Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Song Reader by Lisa Tucker

Synopsis :


Mary Beth and her younger sister Leeann are trying to support themselves in their small Southern hometown. To make ends meet, alongside her job at the diner Mary Beth works by practicing her own unique talent : song reading. By making sense of the song lyrics people have stuck in their heads, Mary Beth can help them make sense of their lives. In no time, Mary Beth’s reading have the entire town singing her praises, including scientist Ben, who falls hard for Mary Beth and her unearthly intuition.

When her gift leads to a secret truth about a prominent neighbour the pain of the past threatens to overwhelm the sisters’ future. And without Mary Beth’s music, the town’s silence is louder than ever. Could it be that the lyrics to all those foolish love songs really aren’t so foolish after all?

I have mixed response reading this. It’s a rather bittersweet story about growing up and the joy and pain that come with it. Leeann is the narrator of the story and it’s through this teenage girl’s eyes that we see how her life is, growing up with just her sister as her family. Mary Beth being the older sister tried to protect her sister the best way she knows how.

Along the way and always there for each other, they learnt about themselves and their family and what all these mean to them. Secrets were kept and secrets were revealed and readers discover the truth as when Leeann discovers it too.

While it wasn’t really that great a book, it has its poignant moment that tugs the heart string and you can just feel so sad for these sisters for what they have to go through and yet happy for them that no matter what, they have each other.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Best Way You Know How by Christine Pountney

Synopsis :

At the age of 25, Hannah Crowe moves from Canada to London, intend to cure herself of a puritan upbringing and to find a husband. A few months later, she is married to Daniel and living in Camberwell, south London. Together they attempt to pursue their shared desire for a creatively rich, emotionally intense and sexually passionate domestic life, but it soon becomes apparent that this kind of relationship requires more from them than their individual ambitions will allow.

Funny, spirited and heartbreaking, Hannah and Daniel are pulled between kindness and infidelity, freedom and and responsibility.  Their story is one of misplaced passion, of yearning and the refusal to compromise.

This is not really of chic lite gene. It’s more intense. It’s also not really of romance gene either. It’s less romantic. I have mixed feelings reading this book. Part of me enjoyed it a bit. Part of me felt it’s a waste of time.

Basically the takeaway lesson here is that one should not just get married for marriage sake. It would have been better for both Hannah and Daniel to get to know one another first but when love rules the heads, do you think they thought of that?

Anyway, since the deed is done and like the title of this book, they tried to make the best of the marriage, the best way they know how. But whether that's good enough or not, you have to check out the book to find out.

Friday, May 11, 2012

The Key on the Quilt by Stephanie Grace Whitson


Synopsis :

God’s Plan Revealed. . .Stitch by Stitch
 
From a distance, the building may resemble a castle, but it’s the last place Jane Prescott, Mamie Dawson, and Ellen Sullivan thought they’d be, and the last place they expected to see love grow.
 
Broken in spirit and wondering if God has abandoned her, Jane is serving a ten-year sentence at the Nebraska State Penitentiary, even as she hides a startling secret. How will one caring physician help unravel the hidden meaning behind Jane’s courthouse steps quilt?
 
Mamie told God she’d go anywhere, never dreaming He’d send her to nurture women the world had forgotten. But while helping those around her, will she stubbornly keep the attentions of a kind guard at arm’s length?
 
Ellen was never going to leave Kentucky, but then marriage made her a Nebraska warden’s wife. Can she reach past uncertainty and fear to find God’s purpose in it all?
 
Together, these three women form an unlikely friendship that takes them to the end of themselves and, ultimately, on a journey that proves prison walls can neither frustrate God’s plans nor keep love out.

This is my first time reading a historical novel.  I usually stay away from such as I just don’t like it but I didn’t know this is one such novel when I first got hold of it.  However, I must say I enjoyed it. 

Set in the 1890s in Lincoln, Nebraska, I enjoy the story of Jane, Ellen, Mamie and the other ladies.  I feel for Jane for what she had to go through and I’m so glad that things worked out for her.  I especially feel for her need to experience God’s ‘grace note’ in her times of darkness and it is such grace note that pulls her through. 

I love every characters in the book. Each brought so much charm and life to the story.  From Ian Sullivan, the warden to Minnie Dawson, Matron Mamie's sister, I would love to continue to read about them.  

The Key On The Quilt was published by Barbour Publishing in March 2012. I did this review for netgalley.com.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A Sister's Forgiveness by Anna Schmidt

Synopsis :

Teenage cousins Sadie and Tessa are best friends, just like their mothers, sisters Emma and Jeannie. Their families are close and the girls themselves are inseparable. And then the unthinkable happens. A single instant of Sadie’s inattention causes a tragic accident—and Tessa is dead. Everything changes in that moment: Jeannie’s lost her only child, Emma’s daughter is facing legal consequences, and both families are reeling from grief and loss. Soon sorrow becomes bitterness as Jeannie’s marriage disintegrates and Emma’s two children are mired in guilt and depression. But through faith, can each sister find a way from heartbreak to forgiveness?

