My Latest Reads

Trema's bookshelf: read

Gathering Blue
Sickened: The Memoir of a Munchausen by Proxy Childhood
The Giver
Child of Grace
The Silent Girl: A Novel
The One Who Waits for Me
Flesh and Blood So Cheap: The Triangle Fire and Its Legacy
The Blind in Darkness
Haunted Kids: True Ghost Stories (Haunted Kids)
Like the Willow Tree: The Diary of Lydia Amelia Pierce, Portland, Maine, 1918

Trema's favorite books »

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Review: These Things Hidden

These Things Hidden
by Heather Gudenkauf
Quote: "No, she never talks about it, I wish she would, though. At least with her doctor. Keeping things bottled up inside doesn't do anyone any good. I'll tell her you called, Allison. Take care of yourself, okay?" - Grandma pg.276

Started: April 17, 2012
Finished: April 19, 2012
hardcover, large print
481 pages

From the cover:
Allison Glenn tried to hide what happened that night...and failed. The consequence? A prison sentence. Now she's free. But secrets have a way of keeping you locked up.
  When teenager Allison Glenn is sent to prison for a heinous crime, she leaves behind her reputation as Linden Falls' golden girl forever. Her parents deny the existence of their once-perfect child. Her former friends exult in her downfall. Her sister, Brynn, faces whispered rumors every day in the hallways of their small Iowa high school. It's Brynn-shy, quiet Brynn-who carries the burden of what really happened that night.
 All she wants is to forget Allison and the past that haunts her.
 But then Allison is released to a halfway house, and is more determined than ever to speak with her estranged sister.
 Now their legacy of secrets is focused on one little boy. and if the truth is revealed, the consequences will be unimaginable for the adoptive mother who loves him, the girl who tried to protect him and two sisters who hold the key to all that is hidden.

My Review:
What a great book. Very well written. I enjoyed the chapters being divided by characters. it made a good mystery easier to follow.
This story reminds us that our decisions, actions and mistakes help shape who we are. What we become and what becomes of the others we affect. We react out of fear, confusion, pain. Allison is feeling all of these things when she and many around her make one decision after another. Did they realize who it would affect? Could she have chosen any other choice? Who is responsible for the decisions a teenager makes? What will they do for someone they love?
This book is a story for any audience with a heart. Anyone who can relate on any level of how naivete and immaturity play such a huge part in any teens life.
I'm so glad that I grab books based on the cover. This is definitely a book I will remember reading! 5 stars!

Review: Miss Spitfire

Miss Spitfire
by Sarah Miller
Quote: " I've tried everything I know. I can't win her love- she won't have any caressing from me. I can't win her confidence because she accepts everything I do for her as a matter of course. There's no coaxing or compromising with her. She will or she won't, and that's the end of it. Sympathy, affection, and fairness mean nothing to her."- Annie Sullivan pg. 95
Started: April 13, 2012
Finished: April 16, 2012

From the cover:
Annie Sullivan was little more than a half-blind orphan with a fiery tongue when she arrived at Ivy Green in 1887. Desperate for work, she'd taken on a seemingly impossible job-teaching a child who was deaf, blind, and as ferocious as any wild animal. But Helen Keller needed more than a teacher. She needed someone daring enough to work a miracle. And if anyone was a match for Helen, it was the girl they used to call Miss Spitfire.
  For Annie, reaching Helen's mind meant losing teeth as raging fists flew. It meant standing up when everyone else had given up. It meant shedding tears at the frustrations and at the triumphs. By telling this inspiring story from Annie Sullivan's point of view, Sarah Miller's debut novel brings an amazing figure to sharp new life. Annie's past, her brazen determination, and her connection to the girl who would call her Teacher have never been clearer.

My Review:
I loved that this book focused on Annie more than Helen. It gave a lot of her history and childhood that I personally had never heard or learned about. For me it was a new look at a great life and story. Now knowing more about Annie's history, I can understand her determination and her "take no crap" attitude. She truly is a survivor of her own fate and hardships. We all have a past we either will learn and grow from or give up and live in self-pity. Annie shows us that whether it was for selfish reasons, as in her need to be accepted, loved and feeling accomplished or that she truly did want to teach and grow as such, things can be done. She not only became a teacher, but also a friend, companion and spokesperson. She, along with Helen set a new bar for human capabilities no matter your physical, mental, or social limitations.
Sarah Miller did an amazing job in teaching us about Annie(Miss Spitfire)!

