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Showing posts from July, 2011

The Glassblower of Murano

This is a book that a friend was reading for a bookclub, so I thought I would try it too. I read most of it, probably about 3/4's or so. Then there was that f-bomb that most of the international and national bestseller people think that they have to throw in for people to want to read it. Honestly the language before that wasn't perfect, there were a few other words. I won't be reading anything by this author again and I will probably not be reading anything of any bestseller lists for quite a while, I don't have good luck with those and I've had 2 in the last month. This book had kind of a cool story. Leonora, or Nora, lives in England. Her husband left her, she decides to go to the home of her ancestors, Venice, to practice the art of glassblowing, just like her paternal however many great grandfather did. What was kind of neat about this story was that you got to see things through her great-grandfather's eyes as well as Leonora's eyes. I did enjoy that …

Gifted

Susan and her husband Brent have waited 10 long years to have a child. They've done everything humanly possible to be able to have one naturally, but now they've given up on that and are trying to adopt a child. One morning Susan receives a phone call asking them to come to the office of their adoption people that afternoon. Unsure of what's to come she and Brent make sure that they can make it. The news they are given there is the best news that they could have hoped for. They are chosen to adopt a six week old preemie whose parents were killed in an accident and who has no other relatives able to care for her. Susan is thrilled as she quits her job and prepares to go and meet there daughter Anna in a Santa Fe hospital. When she sees Anna for the first time her world changes, everything is brighter, happier. She and Brent fall completely in love with Anna and life is good. It isn't until 3 years later that Susan and Brent realize that Anna is Gifted. She makes life be…

I Am Not A Serial Killer

John Wayne Cleaver appears to be just an ordinary high school student, but he knows better. His family owns a funeral home, which he sometimes helps at with his mom and his aunt, his dad is gone. John is also completely obsessed with serial killers, he studies their lives and even does reports on them for school. He likes to analyze murders and see if he can come up with the reason for the killing. The reason that he's so obsessed is that he knows that he could easily become a serial killer himself. That scares him, so he's come up with a bunch of rules for himself about things that he may and may not do. He's seeing a psychiatrist because his mom is worried about his obsession. Then his sleepy little town appears to have it's own serial killer. It starts small, with just one murder in the middle of town, but the killer appears to have stolen a kidney from the victim. Soon there is another killing. John wants to know who's doing the killings and why, but he's s…

Heart of a Hero

We're celebrating Pioneer Day here in Utah, so here's an old west story for you today. It's 1880 in the southern Utah town of Richfield. Summer Bennett is on her way home from her Aunt's finishing school in Brigham City. Summer was always a tomboy and her parents wanted to rid her of some of her bad habits, so they sent her to her aunt's school where she's spent the last five years. She's very excited to finally get to Richfield and part of that is due to the very long stage coach ride that she's had to endure on her way home. She and the other passengers are trying to survive the last hour in the stage coach when all of a sudden bullets start flying, killing the driver and also the guard. Summer knows that she has to do something, so she uses the door as a way to get up into the front seat of the coach to try and stop the horses. That's where her sisters fiance, Jesse, finds her with a shotgun holding off the criminals. He carries her home realizin…

Old Town in the Green Groves

I loved the Little House stories when I was a little girl, because, hey, who didn't! This one was not actually written by Laura Ingalls Wilder, but it was writen by Cynthia Rylant, also an excellent children's author. Apparently about this time period, Laura only wrote about 17 pages of things...ever. That's pretty crazy. In this book Laura is eight years old. This is the time period of Nellie Olson and Walnut Grove. At the beginning of the book Laura's family is living in a rented house behind the church in Walnut Grove. The last couple of years have been bad ones for their farm with the grasshopper invasions on the prairie. Pa and Ma are hoping for a good harvest this year so that they can pay off their bills. But lots of things happen this year, baby Freddie is born and Ma's liver makes her very sick, so the doctor bills that Pa owes are getting larger and Laura and Mary are learning how to care for their family in Ma's absence. Unfortunately the crickets co…

Don't Stop Now

"I did it" was all the message from Penny said. She called Lillian at 4:30 am and left that very crazy message. Lillian's not quite sure that she understands what Penny has done, although she does remember having a conversation with Penny about doing something. Lillian goes to meet her best friend, Josh, who she's been half in love with forever, but he's never noticed and they talk for a bit, which helps Lillian remember a little bit of what Penny could have been talking about. She vaguely remembers that Penny said something about faking her own kidnapping. But who would do something so crazy? It seems as though Penny would, because pretty soon she calls Lillian from the airport and tells her not to tell anyone where she's going. Then everyone starts calling Lillian: both of Penny's parents, the police and even the FBI. Lillian and Josh decide that the only thing they can do is to follow Penny and determine where she's ended up. So they start their cr…

