Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Review: The Midwife of Hope River by Patricia Harman



Publisher: William Morrow
Pages: 320
Released: 2012
Source: Publisher/Egalley
Rating: 5/5



Synopsis:

Patience Murphy is a midwife working in Appalachia during the 1930’s. Times are rough, money is scarce and Patience is running away from her past. She struggles with confidence and worries that she’s not capable of delivering babies on her own, the midwife she assisted has passed away, and Patience is on her own. Her clients have little to no money, which doesn’t help Patience when she needs to feed herself, at the same time, she can’t say no to a mother and child in danger. While Patience begins to settle into her new life, she’s always looking over her shoulder and waiting for her past to catch up to her.



Review:

A brief bio mentions that Harman herself started out as a midwife, and it clearly shows in her writing. I’ve read other books that had midwives as the main character, but this one has become one of my favorites. The historical aspect really sets this book apart. The Great Depression left everyone rich and poor in desperation. Patience needs to feed herself and keep her house warm, but she can’t turn away a delivery and risk harming anyone. Each time she delivers the baby, she has no idea if she’ll get any pay. She hopes they’ll at least give her some food. Patience doesn’t have the heart to say no.

Patience’s back story really adds to the tension of the novel. Readers are slowly told why Patience had to change her name and run. Her childhood was great, and then everything was ripped away from her. The social angst during this time period plays an important role in novel. When Patience decides to help out a young black girl, and possibly train her as a midwife, the racial tension amongst her clients becomes an issue. Their safety is questioned.

I thought the pace of the book was great. It never felt like it dragged on, and I never wanted to rush ahead. This is one you’ll want to curl up with, and hope for no distractions. When you do have distractions, you’ll try to ignore it. The Midwife of Hope River is a captivating and stunning read. Harman’s prose is beautiful and engaging, readers wouldn’t think that this is her first novel. I really hope she intends to publish a second book. Overall, I highly recommend this one.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Review: Sea Change by Karen White



Pages: 412
Publisher: NAL
Released: 2012
Source: Publisher
Rating: 3.5/5



Synopsis:

Ava Whalen is the youngest and only daughter in her large family. She’s always felt left out, and she doesn’t understand why her mother is always so standoffish towads her. She’s alway felt like there was something missing in their relationship. When Ava met Matthew, a child psychologist she hoped that her days of loneliness were behind her. They quickly elope and Ava moves with Matthew to his ancestral home on St Simons Island. Ava’s mother is upset about the elopement and doesn’t understand why her daughter would agree to move to an island, when she’s deathly afraid of water. Ava learns that there is much she doesn’t know about Matt, including the fact that he was previously married, and how his wife died. Ava begins to focus on Matt’s family history and unknowingly uncovers some secrets of her own.



Review:

Karen White weaves a story between the past and present that keeps readers engaged and guessing. This was my first Karen White book and I really thought she did a good job plotting the book and building the characters. Books written with multiple points of view are a little tricky for me because I tend to like some characters more than others, and I want to rush back to that character’s view. That’s what I struggled with in this book. Overall, I really enjoyed the book but when I have different perspectives, as a reader I want to like each perspective equally.

I really enjoyed Ava and her story line. Her relationship with Matt was intriguing and filled with twists. As soon as Ava’s finds out he was previously married, I knew this book would be interesting. They both have a lot to learn about each other, add in Ava’s fear and her rocky relationship with her mother and readers can’t help but be interested in her story. I recommend this one to readers who enjoy multiply perspectives and books that incorporate a past storyline.

Monday, October 29, 2012

It's Monday, What Am I Reading?




Hi Everyone!

I'm starting to get my reading and blogging schedule back together. I really miss blogging and can't wait to get a few reviews written.

Last week I read:






I'm Currently Reading:





I'm not sure what I'll read after this one. I don't usually have any idea what my next book will be. I'm a huge mood reader and tend to just wait and see what I feel like picking up next. I'm on my 85th book of the year, which is great! I originally planned to read 80 books which would have beat my 2011 total. Happy reading everyone!

For those who are in the path of hurricane Sandy, stay safe!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Little Hiatus

Hi,

I've been missing from the blogosphere for a few days, and I will likely be missing for a few weeks. My mom had heart surgery on Thursday and she's my main focus at this point. She had a valve replaced and it was a big surgery. She's doing good, but she'll have a long recovery. I'm getting a lot of reading done while my mom sleeps in the day. It'll be awhile before I have time to write some reviews. I'll be back, thanks for your patience. 

Monday, October 8, 2012

Discussion: The Casual Vacancy



The Casual Vacancy by J K Rowling 


I’m 53% into the Casual Vacancy and I’m really disappointed. It’s hard to put my thoughts into words. I went into the book knowing that it would be nothing like Harry Potter, I knew it would be geared towards adults but I didn’t realize I would have such a hard time getting through it. My main issue is all the characters. They seem to all blend into each other. I have a hard time figuring out who is who and how they are all connected. Tying the children to their parents is also frustrating, because I can’t really put them together. I find the plot to be VERY slow going, and not very exciting.

