More book reviews from the Summer Reading Club

Jasper Jones by Craig SilveyJasper Jones

A novel about two young teens who find a young schoolmate hung from a tree in the woods. A place only Jasper Jones would know, and where he took the dead girl/his girlfriend. The book tells how Jasper and his new friend Charlie are able to solve the mystery. A great read!

Sarah Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan Sarah Plain & Tall

This quick read was an excellent account of life in the pioneer days. Sarah writes a letter to a farmer, who is a widower with two children. She describes herself as “plain and tall” and comes to visit the family. The children fall in love with her and ask her to stay with their dad and become a family.

Damage Control by J.A. JanceDamage Control

This mystery, set on and around Bisbee, AZ is part of a series featuring Sheriff Joanna Bradey. The plot is complex, with a small town family and political conflicts as well as the central mystery of why an elderly couple drove off the side of a mountain to their deaths. Jance continues to develop Joanna’s character and insights into her own family history. Resolution of the puzzle of motivation and proving guilt is suspenseful,especially in the audio book. I found myself listening even after I’d parked in my driveway, to see what happened next.

You Can Heal Your Life by Louise HayYou can heal your life

A book about how to live better. Daily affirmations, positive thoughts. It’s all about perspective in life. If you can change the way you think, you can change your life in a positive way to be happier. Louise Hay started Hay House publications at the age of 60 and is going strong today at 85!

The Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling Casual Vacancy

The book took a long time to describe the characters and environment. I was almost halfway through before I felt the book was captivating. And even then there were just a few characters and their storylines that held my attention. She does however do a great job of describing insecurities and poverty well, and if she did a second book and created a series I would definitely read it.

Delancey by Molly WizenbergDelancey

I just finished reading this memoir which chronicles the opening of her and her husband’s pizza restaurant in Seattle. A food writer and blogger, Wizenberg writes conversationally about the joys and challenges of opening and running a restaurant. Neither she nor her husband have experience beyond becoming home cooks; in fact, her husband dropped out of a PhD program in music in order to pursue this dream.

She writes candidly about her own ambivalence about the project and her struggles to support her husband, who has taken on an endeavor that is all-consuming and financially risky. Through trial and error and good fortune, they find a community that comes together to make a very special place literally by hand. It is an interesting and inspiring read.

Goldfinch by Donna TarttThe Goldfinch

The book takes you through the life of Theo, a young boy who loses his mother in a horrific bombing at a NYC museum. Theo bounces from his friend’s family to his estranged father and colorful girlfriend. While living with his father in Vegas, he meets Boris. Boris is the type of character you love and hate. He leads Theo though many adventures including a hair-raising, nail-biting illegal adventure in the end.

The Nanny Diaries by Emma McLaughlinNanny Diaries

Hilarious book that allows a peek into the lives of ‘successful’ Manhattanites and their dysfunctional lives. The inside story of their lives and familial relationships (or lack thereof) made me realize the grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence.

The Woman Upstairs by Clair MessudThe Woman Upstairs

I enjoyed some parts of this book, but disliked more than I liked. Nora starts off on the first page with so much promise. She’s going to change her life! 250 pages later and she hasn’t really done anything at all. Nora also blames everyone outside of her dreamy, obsessive world for all her life’s disappointments. The ending picked up steam, but then felt rushed and cut short.

Wife by Meg Wolitzer Wife

Meg Wolitzer writes books about relationships between friends and family. She is good at portraying the perspectives of various characters in her novels. This book is about a marriage, starting in the 1950s, that is built on a lie. It keeps you reading, wanting to know how much the wife in the story has given up of her  own identity. I recommend it (as well as Hidden Pictures and The Interestings.)

The Lovely Bones by Alice SeboldLovely Bones

For so long I avoided reading this book. The story seemed too tragic; the loss of a 14-year-old girl brutally murdered. One frequently forgets that Susie Salmon is no longer among the living. In telling her story, she makes it about her life, her hopes, her dreams, and not about her death. The audiobook is lovingly ready by the author, who has produced a compelling story of loss, hope, life and beyond.


Posted by Barbara | 8 Jul 2014 | Comments Off on More book reviews from the Summer Reading Club

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