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, February 6, 2013

Review: Garden Spells

Garden Spells
Sarah Addison Allen

Quote: " and no one forced it on you. In fact, you ran as far away as you could from it and no one stopped you."~ Claire  pg.90
“You are who you are, whether you like it or not, so why not like it?” 

Started: Jan. 30, 2013
Finished: Feb. 5, 2013
447 pages/ paperback- large print edition

From the cover:
The Waverleys have always been a curious family, outsiders in their hometown of Bascom, North Carolina. Even their garden has a reputation, famous for its prophetic fruit and edible flowers, imbued with special powers. Generations of Waverleys tended this garden. Their history was in the soil. But so were their futures.
 A successful caterer, Claire Waverley prepares dishes made with her mystical plants. She and her elderly cousin, Evanelle, are the last of the Waverleys-except for Claire's rebellious sister, Sydney, who fled Bascom the moment she could. When Sydney suddenly returns home, Claire's quiet life is turned upside down. Together they must deal with their common legacy-if they are ever to feel at home in Bascom- or with each other. Enchanting and heartfelt, this novel is sure to cast a spell with a style all its own...

My Review:
I am liking Miss Sarah Addison-Allen more and more after each book I read of hers. Garden Spells is a fresh take on Practical Magic. Hoping there is no plagiarism intended...It was very close to this story. Two sisters who couldn't be more different, a mother that died while they were young, and of course a little bit of magic in the mix of things. Claire is the practical, guarded-heart while Sydney is the rebellious wild-child. Each have their own issues, fears and insecurities they must find a way to overcome. 
Anyway, it was such a good book. I loved all the characters. Each one was so well written and created. I would love to see this and also The Peach Keeper made into movies. 
The message I got from this book is, to be yourself. Don't let others determine how you feel about yourself and also that family is most likely your best asset.
I will definitely recommend this book to several friends!
Way to go Sarah Addison Allen!
5 stars*

Review: One Breath Away

One Breath Away
Heather Gudenkauf

Quote: " I saw one girl just about to climb out of the window. I don't know what, but something made her change her mind." ~ Meg   pg. 165

Started: Jan. 24, 2013
Finished: Jan. 29, 2013
paperback/370 pages

From the cover:
In the midst of a sudden spring snowstorm, an unknown man armed with a gun walks into an elementary school classroom. Outside the school, the town of Broken Branch watches and waits.
Officer Meg Barrett holds the responsibility for the town's children in her hands. Will Thwaite, reluctantly entrusted with the care of his two grandchildren by the daughter who left home years earlier, stands by helplessly and wonders if he has failed his child again. Trapped in her classroom, Evelyn Oliver watches for an opportunity to rescue the children in her care. And thirteen-year-old Augie Baker, already struggling with the aftermath of a terrible accident that has brought her to Broken Branch, will risk her own safety to protect her little brother.
As tension mounts with each passing minute, the hidden fears and grudges of the small town are revealed as the people of broken branch race to uncover the identity of the stranger who holds their children hostage.

My review:
I love Heather Gudenkauf and have read her other two books. I have to say this was my least favorite of her books. I kept feeling like this story was split. Not into the five characters as it was meant to be but rather it felt like two completely different stories in one book. I did not like Holly's character at all. First of all other than her children being with her father back in her home town there was really no point to her character at all. For these reasons, 1) Girl hates home, leaves. what does that/she have anything to do with the school hostage situation? Her not agreeing with her father's ways/lifestyle has nothing to do with the events that happened in the school. 2) Her lifestyle and choices don't either. How does her whole "chapter" about her sexual drive or partners tie into a school stand off??
I will say my favorite character was Mrs. Oliver. She showed true "character" throughout the book. I loved her courage and determination towards the safety of her students. She was level headed, clever , and always thinking of others first. which is what I would ideally want for my children's teacher to be.
Also, this book was a little to predictable for me. We see fairly quickly that "gunman" may be threatening and mean enough to knock a few people around, but he wasn't ready to start firing. Even after several chances. There were too many signs throughout the book that for me pretty much gave away any suspense or chance of thinking it was someone else.
I gave One Breath Away 3 stars*

