Tuesday, November 13, 2018

War of the Wolf by Bernard Cornwell (FIC Cor)

Uhtred of Bebbanburg returns in his 11th outing.  This time his foes are both closer to home and farther away...

In Mercia, King Edward is trying to seize control following the death of his sister Aethelflaed.  Caught up in the intrigue, Uhtred tries to work his way through and somehow finds his loyalty sworn to Aethelstan, the "bastard" son of Edward.  (For an explanation of whether Aethelstan is or is not a bastard, read previous volumes in this series.)

Suddenly, Uhtred faces a threat from Northumbria, where his lands lie and his son-in-law is king.  Skoll, a powerful warrior, has declared himself King of Northumbria and has dared  Uhtred and his followers to defeat him in battle.

Will Uhtred except the challenge?  Well, this is Uhtred after all...

I must admit that I had a harder time reading this book than others in the series.  Set in the 920s, Uhtred is now in his sixties in a time when men and women don't live that long.  And he's always fighting!  But then I remembered that the book is written in the first person so all would be well in the end.  But not without a lot of bumps in the road.

Uhtred is his usual arrogant, confident, pagan self and always worth spending time with.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

the next person you meet in heaven by Mitch Albom FIC ALB

    If you loved the first book you will love this one.  I was afraid it had been so long since I read the original that I would be lost.  Not true.  As he referred to things that happened in the original it came back to me.
     Eddie was the war veteran who returned to work at an amusement park where he was in charge of keeping kids safe by keeping the rides in perfect condition.  But one day there was an accident and the cart from one of the rides began to fall.  Eddie threw himself in harm's way to push a young girl out of the way and he was crushed.  That young girl's name was Annie.
     This book is about Annie.  When the book opens we immediately know that Annie is going to die and how many hours she has left.  That is particularly sad because she is a young woman and she is getting married to Paulo, a childhood friend with whom she had reconnected.  The have a wonderful wedding and go to a hotel after the reception.  But there aren't many hours left before she is going to die.  She will be going on the same journey that Eddie took - meeting people from her past.   I love the way he writes and I loved this one.  If I had my way he would kill one person a year and tell this person's story through the people they meet in heaven.  As with his first book, I will probably spend some time wondering which five people I would meet.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Until I Say Good-bye: my year of living with joy by Susan Spencer-Wendel 616.83 SPE

      ALS is a devastating disease.  If you have known anyone with this diagnosis you have seen or heard about what it does to the person.  Spenser-Wendel  was able to write such a beautiful memoir because she was a journalist.  She is also a wife and mother.  ALS doesn't attack all at once.  There are little signs - most easy to ignore for a while.  Eventually she seeks medical attention and is given her 'sentence'.  The way she chose to live her final year is inspirational.
      She takes many trips that year- sometimes with family and sometimes with the special friends in her life. All the time her physical condition is deteriorating .   The most gut-wrenching one for me was when she took her 14 year-old daughter to NYC to shop for her wedding dress knowing that she would not be around when her daughter got married.
     Want more inspiration?  She typed out her memoir on her iPhone with her right thumb!  

Fear by Bob Woodward

      There are two types of people.  One group has no interested in reading this book.  The second group has been waiting to dig into it.  I obviously was in the second group.
      Bob Woodward is a very talented writer, winning two Pulitzer Prizes among his 18 books that he wrote or co-wrote.  He has worked for 47 years at The Washington Post.  He knows how to research and write a book.
        It is a very readable book.  I am not going to comment on the content.  Read the cover and you will know what it is about!

Something In The Water by Catherine Steadman FIC STE

      Loved this book!  It begins with a documentary filmmaker struggling in the woods to dig a grave big enough for her husband's body.  After that brief intro the story really begins.  Erin and Mark, an investment banker, have been together for quite a while.  Now they are ready to get married and start a family.  Big plans are made for the wedding, the reception and of course the honeymoon.  When an economic downfall leads to Mark losing his job, some of their plans are scaled back.  The honeymoon to Bora Bora is still on except for only two weeks.
      While there they are having a wonderful time.  One day they take a boat out for some scuba diving.  When they find something -yes it was in the water! , they have to make a big decision.  Do they tell what they found or do they keep the secret to benefit themselves?
      I see a movie in this book's future!

Saturday, October 20, 2018

The Perfect Mother by Aimee Molly FIC MOL

      There must be thousands of women who give birth every month in New York City.  This book is about a group of women who live in Prospect Park in Brooklyn.  They are all first-time moms and they have a lot to learn.  So this group is perfect for them.  They are called the May Mothers.  They meet regularly in the park with their babies to hear everyone's birth story, exchange worries, and offer support.  One of them organizes a moms' night out on the Fourth of July.  The husbands can get a taste of what they go through - well, except for Winnie.  She is a single mother and after only six weeks of being a mother to Midas she doesn't want to leave him with a babysitter.  The others insist she needs to come and one of them offers her nanny as a babysitter.
      The evening is filled with a lot of alcohol which often leads to bad actions.  At the end of the evening there will be lots of headaches........and a missing Midas.    Another psychological thriller - and I loved it.

The Home For Unwanted Girls by Joanna Goodman (electronic resource)

     In the middle of the last century the French and English who lived in Quebec put up with one another but that's about all.  Maggie's father speaks English but the boy she falls in love with is French.  There is no way he will allow this romance to lead to marriage.  And he got his way even though at 15 Maggie finds herself in the family way.  Her parents force her to give her daughter Elodie up for adoption.  Maggie goes on with her life and eventually marries.  She never stops missing Elodie and thinks of her constantly.
      Elodie did not get adopted by some loving family.  Instead she lived in an institution run by nuns.    It was not a great life but things get even worse.  A law is passed regarding funding.  Psychiatric hospitals will receive more funding than the orphanages.  To get money thousands of orphans were classified as mentally ill.  Elodie is a bright girl and she survives this awful life until she turns 17 and is allowed to leave.  She enters a world that is like another planet.
     Eventually Maggie decides to take on the daunting task of finding the daughter she never stopped loving.
This is a great book.  And it is a novel.  However it is inspired by events that really happened and that adds to the heartbreak of the story.