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Archive for August, 2008

Well, fellow book lovers, do I have a recommendation for you.  How many of us who love to read would like to be able to write too?  Probably alot of us.  And, how many of us would write about what and where we know?  Makes sense, right?  Well, that is just what Shane Gericke has done with his new book, Cut To The Bone, which is a follow up to his first book, Blown Away.  Both are of the Thriller genre and both were equally gripping.  In this second installment, our stalwart friend, Detective Emily Thompson, along with her cop and sheriff friends, are visited again by a crazy serial killer.  A true psychopath.  But what makes this exciting story even more fun for me, personally, to read, is that it is set in my own home town, Naperville, IL.  However, I must iterate that this fast-paced thrill ride is a great read for anyone, regardless of where one’s hat is hung.  The story clips along, with enough information doled out at a time to keep you turning the pages, but not so much that you can easily figure out where the story is going, and not so little that you get annoyed with the author.  I hate that!    The characters are realistic and multidimensional.  And, in my opinion, there is just enough reference to the first book to remind readers of that story line, without making readers who may have missed the first book feel as though they have missed it.  In other words, each book stands on its own, but read as a series, the characters flow and develop nicely.  I must say that my only complaint about this book would be that some of the more gruesome scenes were expounded on in a bit too much detail.  I believe there truly is, hiding in Shane Gericke’s mind, an evil twin, who whispers these thoughts to him in his sleep.  Ah well, better in his books, than on the real streets of Naperville!  If you are a fan of modern thrillers, I highly recommend Cut To The Bone.  And, while you are at it, read Blown Away too.  You won’t be sorry.

I give this book 5 out of 5 bookmarks.

Reviewed by:  Anna

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This book was recommended to me by my son, who is 11, so needless to say,  it is considered Young Adult in terms of its target audience.  However, I have learned to heed a recommendation to read something if the recommendation comes from one of my children.  They really have never steered me wrong.  They love to read, and love to read a broad range of genres.  I found this book, which is fiction, but written in the first person, to be informative and inspiring.  The story begins as our protagonist, a Navajo Indian boy,  heads off to a school far from his home on the reservation in order to learn the language and ways of white men.   After being told for years by the staff at this government school that nothing Navajo is good or worthwhile, he joins the Marines during WWII and becomes a Navajo code talker.  Suddenly, the beloved language of his ancestors is desperately needed by the government, and our hero is proud and eager to serve.  He describes many of the battles of the war in which code talkers played a vital role.  Remarkably, many of the men that served with these code talkers, never knew what the real role  of their fellow marines was.  It wasn’t until 1969, when all documents regarding code talkers were declassified, that any of these brave men could reveal, even to their own families, what their true mission was.  They served faithfully and bravely and were ultimately discharged without any reference made, anywhere, to their important job.

Through his depiction of the main character, the author of this book successfully conveys the simultaneous pride and humility that, in his opinion, embody the Navajo people.  And, aside from the decriptions of battle, which I confess I did not enjoy, there was a sense of peace and self-awareness which came through this character which, I can only hope was a real part of these brave men, who went into battle to help America win the war.

I found this book to be very interesting and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys war history, or even American history.  Because the book is intended for young adults, it is a fast read for adults.

I give this book 4 out of 5 bookmarks.

Reviewed by:  Anna

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This book tells the sweeping story of lowly farmer, Wang Lung, and the many changes he and his family experience in rural China during another era. The story opens as Wang Lung prepares to fetch a slave to marry from the house of the wealthiest family in town. Although this woman, O-Lan, is not much more than a slave in Wang Lung’s house, she dutifully and faithfully, serves her new husband in the house, and by his side out in the fields. After the birth of two sons and a time of good harvest and frugal living, a daughter’s birth signals a change in fortune for the family. Drought causes the family to flee to a large city in order to survive. After a time of living in urban poverty, a lucky turn of events, which O-Lan makes the most of, provides the means and opportunity for Wang Lung to take his family back home, back to his land. Good fortune once again smiles on the family. Wang Lung wisely invests in increasing his land and as his land grows, so does his fortune. He becomes so successful as a farmer, in fact, that he becomes too busy to do any farming, and must delegate work to paid laborers and staff. Ironically, as his fortune grows, so do his domestic troubles. He is no longer satisfied with his meek and selfless wife and takes on another, who is beautiful but useless. His sons, whom he has educated, are not satisfied with living and working on the land and want to move to town. His uncle, not interested in working himself, is demanding to be supported out of the riches Wang Lung has amassed through his own hard labor. It seems that the more that Wang Lung earns, the less peace he has at home. He begins to long for the simple life of his youth, eventually moving back to his old farmhouse in his old age.

I found this story, set in China over 100 years ago, to be completely relevant to our lives today. The irony of working so hard to be financially successful, only to realize the high price that is paid for that success, is such a contemporary theme, that I found it fascinating to realize that this story is so universal. In our current time and place, so many of us have experienced this to some degree. Our efforts to forge a better, easier life often result in a disconnect, in some way. The wistful longing for a simpler time that Wang Lung feels toward the end of his life is something that I think will hit home with many readers.

The Good Earth is a bit slow moving at times, but well worth sticking with. Some characters are very likable and sympathetic, others, not so much. One thing is true, though. There is someone in this story that nearly everyone will recognize.

I give this book 4 1/2 bookmarks.

Reviewed by: Anna

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Jinx By: Meg Cabot

This was a very intriguing book. It is a classic tale of good and bad witches and their battle for the upper hand. But it is set in modern day New York City, when Jean Honeychurch visits her wealthier relatives when she needed to escape town. She believes she has bad luck, very bad luck. Everyone in the family calls her Jinx because the very moment she was born all of the power went out in the hospital and hundreds of people had to be airlifted to another hospital. Tory, her cousin is hiding a dangerous secret that she has shared with Jinx and will go to any lengths to stop her from reveling it. But what will happen when Tory goes a little too far to stop Jinx and possibly endangers her life? This was a wonderful book that kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time I was reading it! I thought that even though this story had a very classic, much-used concept, the author put a refreshing twist on it that kept you turning the pages until before you know it, you are finished! So, if you want to find out what Tory’s sinister secret is, what curse Jinx lives under, and you want to learn about all of the battles Jinx and Tory fight for power, read Jinx, by Meg Cabot. Though, just a note to the readers, if you are not a fan of witchcraft or are not comfortable reading about it, this is not a book for you! But otherwise, you will definitely be captivated by this book.

I give this book 4 1/2 out of 5 bookmarks!

Reviewed by: Austen A.

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