Sunday, March 24, 2013

Tell The Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt

I forgot where I heard about this sorry for no links to it. However, I spotted it at my library and remembered the name from some past "I need to read this" state.

This is a really great first novel about a young teenage June Elbus. Awkward, the weird girl, horribly shy.... she is only herself around her Uncle Finn. It starts off fairly quickly, letting us know that Finn is dying and painting a final portrait of June and her big sister, Greta. We learn quickly, too, that in 1987, Finn is one of the victims of AIDS. Very misunderstood and ousted in that decade, he is clearly the Prince Charming in June's life though. After his death, little pieces of people start floating to the top and June starts putting them all together.

Things start to make sense, no matter how hurtful they were.

Brunt portrays the sister relationship in a very real way. Being a little sister myself, this was very much a realistic portrayal of the problems sisters go through. Everything in this story is about relationships interacting, mending and resolving. The hope of June, the faith of June in her Uncle Finn, helps everyone move past the past and get on with the present.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Wonder by RJ Palacio

2013 is starting to really be the year of great reads. Wonder was recommended by a blog by NRG Joan of Dark. Since I was hemming and hawing about what to read next, I just checked my library for all the books she recommended and Wonder popped up as an e-book.

What a wonderful book! I wish I did have the time to sit and read it in one sitting but it didn't work out that way. I actually loved this so much that I chose not to go to Half Price Books during a lunch with a friend, just so I could keep reading this. So I sat in my car, eating Indian food from a food truck and read. Perfect. Lunch.

Wonder is about a family, The Pullmans, but it revolves around the little boy, August. He was born with severe facial deformities and was homeschooled his entire life. This book covers his first year in a mainstream school as a fifth-grader. Despite the many, many surgeries he has had, he is still very much different from everyone else.

The book has sections for the kids. August is first, then we hear from his older sister, Olivia, his friends, her friends, etc. All the kids have a point of view about August and the Pullman family.

Obviously, school is very rough. It's never easy being different from the other kids (oh, this brought back bad memories of school) but August is a champ.

Wonder really did my heart good. I got teary but I was mostly very proud of August and his friends and family. HIGHLY recommend.

American Grown by Michelle Obama

I picked this up from the library knowing it wasn't anything but some fun reading. I'm trying really hard to gear up for gardening this year and figured a book about the White House garden would spur me in the right direction.

Obama is a charming writer. Her enthusiasm for what she is writing about comes through. She is very clearly happy about the garden and what it is teaching everyone who comes and volunteers to tend it. They invite hordes of schoolchildren to help out and celebrities come as well.

Since getting involved in my CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) I've been really desiring fresh food. I've not been successful with growing but this book did give some pretty good tips on gardening. Got to say too....the fact that they also keep bees at the White House for honey makes me so happy! That's another thing on my list of hobbies I'm researching.

This is not a political book, just a fun overview of the White House garden and the Let's Move project.

Just a Thought: Jane Eyre

So I started listening to Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte on the CraftLit podcast. I've since switched over to her Just the Books podcast, not because I don't like crafty, because I do, but I was to eager to get to the book part.

I'm continuously blown away by how good some of these classic novels are and how, by being forced to read them in a dry classroom environment, so many people shy away from them. I LOVE reading and even I shy away from classics.

This story, so far, is just enthralling and so incredibly well written. Listening as I am, it's going to take me a while to get through the book, as chapters are doled out through the podcast. I'm ok with that because of the commentary from Heather Ordover of the podcast. She's a teacher and points out so many nuances that I think I would have missed otherwise. It's like sitting and chatting with a smart friend :)

Another way to grab this book without waiting on a podcast is through Librivox. TONS of books are free for the taking here and so very worth the perusal.

Ok, that's it for this for now. I've just passed chapter 11 and am getting ready to dive into 12.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

In Session by MJ Rose

I do believe this was a free download from and the downloads/proceed went to charity. I figured it was a worth a shot to try new characters and authors. Besides, it was only 1:45 hours long.

I wasn't all that thrilled. The main character, Dr. Morgan Snow, is a sex therapist and she did pretty much what I can stand in books...over analyzed everything and everybody.

As a somewhat pleasant side effect though, I did get interested in the other characters from other authors (Steve Berry, Lee Child, etc) so I might look up some of their work.

This was a cool premise: MJ Rose worked with the other authors to incorporate their characters in to her characters world. Cool premise, but her character just was annoying.

Ah well....