Firefly Lane (mini-review)

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Kristin Hannah's latest, Firefly Lane, brings readers another comfortable read. By comfortable, I don't mean boring; rather, as a reader it's so nice to fall into a nice, heart-warming, but well written story. The storyline isn't really new -- it's about two girls who are opposites on the outside but who befriend each other as teenagers and become life-long friends. It tells of their lives through the 70's, 80's, 90's, and today. (LOL sounds like a radio station). However, Hannah does a great job at bringing back the real, honest, and genuine feelings of each stage of life that the main characters, Tully and Kate, experience. This was a great read about the true friendship between the two girls. This was my 4th read by Kristin Hannah and I'd say it's my 2nd favorite, Magic Hour being my first.

Heartsick (mini-review)

In this new thriller series, Chelsea Cain writes about a detective who was tortured by a previous serial killer he had been tracking down (The Beauty Killer), and then was mercifully let go. After taking time away from work to deal with this trauma, Archie returns to work to track down another serial killer. However, the effect that the Beauty Killer has on his life doesn't end there. In this, a sick and twisted serial killer character is developed.

I heard so many wonderful things about Heartsick by Chelsea Cain before I read it, so I expected to be absolutely blown away. While I wasn't completely blown away, I was maybe only a step or two below that. Cain wrote an suspenseful thriller/mystery with interesting characters. The "relationship" between Archie and The Beauty Killer is one that would be an interesting contribution to the field of psychology and criminal justice! I will be reading the next one, just to see how crazy the characters and situation get!

The Dowry Bride (mini-review)

Shobhan Bantwal's The Dowry Bride tells the story of a young bride bride in India, trying to make the best of an arranged marriage. Then one night, she overhears her husband and mother-in-law talk about murdering her due to her father not yet paying the promised dowry. She then runs to the aid of a cousin of her husband's.

While the premise of this book was great, I was disappointed in the reading. The simple language took away from the literary feel. Also, the story read more like a romance in some parts than a contemporary fiction. I kept reading because I felt that something more had to happen, but it turned out to be anticlimactic. There was definitely some potential, but may have been better as a short story, which according to the author's website is how it was originally intended.

Bitter is the New Black (mini-review)

I finally got around to reading Bitter is the New Black by Jennifer Lancaster. I feel like I'm the last one to read this, but in case anyone hasn't read it yet.... don't wait! Go out and get this right away! I love Jen Lancaster's humor and am so happy to have found her book! She has the smart, witty humor that I love. This book is a memoir mainly about how she went from being the vice president of a company to being unemployed; about how she went from buying Prada and other designers to not even being able to pay rent. Jen's outlook on life is hilarious, and I love how confident and funny she is. I found myself wanting to read more all day long and devoured this book. There many LOL's. It led me to her blog (, or click on the link in my blog list). Can't wait to read more by her!

Forgive Me (mini-review)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Forgive Me by Amanda Eyre Ward tells the story of a journalist, Nadine, who has traveled the world to report significant events. At the beginning of the book, she is forced to take a break from her job, but then hears about an amnesty hearing in South Africa for the killer of an American journalist who lost his life years before. Nadine reported on the murder and consequent trial when it initially occurred, and she feels the need to return. In the amnesty hearings, those who murdered for the sake of their country can be forgiven and released from jail if the surviving parents are able to forgive.

Nadine struggles with her own issues at home, including relationships that were strained due to her dedication to her career. Amanda Eyre Ward does a wonderful job of incorporating the two story lines. And as in Sleep Towards Heaven, her characters are cleverly woven together. The writing flows throughout the book and makes it a fast read. Very good book!

The Moon in the Mango Tree (mini-review)

Sunday, September 7, 2008

The Moon in the Mango Tree by Pamela Binnings Ewen is historical 1920's story about a young married couple who travel to Siam (what is today Thailand) so the husband can work as a medical missionary. The wife is a singer who was about to join the opera, but leaves her dreams behind to follow her husband and be a good wife. She struggles with having to choose between following her dreams and being a supportive wife. She also doesn't fit in well with the husband's Christian mission group and finds herself questioning their purpose in Thailand.

This is fiction based on the true events in the life of the author's grandmother. The characters were realistic and I felt for the main character "Babs". I was drawn into the life they lived. My only criticism would be that it was a little long. It really wasn't even that there were long drawn out passages, because there wasn't anything that I got bored with reading, but there were scenese that weren't important either. I was happy with the way the book ended and happy I had the chance to read about this era and experience.