Friday, August 16, 2013

The Known World by Edward P Jones

First sentence:

"The evening his master died he worked again well after he ended the day for the other adults, his own wife among them, and sent them back with hunger and tiredness to their cabins."

Description:

"In one of the most acclaimed novels in recent memory, Edward P. Jones, two-time National Book Award finalist, tells the story of Henry Townsend, a black farmer and former slave who falls under the tutelage of William Robbins, the most powerful man in Manchester County, Virginia. Making certain he never circumvents the law, Townsend runs his affairs with unusual discipline. But when death takes him unexpectedly, his widow, Caldonia, can't uphold the estate's order and chaos ensues. In a daring and ambitious novel, Jones has woven a footnote of history into an epic that takes an unflinching look at slavery in all of its moral complexities." -- from the back cover

My thoughts:

This was an interesting book about slavery, race and families in Manchester County, Virginia. I liked the interactions between the characters, including Moses and Caldonia.

Date read: 8/15/2013
Book #: 25
Rating: 3*/5
Genre: Historical Fiction

ISBN-10: 0060557559
ISBN-13: 978006055753
Publisher: Amistad
Year: 2003
# of pages: 388
Binding: Trade Paperback
LibraryThing page

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Midnight in Peking by Paul French

First sentence:

"By day the fox spirits of Peking lie hidden and still."

Description:

"January 1937. Life in Peking is a heady mix of privilege and scandal, opulence and opium dens, rumors and superstition. The Japanese are encircling the city, and the discovery of the mutilated body of British schoolgirl Pamela Werner at the base of the Fox Tower is chilling. Is it the work of a madman? One of the ruthless Japanese soldiers? Or perhaps the dreaded fox spirits? Historian and China expert Paul French at last uncovers the truth behind this notorious murder and offers a rare glimpse of the last days of colonial Peking." -- from the back cover



My thoughts:

This was an informative account of a mysterious murder in Peking on the brink of the Japanese occupation.

Date read: 8/10/2013
Book #: 24
Rating: 3*/5 = good
Genre: Nonfiction

ISBN-10: 9781410448965
ISBN-13: 1410448967
Publisher: Thorndike Press
Year: 2012
# of pages: 419
Binding: Hardcover
LibraryThing page

Friday, August 2, 2013

The Round House by Louise Erdrich

First sentence:

"Small trees had attacked my parents' home at the foundation."

Description:

"One Sunday in the spring of 1988, a woman living on a reservation in North Dakota is attacked. The details of the crime are slow to surface as Geraldine Coutts is traumatized and reluctant to relive or reveal what happened, either to the police or to her husband, Bazil, and thirteen-year-old son, Joe. In one day, Joe's life is irrevocably transformed. He tries to heal his mother, but she will not leave her bed and slips into an abyss of solitude. Increasingly alone, Joe finds himself thrust prematurely into an adult world for which he is ill prepared.

While his father, who is a tribal judge, endeavors to wrest justice from a situation that defies his efforts, Joe becomes frustrated with the official investigation and sets out with his trusted friends, Cappy, Zack, and Angus, to get some answers of his own. Their quest takes them first to the Round House, a sacred space and place of worship for the Ojibwe. And this is only the beginning. Written with undeniable urgency, and illuminating the harsh realities of contemporary life in a community where Ojibwe and white live uneasily together, The Round House is a brilliant and entertaining novel, a masterpiece of literary fiction. Louise Erdrich embraces tragedy, the comic, a spirit world very much present in the lives of her all-too-human characters, and a tale of injustice that is, unfortunately, an authentic reflection of what happens in our own world today."-- Amazon description.

My thoughts:

I liked this book about the Objibwe tribe and a young man trying to make sense and avenge his mother's pain.

Date read: 8/1/2013
Book #: 23
Rating: 3*/5 = good
Genre: Fiction

ISBN-10: 0062065246
 ISBN-13: 9780062065247
Publisher: Harper
Year: 2012
# of pages: 316
Binding: Hardcover
LibraryThing page

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Minion by L.A. Banks

First sentence:

"Sarah Richards stood in the middle of her bedroom trying to console her infant who was wailing at the top of her lungs."

