Sunday, September 13, 2009

Elizabeth Whitley always knew that she was to be in midwife. It ran in her family line and so she knew that was what she was supposed to do. Yet she lost her heart to a man who cannot return her feelings since he is in mourning. Taking care of her adopted daughter Lauren finally perks her up and keeps her going on. She must come to terms that she may never have children, learn to love again, and watch Lauren bloom.

Ms. Laskas has a fantastic emotional novel on her hands. Her characters run the gamut. I was impressed with the information she had to find and how records were kept even in the Appalachian mountains. I didn't know a lot about the place setting or the time that the book follows. The immense research that Ms. Laskas did really impressed me. Seeing the world through one person's eyes made it more poignant. Yet learning how to live and love the life you do have keeps running through the story.

Elizabeth had some hardships ahead of her. Not only with learning how to be a midwife but needing to stand on her own two feet. Her childhood love is unrequited for so long but she never gives up. Also figuring out how to be respectful and not push boundaries. When Lauren enters the picture, Elizabeth finds someone to put all her attention on and to help. Elizabeth's mother embraced everything about being a midwife. She just hopes that her daughter will follow and understand that there are parts that aren't so good. Lauren has an interesting life ahead of her with the gift she is given. The support she gets from not only her dad and Elizabeth keeps her going.

This debut by this author was a good start and I am curious to see what else she comes up with next. I am in awe of what she was able to write in one story. This is definitely an author I would more by. Some times I didn't quite understand Elizabeth's logic but figured it would reveal itself in the end.

Gretchen Moran Laskas/ New Author/243 pages/ Appalachian Mountains/ Historical Fiction/ 4 out of 5

I don't feel the cover represents the book as well but it's still nice. I'll pick up the next book I plan on reading tomorrow. Extra sleep would be a good thing to start out the week!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Among the Mad by Jacqueline Winspear

Maisie Dobbs has been called in to help on a case. There is a man who is threatening to do horrible things if his fellow soldiers do not get the help that they need whether it be pension or food. Having served as a nurse, Maisie might just have the insight into the world to help identify the letter writer. She has no idea how much over her head she will become or the fact that things will have to be monitored along the way. Can she do it before the worst happens?

Ms. Winspear crafts a story set in a time that one doesn't always like to remember. Yet through the pages, you get a glimpse into history and see how poorly things were handled. Yet her characters do their best to solve the crime and help the person involved if possible. The research involved in keeping a story like this accurate must be a lot. Yet I never felt like the story was rushed. The pacing was excellent!

Maisie is trying to find a way into her life. She is helping her assistant Billy Beale, yet making sure that he never feels like he is getting charity. She has the utmost respect for him and would hate to lose him. Billy's family is under a lot of stress and so Maisie wants to do her best to help them. Her best friend Priscilla makes an appearance and it was fun to see how those two relate to one another.

This series keeps on getting better! I truly hope Ms. Winspear continues it. There is a depth that I love and the time period just fascinates me. Maisie is a woman who truly wants to help others and it shows. I'm not sure where it could go next but I am pleasantly awaiting the next one, if there is one.

Jacqueline Winspear/ Maisie Dobbs series/ 302 pages/ England/ 5 out of 5

This one took a little longer than I thought it would but definitely was worth the time reading! I've started the next library book I have but not sure when I'll finish it.

Friday, September 04, 2009

The Baker Street Letters by Michael Robertson

Owning a law office that runs out of 221 B Baker Street is very inspiring. Yet having to read old letters written to Sherlock Holmes seems a little odd at times. Reggie Heath finds himself in an interesting predicament. His brother Nigel decides to head off to Los Angeles to help with the answer to the letter. Reggie gets very confused and follows after him. A twenty year old letter spins into place old secrets coming to the surface.

Mr. Robertson has an interesting premise but it seems to fall flat at times. A letter from an eight year old girl who writes to Sherlock Holmes seems a little odd at first. I took a little believability to question the fact that someone would write to a fictional character. Yet the dialogue and the story line flows fairly well.

