Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Devil's Wake by Steven Barnes and Tananarive Due

What happens when an unprecedented infection sweeps the world, leaving the earth on the brink of the Apocalypse?  This infection goes byond any disease.  The infected are turning into creatures only from our worst nightmares.  Trapped in the north western United States as winter begins to fall, Terry and Kendra have only one choice: they and their friends must cross many miles across a very dangerous landscape battlin the walking dead, human raiders and their own fears.  In the midst of all this they find something no one could have 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Mister Death's Blue-Eyed Girls by Mary Downing Hahn

Mary Downing Hahn is one of my favorite authors, she wrote one of my favorite books as child, Wait Till Helen Comes. I still suggest the book to kids who are looking for a good mystery with a little suspense tossed in. After 30 years of writing books based on characters she created, she has written a book about something that happened to her personally. Mister Death’s Blue-Eyed Girls, is based on the killing of two of girls she knew in her suburban DC neighborhood.

Nora is finishing her junior year of high school and is about to start the best summer of her life, have a great senior year, and go off to art school in the city. Everything changes the night before the last day of school. After staying out late with friends at the local park, they sneak home after curfew. Nora and Ellie oversleep and miss walking to school with Ellie’s neighbors Bobbi Jo and Cheryl. Running late, Nora and Ellie take a short cut and run into Cheryl’s ex-boyfriend, Buddy, who offers them a ride to school. Everyone goes about the normal end of the school year activities with no one seeing Cheryl or Bobbi Jo at school. Walking home Nora and Ellie find out why Cheryl and Bobbi Jo didn’t make to school. The story unfolds around Nora trying to make sense of what happened, friendships that have changed, accusations of the murder and her faith being questioned.

Mister Death’s Blue-Eyed Girls is based on actual events but the surrounding story is fictionalized. The story is told from many points of view in the span of the summer.  After reading more about Hahn, I learned that she is Nora in the story and had the same feelings and dreams.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Next Best Thing by Jennifer Weiner

The story revolves around Ruth Saunders. She is a 28 year old writer who has been raised by her grandmother after her parents die in a car accident when Ruth was 3. Ruth suffered with scars from the accident all over her face and body. Her grandmother would encourage her to write it all down when things got tough for Ruth. As an adult Ruth attempts to become a writer with the hopes that someone will pick up her television pilot based on her life. I had heard that Jennifer Weiner’s books were very good so I was hopeful when I decided to read this book but it just never really got off the ground for me. I stuck with it and read the whole thing but I really wanted to quit reading it about a third of the way through. The main character is interesting enough, it was just repetitive sitcom writing banter and just plain boring. I would not recommend this book to anyone.

In This Timeless Time by Bruce Jackson & Diane Christian

This is a non-fiction book that explores life on Death Row, mainly in Texas, although the things that go on are common to all Death Rows. The book causes you to think about capital punishment and shows what life is like for inmates in the time between sentencing and execution.

The first part of the book is all photos taken of cell block J in Ellis Unit of Texas Department of Corrections. The second part is a written companion that gives commentary about the criminal system and the fate of the men in the pictures. The third section tells about serious ethical issues the authors dealt with during their time documenting all this information.

This book caused feelings of frustration as I questioned the effectiveness of our judicial system. You would think that there would be a better way to separate the truly guilty from those who have lesser guilt. With our intelligence why can’t we find a way to reach the truth of each situation and match the punishment to the severity of the crime?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Downton Abbey DVD'S Season One and Two

Downton Abbey is a PBS Masterpiece Classic series. Set in a lavish Edwardian Mansion in the English Yorkshire Countryside the show follows the Crawley family starting in 1912. Reminiscent of Upstarios, Downstairs we follow both the titled gentry and the servants through the time right before World War one and during the chaos of the war. The scenery both inside the mansion and the English countryside is beautiful. The costumes and acting are superbly done. One of the best TV shows I have ever seen. I anxiously await Season three. I recommend these DVD's whole heartedly.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The Hutterites of Montana

The Hutterites are a group of people who live a communal way of life.  They are mosrtly located in Montana or Southern Canada.  I vecame interesred in the Hutterites by watching a television show about them on National Geographic.  This book was written in the 90's so it was interesting to see the likes and differences between then and now.  Now trhe kids can go to public school.  The girls still are not allowed to go to college.  They are like the Amish in the way they are pacifists and don't allow certain things from the outside world.  It is an interesting book about a group I didn't even know existed in our own country.  The book is only about 140 pages long but it its filled with great photographs of these usually very private people.