Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Dog On It by Spencer Quinn

A quick easy read, Dog On It is a mystery for dog lovers. Bernie Little, a private eye, and his dog (and partner) Chet take on a missing persons case. The story is told from Chet's point of view, which is fun and quite funny. Chet's attention span is short, his appetite is big, and his admiration for his master is boundless. It's a fun, light-hearted read, and will make you want to hug your dog.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Quantum Wellness: A Practical and Spiritual Guide to Health and Happiness by Kathy Freston

This is a very informative book on the holistic approach to physical and emotional well-being. Freston delves into the Eight Pillars of Wellness. I found the easiest meditation technique on page 23, incorporating visualization. I also appreciate the extensive vegetarian recipes in the appendix, plus further reading and website resources. This book offers a lot of valuable ideas!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

In Shade and Shadow by Barb and J.C. Hendee

In Shade and Shadow is the start of a new dark fantasy series by the Barb and J.C. Hendee writing team. It features Wynn Hygeorht, a character from their Noble Dead series, and is a spinoff (of sorts) of that series. In this book, Wynn has returned to the Guild of Sagecraft, bearing ancient texts that she believes were written by vampires before the Great War and the Forgotten History. As it turns out, the texts are highly controversial and carefully guarded by the Guild, even from Wynn. When someone starts killing sages to steal the ancient writings, Wynn determines to find out who is behind the thefts and what is in the ancient texts. This book is not as action packed as the earlier Noble Dead books, but I hope the Hendees used this book to lay the groundwork for future books in the series. I was happy to see the return (and possible redemption?) of the vampire Chane. For those not familiar with Hendee writing team, start with Dhampir.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

The Rope Walk by Carrie Brown

The Rope Walk is a coming of age story told from the point of view of a 10 year old girl who lives in a small town in Vermont. Over the course of a single summer, Alice grows wiser but also a bit sadder as she learns more about the adult world. The Rope Walk is a relatively easy read, full of lovingly descriptive language and charming characters. It's a bit slow starting, but stick with it, because it IS worth your time.

The Rope Walk is the 2009 All Iowa Reads selection. It will be a great discussion book!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Associate by John Grisham

The Associate is another solid legal thriller from John Grisham. Super student Kyle McAvoy is blackmailed into joining a huge legal firm after his graduation from Yale. McAvoy is expected to spy on his own firm, steal protected documents, and turn them over to his handlers. If it sounds a little familiar, there are some parallels to The Firm. I didn't find McAvoy nearly as interesting a character as Mitch McDeer, nor is this book as gripping. Unlike many of Grisham's novels, The Associate lacks an underlying theme, unless one considers "Huge law firms are bad" to be a message. Nonetheless, it's a well written book and Grisham's many fans will enjoy it.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Skeletons at the Feast by Chris Bohjalian

This deeply moving but disturbing book was hard to put down This book centers around a Prussian mother, daughter and young son, the Emmerichs, who are fleeing Germany toward the end of WWII. The father and two sons are fighting for Germany
They are enduring many hardships and losses to escape the invading Russians. Hidden with them is a Scottish paratrooper who had been gunned down and had worked on their farm as a prisoner. A Jewish man hiding his identity by impersonating a German soldier becomes involved with them and protects them. A group of Jewish women from a concentration camp are being marched across the country. There are horrors but also hope and love. It is shocking to read of the brutal acts done to people, not just the Jews during WWII. This German family did not understand what was happening to the Jews-or should they have been more aware or questioning what was going on? This would be a great book for a discussion group. There are so many details to the characters and what was going on in the war