Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Borrower by Rebecca Makkai Audiobook ~~Review

The Borrower by Rebecca Makkai Audiobook narrated by, Emily Bauer

Synopsis from Goodreads
:Lucy Hull, a young children's librarian in Hannibal, Missouri, finds herself both a kidnapper and kidnapped when her favorite patron, ten- year-old Ian Drake, runs away from home. The precocious Ian is addicted to reading, but needs Lucy's help to smuggle books past his overbearing mother, who has enrolled Ian in weekly antigay classes with celebrity Pastor Bob. Lucy stumbles into a moral dilemma when she finds Ian camped out in the library after hours with a knapsack of provisions and an escape plan. Desperate to save him from Pastor Bob and the Drakes, Lucy allows herself to be hijacked by Ian. The odd pair embarks on a crazy road trip from Missouri to Vermont, with ferrets, an inconvenient boyfriend, and upsetting family history thrown in their path. But is it just Ian who is running away? Who is the man who seems to be on their tail? And should Lucy be trying to save a boy from his own parents?

My Review:
This is a very odd unbelievable story as our children’s librarian tries to help out 10 year old Ian who may or may not be gay but his Christian parent’s think he may be so they send him to an anti-gay Minister/treatment and only want him to read God-filled stories. This author does have a good grasp on children’s literature with the quotes and characters from other books, however as a librarian not so much. When Ian runs away to the library and ends up in Lucy’s car they end up on a road trip and this where this story goes off the rails for me. Lucy talks about oh what I’m doing is wrong but she doesn’t take the boy home just because his parents don’t let him read the books he wants to read??I’m sorry as a librarian I am all for Intellectual freedom but I also believe that it is a parents right to decide what their child reads He Is 10 years old and who are you as a 20 something children’s librarian to decide what is good for him? I felt she was helping enough letting him read what he wanted while he was in the library and helping him smuggle out books but the whole road trip/kidnapping was just going too far.

Lucy and Ian are both a bit annoying and actually unsympathetic and I found it really hard to continue with this book but since I received this as an Early Review Copy I must finish, between the story, the characters and the Audiobook narrator this is really hard to keep going. Honestly I have tried 4 times to finish this one because I have to stop for awhile and get away from the grating voice and whiny narrator.

I listened to this on audio and I just want to clarify I listen to a lot of audiobooks in a month and I have heard some wonderful narrators unfortunately Emily Bauer isn’t one of them she sounded like a little kid while narrating Lucy then when she was doing the voice of Ian it was even worse and was extremely grating. If she was narrating as a child she may be ok but she is narrating the voice of an adult and sounds like a whiny preteen.

However her voice and the story grew on me… I wrote the above when I was half way through. The road trip as a whole had its cute parts but it was still really hard to understand why there wasn’t an amber alert and the parents weren’t on TV wringing their hands so I decided to kind of put it in my head it set in an earlier decade it was easier to suspend my thinking and just enjoy the story.

All in all this isn’t a bad book you just have to be willing to suspend your belief about the circumstances and just let the story tell itself.

Hovering between 2 ½ and 3 Stars
FYI My Rating System:
3 Stars- Good Book but some things didn't connect with me
2 1/2 Stars- just didn't connect to this book but was ok

Full Disclosure: I received this book from Librarything Early Reviewer Program

Friday, September 16, 2011

Bloodroot by, Amy Greene~~Review

Bloodroot by, Amy Greene~~Named for a flower whose blood-red sap possesses the power both to heal and poison, Bloodroot is a stunning fiction debut about the legacies—of magic and madness, faith and secrets, passion and loss—that haunt one family across the generations, from the Great Depression to today.

My Review:

This was a very different story and kind of hard to review without giving the story away. It has a beautiful magical quality to it. The characters are all very flawed and the story jumps between time periods and narrators. It’s a family saga that spans 3 generations in the Appalachian Mountains.

The main focus is Myra Lamb whose parents died in a car accident when she is small and her grandma Byrdie then raises her, we hear the story of Myra’s parents and Myra’s life and the life of her children. Myra is a tomboy who loves the mountains and is always looking for her next adventure. She has a pretty good life until she meets and marries John Odom then things go downhill for her. The main part of the story is about her children Laura & John who do not have a very good life.

