Thursday, June 30, 2011

June Wrap Up

I know June is technically not over yet but there is no way that I am going to finish In the Garden of Beasts today so I am done for the month.  As of this point in the year I have read 101 books towards my goal of 150 so I can definitely slow down on reading if I feel like it.

Here is what I read in June:

Plum Lovin' by Janet Evanovich
To the Nines by Janet Evanovich
A Long Way Gone:  Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah
Tolstoy and the Purple Chair:  My Year of Magical Reading by Nina Sankovitch
Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
Queen by Right by Anne Easter Smith
Cry Wolf by Tami Hoag
Beyond the Highland Mist by Karen Marie Moning
Johnny One-Eye by Jerome Charyn
The Summer Garden by Paullina Simons
Bright Lights, Big Ass by Jen Lancaster
Ten Big Ones by Janet Evanovich

What did you read in June?

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Review: "Bright Lights, Big Ass" by Jen Lancaster

From Goodreads:  Jen Lancaster hates to burst your happy little bubble, but life in the big city isn't all it's cracked up to be. Contrary to what you see on TV and in the movies, most urbanites aren't party-hopping in slinky dresses and strappy stilettos. But lucky for us, Lancaster knows how to make the life of the lower crust mercilessly funny and infinitely entertaining. Whether she's reporting rude neighbors to Homeland Security, harboring a crush on her grocery store clerk, or fighting-and losing-the Battle of the Stairmaster- Lancaster explores how silly, strange, and not-so-fabulous real city living can be. And if anyone doesn't like it, they can kiss her big, fat, pink, puffy down parka.

My Thoughts:  I love Jen Lancaster!  She is absolutely hysterical and her sarcasm just blows my mind.  This is the third book of hers that I have read and I would never have started reading her books if someone had not given me Bitter is the New Black in a book exchange.  I thought they would be too 'chick-lit' for my tastes but I was so wrong.  Bright Lights, Big Ass contains Jen's thoughts on Target, Trader Joe's and public transportation and is laugh out loud funny.  My husband kept giving me the side-eye every time I would burst out laughing at some funny quip in the book.  I also love reading about Jen's relationship with Fletch (her husband) and her pets; it would be awesome to be a fly on their wall just to see how everyone in her home interacts.  I highly recommend this book; it is summer reading at its best. 4 stars.

In My Mailbox (6)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.  It is a place to showcase books I have purchased, won or borrowed from the library.

Here is my haul for the week.

From the library:
The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey
Portrait in Sepia by Isabel Allende

Giveaway win (Thanks Amy at Passages to the Past!):
The Confessions of Catherine de Medici by C.W. Gortner

What's in your mailbox?

Friday, June 24, 2011

Review: "The Summer Garden" by Paullina Simons

From Goodreads:  From the bestselling author of The Girl in Times Square, comes the magnificent conclusion to the saga that was set in motion when Tatiana fell in love with her Red Army officer, Alexander Belov, in wartime Leningrad in 1941.

Tatiana and Alexander have since suffered the worst the twentieth century had to offer. After years of separation, they are miraculously reunited in America, the land of their dreams. They have a beautiful son, Anthony. They have proved to each other that their love is greater than the vast evil of the world. But though they are only in their twenties, in their hearts they are old, and they are strangers. In the climate of fear and mistrust of the Cold War, dark forces are at work in the US that threaten their life and their family. Can they be happy? Or will the ghosts of yesterday reach out to blight even the destiny of their firstborn son?

Epic in scope, masterfully told, The Summer Garden is a novel of unique and devastating emotional power that spans two thirds of the twentieth century, and three continents.

My Thoughts:  The Summer Garden is the final book in The Bronze Horseman trilogy.  I was nervous about reading this book because I was unsure how Simons was going to finish the story.  Well, let me tell you, she did not disappoint!  This book was just as amazing as the first two and, finally, I got to see Tatiana and Alexander have a little happiness.  The story starts in 1946 and goes all the way to 2000 and Simons does an amazing job of making the reader feel everything that Tatiana and Alexander deal with during this time.  Her writing is amazing and I simply loved this book.  I won't write too much because I don't want to give ANYTHING away but in this book you actually get to see Tania and Shura build a life together and learn how to deal with the pain and suffering they had to endure during the war.  If you have read the first two books in this trilogy, you will love this book.  If you haven't read any of these books, seriously, go get them!!
5 stars!

