Monday, August 25, 2014

What's on Your Nightstand? Last of the Summer Edition

The Best of August

Amy Belding Brown's new novel, Flight of the Sparrow, features sublime prose and a story that keeps you on the edge of your seat! A retelling of the story of Mary Rowlandson whose story of her time in the captivity of native Americans was sensationalized, this book has it all--great characters, a compelling story, vivid emotion and real life confusion of what faith and freedom really mean. This one is truly not to be missed. Flight of the Sparrow, by Amy Belding Brown. My review of her earlier novel, Mr. Emerson's Wife, is here.

The Rest of August's Reading

What's not to love about a book in which a book set in the 12th Century becomes a ghostwritten best-seller? Life in contemporary Paris and its suburbs has never been so compelling a read! Throw in a Kenyan Crocodile farm, a new shot at love and.....well too many details would spoil the fun of reading it!! The Yellow Eyes of Crocodiles by Katherine Pancol.

The word "iconic" is woefully overused today. But it is the only word to describe the pink suit and pillbox hat that Jackie Kennedy wore on that fateful day in Dallas in November of 1963. This is the story of that dress--the fictionalized story--of how it came to be. In the final days of a world in which people "knew their place" based on their socio-economic level, the seamstress who works on the ensemble, a Chanel original copied legally so that Mrs. Kennedy can be said to be wearing a suit by an American Designer, comes to terms with who she is and where she belongs. The Pink Suite by Nicole Kelby

If you grew up in the late 60s and early 70s likely you remember Fannie Flagg trading wise cracks with Gene Rayburn, Brett Summers and Charles Nelson Riley on the The Match Game. Well, today, she's the author of a great slew of novels. The All-Girl Filling Station's Last Reunion tells the story of the SPARS--women who ferried planes to US Army Air Corps bases during World War II. It's also the story of identity and what it means to be "me" and "us." This little gem is nteresting, fun and well worth your time in every way. And, please, somebody play me the "Aw Jeese, You Bet Polka." The All-Girl Filling Station's Last Reunion by Fannie Flagg.

Odd book that isn't really about a Buddhist nun like it claims to be. My favorite character was the cat. A little sprinkling of sci-fi and a dump of hard science that I couldn't begin to fathom, but that didn't last long. A few "ick" moments (skip the intro if you want to miss the biggest one). Overall, the story was interesting though. Could have done without the mandatory PC-anti war screed, but it was a fleeting second in the story. A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki

This year, in case you missed it, is the Centenary of the First World War. This book, a sweet story of a young couple separated by that war, show a different side of the war--that of the common folks, those outside the realm of Downton Abbey. Morale among the troops is so low it cannot be mentioned in letters home. Food is so awful that a group of soldiers lives for the young wife's lettters detailing the meals she imagines cooking for her new husband.The beauty of the wife's cooking, contrasts with the ugliness of the war. The Care and Management of Lies by Jacqueline Winspear.

I loved Bernadette!!! The wife of a powerful Microsoft executive with one talented daughter, Bernadette is the Grumpy Cat of her daughter's school drop-off line. When Bernadette's life careens a bit off the streets of Seattle, things get very interesting. There isn't a boring moment in this one! Where'd You Go, Bernadette?

I enjoy Stephanie, Joe, Ranger, Lula, Connie, Bob the dog and Rex the hamster and totally love Grandma Mazur, but this time.........hmmmm...even my favorite "other" character, Randy Briggs, just didn't do it for me. Granted in real time Joe and Stephanie would be about 50, its more than that. This one seemed to be coasting.  No Joyce Barnhardt? (She was merely mentioned), almost no Vinnie. Just "blah." It's time for Stephanie and Joe to settle down, time for Ranger to disappear under cover, time for Grandma's own viewing at the funeral home. These folks are worn out. Top Secret Twenty-One by Janet Evanovich.


Kara Keenan said...

I'm so happy you liked Where'd You Go Bernadette? It's wonderful. Please try Mr Penumbra's 24 Hour Bookstore. It's also delightful, but for different reasons.

I have come to hate Stephanie Plum. How long will Evanovich keep bringing her along? The Lizzy & Diesel series shows promise, as does the Fox & O'Hare. But I am SO DONE with Stephanie Plum.

Hopewell said...

Interesting that you mention Mr. Penumbra--he's next month!

Amy @ Hope Is the Word said...

Your book reviews are so well done! You make me want to read books I probably wouldn't otherwise give a second glance.

Carrie said...

Oo. The Care and Management of Lies caught my attention. Many of the other books did also, primarily because of their cover art. But that one looks especially intriguing to me.

Lisa notes... said...

I love the title "The Yelow Eyes of Crocodiles". That alone might make me want to read it. The Pink Suit sounds like a fun book!

Oh, I do remember The Match Game very well. And Fannie Flagg. ha. I didn't know she was an author!

Such a great list. I always enjoy seeing what you're reading. (I've got Mr. Penumbra in my stack waiting for me now!)