Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Mischling by Affinity Konar

Twelve year old twins Pearl and Stasha arrive at Auschwitz in 1944.  Because they are identical twins, the two girls become part of the notorious experiments of Joseph Mengele.  The focus of the book is not on the horrors they face, but on the bond between the sisters and the hope and resilience they display in brutal circumstances. Although it is fiction, the book was inspired by the real-life experiences of twins Eva and Miriam Mozes.  I recommend it!

Monday, September 26, 2016

The Things We Do For Love by Kristin Hannah

After a failed marriage, the loss of a baby, and a botched adoption Angie Malone returns to her warmhearted Italian family. Her beloved father has died and the restaurant her family runs is failing. Angie, who had a successful advertising career helps out with the restaurant making many improvements.  When a teenage girl, Lauren, who lives in a very poor area of town with an alcoholic, uncaring mother begins working at the restaurant Angie develops a relationship with her. Angie, who so wants to have a child becomes a mother figure to Lauren though her emotions are still unstable as she tries to help Lauren. As more difficulties arise in Lauren's life and Angie's husband returns an emotional journey continues with love and heartache.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Ashes of Fiery Weather by Kathleen Donohoe

These are the stories of 7 women from a multi-generational family of Irish/American firefighters who belong to the Brooklyn "Glory Devlins" firehouse.  The stories span time from the potato famine in Ireland to post-9/11 New York City.  They aren't told in chronological order, which made the book more interesting for me.

Generational events are portrayed well, from the quick weddings in WWII, to unwed mothers fearing for their jobs, to resistance toward females becoming firefighters.  Loves, losses, joys, and difficult decisions fill each woman's life.  This was a book that quickly grabbed my interest, and held it throughout the book.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

The World According to Star Wars by Cass R. Sunstein

If you think Star Wars is just a world of science fiction space battles, you may need to think again after reading The World According to Star Wars by Cass R. Sunstein. You might just find the galactic good-versus-evil saga has many choices and ideas that may apply to your everyday life.
Sunstein takes the reader through Star Wars creation, growth and success and uses these to apply them to your life and how you might find success as well. He also looks at Star Wars mass appeal and just what it is that makes these stories for so many of us. The author contends it unifies people and connects generations as it continues to grow in scope, and popularity. It is a unique look at what makes the world work.
The book is a very entertaining, and thought-provoking read; however, knowledge of the Star Wars universe of stories and characters is a must as Sunstein references them throughout his book.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The Invisible Girls by Sarah Thebarge

This one is a true story. It is a biography of a young woman who nearly died of breast cancer in her twenties. She then decides to make a break from her life on the east coast where she had studied medicine and writing. Having lost virtually everything, including her fertility and her boyfriend, she was searching for a new start and a chance to heal. It is in Portland, Oregon where she has a chance meeting with a Somalian family on a train. From that point on, a relationship begins that will, in the end, change all of their lives. The title of the book refers to the fact that each of these women and girls are not seen by humanity. They encounter practically insurmountable circumstances. Through out the story you hear of Sarah's relationship with God from childhood to the present, and her struggle to understand his existence and plan in the face of severe hardship. The best part of the story is when she decides to give up on her original plans for a career and stays in Portland to help her Somali girls.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

A Few of the Girls by Maeve Binchy

In this collection of short stories published posthumously with a forward by her husband Gordon Snell, Binchy's fans will recognize her voice in each one of them and relate to the themes of love, friendship and the meaning in living day to day.  This is a good summer read, some of the stories are less than 10 pages, so I can pick it up and put it down anytime. I really enjoyed Picnic at St. Paul's, Afternoon Phone-In and Audrey which is told from the perspective of a very wise cat. You'll never guess what amazing favors your furry friends have in store for you!

Monday, August 8, 2016

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne, and John Tiffany

I’ll confess that I had my doubts about this one.  Harry Potter as a series is an epic story couched in a subplot about four kids just trying to make their way in school like everyone else.  And, in seven books, the story had been told, start to finish.  Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is, first and foremost, actually a play.  If you open the book, it is a script, complete with stage directions. Don’t expect another novel. The story focuses on Harry Potter and his son, and their relationship.  Beyond that, I can’t say much for fear of spoiling the plot for those who haven’t yet read it. But it is interesting to see how Harry Potter would “play out” so to speak, as a play.  Reading the stage directions involving items appearing, disappearing, moving by themselves, and the innumerable set changes would lead me to conclude that the play would be impossible to stage in real life, were it not playing right now in London’s West End.  While it may not add a huge amount of material to the original Potter canon, it is definitely worth a look, especially if you have children who may never have read a story in script format before.  It’s a different way of thinking and it compliments Harry Potter well.  A-