Book Blog Hop (6)

The Book Blogger Hop is a weekly meme hosted by Jen at Crazy for Books and is a way to meet new bloggers and check out some really awesome blogs.

This week's question is:  When did you realize reading was your passion and a truly important part of your life?  

I can not really answer this question.  I have loved reading my entire life; I used to get in trouble in school because I would read in class instead of paying attention.  I also would get grounded from reading non-school books because my parents knew that was a really good (i.e. bad) punishment for me.  I would have to say that reading has been a life long love of mine, there wasn't ever one 'aha' moment for me.

What about you?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

"The Summer Garden" is here!

I am so excited!  I pre-ordered "The Summer Garden" by Paullina Simons and was able to download it to my nook this morning.  I started reading it while I was eating breakfast and can already tell that I am going to love it!

Review: "Johnny One-Eye" by Jerome Charyn

From Goodreads:  Johnny One-Eye is bringing about the rediscovery of one of the most "singular and remarkable [careers] in American literature" (Jonathan Yardley, Washington Post Book World). In this picaresque tour de force that reanimates Revolutionary Manhattan through the story of double agent John Stocking, the bastard son of a whorehouse madam and possibly George Washington, Jerome Charyn has given us one of the most memorable historical novels in years. As Johnny seeks to unlock the mystery of his birth and grapples with his allegiances, he falls in love with Clara, a gorgeous, green-eyed octoroon, the most coveted harlot of Gertrude's house. The wild parade of characters he encounters includes Benedict Arnold, the Howe brothers, "Sir Billy" and "Black Dick," and a manipulative Alexander Hamilton.

My Thoughts:  As I have said numerous times, I love historical fiction.  Unfortunately, I hated this book.  The only reason I finished it is because it is the June pick for my book club.  The storyline was difficult to follow and at times, I had no idea what was going on.  The main character was odd and hard to relate to and really I just did not care about him.  The only thing that I liked about this book was the way historical figures were interspersed throughout the story.  George Washington, Benedict Arnold and Alexander Hamilton all made appearances and I actually enjoyed seeing them.  2 stars.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Not Book Related

Reading is my number one hobby but there are other things I like to do.  One of those hobbies is cake decorating.  I used to work as a cake decorator during my freshman year of college (10 years ago) but it's only been in the last year that I have really started doing it again.  Last week I made my first tiered cake for my old boss to celebrate the birth of her granddaughter.  Here is the end result: 

 It definitely wasn't perfect but I think it turned out decent for a first try.

What other things do you like to do besides reading?

In My Mailbox (5)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.  It is a way to highlight books I have purchased, borrowed from the library or downloaded to my nook.  This week I have been really bogged down in Johnny One-Eye and didn't get very many new books this week.

Free Downloads for Nook

Daughter of Joy by Kathleen Morgan
Stuck in the Middle by Virginia Smith

What's in your mailbox?

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Review: "Beyond the Highland Mist" by Karen Marie Moning

From Goodreads:   An alluring laird
He was known throughout the kingdom as Hawk, legendary predator of the battlefield and the boudoir. No woman could refuse his touch, but no woman ever stirred his heart - until a vengeful fairy tumbled Adrienne de Simone out of modern-day Seattle and into medieval Scotland. Captive in a century not her own, entirely too bold, too outspoken, she was an irresistible challenge to the sixteenth-century rogue. Coerced into a marriage with Hawk, Adrienne vowed to keep him at arm's length - but his sweet seduction played havoc with her resolve.
A prisoner in time
She had a perfect "no" on her perfect lips for the notorious laird, but Hawk swore she would whisper his name with desire, begging for the passion he longed to ignite within her. Not even the barriers of time and space would keep him from winning her love. Despite her uncertainty about following the promptings of her own passionate heart, Adrienne's reservations were no match for Hawk's determination to keep her by his side....

