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Showing posts from October, 2010

Someone To Blame by CS Lakin

I don't normally read Christian fiction but I received this novel as part of an early reviewer program, so I'm reviewing it here.  When you hear about Christian fiction, or at least when I do, I think about people that are self righteous and preach-y and I assumed that this book would be the same thing.  But I was completely wrong. This is a novel that combines Christian themes with mystery, somewhat successfully; however in general, it wasn't that great a first attempt.

Irene and Matt Moore are married and opt to escape their previous lives by moving themselves and their fourteen year old daughter Casey to the small town of Breakers. Breakers is literally on the edge of the country on the Pacific Northwest and is cold and unforgiving. The family moves there in the hopes of escaping family tragedy. While there, the family meets Billy Thurber, a young man that is battling his own demons, including an alcoholic father and being judged by the local town folk. Irene, Matt and…

Freedom by Jonathan Franzen

This is Franzen's fourth novel, but only the second that I have read. I read The Corrections quite some time ago; however I picked up this novel not because of The Corrections (because, quite frankly, I don't remember too much about that novel) but because I've heard about this novel all over the place, from NPR to the Times.

Franzen begins by introducing us to his main characters - Walter and Patty Berglund - who are living in St. Paul, Minnesota in a run down part of town. They have purchased a home that can only be called a fixer upper. They seem to be a perfect couple - Walter works and is a sensitive husband to Patty, who stays at home, raises her children and makes staying at home her profession. And she does it well. The novel takes place in the years just following the September 11 attacks. Walter's son, Joey, is Patty's favorite and she becomes the classic helicopter parent to such an extent that she literally drives Joey away - he begins to sleep with th…

A Lion Among Men by Gregory Maguire

This is the third installment in the books about the "Wicked" years - the series that began with the ever popular book, Wicked. Both were written by Gregory Maguire, whosepoularity seemingly hinges on re-writing fairy tales from a different perspective. Where Wicked was witty, unfortunately Maguire's subsequent books tend to lack the wittiness and the uniqueness that made Wicked so wonderful to read.

A Lion Among Men begins with the Cowardly Lion, whose name is actually Brrr, meeting with Sister Yackle, an ancient oracle who is living in the same convent that Elphaba lived in before starting off on her tryst as the Wicked Witch of the West. Brr, who is employed by the new Emperor of OZ, has been sent to meet with Yackle in the hopes of getting information about Elphaba, Liir (her son), the Thropp family and the Grimmerie (the witch's book). Sister Yackle is a pretty good adversary for Brr because she sets up a system of give and take: for each piece of information th…

In The Woods by Tana French

This is Tana French's first mystery novel and it was merely all right.  There were some things that I really enjoyed and some things that I really didn't like.

Ms. French's first novel follows a snapshot in the career and life of a detective on Dublin's murder squad. It specifically follows him on one case - the murder of a 12 year old girl that occurred in the town that he grew up in and how it draws him back into the tragedy that led to him becoming a detective in the first place. Because when he was 12, Detective Ryan's two friends - Jamie and Peter - went into the woods in the town of Knocknaree and never came out, although Detective Ryan did. He was found in a catatonic state, against a tree, with Jamie's blood in his shoes but with no memory of anything that had happened to them while they were in the woods. The mystery of what had happened to the youngsters was never resolved. Since this has happened, Detective Ryan has changed his name from Adam to Rob…

The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman

The Imperfectionists is Tom Rachman's first novel. It's about a group of journalists that work for a daily in Rome. This daily was founded about 50 years or so before the stories in this novel take place by a millionaire for reasons that are never really clear. Each chapter is about one of the employees from the publisher down to a copyeditor and even a reader.  There are also a few short pages at the end of each paragraph about the history of the paper from when it was founded to its modern day. The stories reference the characters in the other, but aren't interlaced in the sense that they tell the same story from differen perspectives.  They each tell different stories that are supposed to tell us something about the person that Rachman is narrating about.

This book was just delightful. I really enjoyed Rachman's writing style - it was quick, witty, intelligent and fun. And his characters! I loved them because they were imperfect. They aren't romantic heroes, l…