Monday, March 18, 2019

The Victory Garden by Rhys Bowen

The Victory Garden is a new release by bestselling author Rhys Bowen.  The setting is England during World War I, and the story revolves around 21-year-old Emily Bryce, who is determined to contribute to the war effort despite her parents’ disapproval.  Emily falls in love with an Australian pilot, leaves her family to sign on with the Women’s Land Army, and finds that she has what it takes to stand on her own two feet.  This is a good book for World War I fiction fans.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Sacred Spaces: The Awe-Inspiring Architecture of Churches and Cathedrals. Photos by Guillaume De Laubier. Text by Jaques Bosser

Travel guides are famous among what are known as “armchair” travelers: people who love to visit other places through the magic of books. Sacred Spaces isn’t a travel guide, but through unbelievably well-done photography and well-balanced text, travelers of all types can now get a glimpse inside some of the most beautiful, ancient and unique cathedrals and churches throughout the world.  Be astonished at the enormity and scope of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Absorb the Spanish flavor of the Basilica de la Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. Sit with the spirits of thousands of students in King’s College Chapel at Cambridge. And recoil and marvel at sculptures made of human bone in the massive Sedlec Ossuary in Kutna Hora, Czech Republic.  You have to see these spaces to believe them.   Bottom line:  A richly photographed book that’s impossible to put down.  A must-read.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Run Fast. Cook Fast. Eat Slow: Quick-fix recipes for hangry athletes By Shalane Flanagan

     Olympian and marathon runner Shalane Flanagan teams up with chef Elyse Kopecky for the second time to offer new recipes and variations of popular ones from their first book.  Although it is aimed at performance athletes, anyone could benefit from the healthy but tasty offerings.  A variety of wholesome meals as well as pre-race and post-workout offerings are shared for readers looking for food that will sustain.  Color pictures and notes from the authors alongside the recipes make this cookbook engaging for the reader.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green

When I first started reading Hank Green's An Absolutely Remarkable Thing I wasn't quite sure what I was getting into. It seemed a little slow, and it was hard to tell what direction this book was going to go. As the pages turned, and the story evolved, the book ended up with a commentary on fame and social media, an alien (maybe) invasion, and a mystery combining the two, which leaves the reader with all questions unanswered and a cliffhanger putting them on hold until a book two arrives.
The book follows the exploits of main character April May and her friend Andy, along with a handful of additional protagonists. One New York City morning at 3 a.m. April and Andy come across a large robot-like figure standing on the street. While Andy films, April investigates the robot, which they end up naming Carl. After going home, Andy posts the video on YouTube and April wakes the up the next morning a social media star.
As the story progresses, April's rise to fame skyrockets, and you find that the New York Carl is not the only one, as they are found in major cities around the world, not moving, not making a sound. One thing the Carls do initiate is a series of dreams being had by people who have been exposed to them. These dreams offers clues, but to what?
Along with trying to decode the dreams, April becomes a spokesperson for the whole Carl movement and what it might mean. An anti-Carl movement arises and puts the dreams, and April in its crosshairs. A violent conclusion to the story offers up more questions than answers. Some of Remarkable Thing's original mysteries are solved, but you will have to wait for a book two to find just what really happened.

Monday, March 11, 2019

The Book of M by Peng Shepherd

One afternoon, a man’s shadow disappears.  It is an inexplicable occurrence, and generates world wide media coverage.  Then it begins to happen around the globe, and people discover that the loss of their shadow also means loss of their memories, be it sudden or gradual.  The scariest part of this phenomenon is that in certain cases, something that a person forgets may also disappear or change form.  Thus some people can talk to animals, some locations vanish from existence, the power grids no longer function — anything can happen, really. 

Ory and his wife Max hide out at a hotel in the hills of Virginia, until Max’s shadow disappears.  Max leaves when Ory is away hunting, and then Ory sets out to find Max.  Many people hear rumors of “The One Who Gathers” in New Orleans, and many groups are heading that way.  The final showdown between shadowed and shadowless factions happens there, and you finally find out if Ory finds Max.

Overall, I liked this book and the questions it poses about what makes a person who they are.  Parts of the book annoyed me, as I felt the author wasn’t consistent enough with her “magical” rules (ie, just because one particular person forgets a place, why does that make it disappear when plenty of other people remember it?)   She never explains.  If you can get past that type of thing, you may like this dystopian debut novel.

Who I am with You by Robin Lee Hatcher

A pregnant widow, Jessica, who lost her husband and daughter in a car crash is reeling in grief and is also harboring secrets about her dead husband's infidelities.  Her marriage was not what others believed it to be and she is isolating herself. When Ridley moves in next door to escape accusations in his work in a political campaign, a friendship develops. Both of them have been betrayed and need to overcome bitterness and find a way to forgive. Jessica's family Bible gives her insight into her great-grandfather's life which brings healing and the story of he and his wife's struggles are included in this novel. I enjoyed this book by one of my favorite authors of Christian fiction.