Anne Sullivan and Helen Keller

Friday, April 20, 2012

Review: Girl, Interrupted

Girl, Interrupted
by Susanna Kaysen

Quote: "She's completely blotto. Of course they're giving her something." ~ Georgina pg. 23
started: April 10, 2012
finished: April 12, 2012
paperback(school edition)
168 pages

From the cover:
In 1967, after a session with a psychiatrist she'd never seen before, eighteen-year-old Susanna Kaysen was put into a taxi and sent to McLean Hospital. She spent most of the next two years on the ward for teenage girls in a psychiatric hospital as renowned for its famous clientele- Sylvia Plath, Robert Lowell, James Taylor, and Ray Charles- as for its progressive methods of treating those who could afford its sanctuary.
   Kaysen's memoir encompasses horror and razor-edged perception while providing vivid portraits of her fellow patients and their keepers. It is a brilliant evocation of a "parallel universe" set within the kaleidoscopically shifting landscape of the late sixties. Girl, Interrupted is a clear-sighted, unflinching document that gives lasting and specific dimension to our definitions of sane and insane, mental illness and recovery.

My Review:
 This is one that I wish, had I known of it years ago, I had read the book  before seeing the movie. Honestly, the entire time I was reading it I kept seeing Wynonna, Angelina, Brittney, and Whoopi! With that said, it was still a good book. I can say that the movie is pretty much spot on the book. The only big difference is apparently, Valerie(Whoopi Golberg),the head nurse, was a tall, lean, blonde, twenty-something woman!
The book actually does give somewhat of an epilogue which was nice, but since it is non-fiction and Susanna doesn't have contact with any of the characters anymore, there isn't much detail into what happens next for them. 
  This is still a good read. It does make us question what makes a person sane or insane. By who's guidelines are we judged/labeled/diagnosed? If we are insane, do we ever truly "recover"? One of my biggest questions regarding medicating certain "insane" is if they aren't curable, what is the medicine for? Honestly, in SOME cases, I believe they are medicated more so that the caretakers can handle them easier, or not have to deal with them at all. I understand some may need it to protect themselves or others but it is so heartbreaking seeing people doped up into a comatose state...for what? How sedated to they need to be before they are "safe"?  Which would be worse, believing that you see clowns and water running on the walls or being strapped to a bed drooling uncontrollably?  Believing that you have 3, 4, more people in your head telling you what to do and not do or being wheeled around in a chair and spoon fed because you are too doped up to stand or feed yourself?
What are your thoughts? Any opinions on the book/movie or subject?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Review: The Red Church

The Red Church
by Scott Nicholson

Quote: " We both know there's more to this church than just nails and chestnut and rippled glass."~ Archer pg. 113
Started: March 30, 2012
Finished: April 9, 2012

352 pages

From the cover:
The church was constructed in the 1800s under the guidance of Reverend Wendell McFall. His sermons declared the existence of God's Second Son- whose mission it is to undo all of Jesus' work on Earth. McFall had the church painted red to summon the First Son to defeat the Second. But when he sacrificed a child to support his rantings, his congregation hung him from the rafters of his own sanctuary....
  For twenty years, the red church stood empty. Crumbling to ruin, it has become a site for Halloween pranks and the setting for ghost stories- including one about the thing that lives in the bell tower, a creature being blamed for a brutal murder that occurred in the church's graveyard...
  Now, Archer McFall has purchased the church to house his Temple of the Two Sons- whose zealous worshipers will stop at nothing to see the Second Son return to his rightful glory...

My Review:
I'm not sure how to start this review or what to say first.
I guess for me, I want to say that I am a Christian and by no means believe in what this book is about. With that said, I am not naive either in believing that this can't, doesn't happen somewhere everyday. I mean, there are people obviously who believe differently than myself. This book is about a "cult" that believes God had two sons. One good(Jesus), the other evil(Archer). It shows how easily the human mind can be persuaded into believing almost anything. No matter how out there it may seem to someone else. What people will do and sacrifice for something they believe in. This book has a little religion, paranormal, crime and even romantic implications.
I won't say that I think this book is sacreligious. I see it as a learning bookand entertaining(isn't that why we read?). I'm not going to NOT read something because of what it may be labeled as.(Haven't I told you I will read anything?!?!?) And, after all it IS fiction, right?
Way to go Scott Nicholson !!!
I will be reading more of his books!
Also, this book is the first in the Sherriff Frank Littlefield series! Look it up!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Review: The Nazi Officer's Wife

The Nazi Officer's Wife
by Edith Hahn Beer

Out of thirty-six students in my class, three were Jews- Steffi Kanagur, Erna Marcus, and I. One day somebody wrote on their desks: " Jews, get out, go to Palestine!" Nobody wrote on my desk, because those girls were from Poland and I came from Austria and they seemed (actually they were) more overtly Jewish than I was.  It was 1930. ~ Edith pg. 33

