What’s In Your Mailbox?

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Yes, I know I have been absent for too long again.  I have to say, I haven’t had much time for reading these days.  My family just moved from Iowa to Florida so have been working to get settled in.  I did, however, buy a few new books this week so will post those here.  I know – so many books all at once but I had a store credit that took care of all these plus could buy a few more but am tired of shopping.  Anyone want to recommend something?

dollmaker midnight nearing home no river wedding bees wishing thread

 

The Moonlit Mind

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Twelve-year-old Crispin has lived on the streets since he was nine—with only his wits and his daring to sustain him, and only his silent dog, Harley, to call his friend. He is always on the move, never lingering in any one place long enough to risk being discovered. Still, there are certain places he returns to. In the midst of the tumultuous city, they are havens of solitude: like the hushed environs of St. Mary Salome Cemetery, a place where Crispin can feel at peace—safe, at least for a while, from the fearsome memories that plague him . . . and seep into his darkest nightmares. But not only his dreams are haunted. The city he roams with Harley has secrets and mysteries, things explainable and maybe unimaginable. Crispin has seen ghosts in the dead of night, and sensed dimensions beyond reason in broad daylight. Hints of things disturbing and strange nibble at the edges of his existence, even as dangers wholly natural and earthbound cast their shadows across his path. Alone, drifting, and scavenging to survive is no life for a boy. But the life Crispin has left behind, and is still running scared from, is an unspeakable alternative . . . that may yet catch up with him.

As this was a novella, I was able to read all 120 pages at work tonight.  Dean Koontz used to be one of my favorite authors, I read everything by him.  Over the past ten years, that has changed because he has changed.  Gone are the days of Watchers, Whispers, Midnight and Phantoms.

This novella is one that I found predictable and not the least bit surprising.  I almost stopped part way through because I am not a fan of stories involving devil worship or child sacrificing but, as it was just a novella, I pushed on.

If  you take away the dark side of the story and look at the characters, Crispin is a likable character, as is the dog Harley.  I thought it jumped back and forth between the past and present too much to be comfortable reading – especially for a novella.

Overall, I can honestly say I wish I hadn’t read the book – I hope it doesn’t affect my dreams.  I give the story a C because it is wallows in predictability.  No gore though so that kept it from getting a D.  :-)

The Walk review

The Walk (Walk, #1)

“My name is Alan Christoffersen. You don’t know me. ‘Just another book in the library,’ my father would say. ‘Unopened and unread.’ You have no idea how far I’ve come or what I’ve lost. More important, you have no idea what I’ve found.” —Prologue

What would you do if you lost everything—your job, your home, and the love of your life—all at the same time? When it happens to Seattle ad executive Alan Christoffersen, he’s tempted by his darkest thoughts. A bottle of pills in his hand and nothing left to live for, he plans to end his misery. Instead, he decides to take a walk. But not any ordinary walk. Taking with him only the barest of essentials, Al leaves behind all that he’s known and heads for the farthest point on his map: Key West, Florida. The people he encounters along the way, and the lessons they share with him, will save his life—and inspire yours.

Richard Paul Evans’s extraordinary New York Times bestsellers have made him one of the world’s most beloved storytellers. A life-changing journey, both physical and spiritual, The Walk is the first of an unforgettable series of books about one man’s search for hope.

Started this book at B&N earlier when I stopped for coffee.  B&N lets owners of a Nook read a book for free for one hour every day.  Normally I don’t carry my Nook with me but I happened to have it today so thought I’d read something while I sipped my latte.  My sister told me this book was good so I settled on it.

The hour went by very quickly.  When it informed me around page 75 that I was out of time, I was disappointed enough that I bought the book so I could continue reading.  I had an $8 credit on my account so it worked out well.

This book grabs you from the beginning and doesn’t let you go.  I felt Alan’s pain when his life fell apart and how grief stricken he was.  His decision to take off and leave the same day was rather far-fetched – most people would need to make a few arrangements but he just happened to have every single thing he needed in his house.  But whatever, it is fiction which means anything can happen.  His working up to 30 miles a day within a week of starting his journey seemed hard to believe too but again, it is fiction.

What grabs is the questions he asks as he goes along, the life he wonders about, the pain, the people he meets, and how he realizes more and more that life has to be lived to be appreciated.  He talks in there about “life-huggers” and it is rather descriptive of most of our lives.  We hug life so tight that we don’t really take the time to live or appreciate it.

Evans writing style is easy to follow, his descriptions are engaging, and the story flies along.  I have no doubt I will read the entire series – I believe there are five or six books in all.  I even think I may be inspired and learn something along the way.  :-)  I give the book an A+.

Sugar Queen review

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B&N: In this irresistible novel, Sarah Addison Allen, author of the New York Times bestselling debut, Garden Spells, tells the tale of a young woman whose family secrets—and secret passions—are about to change her life forever.