I found Nigel to be reckless and down right annoying at times. Reggie was just trying to piece everything together. There were times that he even began to question what he was doing in America. Doubting the main reason for being there and wondering if he could help his brother out of the hole he had dug himself into. The side characters were there but never really seemed to bring the novel forward much.

An interesting premise yet it lacked something. I really liked it but the ending seemed rushed. I liked how all the pieces did finally fit together. I was pleasantly surprised with the lengths the criminals went to keep the secrets buried. A little over the top at times, but I was curious what the author had for the motives behind it all. I expected a lot more out of this book than what I got. It wasn't a book I felt I had to read just had hoped for more than what I got in the end.

Michael Robertson/Mystery/ New Author/ 277 pages/ 3 out of 5

I am off to bed here soon, had an early morning unexpectedly and I work tomorrow close. I am hoping the next book will be better.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe

Connie Goodwin needs to spend her summer working on her dissertation But her mom calls her last minute asking for help to go through Connie's grandmother's house. While going through her grandmother's house, she comes across a key with the words Deliverance Dane written on a piece of paper attached to it. This launches Connie onto a quest for a book that will help her understand not only her family history but the Salem Witch Trials as well. She starts to have nightmares and begins to wonder if she is tied to that part of history more than she could ever imagine.

Katherine Howe has a great debut novel on her hands. Not only because of her love of history but the detail was really good. Yes some liberties were taken but not much at all. I was impressed how well the book flowed from the past to the present. The characters had depth and the bad guys were not always so easily figured out. The journey she had Connie take was one that took some time but never felt like it ended abruptly.

I really liked Connie from the beginning. She didn't follow the normalcy in life but she knew something was out there for her. It was just a matter of time to finding out what that could be and possibly could be used for her dissertation Her best friend Liz kept her grounded and asked her the tough questions even more so than her mentor Professor Chilton. Professor Chilton drove me bonkers. I understand wanting to push the limits and do your best. But there were times that I felt he was going a little too far. Behind the scenes was Connie's mom Grace. She knew the job ahead of her daughter wouldn't be an easy one. Yet she kept encouraging her to seek deeper. There were times that I found Grace a little out there but as the story unfolded things made a lot more sense.

This is one book that captivated my attention and I was so excited to get my hands on it! Katherine Howe weaves a story that just won't let you go from the beginning to the last page. The twists in the plot had me guessing to see what the book really was. The ending surprised me quite a bit and I was pleased with how it ended. I cannot wait to see what this author does next and hopefully it's something soon. Even if that means it's an entirely different subject.

Katherine Howe/New Author/ Salem Witch Trials/ Magic/ 371 pages/ Favorite of the year/ 5 out of 5

I was going to wait till tomorrow but I cannot! This book was sooo good! I just had to share. My friend Nancy on Bookfoolery and Babble read this one and I had to pick it up! Great story and I hope this author writes more!!

August Stats and Reads!

Books I read:
1.Lords of Corruption by Kyle Mills 07-31-08 through 08-03-09 B
2.The Boy in the Stripped Pajamas by John Boyne 08-03-09 through 08-04-09 A+ (another fav)
3.The Agency by Ally O'Brien-DNF
4.The Sword in the Stone by T.H. White 08-05-09 through 08-12-09 B
5.Stalked by Brian Freeman 08-13-09 through08-14-09 A
6.In the Dark by Brian Freeman 08-14-09 through08-16-09 A
7.In the Sanctuary of Outcasts by Neil White 08-16-09 through 8-20-09 A+
8.The Weight of Silence by Heather Gudenkauf 08-21-09 through 08-23-09 A
9.Nefertiti by Michelle Moran 08-23-09 through08-27-09 B

Total Books I Read: 8
New Authors: 6
Fiction: 7
Chunkster: 1
Romance: 0
From the Stacks: 2
Books for Review: 1
Books I Bought: 0
Total Pages Read: 2, 722 pages

I was hoping to have the current book I am reading done but was very tired last night after work. So will finish that one up today! :)