Description:

"There is one woman who is all that stands between us and the eternal night. Here is an account of her Legend...

All Damali Richards ever wanted to do was create music and bring it to the people. Now she is a spoken word artist and the top act for Warriors of Light Records. But come nightfall, she hunts vampires and demons -- predators that people tend to dismiss as myth or fantasy. Damali and her Guardian team cannot afford such delusions, especially now, when a group of rogue vampires has been killing the artists of Warriors of Light and their rival, Blood Music.

When strange attacks erupt within the club drug-trafficking network and draw the attention of the police, Damali realizes these killings are a bit out of the ordinary, even for vampires. Instead of neat puncture marks in the neck showing where the blood has been drained from the body, these corpses are mutilated beyond recognition, indicating a blood lust and thirst for destruction that surpasses any Damali has encountered before. Soon she discovers that behind these brutal murders is the most powerful vampire Damali has ever met -- a seductive beast who is coming for her next..." -- from the back cover


My thoughts:

I enjoyed this first book of the Vampire Huntress Legend series. I liked the interactions of the characters, especially Damali and her friends. I look forward to reading the next book in the series, The Awakening.

Date read: 7/25/2013
Book #: 22
Series: Vampire Huntress Legend, #1
Rating: 3*/5 = good
Genre: Paranormal Fantasy

ISBN-10: 0312316801
ISBN-13: 9780312316808
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Year: 2003
# of pages: 176
Binding: Trade Paperback
LibraryThing page

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Of Such Small Differences by Joanne Greenberg

First sentence:

"He stood in the cold outside and to the hinge side of the door so other people could move past him."

Description:

"John Moon was 25, good-looking, intelligent, gifted, and beginning to make his mark as a poet. Leda Milan was a talented and ambitious young actress. They met and were drawn to each other. But there was a barrier between them. Leda could see and hear. John could not.

Nobody ever said that love was easy -- or what a special kind of wonderful it could be. . ." -- from the back cover

My thoughts:

I liked this book about people trying to communicate. John, Leda, his family, co-workers - all make mistakes and assumptions about what others are trying to say. Yet even with problems, friendships are formed.

Date read: 7/20/2013
Book #: 21
Rating: 3*/5 = good
Genre: Fiction

ISBN-10: 0451164199
ISBN-13: 9780451164193
Publisher: Signet
Year: 1988
# of pages: 271
Binding: Mass Market Paperback
LibraryThing page

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Fifty Acres and a Poodle by Jeanne Marie Laskas

First sentence:

"It's hard to say how a dream forms. "

Description:

The place is almost too perfect to be believed, but there it is: a pretty-as-a-picture-postcard farm, with an Amish barn, a chestnut grove, and vistas so beautiful, they take her breath away.



My thoughts:

I enjoyed this memoir of finding a new life on a farm. I liked Laskas' discovery that what looks like a postcard from a distance is a lot more complicated in real life.

Date read: 7/9/2013
Book #:20
Rating: 4*/5 = great
Genre: Memoir

ISBN-10: 0553109049
ISBN-13: 9780553109047
Publisher: Bantam Books
Year: 2000
# of pages: 272
Binding: Hardcover
LibraryThing page






Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Jep's Place: Hope, Faith and Other Disasters by Joseph A. Parzych

First sentence:

"There were 13 kids in our combined family--15, counting two of my father's sons by his first wife."

Description:

"Jep’s Place: Hope, Faith and Other Disasters is the entertaining story of a boy growing up during the Great Depression in a family of 13 children of Polish immigrants in a small farmhouse at the end of a dirt road" -- from BN.com

My thoughts:

I liked this memoir of growing up on a struggling farm during the Depression. Parzych describes the highs and lows well and I liked learning what happened to him and the family.

Date read: 7/8/2013
Book #: 19
Rating: 3*/5 = good
Genre: Memoir

ISBN-10: 1591139376
ISBN-13: 9781591139379
Publisher: Joseph A. Parzych
Year: 2006
# of pages:
Binding: Trade Paperback
LibraryThing page