Tiger's Curse

Kelsey is and orphan she lives with her guardians Sara and Mike and their family. She has just finished with high school and decides to get a summer job. At the unemployment office she's hired to be a temporary worker for the circus. Can you believe it: THE CIRCUS! Pretty crazy. She's a little bit apprehensive because part of her duties are supposed to include helping with the tiger. Her first day of work she shows up at 6 am, and spends the whole day helping with routine things, selling tickets, snacks and souvenirs, and cleaning up after the shows. But the second day she gets to help with the tiger. At first Kelsey's kind of scared, but soon she realizes there's really nothing to be afraid of, in fact, she feels a certain connection to the tiger, Dhiren, she even reads poetry to him and she also gives him a nickname, Ren. All to soon, her two week temporary job is nearing a close and the tiger is bought by a man, Mr. Kadam, who wants to return the tiger to India to a…

Just Shy of Paradise

Lily is a 28 year old woman (the story opens on her birthday.) On her 4th birthday, she wandered over to the Bear River and fell in, only to be saved by what appears to be an angel. So now on her 28th birthday she's doing what she always does, reading her journal and wondering just why she was important enough to save. That's one thing she hasn't been able to figure out in the 24 years since she was saved. She doesn't really feel like she's worth much or that she's pretty, she also has severe anxiety that she goes to counseling in an effort to overcome. But that isn't the way she appears to others, to others she's a beautiful, kind young woman. She isn't having the best day though. She went to get into her car to get the mail and realized that someone has siphoned her gas, luckily she has her deceased grandmother's car that still works, so she takes that into town instead. Next as she drives through town she's pulled over by the town police …

My Double Life

This is one that I've wanted to read for a little while, I've enjoyed other Janette Rallison books and I knew that I was going to get a clean fun story to read with this one. Alexia is a senior in high school, she lives in West Virginia with her mom and her grandma. Her mom's a single mom and won't tell Alexia who her father is, yet! She says that she will tell her after she graduates from high school, but Alexia has never felt completely whole. Alexia is a little awkward around boys she likes and lives a completely normal teenage life, that is until she ticks of her enemy, Theresa, by asking out the boy Theresa likes to the Sadie Hawkins dance. He turns her down eventually, but that isn't enough for Theresa. Alexia finds that Theresa has posted a picture of her on the internet. The one thing about that picture is that Alexia is a dead wringer for mega rock star, Kari Kingsley, whose agent happens to see the picture and comes up with a brilliant plan for Alexia to …

Sudden Peril

I have to be honest, with this book I had a really hard time telling just who the main character was supposed to be. It seemed like there were several story lines running, especially at the first with multiple main characters. There's Sarah the master of disguises, but she appears in the first chapter and not again for several. There's Jamie, the new guy, he's not quite sure what's going on with his road trip. He signed up for an internship in Arizona, but he doesn't know that he's going to be walking nearly all the way to Colorado. There's Chad, he's in charge of getting the new guy to where they're going safe, without actually letting him know where they're going or any other real details. There's also Gwen. She works as an executive secretary in an office. Are you confused yet? I was. I wasn't really sure just what all these people introduced in the first 2 or 3 chapters had in common. Eventually you find out that they are all members…

Illuminations of the Heart

The Lady Siriol de Calendri is a widowed young woman, she is so beautiful that her brother, Simon, on his deathbed sent her to France to live with an acquaintance of his there. As the book opens that is where she's on her way to when out of no where arrive what appears to be knights with no coats of arms on their shields. These men proceed to go through all of Siri's things, effectively ruining her vellum that she uses to paint her illuminations. They are stopped when a Lord comes upon them on the road just before Siri is kidnapped. He escorts them to the castle of Sir Triston de Brielle. Although Triston is not sure just what to do with Siri, she looks so much like his dead wife that at times it's confusing for him, it also confuses their son, Perrin. Siri is uncertain just what to do, she can't change the way that she looks, but she tries to show love to Perrin and she tries very hard not to fall in love with Triston, but that's just not possible for her. Triston…

What Happened to Goodbye

McClean Sweet is a senior in high school, she thought her life was perfect until 2 years ago, when her mom cheated on her dad with the coach of her dad's favorite college basketball team and her family's restaurant closed down forever. Now she lives with her dad and travels with him, he's a consultant for a restaurant company. He's in charge of making new restaurants bought by the company profitable or closing down restaurants that aren't profitable. They've lived in 3 towns in the last couple of years and are just moving into their 4th town as the story starts. McClean is having a hard time finding herself, so in each new town she becomes a new and different person. It's not just the name, Beth Sweet, Lizbet Sweet, Eliza Sweet, it's a whole different personality including likes and dislikes, she's happy to be able to move each time and start all over with a new name, personality, and friends. She doesn't really get to close to anyone, because s…

Attack the Lusitania!