Monday, February 4, 2013

Review: Before The Poison

Before The Poison
by Peter Robinson

Quote: "Well, let's face it, the place is hardly a cottage, and it is rather remote, isn't it? Talk about Wurthering Heights or Bleak House. And it's not a great spot for farming. Then... Do you know much about it, yourself?" ~ Ted  pg. 71

Started: Jan. 17, 2013
Finished: Jan. 24, 2013
hardcover/ 594 pages

From the cover:
After twenty-five years abroad in America, Chris Lowndes decides to return to the Yorkshire dales of his youth. The rambling old mansion he buys is charming, but something about it disturbs him- a feeling made ever stronger when he learns that the house was the scene of a murder more than fifty years before. The former owner, a prominent doctor named Ernest Arthur Fox, was supposedly poisoned by his beautiful and much younger wife, Grace. Arrested and brought to trial, Grace was found guilty and hanged for the crime.
 The more Chris discovers about the case, the more convinced he becomes that grace may have been innocent. Ignoring warnings to leave things alone, he sets out on a quest that takes him deep into the past and into a web of secrets that lie all too close to the present.

My Review:
I enjoyed the way this story was written. Jumping from present day 2010, back to the 1950's. It was broken up to give you details of the past and of the trial. Also we eventually get to read pages written in Grace's diary. 
 As Chris takes on a quest into finding out more about Grace Fox and who she was, Before the Poison, he finds out more about himself.  Maybe who he is can help him find what he's looking for and understand better who Grace was.
Loved the idea, liked the book. All in all, there may have been too much focus on what I considered "not important" parts and too little detail or understanding on the " big stuff".
I still gave it 3 stars*

Review: Dear America, A Journey to the New World

Dear America:
A Journey to the New World
The Diary of Remember Patience Whipple
Mayflower, 1620
 Kathryn Lasky

Quote: "  I begin now this second part of our diary, even though it is the same day. I consider the voyage finished and this be the New World part." ~Mem   pg. 43

Started: Jan. 14, 2013
Finished: Jan. 16, 2013
hardcover/ 174 pages

From the cover:
"Land ahoy!"
 The call from the crow's nest cracked the dawn. Hummy's and my eyes flew open...we all hurried out. Unable to believe the words, our eyes wide in the half-light of dawn. Several of us crowded along the rail. The sailors saw it first, the faint, dark line against the horizon... But within minutes of searching the horizon with our eyes, Hummy and I begun to see the same.
 We held each other's hands so tightly and dared not breathe, but minute by minute, the line became firmer and began to thicken. 'Twas not a wisp of a dream but real. It has taken us all of sixty-five days, but finally we are here. This be the New World and it doth fill my eyes for the first time.

My Review:
I have to admit that I love the Dear America series. They are such good little reads and have actually taught me things I had not learned before. This book in particular was about the Mayflower voyage of 1620. I learned new names that I hadn't known, such as the "Saints" and "Separatists" which are the names given to those from the Saints of the Holy Discipline who separated from the Church of England. Rather than just being what we call, Pilgrims. I also didn't know that the Mayflower was originally a wine ship from Portugal. This book actually includes many names of real passengers who were among those on board. The names can be matched to ledgers located on internet searches. I like the way this book shows us what the voyage most likely was like from the eyes of a child. How she dealt with sickness, hunger, heartache and even boredom. So often in history we see children have dealt with things we cannot imagine ourselves overcoming as adults, let alone a child. We take for granted our own children's advantages and innocence. My daughters actually own a short(28minute) movie by the same name and I have to say there were too many missing parts to the movie after finishing the book. There were complete characters left out and other things added to the movie that were no where in the story.
For the book, I give it 4 Stars*


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