My Thoughts:  This book felt like an Outlander wannabe.  There is time travel and a modern day woman is forced to marry a Highland Scot and subsequently falls in love with him but that is where the similarities end.  The story line is okay and I did come to like the characters but then there was the addition of the fae and the fairy King and Queen and it just got kind of weird.  I am a sucker for romance stories so I think that is what kept me reading but this book is a little more 'cheap paperback romance' than I would normally read.  There are several more books in the series but I am not sure whether or not I would read them.  If you are interested in reading a Karen Marie Moning book, I would recommend picking up the Fever series first.  2 stars.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Book Blog Hop (5)

Book Blogger Hop is a weekly meme hosted by Jen at Crazy for Books and it's a way to for book bloggers to connect and check out other blogs.

This week's question is:  How many books are currently in your 'To Be Read' (TBR) pile?

My goodreads 'to be read' list says that I have 153 books on it.  I feel like there may be more.  I never really make progress in my TBR pile because I am always adding more books to it.

How about you?  How many books are in your TBR pile?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Review: "Cry Wolf" by Tami Hoag

From Goodreads:  In the rural parishes of Louisiana young women are disappearing one by one, only to turn up on the banks of the bayou, strangled and cast aside where they are sure to be found. All attorney Laurel Chandler wanted was a place to hide from the memories of a case that had nearly destroyed her life. But coming back to the peaceful streets of her hometown doesn't give Laurel the serenity she craves. For in the sultry heat of a Louisiana summer, a ruthless predator strikes. And Laurel is lured into a game from which there may be no escape...
My Thoughts:  This book has an intriguing premise and the synopsis on the back of the book convinced me to read it.  Unfortunately, it was not anywhere near as good as it sounds.  I did not really like the character of Laurel Chandler though I did feel bad for her and the story seemed to center more around her issues than the murders that were being committed around her.  The romance aspect of the novel was boring:  it was the same old, girl meets boy, fights with boy constantly but is really in love with him.  It was pretty lame.  I also found it annoying that it was so obvious who the murderer was.  I usually never figure out who the killer is and I had it all figured out before the book was half over.  This book could have been a good thriller but it turned out to be very predictable romance novel with a side of murder.  2 1/2 stars.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Review: "Queen by Right" by Anne Easter Smith

From Goodreads:  From the award-winning author of A Rose for the Crown, Daughter of York, and The King’s Grace comes another masterful historical novel—the story of Cecily of York, mother of two kings and the heroine of one of history’s greatest love stories. Anne Easter Smith’s novels are beloved by readers for their ability “to grab you, sweep you along with the story, and make you fall in love with the characters.”
• In Cecily Neville, duchess of York and ancestor of every English monarch to the present day, she has found her most engrossing character yet.History remembers Cecily of York standing on the steps of the Market Cross at Ludlow, facing an attacking army while holding the hands of her two young sons. Queen by Right reveals how she came to step into her destiny, beginning with her marriage to Richard, duke of York, whom she meets when she is nine and he is thirteen. Raised together in her father’s household, they become a true love match and together face personal tragedies, pivotal events of history, and deadly political intrigue. All of England knows that Richard has a clear claim to the throne, and when King Henry VI becomes unfit to rule, Cecily must put aside her hopes and fears and help her husband decide what is right for their family and their country. Queen by Right marks Anne Easter Smith’s greatest achievement, a book that every fan of sweeping, exquisitely detailed historical fiction will devour.

My Thoughts:  I have thoroughly enjoyed every one of Anne Easter Smith's books.  They all center around the Wars of the Roses but Queen by Right looks at this period from a completing different perspective.  Cecily Neville, Duchess of York, was the wife of the man who began the push to depose Henry VI of England and this book is told from her point of view.  Anne Easter Smith made Cecily Neville into an extremely strong and admirable character who had to deal with such adversity.  One of the things I liked best about this book is that the author really made the reader see how much of a family feud the Wars of the Roses actually were.  While Cecily Neville was married to a York, she herself was born a Lancastrian and it seemed throughout the novel that these battles put family member against family member.  Cecily Neville was also the mother of two kings, Edward IV and Richard III, and the author gave the reader a picture of these two as children.  Whether or not they really behaved that way is irrelevant, it was fun to see these two portrayed as little boys.  Besides the fact that she creates amazing stories, the main reason I love Anne Easter Smith's books is that she is not afraid to tell the reader what is fact and what is fiction.  She never tries to portray her books as being one hundred percent non-fiction and I respect her for that.  If you like historical fiction and have not read her books I highly recommend them. 4 stars.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

In My Mailbox (4)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.  It's a way to share books I picked up from the library, purchased or downloaded to my nook during the week.  I don't have that many this week which is good since I am a little behind on my reading.

