Friday, August 12, 2011
Various Reviews ~ Long Time No Post
I am still here....just have not been blogging in awhile. I have read a few books, here are some short reviews:
From May to December by Pat MacEnulty:
Jen Johanssen is a former porn actor trying to fit into the world of academia. Her sister, Lolly Johanssen, is a cancer survivor. Nicole Parks is in prison for loving the wrong guy. And Sonya Yakowski, also in prison, is a member of a family of traveling criminals, desperately missing her young son. The lives of these four women converge in a Florida prison, where Jen and Lolly have joined forces to put on a grant-funded drama production. Despite their remarkably divergent histories, these women come together in unexpected ways, each beginning to confront and forgive her own past.
This is the second Pat MacEnulty book I've read, and I enjoyed it. I liked Sweet Fire better than this one, but I still liked it.....enough to order her other books that I have not read. This story is bittersweet....a tale of two sisters, who have never been very close, who become close in a matter of months. It also portrays women in prison....good women who made mistakes...and choose to better themselves and prepare for life outside prison walls. Great story, in my opinion.
Babylon Rolling by Amanda Boyden:
Ariel May and her husband, Ed, have just moved to New Orleans with their two small children. Their neighbor, Fearius, is a fifteen-year-old just out of juvenile detention. Across the street, an elderly couple, the Browns, are only trying to pass their days in peace, while Philomenia Beauregard de Bruges, a longtime resident and “Uptown lady,” peers through her curtains at the East Indian family next door.With one random accident, a scene of horror across front lawns, the whole neighborhood converges on the sidewalk and the residents of Orchid Street are thrown together, for better and for worse.
I couldn't wait to see this....I loved Pretty Little Dirty, so I had high expectations for Babylon Rolling. I had some difficulty with it in the beginning, but once I got going, it was a roller-coast ride! Told in alternating voices of the neighbors of Orchid Street, it is a tale of love, deceit, drugs and alcohol, and redemption. I felt so many emotions while reading Babylon Rolling...and it was one of those books that I thought about when I was not reading it. I looked forward to my lunch hours and evenings when I could pick it back up and see what was happening with Ariel, Ed, Prancie and Joe, and the others. The story takes place just days before Hurricane Ivan is due to hit New Orleans, and during Mardi Gras time. I learned a lot about Mardi Gras that I didn't know, too. Babylon Rolling is not a cut and dried story. It begins with a neighborhood in turmoil, and ends with the aftemath of destruction....and Hurricane Ivan never even makes it to New Orleans. Recommended!
Like Mandarin by Kirsten Hubbard:
It's hard finding beauty in the badlands of Washokey, Wyoming, but 14-year-old Grace Carpenter knows it's not her mother's pageant obsessions, or the cowboy dances adored by her small-town classmates. True beauty is wild-girl Mandarin Ramey: 17, shameless and utterly carefree. Grace would give anything to be like Mandarin. When they're united for a project, they form an unlikely, explosive friendship, packed with nights spent skinny-dipping in the canal, liberating the town's animal-head trophies, and searching for someplace magic. Grace plays along when Mandarin suggests they run away together. Blame it on the crazy-making wildwinds plaguing their Badlands town. Because all too soon, Grace discovers Mandarin's unique beauty hides a girl who's troubled, broken, and even dangerous. And no matter how hard Grace fights to keep the magic, no friendship can withstand betrayal.
I was a little disappointed in Like Mandarin. I am not sure what I expected, but I found Mandarin's character a little weak. I guess I was expecting a more shocking idol in her. The premise was very promising, but the story did not deliver.
Willow by Julia Hoban:
Seven months ago, on a rainy March night, sixteen year- old Willow's parents died in a horrible car accident. Willow was driving. Now her older brother barely speaks to her, her new classmates know her as the killer orphan girl, and Willow is blocking the pain by secretly cutting herself. But when one boy - one sensitive, soulful boy - discovers Willow's secret, it sparks an intense relationship that turns the "safe" world Willow has created for herself upside down.
Told in an extraordinary fresh voice, Willow is an unforgettable novel about one girl's struggle to cope with tragedy, and one boy's refusal to give up on her.
I liked the story of Willow well enough, but it is not one that will stay in my thoughts for long. I found myself getting aggravated with her throughout the story, especially with how she treats Guy, a boy who clearly adores her, and wants to help her. I am not a cutter, and have never known anyone who is, but I do have an ocd that is somewhat similar, so her descriptions of her disease struck home with me. Julia Hoban did a wonderful job describing the feelings of shame and self-worthlessness of someone who is unfortunate enough to suffer with something as devastating as self-mutilation.
I am now looking forward to starting Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks, and I am half-way through Fiction Ruined My Family by Jeanne Darst.
Happy Friday Everyone!!