Thursday, September 30, 2010

Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah

This book is a story of two very different sisters who never understood thir cold distant mother. Anya, their mother, grew up in Russia but never shared the details of her hard life there in Leningrad during World War II. I started out listening to this as an audiobook and enjoyed the Russian accent of the character of Anya which stayed with me as I finished it in book form. The daughters wonderful, loving father dies but tells them they need to hear the rest of the fairy tale that their mother had told part of to them as children. Though their mother is reluctant they gradually hear the rest of the story from Anya and realize she is telling them of her life. Bonding builds and repairs the relationship. The historical information and the emotional elements in this story were satisfying.

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender

Imagine when you take a bite of the food, you can detect the emotions of the cook. This is what happens to Rose Edelstein just before she turns nine when she bites into a slice of the lemon-chocolate cake her mother made. Contrary to Rose's mother's jovial appearance, Rose can "taste" her mother's desperation...
Rose struggles to cope with this uncanny ability at school and at home with her detached father and quiet brother, Joseph, who pulls off disappearing acts that worry everyone.
Aimee Bender weaves fantasy into reality in this novel. It also reminds me of growing up and finding one's place in the world, where some survive and some do not.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Wicked Appetite by Janet Evanovich

Is this a new series by Janet Evanovich? Could be! This book features Diesel, an occasional character from the Stephanie Plum novels, but everyone else is new. Unless you count the monkey. Lots of fun!

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Passage by Justin Cronin

The Passage is a long (766 pages) novel set in the near future. It's really two stories: first, a deadly disease sweeps the North American continent, wiping out the majority of the population and leaving many of the survivors less (or more?) than human. The second part is the story of one band of surviving humans, who are isolated, fearful, and ignorant of what is going outside their own community. It's an engrossing read, although I felt it ended too abruptly and without resolving many of my questions.