From the Library:
Cry Wolf by Tami Hoag
The Bonesetter's Daughter by Amy Tan

Nook download:
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Have a great week!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Book Blog Hop (4)

Book Blogger Hop is a weekly meme hosted by Jen at Crazy for Books and it's a way to for book bloggers to connect and check out other blogs.  This week it is hosted by Lori at Lori's Reading Corner.

This week's question is:  "Who is the author that you are dying to meet?"

I would LOVE to meet Diana Gabaldon.  I am thoroughly obsessed with the Outlander series and would love to meet the genius behind the series.  I am always checking her website to see if she is making any appearances in my neck of the woods.

Which author would you love to meet?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Review: "Wolf Hall" by Hilary Mantel

From Goodreads:  "Lock Cromwell in a deep dungeon in the morning," says Thomas More, "and when you come back that night he'll be sitting on a plush cushion eating larks' tongues, and all the gaolers will owe him money."

England, the 1520s. Henry VIII is on the throne, but has no heir. Cardinal Wolsey is his chief advisor, charged with securing the divorce the Pope refuses to grant. Into this atmosphere of distrust and need comes Thomas Cromwell, first as Wolsey's clerk, and later his successor. Cromwell is a wholly original man: the son of a brutal blacksmith, a political genius, a briber, a charmer, a bully, a man with a delicate and deadly expertise in manipulating people and events.

Ruthless in pursuit of his own interests, he is as ambitious in his wider politics as he is for himself. His reforming agenda is carried out in the grip of a self-interested parliament and a king who fluctuates between romantic passions and murderous rages.

From one of our finest living writers, Wolf Hall is that very rare thing: a truly great English novel, one that explores the intersection of individual psychology and wider politics. With a vast array of characters, and richly overflowing with incident, it peels back history to show us Tudor England as a half-made society, moulding itself with great passion and suffering and courage.

My Thoughts:  This book has an interesting premise; it tells the story of Henry VIII, his divorce from Catherine of Aragon and marriage to Anne Boleyn but it tells the story from Thomas Cromwell's point of view.  With such an interesting premise, this could have been a great book but it wasn't.  The picture that Mantel painted of Thomas Cromwell was wonderful; I have never looked at Cromwell as anything but Henry VIII's right hand man but in this book you actually get to see him as a human being who loves his family and is trying to improve their status in society.  Besides that, this book was very difficult, for me, to read.  It was written in the third person rather than being written as if you are in the mind of Thomas Cromwell.  It also didn't have a very linear storyline.  I felt like it jumped around and if you weren't already very familiar with the particulars of these events and who these people were, it would be very difficult to follow.  It was also hard to follow the dialogue; at times I didn't know who was saying what in a particular situation.  The final thing about this book that bothered me was the ending.  It was very abrupt and the reader didn't get to see the rest of Cromwell's rise to power and his subsequent fall which seems strange considering that the book is about Cromwell.  Overall, I didn't love this book and it was difficult at times to read.  3 stars.  

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

What's in your beach bag?

Summertime is here and with that comes Summer reading!!  When I lived in California I would take my book out on the patio or to the beach and spend the day reading outside.  Here in the Midwest, it is a little to hot for me to spend the day outside reading so it's something to do inside in the air conditioning.  This summer I am participating in the summer reading program at the library.  The goal for that program is to read five books set in five different continents which I think sounds fun!  I also hope to catch up on books I have purchased and haven't had time for yet.

What's in your Beach Bag? is a summer reading link up for bloggers hosted by  It's a way to show off what you are excited to read this summer.  If you are interested in participating, you should check out their blogs for more information.

My summer list is kind of long and I am not sure if I will get to everything or not, but I will definitely try!

I plan to continue the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich this summer.  I love this series and it is perfect for summer reading. My grandma sent me numbers 10-15 so I am hoping to make a dent in the series.


 I downloaded these books to my nook when I first bought it and haven't had a chance to start any of them.  I have heard great things about all three and can't wait to get to them.

