Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Girls by Lori Lansens

I didn't think such a small What are you reading Monday's? entry would get the attention of so many people, but it did. It seems most of you have never heard of this fabulous book (and I do mean fabulous!). I hadn't heard of it either but I'm so glad it found it's way to me.
Even reading the back cover didn't give me insight as to the plot of this story. I thought I was getting myself into another round of chick lit based on the cover, boy was I wrong!
The story is written mostly from the perspective of Rose Darlen, a (fictional) craniopagus conjoined twin. (There are small chapters written from the perspective of her twin, Ruby interspersed without.). Rose has set out to write the story of her life.
To be honest I really had not given the lives of conjoined twins much thought before. Like many others I was riveted to CNN when they were separating Mohamed and Ahmed Ibrahim in 2003 (shortly after I made myself stop watching CNN as I got caught up in the story but disillusioned with the lack of follow up once the surgery was successful). I've heard tell of Chang and Eng Bunker and wondered how their married lives worked (they fathered 21 children between the 2 of them). But that was about it really.
This story fascinated me. I couldn't put it down and it was the cause of some very late nights (reading until my eyes literally wouldn't stay open and focused anymore). It isn't just that the characters are conjoined, it is also that the book is very, very well written. The girls have extremely distinct voices (just as separate people would). And that is something that had me thinking. Of course conjoined twins are separate people, they just can't separate from each other. But they are individuals all the same.
If you are looking for a wonderful read, I highly recommend this book. I loved it!

Monday, October 26, 2009

27 to go

I was just updating my reading list for 2009. I'm working though the 100+ Challenge and I realised I have 27 to go. 27 left and just over 2 months...eek! I'm not sure I can do it. I've been struggling off and on with the "do I read it because it's quick, or do I read it because I love it?" notion this year. Too bad I'm not counting the stories I read to my boys because I'd be way over 100 just with theirs already. Anyways, I've leaned more towards the "reading because I want to" rather than "reading because it's quick" side of things. I really do hope I make it though.

Learning Curves by Gemma Townley

Reading Gemma Townley is exactly what I expect it to be, a nice, light read. A friend of mine at work would put this in her pile of "nice, fluffy, girl books" (I love that description) and that's exactly what it is. It's entertaining. It's fairly happy and you know you aren't going to come out of it snapping at your family. (Or is that just me that gets so entrenched in a book that I do things like that).
This story centres around Jennifer Bell. She's kind of wandering aimlessly through life, currently working for her mother but talked into doing some spying on her father's company via taking her MBA through them. (Her parents are divorced and she has little to no relationship with her father). The plot sounds like it should be more involved than it is. She and her mother are eco-activists. Her father is all about corporation. We find Jen really doesn't know where she fits as she glides through life and life's decisions. We know she is looking for some truth, but stumbles along the way. Take it for what it is, an enjoyable quick read and don't read too much into it.

It's Not About Me by Max Lucado

It's been a while since I've read any of Max Lucado's books. I don't know why really. I enjoy him so much when I read them. His books are based on his own sermon series and bible teachings. I think the reason this one jumped out at me was because of some of my own personal struggles in my walk with Jesus. I often do make my life about me and my actions about me rather than reflecting the me I want to be which is more like the life Christ led and taught us about.
I found this book very helpful in rejuvenating my own personal bible study and prayer life. I also used part of it as an inspiration for a bible study night that I led last week.
I would recommend Lucado to anyone searching for gentle Christian teaching, or someone who is searching for answers and direction.

It's Monday

Today I'm reading "The Girls" by Lori Lansens. I'm absolutely riveted by it.

Monday, October 19, 2009

It's Monday

Today I am almost finished "Learning Curves - a novel of sex, suits and business affairs" by Gemma Townley. I have a stack of books waiting to be delved into all crying "pick me! pick me!" that grew while I was stuck on one book a couple of weeks back. I haven't yet decided which the next read will be.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsella

