Thursday, May 27, 2010

the happy room by Catherine Palmer

I am struggling with how to review this book.  I didn't love it but I didn't hate it.  Not so much due to writing style or such, but I think the subject matter is what caused this less than positive feeling. It is, to me, a rather depressing book from the get-go and while there are some good things that happen along the way and it is written with some upbeat happenings at the end, it still ends on a sad note to me.  

the happy room (the author has the title in all lower case) is a book that focuses in on three siblings... sibling who grew up in the Mission field in Africa.  They are all grown now and each have lives that were greatly effected by that time and their personal perception of it.  One sister is married and living the perfect life letting no one see any unrest or sadness or struggle in her life or her family... one sister is battling for her life with anorexia... and the brother is angry with the world and God and himself for allowing his wife to leave with his son.  Truthfully, they are all a mess!

Debbie's illness brings them together and forces them to face the truth of their upbringing and of their current life.  They find there were some good memories and a lot of hurt that came from not fulling understanding why their life was as it was.

It i interesting to see how 3 siblings live essentially the same life and yet interpret it so differently.  

I have no doubt there are those who will love this book.  Maybe the timing was just wrong for me. If you are looking for a fun uplifting read, this is not it.  If you want something that challenges or digs deep, this is not it.  But if you want a glimpse into the lives of a dysfunctional Christian family and how God can work even in the midst of the mess, then this book is for you.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Deeper Water by Robert Whitlow

I have a new author to add to my "favorites" list.. Robert Whitlow.  I loved this book!  I am a bit of a legal nut... contemplated law school.. have a criminal justice minor and am a certified paralegal.. I love just about anything to do with the law! 

Deeper Water (Book 1 of the Tides of Truth series) was one of the books I stumbled upon as I wandered through our new local library.  Terri Blackstock (one of my favorite authors) praised it... the back cover write up sounded good... and on one of his books he was compared to John Grisham, who I enjoy, so I decided to give Whitlow a try. I am sooo glad I did!  I look forward to reading the other books in this series as well as his other works. Fortunately our library system has all his books! Only a few are at my local branch, but I can request the others to be sent here as I get ready for them.  No doubt a large portion of my summer reading will be his books!

Deeper Water is set in Georgia.. Savannah, GA.  Tammy Lynn Taylor has left her home in rural north Georgia to spend the summer clerking at a prestigious law firm in Savannah. Tami (as she now spells her name) has lead a shelter life growing up in a conservative fundamentalist church and being homeschooled. I have to say Whitlow treated both those aspects of her upbringing with great respect and dignity.  While our family is conservative, we are no where near as fundamentalist as Tami's (Blue jeans are regular attire for everyone here and, obviously, we have the Internet.. among other things!)... but we are conservative and we homeschooled (I have one child entering college this year and one that just graduated college.)  There are times when homeschoolers are depicted as social misfits with extremist views.  No doubt some are... but most homeschoolers are normal folks who want what is best for their kids like most parents.  So, again, I appreciated Whitlow's portrayal of not only Tami, but her parents and siblings as normal folks.

Back to the story... Tami is in Savannah working for a law firm about to try her first case, a misdemeanor trespassing charge.. but her client's ramblings reveal something more sinister ... possibly the solution to a cold case.. the death of a young girl many years ago.  Tami decides to dig a bit and soon discovers a link to the firm and its founders.  Does the conspiracy continue on to the current day partners? Is Tami safe working there? Can she prove who murdered little Lisa Prescott all those years ago finally bringing justice to this forgot tragedy?

Excellent book... and no doubt the others in the series will be just as thrilling to read!  

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Georgia on Her Mind by Rachel Hauck

Recently, my local library has close and a new amazing one has been opened!  We have gone from an old 6000 square ft. building (where books were ruined due to mildew) to a phenomenal 25,000 square feet oasis!  Stone.. natural elements... in a wooded setting with a large pond... glass walls that provide amazing views.. it truly is a wonder!  And best of all the new library is within walking distance of my home!

My husband and I were there for the Dedication and Grand Opening, but there wasn't time to wander the stacks and browse through the books.  So I went back last week to do just that. I brought home 3 novels to read... one of them was Georgia on Her Mind by Rachel Hauck. I had never see or heard of it. The cover caught my eye ... it just looked like a fun book.. and it was!  This was one of the "funnest" reads I've enjoyed in a long time.

Macy Moore has it all... a great guy... a great career... great clothes and stuff... life is .. well, great! And then it all starts to fall apart... a demotion...  a break-up... and to top it off a class reunion looming. What's a girl to do!?

This is Chick Lit at its best... faith mixed with a lot of laughter. .... a perfect book anytime, but with summer coming I have to say this would be a great beach / poolside read.

The Hand-Me-Down Family by Winnie Griggs

This is the first book I have read by Griggs. It will not be the last!  In fact, I ordered her A Christmas Journey through the Paperback Swap today.  The Hand-Me-Down family is a Love Inspired Historical novel. It is the tale of a mail-order bride, but with twist... she arrives to find she is a widow.  Callie Gray never expected to marry, so when the opportunity to become a mail-order bride came along she took it... going so far as to marry via proxy before travelling west.  Looking forward to life on a ranch with her husband and young daughter, Callie arrives to find that he has perished in a fire along with his sister and her husband and now there are 3 children who need parents.  Callie is ready to take on the role, but her husband's younger brother, who knows nothing about Callie's coming, has arrived in town ready to take over the family ranch and his nephew and nieces.  Who will win the battle of the wills... or is there a compromise they both can live with.

The Quilter's Kitchen by Jennifer Chiaverini

The Elm Creek Quilts series is one of my favorite series.  I want to find a real Elm Creek Quilts and go visit Sylvia, Sarah, Gwen, Summer and all the rest!  Most of the books in the series I have loved... a few I have liked... The Quilter's Kitchen falls into the latter category. It is easily my least favorite Elm Creek book.

Essentially it is a series of recipes that have been wrapped in a short story of memories.  Anna is the new chef at Elm Creek. She and Sylvia are cleaning out the kitchen in preparation of a major redo. Along the way, they unearth family heirlooms and treasures from Sylvia's childhood. She tells Anna stories connected with their finds. 

The stories are entertaining, but truly add nothing to the richness or depth of the Elm Creek books.  If you read the series and skipped this one, I don't think you would skip a beat.  I may find myself wrong when I read the next book, but I truly see nothing it adds to the overall stories. 

That said... there are some yummy sounding recipes in The Quilter's Kitchen, so if you like to collect recipes or cookbooks then you probably will enjoy this book.