This is both a tear jerker and a page turner.  I can’t stop bawling my eyes out as I read along and neither can I stop reading. 

The story is not uncommon.  Someone you love with all that you can die and the person responsible is another person whom you love as well.  How do you cope? How do you react?  Is it a case of ‘an eye for an eye’ or is it a case of ‘turning the other cheek’

Emma and Jeannie are sisters.  They have been very close to each other since young.  Tessa is her only daughter.  Sadie is her niece.  For Jeannie, it’s even worse as she felt she is partly responsible for her daughter’s death too.  If only she didn’t go with Sadie to get her learner’s permit. But then Sadie should know better than to drive without an adult.  For Emma, she is glad that her daughter's alive but trying her best now to get her out of trouble.  She felt for Jeannie but if only Jannie didn't go behind her back to get Sadie's learner's permit.

In a situation such as this, everyone get hurt, even the bystander and in this case, it’s Matt, Sadie’s brother who felt that post the accident, the family is no longer a family and everything is focus on  Sadie.  He started to hang out with the wrong crowd after being ignored by Greg, Tessa's father who knew that Matt is not to blame but he can't help but to think of what Sadie did each time he saw Matt. If only Greg has insisted to send Tessa to school that morning.

 Eveyone is a victim but everyone is also on offender at the same time.  Expected publication: May 1st 2012 by Barbour Publishing, Inc. I review this for netgalley.com.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Twelve Sharp by Janet Evanovich

 Synopsis :

For bounty hunter, Stephanie Plum, life is rosy and she's spending her days chasing down the usual cast of losers and weirdos.  Until, that is, the tables are turned and suddenly, someone's after her.  Her mysterious stalker, a crazed woman dressed in black, carries a Glock and has a secret connection to the dark and dangerous Ranger.

The action turns deadly serious and Stephanie goes from hunting kips to hunting a murderer.  Ranger needs Stephanie and the two must work together to find the killer, rescue a missing child and stop a rapidly rising body count.  But they're getting too close for comfort - what will cop Joe Morelli, Stephanie's on-again, off-again boyfriend have to say?

For some reason that I'm not sure of, I seems to average this series once a month or so.  This time round it is book twelve of Stephanie Plum's wacky adventure.  Review for book ten (Ten Big Ones) is here.

All I can say after a couple of Stephanie's book are that they are more or less the same. You will have Stephanie trying to act cool when we all know that she's not.  You will also have Lula trying to be who is isn't and this time round even getting Grandma Mazur into trouble with some song and dance routine that are just plain hilarious and oh ya, both Joe and Ranger moved into Stephanie's apartment! At more or less the same time!

Twelve Sharp certainly delves deeper into who Ranger is and humanised him (as much as possible) in the process.  It wasn't that great a storyline but it still delivers from the entertainment perspective.

You might be keen to check out review for book thirteen (Lean Mean Thirteen) here after this.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Need You Now by Beth Wiseman

Synopsis :

When big-city life threatens the safety of one of their children, Brad and Darlene Henderson move with their three teenagers from Houston to the tiny town of Round Top, Texas.

Adjusting to small-town life is difficult for the kids especially for fifteen year old Grace who is coping in a dangerous way.

Married life hasn't always been bliss, but their strong faith has carried them through the difficult times.  when Darlene takes a job outside the home for the first time in their marriage, the domestic tension rises.

While working with special needs children at her new job, the widowed father of one of Darlene's students starts paying more attention to her than is appropriate.  Problem is, she feels like someone is listening to her for the first time in a long time.

If Darlene ever needed God...it's now.

I don't think I read Beth Wiseman before.  I can't wait for my 'Index' page to be completely updated so that I can see immediately if I have read certain authors before.

Need You Now is a fairly good book.  I really enjoy the relax and calm approach the author took for this book.  It has some rather intense moment but generally, it was a good read.

I think the title reflects the need of each and everyone of us in our lives.  Darlene needed God to guide her and needed her husband to understand her.  Grace, her daughter needed to learn how to express herself outwardly rather than internalize her feelings.  Layla, Darlene's neighbour and new best friends needed to be set free from her guilt and from her bitterness.

Even Cara and her father Dave needed someone in their lives although they are not the focus of the story here.  I would like it if Beth Wiseman come up with another novel focusing on Cara and Dave.  I feel there's a story there.

I love the cover of the book too.  It looks very calm and peaceful.

Need You Now is published by Thomas Nelson and was released on 17 April 2012.  I did this review for B&B Media Group.