The story does keep you guessing about a few a things until the end and there are some storylines that didn’t seem to needed but then there are these coincidences you find out as the story progresses that lend to the magical realism of this book.

I did enjoy this book the whole feel of it is good although I must warn you it is not a happy story its sad and I wasn’t totally satisfied with the ending and kind of wished the characters had known what I knew about the coincidences. But all in all I would recommend this book if you like southern fiction with magical realism and family saga’s.

3 ½ stars

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay~~Review

Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay Description from goodreads:
Paris, July 1942: Sarah, a ten year-old girl, is taken with her parents by the French police as they go door-to-door arresting Jewish families in the middle of the night. Desperate to protect her younger brother, Sarah locks him in a bedroom cupboard—their secret hiding place—and promises to come back for him as soon as they are released.

Sixty Years Later: Sarah's story intertwines with that of Julia Jarmond, an American journalist investigating the roundup. In her research, Julia stumbles onto a trail of secrets that link her to Sarah, and to questions about her own romantic future.

In Sarah's Key, Tatiana de Rosnay offers up a mesmerizing story in which a tragic past unfold, the present is torn apart, and the future is irrevocably altered.

My Review

What a great book I had heard good things about it and can’t keep it on the shelf at the library but I didn’t realize just how good of a story this was.

The two stories merge together so flawlessly and you come to care so much for both Sarah and Julia. Sarah’s story is set during the holocaust in Paris during the Vel' d'Hiv Roundup where the French police rounded up all the Jews including thousands of children and sent them off to their deaths, but Sarah’s story goes so far beyond just the holocaust it is so heartbreaking. Julia is in modern-day Paris and a journalist hired to do a story about the roundup but what she finds hits so much closer to home than she ever imagined.

I loved this book it was so hard to put it down because I just had to know what had happened to Sarah. It also, like all good historical fiction should do, made me research the facts of this horrible day in France’s history because I like Julia had never heard of it and to me that is what this book is about as she says To Never Forget. This glimpse into history is a fictionalized account of the Vel' d'Hiv Roundup but it made me aware of it and the lives lost in a section of the Holocaust I knew nothing about. Also that these atrocities were carried out by the French Police on the orders of the Nazi’s not the Nazi’s themselves just seems to make it all the more heartbreaking.

If you follow my reviews you will know I love books that have a modern and a historical story and this one was no exception Tatiana de Rosnay beautifully blended these stories together. Ok I will stop gushing now.

I highly recommend this book, I listened to it on audio and narrator Polly Stone does a great job at bringing these characters to life.

5 stars

Friday, September 2, 2011

The Distant Hours by, Kate Morton~~Review

The Distant Hours by, Kate Morton

Kate Morton does it again with this great gothic feeling story of the 3 Blythe sisters and the ward they kept during the evacuation of the children from London during WWII, Meredith. The story we have in the present day is Meredith’s daughter Edie finds a letter to her mother from Juniper Blythe youngest of the spinster Blythe sisters and Edie finds out her mother was billeted with them at Milderhurst Castle during the war a fact her mother has never spoken a word about, especially considering Edie’s favorite book as a child "The Mudman" was written by the Blythes eccentric father. So Edie decided to travel to the castle and find out what she can about her mother’s time there and the reclusive author of her favorite childhood book. But what she finds out about the Blythe family goes so far beyond her mother and the ramifications of the secrets of the past and how they have affected the sisters.

This book had the great twists and turns and family secrets that Kate Morton has become known for I didn’t want to stop reading/listening to this one and was sad when I had to stop! I just want to gush like a fangirl about Kate Morton I can’t say enough about how much I enjoy all her books. I also can’t say enough about the audio versions Caroline Lee’s narration is so good and I highly recommend all Kate Morton’s books in audiobook format. They are a great read either way and I can’t wait for a new book by this author since I have now devoured everything she has written so far!

4 ½ Stars

The Library has this book in softcover and also The Forgotten Garden & The House on Riverton I highly recommend all books by this author!