One storyline that I am interested in is Terri, Krystal and Robbie. I want to see how their story will progress. I was having an issue with Terri when I felt like her voice kept changing on me. Then I realized there is a Terri and a Tessa…Yes, I got them confused. When I received my hard copy, I flipped through to back track.

I come from a small town, and I understand what she is trying to portray regarding the politics but I’m just not interested in it. I’ve been forcing myself to read this book for over a week, and I really want to finish it, so I can properly review it. At this point, I need to sit down and finish it in one sitting. Picking the book up and putting it back down is not helping me.

To be honest, I don’t like any of the character and I’m not sure what I think about the plot. All the characters seem whinny and they’re not likable. At this point, I just want to finish. Since I seem to always be trying to figure out the characters, I can’t really focus on the plot. I’m reading and thinking about something else. I thought if I just keep reading, it'll all come together...but it's not.

I wanted to start some dialogue about the book. Are you reading the book or have you read the book, what are your thoughts?

Sunday, October 7, 2012

In My Mailbox

Happy Thanksgiving to all my fellow Canadian readers! I hope you had a chance to spend it with your loved ones. This week I received 2 review books.

The Casual Vacancy by J K Rowling (I'm 53% done, and struggling to finish)

The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton ( very excited to read it)

Happy reading!

 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Review: The Diviners by Libba Bray



Publisher: Little Brown
Pages: 608
Released: 2012
Source: Publisher
Rating: 5/5



Synopsis:

Small town, Evie O’Neill lives the life of a flapper, her conservative parents don’t know what to do with her, and desperately want to rein her in. When Evie exposes her unusual gift, her parents send her to live in New York with her Uncle. Evie decided to make the best of it, and couldn’t wait to move to the glamorous city. New York City wasn’t exactly like Evie expected, her uncle is the curator of the Museum of American Folklore, Superstition and the Occult. While Evie enjoys her night life, her uncle threatens to send her home if she doesn’t obey his rules. Mysterious deaths have been happening all over town. When Evie’s Uncle is brought in to help the investigation, Evie wants to use her gift to help find the murderer.



Review:

The Diviners is a hard book to review, I don’t want to give too many details but I want to make sure I encourage readers to read it. Libba Bray created a fantastic book with a great plot and an amazing cast of characters. The Diviners was utterly engrossing and very well written, I was glued to the pages, and couldn’t stop reading. I thought the cast of characters was amazing. I loved each and every one of their stories. Bray transports readers to a roaring 1920’s New York, but there is an undertone of evil and darkness that becomes more prominent throughout the book. Readers are slowly exposed to what sort of evil is lurking, and the possibility of evil winning.

I read that this series will be 4 books, which really made me happy. The ending wrapped up nicely, but left readers wanting to see where the next book would go. Evie is not the only one in the book with a gift, and I can’t wait to see how the other character’s progress. Evie was a great, lovable character and her friends were just as enjoyable.

I previously read Libba Bray’s Gemma Doyle series and I loved it. I haven’t read her other books since then, but I was really curious about this one. I’m really happy I read it, and didn’t let the size of the book discourage me. It may have been large, but I couldn’t put it down and I was sad when it ended. I highly recommend this one.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Review: Miss Me When I’m Gone by Emily Arsenault



Publisher: William Morrow
Pages: 384
Released: 2012
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 4/5



Synposis:
When Jamie hears that her best friend from college has died, she doesn’t know what to think. Her and Gretchen haven’t been as close lately, and seemed to be at different stages in their life. Gretchen recently divorced , wrote a bestselling memoir chronicling her divorce and her admiration for country music icons like Tammy Wynette. Jamie is still married, struggling to keep her job at the newspaper, and pregnant with her first child. She knew Gretchen wasn’t very fond of children, and they seemed to have less in common. Jamie is shocked to learn that Gretchen’s family wants her to be the literary executer. Gretchen was working on a second book before she fell from the library stairs, her family and publisher are hoping to salvage what she wrote. When Jamie begins looking through her notebooks and files, she uncovers Gretchen’s family secrets, and begins to question what happened really happened at the library the night she fell.



Review

Arsenault has a very unique writing style that I immediately felt drawn to. Miss Me When I’m Gone is not a traditional mystery; it’s not packed with action but more drawn out, filled with twists and turns, which leaves the readers intrigued and left thinking about the circumstances. Readers are given excerpts from Gretchen’s writing which solidifies who Gretchen was as a person. Her second book became much darker and took on a life of its own. Gretchen begins to uncover what happened the night her mother was murdered and who might be her father. Jamie begins to worry that Gretchen might have uncovered too much information, and put herself in danger.

I don’t normally read typical mystery novels, but this one was perfect for me since it wasn’t a typical mystery. I loved the incorporation of the country singers, and how Gretchen wove their stories into her. You certainly don’t have to like country music to enjoy this novel, but the added touch was really interesting, especially for a country music fan. I thought the cast of characters was really great. Gretchen’s death was the focus of the story, but Jamie was really interesting to read about as well. She’s dealing with the death of her friend, uncovering her deepest-darkest secrets, and also pregnant with her first child. She doesn’t want to give up her job and become a stay at home mom, but her job would barely cover the cost of daycare. Her husband is patient, but wants what’s best for Jamie and their child. I highly recommend this one, even for those who don’t normally read mystery.