As a general rule, I'm not a fan of ghost stories. This one was a little different. This was not new-agey. This was not spooky. This was Sophie Kinsella. Humour and personality chemistry was all over this one.
My first impressions of the main character, Lara was that this girl needed help. She's floundering in a business she knows next to nothing about. She's hung up on her ex-boyfriend and she has a difficult time standing up for herself. Who better to help her along (though she does not know it) but her great-aunt Sadie that she never knew?
Lara first encounters the ghost of Sadie at Sadie's dismal funeral. 105 years old and all to show for it were a few relatives that never knew her. Sadie bursts on the scene shouting, "Where's my necklace?". Certainly Lara is hallucinating right? She's the only one who can see Sadie and Sadie certainly becomes a distraction in her life, shaking it up as Lara never thought possible.
I quite enjoyed the charm of the story. It was a book that you can pick up and relax into. I spent most of my quiet Friday night curled up with it and a hot chocolate while my husband was away at a conference and the kids were mercifully asleep. An enjoyable way to spend an evening.

Summer of the Midnight Sun by Tracie Peterson

I am a Christian. I am a reader. By all accounts that should mean that I like Christian fiction, should it not? Not really. True, one of my favorite authors writes Christian fiction (Francine Rivers), but I love her because she is truly a gifted writer. God gave her a gift and she is using it. I can't say the same of most Christian fiction I've read, some is good, most is mediocre. I'd rather read something well written.
Tracie Peterson is one of those Christian authors whose work I enjoy. I wouldn't consider her among my favorite authors, but I know when I pick up one of her books it will be generally enjoyable. A lot of her work has been written in trilogy format. Summer of the Midnight Sun is book 1 of 3. The story centres on a brother and sister pair who live in Alaska in 1915. They've lived in Alaska since they were kids and know the rough land well. They are accepted among the native community and run a trading outpost.
The first thing that struck me in this book were their names, Jacob and Leah Barringer. I know I'd seen those names before. I did a little investigating and sure enough they were featured in an earlier series of Peterson's when they were children (Yukon Quest Trilogy).
As also with a Peterson book, this is Christian Romance. This story sets up Leah with a man from her past that she never quite got over. Also introduced is a woman I strongly suspect will be romantically linked with Jacob in a further book.
As far as Christian romance goes, Peterson knows her audience. She writes well enough to keep your interest. (and with a cliffhanger so you'll look for the next book)

Monday, October 12, 2009

It's Monday

Sorry, no icon today - my computer has a new hard drive and I haven't had a chance to set everything up yet. What are you reading Mondays is hosted by J. Kaye and is a great way to connect with other book bloggers.

This week I'm so glad to be finished The Weight of Water! Yes, I trudged through it and reviewed it over the weekend. I'm now reading something lighter - Tracie Peterson's Summer of the Midnight Sun.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Weight of Water by Anita Shreve

I've been reading through Anita Shreve's books this year. I got started off on Testimony and the Pilot's Wife (both of which I loved). Along the way I've found that for me Shreve's books are hit and miss. Some are fabulous page turners and others get draggy. The Weight of Water fell into the draggy category for me. I seriously contemplated not finishing this book at all.
The story is a 2 in 1 book. There is a present day story of a photojournalist who is investigating an old murder that took place on the Isle of Shoals in the late 1800's. The story of the murder is the 2nd story. It was the murder story that kept me going. I really had no interest in what was happening in present day. I could see what was coming in that story and I didn't want to get to that part of it. From close to the first page I was thinking "oh please don't let..." happen. Knowing that it probably would.
Unfortunately, Shreve doesn't do a great job of flipping back and forth between stories. You will be reading right into one and the next paragraph will be the other story with no transition. It get disorienting.
The murder story itself is based on a true one. Though one man was convicted and hanged for it, historians continue to debate what really happened. This is Shreve's take on what could have happened. I would have much rather seen just this story and left the other out of it. The other just seemed pointless to me.
I found out more information about the murders from links on wikipedia

Sunday, October 4, 2009

It's Monday - or almost anyway

I have to admit it, I'm still working my way through "The Weight of Water" by Anita Shreve. I've been having a tough time with this one. I'm halfway through it now and want to finish because I want to know the whole story (there's a murder that I still don't know what happened), but it keeps bouncing back and forth from past to present, and I'm really not interested in the present storyline. I've been debating leaving it and moving onto the book calling my name on my bedside table - The Sons of Encouragement Series by Francine Rivers (all nicely bound into one book), but I don't do well at reading more than one book at once. I guess I'm just trying to look for a way to push though this so I can move on.