These three books are for the summer reading program at my local library.  I have already read books set in Europe (Revolution) and Africa (Long Way Gone) so these three cover Asia, South America and North America.  Johnny One-Eye is also the June pick for my book club.

I am really excited to read this book and it's also part of the Henry VIII challenge that I am participating in this year.

This is the book I am the most anxious to read this summer.  It comes out on June 21 and I have pre-ordered it to go directly to my Nook.  I loved The Bronze Horseman and Tatiana and Alexander and am ready to see how the story ends.

That's what's in my beach bag this summer.  What's in yours?

Monday, June 6, 2011

Review: "Tolstoy and the Purple Chair: My Year of Magical Reading" by Nina Sankovitch

From Goodreads:  Nina Sankovitch has always been a reader. As a child, she discovered that a trip to the local bookmobile with her sisters was more exhilarating than a ride at the carnival. Books were the glue that held her immigrant family together. When Nina's eldest sister died at the age of forty-six, Nina turned to books for comfort, escape, and introspection. In her beloved purple chair, she rediscovered the magic of such writers as Toni Morrison, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Ian McEwan, Edith Wharton, and, of course, Leo Tolstoy. Through the connections Nina made with books and authors (and even other readers), her life changed profoundly, and in unexpected ways. Reading, it turns out, can be the ultimate therapy.
Tolstoy and the Purple Chair also tells the story of the Sankovitch family: Nina's father, who barely escaped death in Belarus during World War II; her four rambunctious children, who offer up their own book recommendations while helping out with the cooking and cleaning; and Anne-Marie, her oldest sister and idol, with whom Nina shared the pleasure of books, even in her last moments of life. In our lightning-paced culture that encourages us to seek more, bigger, and better things, Nina's daring journey shows how we can deepen the quality of our everyday lives—if we only find the time.

My Thoughts:  I won this book through a goodreads giveaway and was not quite sure what to expect from it.  That being said, I was extremely surprised by how much I loved this book.  As a way to deal with the grief from losing her sister, Nina decided to read one book every day for a year and this memoir follows that journey as she learns about life, love and loss from books as well as from her family.  As someone who loves to read when things are not always going well, I completely related to the author and her love of literature and reading.   "Tolstoy and the Purple Chair" is beautifully written; she made me want to read the books she was reading and I definitely added several to my 'to be read' list.  I can not stress enough how good this book is and if you are passionate about reading, I highly recommend that you pick this book up.  5 stars.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

In My Mailbox (3)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren.  It is a way to showcase books I have purchased, borrowed from the library or downloaded to my nook.

From the Library:

Beyond the Highland Mist by Karen Marie Moning
Bright Lights, Big Ass by Jen Lancaster
Queen by Right by Anne Easter Smith

Goodreads Giveaway:

Tolstoy and the Purple Chair:  My Year of Magical Reading by Nina Sankovitch

Nook Download:

Life's a Beach by Claire Cook

Hapy Reading this week!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Review: "A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier" by Ishmael Beah

From Goodreads:  My new friends have begun to suspect I haven’t told them the full story of my life. "Why did you leave Sierra Leone?" "Because there is a war." "You mean, you saw people running around with guns and shooting each other?" "Yes, all the time." "Cool." I smile a little. "You should tell us about it sometime." "Yes, sometime."
This is how wars are fought now: by children, hopped-up on drugs and wielding AK-47s. Children have become soldiers of choice. In the more than fifty conflicts going on worldwide, it is estimated that there are some 300,000 child soldiers. Ishmael Beah used to be one of them.
What is war like through the eyes of a child soldier? How does one become a killer? How does one stop? Child soldiers have been profiled by journalists, and novelists have struggled to imagine their lives. But until now, there has not been a first-person account from someone who came through this hell and survived.
In A Long Way Gone, Beah, now twenty-five years old, tells a riveting story: how at the age of twelve, he fled attacking rebels and wandered a land rendered unrecognizable by violence. By thirteen, he’d been picked up by the government army, and Beah, at heart a gentle boy, found that he was capable of truly terrible acts.
This is a rare and mesmerizing account, told with real literary force and heartbreaking honesty.

