The Unyielding

Shelly Laurenston

The Unyielding (Call Of Crows) by [Laurenston, Shelly]

 

I liked the first two books in the series better than this one. That being said, I look forward to reading more of the Crows and the Vikings who love them.

I think what didn’t do it for me in this book was the character of Erin. She just wasn’t as appealing as Kera and Jace in the previous books. Also the other characters didn’t have much to do but mark time until Erin showed up again.

That being said, it was a fun romp.

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Taft

Ann Patchett

Taft by Ann Patchett

This book ended 100 pages too soon. I wasn’t full of the story. I wanted more. More about black bar owner John Nickle, his ex-wife Marion, and his son Franklin. More about Fay Taft, a 17-year-old waitress who comes to work for John and Carl, her good-for-nothing brother. Does John ever take up drumming again? Does he teach Franklin? Does Carl go to prison? So many questions to answer.

I love Ann Patchett ever since reading Bel Canto. I’m reading my way through her books and have loved Patron Saint of Liars and The Magician’s Assistant. She’s four for four now.

A Stitch of Time

Lauren Marks

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One minute she was on stage in Edinburgh singing karaoke with her friend. Then an aneurysm in her brain she didn’t know she had ruptured, and she woke in a Scottish hospital, unable to speak, read, or  write. This time of her life, which she refers to as The Quiet, had a name—aphasia. She struggles to regain her speaking ability and succeeds over the following months.

The most interesting thing in her account is the change in her personality. Her boyfriend expects her to return to the girl she was, but that woman is gone forever. She is a new creation and struggles to learn who she has become.

A fascinating account of how the brain works, and what it is like when it doesn’t.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane

Neil Gaiman

I can’t make up my mind whether this is an adult fairy tale masquerading as a book for children or a children’s fairy tale appealing to adults. I am confused by Gaiman’s skills as a writer (which appeals to adults) or to the age of the characters (which appeals to children). On the whole, I’d choose to put it in the adult fantasy genre. I think the character of Ursula Monkton and the actions of the father are too frightening for children.

The use of the maiden-mother-crone imagery for the Hempstock women is the most appealing aspect of the book. The life-threatening actions of Ursula and the boy’s father under her influence are the most frightening. Children need to trust in their caregivers, not be afraid of them. This element was what I found most troubling about Coraline as well.

Things are often not what they seem, and that can be frightening to us adults as well as children.

 

Women Like Us

Jason Pomerance

Women Like Us by [Pomerance, Jason]

I bought this book with low expectations. What man would dare call his book ‘Women Like Us’ without writing under a pseudonym? Well, as it turned out, this is a pretty good read. At first I thought is was to be the story of Susan and Andrew, an freelance chef and her boyfriend blueblood Andrew. Ultimately, though the story is taken over by her pushy, efficient mother-in-law, the Pasadena matriarch Edith. The book crackles when Edith is around, and soon I found myself caught up in the story. Bravo, Edith!

Spirits United

Alice Duncan

Spirits United (A Daisy Gumm Majesty Mystery, Book 11)

I don’t know how she does it. I’ve read other series that run out of gas about the third book, but Alice Duncan’s series just keeps chuggin’ along. Each one seems as fresh and entertaining as the first. I’m so involved with Daisy, I worry about her sometime. Looks like she’s headed for the altar, and I wonder how her new husband is going to  like her continuing to work as a medium/spiritualist/amateur sleuth?

Oh, well, I’ll just have to trust Alice Duncan to work things out.

Mock My Words

Chandra Shekhar

A perfect little gem of a book. It tells the story of David, who has difficulties with spoken English, although he writes beautifully. His two books have been international bestsellers, leading to an offer from a private college to teach English Lit. Unfortunately his students are not willing to meet him halfway, and his difficulties with spoken English make communication a challenge. He has trouble at home, too, with a wife who is struggling with her own challenges at work. She is too wrapped up in her own problems to pay attention to David. I thoroughly enjoy this book and found the only criticism was that it was too short. I hope a sequel is in the offing soon. I love David and his struggles.

The Attenbury Emeralds

Jill Paton Walsh

The Attenbury Emeralds: The New Lord Peter Wimsey/Harriet Vane Mystery (Lord Peter Wimsey/Harriet Vane Mysteries Book 3)

While I admire Walsh’s courage in attempting to keep this series alive, I am disappointed in her depiction of Lord Peter. People have said that Dorothy Sayers was in love with him, and that affected her writing about him. Perhaps so, but Walsh’s Lord Peter is a shadow of his former self. Perhaps if you read mysteries for the puzzle, you will be satisfied with the characters, but I found it flat.

Flight: A Novel

Sherman Alexie

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In this novel we follow along as ‘Zitz,’ a modern teen, travels his own vision quest, to learn about human nature. The story begins as the boy is about to commit a horrific act of violence, and involves several Quantum Leap type experiences in the bodies of other people. Finally the boy returns to the present and his own happy ending.

I was with Alexie right up to the end, which I felt to be artificially happy and unrealistic. It felt tacked on and didn’t fit the rest of the book.

Thief Eyes

Janni Lee Simner

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Taking the Icelandic myths as a jumping-off place, Simner weaves a tale of enchantment about a contemporary teen separated from her father, searching for her missing mother. Helped along the way by a raven, a fox and a shape-shifting bear, Haley braves danger to find out the truth and her way back.

I really liked the fox character and wished he had more of a role to play in her search, but he was there when it mattered.

I once wrote a historical novel. It was August in Tucson, and I was stuck in town. So I did second best. I chose a place far, far away. I set my novel in Maine in winter. At least I could mentally escape. Simnel, a fellow Tucsonan,  may have felt a similar urge to escape by choosing Iceland for her setting, far away from the desert heat.