Started: March 26, 2012
Finished: March 29, 2012
305 pages

From the cover:
Edith Hahn was an outspoken young woman in Vienna when the Gestapo forced her into a ghetto and then into a labor camp. When she returned home months later, she went underground. With the help of a Christian friend, she emerged in Munich as Grete Denner. There she met Werner Vetter, a Nazi Party member who fell in love with her. Despite Edith's protests and her eventual confession that she was Jewish, he married her and kept her identity a secret. 
   In wrenching detail, Edith recalls a life of constant, almost paralyzing fear. She tells how German officials casually questioned the lineage of her parents; how during childbirth she refused all painkillers, afraid that in an altered state of mind she may reveal something of her past; and how, after her husband was captured by the Soviets, she was bombed out of her house and had to hide while drunken Russian soldiers raped women on the street.
   Despite the risk it posed to her life, Edith created a remarkable record of survival. She saved every document, as well as photographs she took inside labor camps. Now part of the permanent collection at the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C., these hundreds of documents, several of which are included in this volume, form the fabric of a gripping new chapter in the history of the Holocaust- complex, troubling, and ultimately triumphant.
My Review:
 This book was AMAZING! I have somewhat of an obsession with learning anything I can about the Holocaust. It is, for me, one of the most fascinating, while tragic events ever!  Fact, fiction or documentary, I will probably learn something new about it. As for The Nazi Officer's Wife, it was one of the most well written and "real" stories I have read. Edith was such a strong, determined woman. How can we, in today's world even imagine what it took to not only survive such a time, but to survive, live, and re-live these events...this life, to show, educate and touch so many others in a book. Her written story will linger with me forever. I will definitely pass this book along to anyone interested in reading and learning more. I also found a movie, by the same name, based on the book. I cannot wait to watch it!
Check out these links!

Review: The Healing Spell

The Healing Spell
by Kimberley Griffiths Little

Quote: " Maybe she's got a cure. Some sort of sleeping-sickness herb." ~ Livie pg. 151

started: March 22, 2012
Finished: March 25, 2012

From the cover:
Eleven-year-old Livie is keeping a secret, and it's crushing her. She knows she is responsible for her mother's coma, but she can't tell anyone. And it's up to her to find a way to wake her mamma before anyone uncovers the truth of what really happened.
  Added to the list of Livie's problems are being stuck in the middle of three sisters, trying to hide a forbidden pet alligator, and possibly disappointing her daddy, whom she loves more than anyone else. Livie feels like an outsider and prefers the solitude of the wild bayou to her ever-crowded home. But she can't run away from her troubles, and as she struggles to find her place within her family, Livie learns a lot about the powers of faith and redemption. Is her heart big enough to heal her mamma and bring her family back together?

My Review:
 This was a great little book. It had a few really good lessons for anyone, especially young girls trying to make sense of this crazy world. For all those girls that feel alone or like," these things are only happening to them". Through Livie's journey we find she isn't so different from many of us at that age. She is scared, confused, self-blaming and feels like she'll never fit in. Yes, she has a secret that is breaking her heart. Rather than share it with family(whom she feels already hate her), she hides it. The guilt and confusion only build. She searches for an answer through a "traiteur" deep in the bayou. The "cure" she is given was not something brewed or bottled for sale. Livie learns that in order to heal her mamma, herself and her family, it will take a much bigger power than that!
What a wonderful little book!!!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Review: Into The Wild

Into The Wild
by Jon Krakauer

Quote: " He didn't think the odds applied to him. we were always trying to pull him back from the edge."~ Walt pg. 109

started: March 14, 2012
finish: March 21, 2012

From the cover:
In April 1992 a young man from a well-to-do family hitchhiked to Alaska and walked alone into the wilderness north of Mt. McKinley. his name was Christopher Johnson McCandless. He had given $25,000 in savings to charity, abandoned his car and most of his possessions, burned all the cash in his wallet, and invented a new life for himself. Four months later, his decomposed body was found by a moose hunter...

My Review:
I"m so glad a  fried let me borrow this book. I have mixed feeling about Christopher. One minute I could totally agree and relate with his strong opinions and feelings toward a subject and then other times I just kept thinking.." What?, how could he think like that!!". I understand the parts about feeling betrayed and used. Everyone deals with emotions in their own ways. He definitely had some perfectionist and over zealous times where he seems to have lost all sense of reality and responsibility. 
I have heard people say often even the best intentions may not turn out as we plan. this is a classic case. Or maybe he knew, maybe deep inside his determined mind, he knew there was a good chance it would be his end.
No matter why the reasons or how insane or unorthadox they may seem to us, he thought he was really "living the life", taking a hold of his own destiny...and he did! He did it his way and despite the consequences, no one stopped him, he didn't play by any rules and he was "free". He had accomplished something his way.


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