Monday, August 22, 2016

The Night GardenerThe Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a well written scary tale about two orphaned siblings, Molly and Kip, who end up becoming involved with a strange family in an eerie house. The plot is intriguing, comparable to Irving and Poe, with plenty of suspense. The atmosphere of impending doom builds from page one to the final showdown. Completely appropriate for middle school, it is sure to entertain young adults and mature readers as well. Audio version narration is exceptional.

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Friday, August 19, 2016

One True ThingOne True Thing by Anna Quindlen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

5 stars because Quindlen is a wordsmith. This is about a daughter who gives up brilliant career to care for her dying mother, only to be accused of her death. It is a thought and emotion provoking story with a great twist at the end. There is a time, hopefully, in all daughter's lives when they begin to see their mother as a real person. As the protagonist discovers more about who her mother is, she discovers more about herself. Quindlen explores what we think we know about ourselves and those closest to us.
I feel the same as goodreads reviewer, ☮Karen, who said, "I just love Anna Quindlen. She understands life, she understands death, grieving, and our complex human emotions. And her writing is perfection; beautiful enough to bring me to tears. Quindlen had me contemplating how I view my own family stories. Are our relationships really how we imagine them, or just a 'vast web of misunderstandings, a tinted and touched up family portrait, an accurate representation of fact that leaves out only the essential truth'?”

“I wondered why I hadn't loved that day more, why I hadn't savored every bit of it...why I hadn't known how good it was to live so normally, so everyday. But you only know that, I suppose, after it's not normal and every day any longer.”

“All of life like a series of tableaux, and in the living we missed so much, hid so much, left so much undone and unsaid.”

“For so long I'd thought about myself as a girl who'd walked away from her mother's life that it would be a long time before I would start to think about the other part of the bargain, how easily she'd let me go.”

and my FAVORITE quote:
“You make concessions when you're married a long time that you don't believe you'll ever make when you're beginning. You say to yourself when you're young, oh, I wouldn't tolerate this or that or the other thing, . . . But time goes by and you've slept together a thousand nights and smelled like spit-up when babies are sick and seen your body droop and get soft. And some nights you say to yourself, it's not enough, I won't put up with another minute. And then the next morning you wake up and the kitchen smells like coffee and the children have their hair all brushed and the birds are eating out of the feeder and you look at your husband and he's not the person you used to think he was but he's your life. The house and the children and so much more of what you do is built around him and your life, too, your history. If you take him out it's like cutting his face out of all the pictures, there's a big hole and it's ugly. It would ruin everything. It's more than love, it's more important than love...

It's hard. And it's hard to understand unless you're in it. . . You can be hard, and you can be judgmental, and with those two things alone you can make a mess of your life the likes of which you won't believe. It's so much easier...the being happy. It's so much easier, to learn to love what you have instead of yearning always for what you're missing, or what you imagine you're missing. It's so much more peaceful.”

Warning: movie with Meryl Streep is very good, but does not do the book justice. Don't delay reading this because you saw the movie already.

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Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles, #1)Cinder by Marissa Meyer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

4.5 stars
This is a squeaky clean YA futuristic Cinderella fantasy with cyborgs, androids, aliens (evolved humans), and hover cars. The future of earth hinges upon a feisty heroine, Cinder, who is a gifted mechanic, AND a second-class citizen CYBORG with a frequently missing foot, a mysterious past, & an evil stepmother. The author Marissa Meyer, has cleverly created a well-crafted world with fascinating characters, especially the wicked Lunar Queen. It is a bit predictable but it kept me up at night, I really enjoyed it, and the humorous dialogue gave me some good laughs. This is book #1 in a series, and it stands alone, but there are enough unanswered questions, e.g. (spoiler alert): Cinder does not marry the Prince, but ends up in prison.....what will happen next? I am wondering what fairy tale themes are in sequel. So my lengthy "to-read" list now includes Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles #2)!

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