The Cottage Review

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The Cottage

by Michael Phillips

416 pages

Genre:  Fiction

“Michael Phillips Continues His Sweeping Shetland Islands Saga
When Loni Ford is informed that she has inherited property in the Shetland Islands, she laughs. She wants nothing more than to sell it and be done with it. But when she arrives in the North Sea enclave, she is stunned to find that “the Cottage” is not at all what she expected, nor is David Tulloch, the man most of the islanders believe to be the rightful heir.” (Goodreads)

This book came in a time that was very busy.  It took me sometime to really get going on it.  Not to mention the Celtic dialect was really hard to read! 🙂   Loni has inherited property that is really unclear in the beginning how she came to be the next in line for it.  Pretty quickly into the book though the story goes back in time via a journal left by her grandfather and starts to plug in pieces of the puzzle.  Loni is thrown many curves during the time that she is trying to find out who she is as a person but also in trying to figure out her family roots.

I really enjoyed this book with it’s mystery and romance all mixed together.  I am looking forward to possibly a third book in this series.

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Caleb’s Crossing Review

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Caleb’s Crossing

by Geraldine Brooks

300 pages

Genre: Historical Fiction

“Once again, Geraldine Brooks takes a remarkable shard of history and brings it to vivid life. In 1665, a young man from Martha’s Vineyard became the first Native American to graduate from Harvard College. Upon this slender factual scaffold, Brooks has created a luminous tale of love and faith, magic and adventure.” (Goodreads)

I really hated for this book to end.  Bethia is telling her story of her life and the life of Caleb, an Indian boy who grows up along side her and is taught by her father for a time.  Bethia’s father was a minister who evangelized the tribe that Caleb was a part of.

Bethia was outspoken for a young lady of this religious sect.  I guess they were Anabaptist at the time… very strict about what a woman could and could not do.  She went with her brother to and Caleb to Harvard to work as an Indentured servant to pay her brothers tuition.  Caleb was accepted on scholarship because he was an Indian.  I am impressed with Brooks use of Indian names, tribes, and speech.  Luckily I listened to this book in audio form or I would have struggled greatly with that part.

This book is appropriate for all ages.  I have found, so far, that this author writes good clean literature!

The Lotus Eaters – Review

7133965The Lotus Eaters by Tatjana Soli

389 pages

Genre: Historical Fiction

“A unique and sweeping debut novel of an American female combat photographer in the Vietnam War, as she captures the wrenching chaos and finds herself torn between the love of two men.

Tatjana Soli paints a searing portrait of an American woman’s struggle and triumph in Vietnam, a stirring canvas contrasting the wrenching horror of war and the treacherous narcotic of obsession with the redemptive power of love. Readers will be transfixed by this stunning novel of passion, duty and ambition among the ruins of war.” (Goodreads)

I’m sure there were many tales from Vietnam similar to this one by Ms. Soli.  I was but a child during this war and what I have heard, we really had no business there.  Whatever my thoughts and feelings on this war the book really is more of a love triangle that occurred between photographers.  The language was harsh for the most part but then again every single book or movie made about war time has extremely bad language.

I wouldn’t say it was a particularly good book but it wasn’t bad either.  After all I did finish it.  I don’t think that I will choose any more books about war time because I did cringe every time they cursing started up.

Helen Adams is a young American woman who sets out to doing something “meaningful”.  You know the kind portrayed in most movies and books of the era, wanting to make a difference in this war.  She falls in love with a married man and has relations with him.  When he is killed in combat she becomes aware of her feelings for his assistant, a Vietnam man named Linh.  Throughout most of the story I was thinking that “this young lady is very messed up”.

This is not a book I would recommend for younger readers.  Harsh language is mostly the reasoning.  There isn’t much in the way of graphic details (that I remember anyway).

Year of Wonders – Review

year“When an infected bolt of cloth carries plague from London to an isolated village, a housemaid named Anna Frith emerges as an unlikely heroine and healer. Through Anna’s eyes we follow the story of the fateful year of 1666, as she and her fellow villagers confront the spread of disease and superstition. As death reaches into every household and villagers turn from prayers to murderous witch-hunting, Anna must find the strength to confront the disintegration of her community and the lure of illicit love. As she struggles to survive and grow, a year of catastrophe becomes instead annus mirabilis, a “year of wonders.””

Inspired by the true story of Eyam, a village in the rugged hill country of England, Year of Wonders is a richly detailed evocation of a singular moment in history. Written with stunning emotional intelligence and introducing “an inspiring heroine” (The Wall Street Journal), Brooks blends love and learning, loss and renewal into a spellbinding and unforgettable read. – Good Reads

This is the first book by Geraldine Brooks that I have ever read.  Although the subject matter was not enjoyable I did enjoy the authors style.

The story is set in 1665-1666 in a small village that quickly becomes consumed by the plague.  The struggles and lessons that Anna has to go through in order to help those around her are beyond anything I can comprehend.  At one point the Minister of the village loses his “faith” after losing his wife to the plague.  Anna was close to his wife as they worked to minister medicines and relief to those who were sick and she suffered in her own way at the loss of her friend.

