Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Making Waves by Lorna Seilstand

Making Waves follows the story of the young Marguerite Westing in 1895 Middle America as she tries to choose between following her heart or her familial obligations. On the one hand she could choose to marry the safe, stable, and oh-so-boring Roger or, on the other hand, she could choose the more exciting and carefree Trip.

This story is a great, light, summer read. The characters are compelling and a little bit over the top, but they are still easily relatable and likable. From the very beginning it is easy to tell who the “villain” of the story is, so you’re really just reading to see how the twists and turns of Marguerite’s life lead her to make the ultimate decision. Also, it is near impossible not to fall in love with Marguerite from the first page as she is young, slightly na├»ve, and full of life and spunk.

Making Waves does have a few surprising twists and turns, which leaves the reader turning page after page to find out what will happen. This book is a Christian fiction, so there were some moments of prayer and soul-searching inside of the book, but they did not detract from the overall story.

The only thing that took away a little bit from the story itself was the ending, simply because of how abrupt it was. I never really got a sense for why some of the characters acted the way they did because it was all brushed over so quickly. I just wish the ending would have been fleshed out just a bit more so I could really understand what these characters were thinking.

All in all, I give Making Waves 4 out of 5 stars.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Love Lucy by Lucille Ball

Wow, sorry for the long delay between posts. Life kind of got in the way, but I'm back and I am going to do the best I can to keep this blog regularly updated. So, off we go!

I’ll say it right up front: I’m a huge fan of Lucille Ball. So, when I came across Love, Lucy in a used bookstore I just knew that I had to get it. This book was written by Lucille Ball, chronicling her life, though it ends somewhere around 1964. It was only after her death in 1989 that her son and daughter decided to publish her words for the world to read.

This book is a quick, easy, and fun read. Lucille Ball’s voice shines through page after page, so it was obvious to me that this book received very little, if any at all, editing. She also gets into the details of her marriage with Desi and her role on the show that everyone knows: I Love Lucy. However, she does not go into depth into the emotional side of things, so it may not be the nitty-gritty details that people might be looking for when they pick up her autobiography.

Despite that, I absolutely loved this book. I felt like I was sitting right there beside Lucille Ball and she was just engaging me in a conversation. Love, Lucy is written in that kind of casual, conversational tone that, as a reader, I love. I felt like she wasn’t trying to hide anything, she just wanted to put down in words what it felt like to be her.

I highly recommend this book, and I give it the full 5 out of 5 stars.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Learning to Swim by Sara J. Henry

Learning to Swim follows the story of a woman named Troy Chance as she tries to piece together the mystery of the little boy she rescued after he was thrown off of a ferry. This novel was a quick read and there were only very minor lulls in the story.

I really liked Troy as she struggled with doing the right thing in regards to the young child and what her true desires were. She has a lot of compassion and it was easy to want to cheer her on as she tried to conquer every twist and turn that the next few months gave her. However, with the other characters it was clear that author Sara J. Henry was trying to make the reader guess if they were to be trusted or not, and sometimes the attempts were just paper thin.

Also, the mystery side of things was wrapped up fairly quickly, almost too quickly. I would have liked for there to been a little more suspense or explanation before just wrapping everything up with a neat little bow. The ending did leave something to be desired, I’m not sure if it is because Henry is looking toward a sequel or if that’s how things just end, but there really needed to be a little something more for the reader to feel like the story was complete.

I give this book 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Woman He Married by Julie N. Ford

I won this on a Goodreads Giveaway.

This book tells the story Josie, a reluctant stay at home mom trapped into a marriage with man who doesn't seem to love her or understand her.

At times I found this book interesting and was rooting for Josie, but there were other times I found myself disgusted at her and couldn't stand to keep reading about her story. I guess you can say I had a love/hate relationship with this book, much like Josie has with her husband.

The book itself seemed to drag at parts and I felt the reader was left too long waiting for a resolution. Also there was once character that I felt needed more of an ending, but the preview for the next book appears to address that for me.

I gave this book three stars because I saw a lot of myself in Josie, because I am a stay-at-home mom who sometimes wonders where my life went, but at the same time, I think she really needed more of a spine. For such a spunky, brave, spirited woman, it seemed a little over-the-top for her to constantly be catering to her husband and cowering at his every word.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

On Folly Beach by Karen White

On Folly Beach was another traveling book from my online book club. However, one day I stupidly left it on the bed and my 1 year old daughter got to it and tore the cover to shreds. So, I had to order a replacement book. Luckily, while waiting for the replacement I was still able to read this book.

On Folly Beach intermixes two stories. One is of Emmy in 2009 buying the bookstore that was once owned by Maggie. And then Maggie and Lulu who are sisters living in in 1942-43. When Emmy buys the bookstore, Lulu is still alive and still doing her side business of making bottle trees out of the back.

At first the story seems a bit jumpy, but I got used to it. While I liked the story and watching Maggie and Lulu, and later Emmy and Lulu interact, I felt that it dragged in the middle. I was turning page after page just waiting for something to happen.

The only character I felt any emotion toward at all was Maggie. I was rooting for her, and I felt what she felt. When she was hurting my heart went out to her. I think I could have gotten there with Lulu, but she remained so closed off for so long that when she finally did open up it was too little too late for me. As far as Emmy...I really wish I could have liked her more than I did, but she was just kind of there to me.

The story itself was beautiful, I just wish it had been told a little bit more concisely.

I give this book 2.5 out of 5 stars.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Sweet Song by Terry Persun

I won this book on a Goodreads Giveaway.

Sweet Song is one of those books that a person has to take their time with. It follows the story of Leon, who was born to a black mother and white farm-owner. Even though it was after the Civil War and Emancipation, there were still a lot of racial tensions. The black people who worked on the farm were treated as slaves.

This story shows Leon as he is trying to discover for himself who he is. He is an outcast by both the black and the white society, and he has to learn how to make a life for himself. He travels from town to town and struggles with his identity, he even gives himself a new name every so often to see if that identity works for him. He is constantly living in fear and self-doubt.

This book is a tough read because the reader really feels for Leon and all that he has to go through. It's hard to read about one person suffering through so much. It almost reminds me of the Pursuit of Happyness, where you think that there's only so much one person can take, and life just keeps hammering them over and over.

Even though it was a hard subject matter, I'm very glad I won this book and I would recommend it to anyone.

I give it 5 out of 5 stars.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Sweet Baklava by Debby Mayne

Sweet Baklava was another one of those books that was free for Kindle that I finally just got around to reading. Imagine my surprise when I start it, and it's set in the next town over from me. It is set in Tarpon Springs, which is a small town right on the Gulf of Mexico that has a large Greek community. I have to say that all of the descriptions of Tarpon Springs were spot on, so Mayne had obviously done her homework.

Sweet Baklava is the story about Paula, a woman who is not Greek and owns a soap and candle shop on the docks, and Nick, a man who is from a large Greek family who is on six weeks leave from the Air Force. Nick and his family are determined to do everything they can to help woo Paula and convince her to marry Nick.

While the story was cute, it was nothing really special. At times the relationship between Paula and Nick felt forced and by the end of it I realized that I didn't care if they got together or not. They went back and forth and back and forth and I just wanted to tell them "enough already! make a decision!"

Also, I found Paula and Nick almost too-good-to-be-true characters. They both always seemed to know what to do and when to do it to make the most people happy. Nick just kept showing up whenever he thought he was needed, even if he wasn't, and taking over trying to make everything all better.

While I was glad to see a story set in my area, it just wasn't that great to me. I'm glad it was free.

2 out of 5 stars.