Thursday, July 31, 2008

Tell Me That You Love Me, Junie Moon by Marjorie Kellogg ****

I like this book because:
  • it's small & I was able to keep it in my purse
  • it's about people with disabilities & I'm stuck on that topic right now,
  • it's good.

It's about 3 people who meet in the hospital & decide to move in together when they leave since they don't have anywhere else to go. Warren is a paraplegic--he was shot in the back by his friend. Arthur has a progressive neurological disorder & used to live in a state home. And Junie Moon has been horribly disfigured by a man who beat her senseless & poured acid on her face & hands.

I tell you what, if that doesn't draw you in nothing will. There are flaws in the book, but you can't help to look past them & enjoy the unfolding of these peoples' lives. Some people treat them like crap. Others can see them as what they are: people. Just like the rest of us, only having to have their challenges displayed for all to see.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Up in Honey's Room by Elmore Leonard ***

I don't know if you've ever read any Elmore Leonard before, but I'm pretty sure that if you wrote as many books as he does you'd have to have quite a few stinkers in there. This wasn't exactly a stinker, but it wasn't great lit either. I think I've read a couple of his other works over the years, but can't remember which ones.

Basically it's one of those fantastic, goofy plots that could either be great or lame. I'm voting on lame. I honestly don't have it in me to explain what it's about, let's just say it includes these things: a pro-Nazi German-American that looks like Himmler, a gal that is very liberated for the times (1945), some dude from Oklahoma that's supposed to be great (?), & an escaped German POW.

I know, I know, this review has to be much lamer than the book I'm critiquing, & it is. Let's just say I wasn't very inspired!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

River Secrets by Shannon Hale ****

As promised, I've read the last in Shannon Hale's Books of Bayern series. While not quite as good as the previous 2, I still think it's a great series & a good book. I think the main reason I don't give this book 5 stars is because she tried writing the book from a male character's point of view, & it doesn't work as well for her. The other 2 were based on female leads & the voice they were written in was much more natural for her.

That said, I'm going to go over to her website after I'm done with this & see if she has any more books planned for this series. If she could write from a young girl's point of view again, it'd be great!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Inferno by Keith Lowe *****

Yes, another 5 star book. Honestly, I've just been on a lucky streak lately! This is one of Dog's books, I had run out of reading material one night & he said he was going to pick some books out for me. This is the one I chose.

It's about the almost total destruction of the city of Hamburg during the course of 1 week in late July/early August 1943. Four night bombing raids by RAF bombers & two by American day bombers pretty much finished off the city. You may have heard of the fire storm the RAF started on their second raid of July 27--it was of almost unspeakable power & horror. The descriptions of what some of the people of Hamburg went through & saw are chilling. I will always remember a particular scene: fleeing their bomb shelter because they realized they would be roasted alive or die of smoke inhalation if they stayed, a young family reached the street & saw the road burning, the trees burning, & horses from a local business running by, burning. Everything was on fire. Everything. Even bricks were incinerated in the high heat, & winds that could pick you up & carry you into the fire were created by the hideously high heat & lack of humidity.

I don't generally like non-fiction, I find it dry & boring. This was nothing of the sort, & it isn't because of the events that the author was describing--it was because of his ability as an author. This was Keith Lowe's first non-fiction book after writing two successful novels, & his talent is a wonderful thing to behold. He somehow is able to describe both sides of this conflict, interviewing survivors of the bombing & the men who did the bombing, with a knack for getting you to see how each person was part of an inevitable cog in history. You can blame each side for what happened, but you're left just feeling the burden of being human. Why are we this way? I don't know, & Keith Lowe doesn't either, but I'm left with the words NEVER AGAIN stamped in my mind.

Are we doing enough in the here & now to keep this from happening again? Or is it already happening as we speak?

Friday, July 4, 2008

Enna Burning by Shannon Hale *****

Alright, after reading The Goose Girl & realizing that Shannon Hale has written not one, but 2 sequels, I had to get right on that. I was just as pleased with Enna Burning as I was with her previous novel, in fact I almost enjoyed it more. It's darker than The Goose Girl, with a much more serious story line dealing with death & loss & self control.

I recommended this author to a woman I work with who has a young teen daughter looking for some good books for her to read that don't deal with ridiculous amounts of sex & peer pressure crap. These books are great for that age group since they have so much to say about being who you are despite the displeasure & disappointment of others.

I'm hoping to start the third book, River Secrets, as soon as I can get to the library. I can't wait!