My Thoughts:  Last fall, I took an Anthropology class and one of the assignments was to watch a documentary about children in Uganda and how the lengths they had to go to avoid being kidnapped and forced to be soldiers.  It completely broke my heart to watch that film and I think that is what led me to want to read this book.  Ishmael Beah was just a young boy who loved rap music when war came to his village and tore his world apart.  In this book, he discusses what happened after his entire family was killed, howe he was forced to live on his own in the forest and his time as a soldier in Sierra Leone.  It was so mind-boggling to think that the soldiers in charge basically kept a bunch of young kids drugged up on pot and cocaine in order to keep them as willing participants in the war they were fighting.  A lot of what is described in this book is told after Ishmael has left the army (at age sixteen) and while he is living in a rehabilitation center which surprised me because I expected a lot more detail about his time in the army.  All in all, this is a good look at how someone can overcome the bad things in their life and go on to be successful and a functional human being.  4 stars.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Book Blog Hop (3)

Book Blogger Hop is a weekly meme hosted by Jenn at Crazy for Books and it's a great way to for book bloggers to connect and check out other blogs.

This week's question is: Share your favorite post from the last month and tell us why it's close to your heart.

This is lame but my favorite post from the last month would have to be the review I wrote on Auschwitz:  A New History.  This is not because the review was particularly deep or anything like that; it is due to the feedback I received.  A fellow blogger commented that there was a companion documentary to the book and I was actually able to find it at my local library (another reason why I love that place!).  So now I have a great documentary to watch next weekend (I am a total history so I love documentaries!).  Thanks Silsbee!

Library Love!

I live in a relatively small town and from my past experience of living in small towns I have found that small town libraries are not very good.  This is so not the case for my local is AWESOME!  They have such a great selection of books, DVD's, CD's and audio books that it is hard not to find what I want.  If they don't have it, they will do whatever they can to get it to you through Interlibrary Loan or by purchasing it for the library.  I really want to read Anne Easter Smith's new book "Queen by Right" and my local library did not have it and no other library wanted to loan it out through ILL so my library just went ahead and purchased it!  I also love how easy it is to use my library.  I can sit at home and search their online catalog, request all the books I want and they will get them off the shelf for me and email me when they are ready to be picked up.  I know that makes me kind of lazy but I don't always have time to run to the library and search for things so it is nice that they make the process so easy.  The same goes for the ILL request process; it is all online and super easy to use.

I will stop babbling about how great my library is but what I want to know is, what do you think of your local library?  Do you love it?  Do you hate it?

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Review: "Revolution" by Jennifer Donnelly

From Goodreads:  BROOKLYN: Andi Alpers is on the edge. She’s angry at her father for leaving, angry at her mother for not being able to cope, and heartbroken by the loss of her younger brother, Truman. Rage and grief are destroying her. And she’s about to be expelled from Brooklyn Heights’ most prestigious private school when her father intervenes. Now Andi must accompany him to Paris for winter break.

PARIS: Alexandrine Paradis lived over two centuries ago. She dreamed of making her mark on the Paris stage, but a fateful encounter with a doomed prince of France cast her in a tragic role she didn’t want—and couldn’t escape.

Two girls, two centuries apart. One never knowing the other. But when Andi finds Alexandrine’s diary, she recognizes something in her words and is moved to the point of obsession. There’s comfort and distraction for Andi in the journal’s antique pages—until, on a midnight journey through the catacombs of Paris, Alexandrine’s words transcend paper and time, and the past becomes suddenly, terrifyingly present.

Jennifer Donnelly, author of the award-winning novel A Northern Light, artfully weaves two girls’ stories into one unforgettable account of life, loss, and enduring love. Revolution spans centuries and vividly depicts the eternal struggles of the human heart.

My Thoughts:  I really loved this book.  I have seen mixed reviews of it but I thoroughly enjoyed the story.  I felt for Andi as she struggled with her parents and trying to deal with the death of her brother and it was so sad to see her just drown in the pain.  I feel like Ms. Donnelly did a great job of weaving the past and the present together to create a really good story and she did an equally good job of making her characters come to life.  My only complaint was the way the story ended; I don't know if I just didn't fully understand it but I thought it was kind of abrupt and all of the loose ends were tied up too nicely.  Despite the ending, I still think this is an awesome work of historical fiction well worth reading.  4 1/2 stars.
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