Sunday, November 20, 2016

What Light by Jay Asher

What Light by Jay Asher  I picked this book up for two reasons:  I love the author and I love the color.  I didn't know what to expect from the book but it was a very heartwarming Christmas story - the perfect way to start the Christmas season.

It's the story of Sierra and her family who have a Christmas tree farm.  Every year they load there trees and sell them on a lot in California.  Things have been getting harder and harder for the family and they wonder if they will be able to continue selling their trees on the lot.   It's also the story of  Caleb - a boy with a very troubled past.

Even though Sierra only has a brief time with Caleb, there are sparks right away.  She is able to look beyond his baggage and see him for who he is now.  I love stories of redemption and second chances and this definitely fits the bill.

If you are looking for a light and meaningful seasonal read, you may want to check this one out.  4 stars.

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult    Let me start by saying that I am a Jodi Picoult fan.  If you have been reading my blog for any length of time, you already know that.  Up to this point, 19 minutes was my favorite Picoult.    My only complaint with Ms. Picoult's writing is that in a rush to find something controversial to write about, her story lines sometimes become formulaic, so I approach new releases with a cautious curiosity.

The title and cover of this one intrigued me.   I knew within the first page that it was going to be amazing and by the end of the first chapter, I knew it would replace 19 Minutes as my favorite.  This is the story of Ruth, a black woman who has worked for 20 years as a labor and delivery nurse.  She shows up to work one day, goes into the room to help a couple who has just had a baby and is met with the worst sort of discrimination.   She is removed from helping the patient because the parents are white supremacists. 

I don't want to give the plot away, but I will tell you that the twists and turns just keep coming.  This book opened my eyes in ways I couldn't have imagined - as we go shopping with Ruth and her lawyer and see the way Ruth is treated because of her color.  Even the way her co-workers respond to the worst sort of discrimination was absolutely reprehensible and like so many, they didn't even realize it.

I loved every minute of this book.  It was almost impossible to put down, and it was a very quick read.  I gave it five stars but if I could give it 20, I would.  It's THAT good.

Love, Lies and Spies by Cindy Anstey

Product Details The title and the cover intrigued me.  I love a good spy novel but this is really a fun and frivolous thing.  On the back it is compared to Jane Austen.  To be honest, had a read that, I probably wouldn't have read this book.  I loathe Austen - once you've read one, you've read them all.

Happily I didn't find Juliana much like any of Ms. Austen's so -called heroines.   She is bright, resourceful, inquisitive and not looking for a husband!  Quite the contrary, she is going to London for the season in an attempt to find a publishing house to publish her scientific works.  The fact that she meets a handsome spy along the way really doesn't play into her goals initially.  Even when she does work out an arrangement with Mr. Northam,  it is to help her friend with a beau not promote herself. 

A light enjoyable read.  If you enjoy romance and a Victorian setting, this may be worth checking out for you.  I gave it three stars.

Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands by Chris Bohjalian

Product Details  This one was a difficult read because the potential of the story is very real.   This is the story of Emily Shephard, a teenage girl whose parents work at the local nuclear power plant.  This book is about the potential outcomes if the unthinkable were to happen.

There is a lot of discussion of Fukishima in this book.  Emily starts her day going to school when the unthinkable happens.  She can't get in touch with her parents, but everyone knows that something went very wrong at the plant.  Emily's father is being blamed.

This is the story of what Emily needs to do to survive in a world impacted by disaster. I'm glad I read it but I can't say I would recommend it.  It is a cautionary tale for our time and it is well written.  I gave it three stars.

A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray

Product Details  This is my second book that I have read this year dealing with the subject of the multiverse.  Something about that topic must really be pulling at my thoughts and imagination.

This is the story of Maugerite.  Her parents are world famous physicists who have created an ability to travel to different versions of our world in the multiverse.  This technology is called The Firebird.  Working with them, there are two very talented interns - Paul and Theo.

Paul kills Maugerite's father and then uses the Firebird to escape.  Together, Maugerite and Theo uses another Firebird to follow him and bring him to justice. 

I really enjoyed the twists and turns in this story.  I enjoyed the various worlds that Maugerite visited and how each one - each version of herself - changed and somehow complimented her.  I thought the story line was very creative and I am looking forward to continuing on with the series.  I gave it four stars.

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

Product Details This has been on my TBR pile for a while, and after reading My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry by the same author, I moved it up on the list.   Although it didn't grab me as immediately as the other story did,  I loved it.  

I don't want to give away too much of Ove's story because I want you to read it for yourself.  Don't be daunted if it is a little slow developing, trust me, it will.   I laughed and cried.  Ove reminded me so much of my Dad, in so many ways.  I loved all the characters in the book except for the men in the white coats.  The cat annoyance was my second favorite, after Ove.

I love how Backman tells the story, moving backwards and forwards through Ove's life, weaving layer upon layer like a well worn suit.   In my opinion,  Backman is one of the great story tellers of our time.  I am currently reading another short book of his called And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer, and the book I am most looking forward to reading in the new year is Britt Marie Was Here.

If you haven't read any of Fredrik Backman's books - stop procrastinating and do it now.  He really is amazing.  I gave this one five stars.