Josey Cirrini is sure of three things: winter is her favorite season, she’s a sorry excuse for a Southern belle, and sweets are best eaten in the privacy of her closet. For while Josey has settled into an uneventful life in her mother’s house, her one consolation is the stockpile of sugary treats and paperback romances she escapes to each night…. Until she finds her closet harboring Della Lee Baker, a local waitress who is one part nemesis—and two parts fairy godmother. With Della Lee’s tough love, Josey’s narrow existence quickly expands. She even bonds with Chloe Finley, a young woman who is hounded by books that inexplicably appear when she needs them—and who has a close connection to Josey’s longtime crush. Soon Josey is living in a world where the color red has startling powers, and passion can make eggs fry in their cartons. And that’s just for starters.

Yes, I know, another Sarah Addison Allen book.  You are probably thinking I have limited reading issues.  However, this is the last one until she writes something else which will be a while.

OK, this was far from my favorite book of Allen’s.  I thought the characters were stereotypical and disappointing.  Normally there is at least an elderly person I can identify with but that was sadly lacking in this one.  It read too much like a slightly altered Harlequin Romance which I don’t read.  I realize Allen used to write for HR so suppose that is where it came from but I didn’t notice it in any of her other books.

I won’t say I hated the book – I didn’t.  I loved how books kept pursuing Chloe to help her with life decisions - that was a nice touch and kept me smiling.  The writing is light, which I do like.  No gore, no violence, no sex, no murders.  Maybe if I had read this one after Garden Spells, I would have liked it more but now after reading The Peach Keeper and Lost Lake, I find this one a big step backwards.  I don’t know that I would have read Allen again if this was the first book of hers that I read.  It just didn’t click with me.

So I give the book a B- and, can I just say, the cover really sucks.

Lost Lake Review

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Goodreads: Suley, Georgia, is home to Lost Lake Cottages and not much else. Which is why it’s the perfect place for newly-widowed Kate and her eccentric eight-year-old daughter Devin to heal. Kate spent one memorable childhood summer at Lost Lake, had her first almost-kiss at Lost Lake, and met a boy named Wes at Lost Lake. It was a place for dreaming. But Kate doesn’t believe in dreams anymore, and her Aunt Eby, Lost Lake’s owner, wants to sell the place and move on. Lost Lake’s magic is gone. As Kate discovers that time has a way of standing still at Lost Lake can she bring the cottages—and her heart—back to life? Because sometimes the things you love have a funny way of turning up again. And sometimes you never even know they were lost . . . until they are found.

Started and finished this book last night.  It is my fourth Sarah Addison Allen book – I have one more to read that I’m looking forward to and that is “The Sugar Queen”.

Lost Lake transports you to that ideal little getaway where anything is possible.  I like to imagine that there really are places like this – magical places where life is full of love, meals shared with friends, and fireflies.  If there was, I don’t think I’d ever want to leave.

OK, the plot isn’t overly original but the characters are dynamic – I loved them! Eby made me wish my mom and grandmothers were still alive – oh how little I appreciated them when I had the chance and now it is way too late.  But that is beside the point – her people are colorful, festive and lost.  Their stories intertwine as each of them reveal their reasons for returning to Lost Lake year after year.

Allen once again manages to bring that little whisp of supernatural into her story – something fun yet subtle enough to be almost believable.  I didn’t want Lost Lake to end because I felt like I found a piece of myself between those lines.

It isn’t my favorite of her books – I believe Garden Spells is still that – but it is good and worth reading on a sunny day at the beach.  I give the book an A.

Wilderness review

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Goodreads says: Addison Goodheart is a mystery even to himself. He was born in an isolated home surrounded by a deep forest, never known to his father, kept secret from everyone but his mother, who barely accepts him. She is haunted by private demons and keeps many secrets—none of which she dreads more than the young son who adores her. 
 
Only in the woods, among the wildlife, is Addison truly welcome. Only there can he be at peace. Until the day he first knows terror, the day when his life changes radically and forever . 

I’m afraid this book failed to excite me whatsoever.  I don’t know what it is about Koontz lately that seems to make me go “blah” when he used to be one of my favorite authors.

The character seemed a compilation of several previous characters of Koontz – there was no originality that I could discern.  I suppose this happens after writing dozens of books.

The ending was abrupt and left me disgusted – I will not buy the book that this was a prequel for (Innocence) because I wasn’t impressed with the work that went into this novelette.

Sorry, Koontz, but you slide further down my “favorites” list all the time – write like you did in “Watchers”, “Phantoms”, “Cold Fire”, “Whispers”…etc., I miss that author.

The Holy Spirit

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Finished this book this morning at work.  It was my first Billy Graham book – I don’t know why it took me so long to get around to reading him.  Non-fiction books are always harder for me to get through than fiction – they take longer and I feel like I should come away from each chapter having learned something I didn’t know, otherwise, why am I reading it?

This book was on the subject of the Holy Spirit and where he fits in the Trinity as well as our lives.  Some of it was way over my head which made it harder to get through while other areas were very basic so stuff I already knew.  However, I came away from reading it with a deeper understanding of the Holy Spirit, God and the Trinity.

Graham’s examples are refreshing and applicable to our individual lives today.  He also goes over the gifts of the Spirit and the fruits of the Spirit.  I felt it was eye opening and have shared some of what I’ve learned already so that means it is a successful non-fiction book.

If you have a desire in your soul to know more about the Holy Spirit, this is an excellent book.  I give the book an A.