed anti-drinking message, the teen romance, even the obvious too-pat ending.  I liked the book, really I did, but it just didn't feel like an adult novel. 
There were a few things I didn't like about it.  I didn't think that Lexi would really make the decision that she did and I felt that the consequences were too harsh but overall I thought that it was an enjoyable book, a tear-jerker and a romance.  There was some strong language, enough to make it R-rated.