Geraldine Brooks is an excellent author and I have my next book by her reserved.

The Time Keeper – Review

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The Time Keeper

Author: Mitch Albom

Pages: 224

Genre: Fiction/Fantasy/Inspirational (per Goodreads)

“In this fable, the first man on earth to count the hours becomes Father Time.

The inventor of the world’s first clock is punished for trying to measure God’s greatest gift. He is banished to a cave for centuries and forced to listen to the voices of all who come after him seeking more days, more years. Eventually, with his soul nearly broken, Father Time is granted his freedom, along with a magical hourglass and a mission: a chance to redeem himself by teaching two earthly people the true meaning of time.

He returns to our world – now dominated by the hour-counting he so innocently began – and commences a journey with two unlikely partners: one a teenage girl who is about to give up on life, the other a wealthy old businessman who wants to live forever. To save himself, he must save them both. And stop the world to do so.” (Goodreads)

Through this story we follow three people; a young girl with a crush, an elderly man with cancer, and Father Time.  One wants to end time, the other wants more time, and one invented tracking time is the keeper of time.  At one point, when each person see’s what becomes of their “wish”, I almost feel like I’m watching It’s A Wonderful Life.   What would it be like if you were gone, what would it be like if you “out-lived” your family and loved ones, and living forever.

I did enjoy this little read.  Gave me something to think about.  Like, enjoying each moment and not wishing for time to fly.  I know I am guilty of doing just that almost daily.

My Thoughts On Harry Potter

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This picture only includes books 1-5…

I’d seen every movie.  My kids had read the books; more than once.  I refused to be sucked in. So 7 years after the first book was published, I finally set out on a journey to read these books.  To my surprise I really did enjoy them.  As I read them I found my mind following the movie.  Yes, as far as I could remember the movies they followed very closely.  It took me ten months to complete all seven; a good chunk of my reading life but, I’m glad I did it.  For those of you putting it off because they are your “kids” books.  Don’t! They are worth the time.

I enjoyed all the books but I have to say that I guess I wasn’t “in tune” enough because it was the last book that I kept having those “aha” moments!  I can’t believe I didn’t catch on to some of the things that I probably should have.  Even after “watching” the movies.  (because I am up and down throughout a movie I miss a lot)

So now I hear there is an eighth book that recently came out.  I haven’t checked into it but I hope it is not another 700 pager!  LOL!

Harry Potter #5 book review

2Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

by J. K. Rowling

870 pages.  Probably 500 pages longer than necessary!

This is my first time reading this series.  I must say that I am enjoying the it but I feel that the writer gets way too detailed as each book goes on.  I think she may be “assuming” that someone didn’t read the books prior to this one.  You could easily pick up book five and never have read the previous four and not really feel lost.

Harry is in his fifth year at Hogwarts school of magic.  Every year Harry seems to find out a little more about what happened to his parents and the mysterious scar on his forehead.  In this year there seem to be many secrets kept from Harry but all for good reason.  Harry continues to fight Lord Valdemort and the battle will continue in book six, The Half Blood Prince.

The Order of the Phoenix is a group of wizards and witches that are good and are constantly guarding Harry from deatheaters or the dark lord whether he knows it or not.  We discover that the reason Harry must return to the Dursley’s every summer has to do with the “deal” that was made to keep Harry safe from the dark lord.  At least once a year he must go back to the family of his mother, who gave her life for him to keep that safety.

Yes, I have seen the movies but I don’t recall seeing this one.  Probably because I was up and down during the movie taking care of laundry or dinner!  Anyway, I picked up the next book at the library yesterday.  I’ll start it pretty soon.  I like the series but I’m looking forward to having this one done.  I want to move on to spontaneous reading.

Water for Elephants a book review

43641I downloaded this audio book because I heard so many people saying what a great book it was.  Err., excuse me?  I found this book to be mediocre to say the least. It jumps from a 90 year old man telling his story to the past, his story being told.

It all takes place during the depression.  A young man, Jacob Jankowski is almost finished with veterinarian school.  He is following in his father’s footsteps when both his parents are killed in a car accident.  Jacob goes off the deep end during his exams and walks out.  And walks and walks and walks.  He ends up jumping a train which ends up being the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth.  Because the circus want its own veterinarian they take Jacob on.

The story got somewhat vulgar.  You know the “circus types” and the era the language was pretty bad.  Then there was the fact that Jacob falls in love with a married woman.  Her husband may be “loco” but he is still married to this woman.  But fate must feel it owes Jacob for the terrible loss of his parents.  The husband is killed during stampede by an elephant that he abuses.  Now Marlana is free to be with Jacob.

So, back to the nursing home.  The circus is in town and Jacob’s family is supposed to come and take him out for the day.  Trouble is, they forgot.  Jacob sneaks out on his own and ends up getting into the circus by the good graces of the owner.  When he finds out that Jacob worked for Benzini he is intrigued and wants to hear about the worst stampede in history.  The story ends with Jacob staying with the owner of the circus…

Not a great ending and the story line was dull and dragged on.  I think my senses were insulted by the horrible language and sexual content.

I would give this two stars out of five…