I think I had vaguely heard of the Lusitania or Lusy as it's referred to in this book, but I don't think I really knew what had happened to it or ever really heard a whole lot about it. This new novel of Jerry Borrowman's touches on the first World War and talks an awful lot about the Lusitania. The Lusitania was an ocean liner, it's "siblings" or ships made at the same time in the same basic pattern as the Lusy were turned into war ships, but the Lusy stayed a passenger liner traveling between England and the US in just under a week, a very fast crossing time for the time. This novel is a tale of a passenger, Everett Stringham from Evanston Wyoming, some of the ship's employees, Bill and Avery Shafer and also John Todd. Everett and his wife are headed back to New York, where his wife will start for Wyoming with relatives while Everett heads back to England on the Lusy to finish up his business. Bill Shafer is the employee who cleans their first class cab…

Paranormalcy

16 year old Evie works for the International Paranormal Containment Agency, she's just a normal teenage girl. Her parent's abandoned her when she was just 3 years old and then she spent a few years in the foster care system. When she was 8, she was brought to the Agency and she's been under the director, Raquel's care ever since. Evie has a special power she can see through glamours of all kinds of paranormals, faeries, vampires, werewolves, you name it. Because of this she's kind of important to the Agency and she gets the royal treatment. One night after she's busted a vampire, she comes home to get some rest and then there's an alarm. The alarm means that she's supposed to stay where she's at, which happens to be in her room, but she gets curious and goes to investigate. She creeps to Raquel's office and what she finds seems crazy, what appears to be Raquel is going through some files, the person pretending to be Raquel has no idea that Evie …

A Tale of Two Castles

Gail Carson Levine wrote Ella Enchanted several years ago, that was such a fun book to read, so I always get excited to read her new books. They are always so fun and imaginative! Elodie is a twelve year old girl, her parents are sending her, by herself, to another city in their country. Called Two Castles, because the king and the ogre each have a castle to live in, this city is where Elodie feels she will begin to live. Her parents want her to apprentice to be a weaver, while Elodie knows that she's going to apprentice to be a mansioner, an actress. But neither of their wants is going happen. Elodie learns from a kind goodwoman on her journey that the idea of a free apprenticeship has been ended. Now everyone must pay for a shorter apprenticeship instead of getting a longer free one. Elodie wasn't given enough money by her parents to pay for an apprenticeship, so now she must use her ingenuity and figure out just what to do. She thinks maybe she can apprentice for a really l…

Mitch and Amy

Here's another book that I read with our 5 year old. I think that I will have to move on to another author for a while. She didn't seem as interested in this book! This is a cute book about well...Mitch and Amy. They are 9 year old twins just starting the fourth grade. They have their challenges: Mitch has a hard time reading and Amy likes to rub that in his face a little bit, but Mitch has an easier time at math. Twins have a lot of sibling rivalry, of course, and that makes things a bit hard for the two of them at times. Mitch also has a bully that likes to pick on him who's a year or so older. I enjoyed reading this book to our daughter. I would recommend any of these books by Beverly Cleary for kids reading!

Saving Grace

Yeah! Another Denise Hunter book. This book is mainly about Natalie, but of course there are little subplots about other people too. Natalie is a single mom trying to do the best she can after her husband, Keith left her for another woman. She works at a center that helps young girls to make the decision about whether to have their baby or to abort their baby. One day she meets Linn, she's a young girl who's pregnant and know that her dad will kick her out of his house as soon as he finds out and she has a great college scholarship starting in the fall, so abortion seems like the only way to her. Natalie tries to show Linn not only that her baby is a little person not just some tissue, but also that Linn is of worth to a loving Heavenly Father. But decisions will not come easily to either of them, they both will have some tough times, but will they be able to come through them stronger and more forgiving than they started out? This book is book 2 of the New Heights series, I&#…

The False Princess

How would you feel if you thought that you were a princess, lived the life of a princess, and were taught all the things a princess needs to know everyday for the first 16 years of your life and then one fateful day all of a sudden you're told that you're only the standin princess so that the true princess won't get killed? That's what happened to Princess Nalia...I mean Sinda in this book. One day she's the princess happily hanging out with her best friend Kiernan, and the next day she's taken to her aunt's house. She's never met her aunt and she's never lived in as poor circumstances as her aunt does. Sinda has a very hard time adjusting to her new life. It doesn't help matters any that her aunt really wants nothing to do with her. She doesn't seem to like Sinda at all and eventually discloses that it's because of her mother. Her mother ran out on her father when Sinda was just a few days old and her aunt has never been able to forgive…

Flecks of Gold

Mary is a normal high school student, she lives in Oregon as the book begins, but her mother always seems to find the bad boyfriends. Her latest boyfriend, Joe, is a police officer. But Mary and her mother, Fiona, hadn't realized that he's been selling Fiona's paintings and pocketing the money without telling her. When he hits Mary, Fiona decides that that's the end of their relationship and decides to move to Arizona to get away from him. Mary has to start at a new high school not knowing anyone, but she meets Kelson pretty quickly. He seems to be a popular boy and he keeps turning up wherever Mary is. Just as Mary decides to trust him a little bit, he shows up, takes her mother captive and disappears. Mary is kind of concerned, because he did what appeared to be a form of magic and just vanished. Mary discovers that she too can do magic, but she must not have gotten it just right, because when she lands, she's not in the same place that Kelson and her mom are. Sh…