Friday, June 26, 2009

The Vanishing Sculptor: Book Review

I must say, I haven't had much luck with my book choices (or the books others choose for me) lately, and I know I haven't been a great resource in helping you choose books to add to your reading list. For that, I'm extremely sorry. This will be the last book review for a while, so we only have one more bad book to share together...for now. But at least I'm honest, and I let you know when a book really isn't worth your time.

Let's start out with the summary. Evidently this book is part of a series, the Dragon Keeper Chronicles. In The Vanishing Sculptor, by Donita K. Paul, readers will meet Tipper, a young emerlindian (we'll talk about this later) who’s responsible for the upkeep of her family’s estate during her sculptor father’s absence. Tipper soon discovers that her actions have unbalanced the whole foundation of her world, and she must act quickly to undo the calamitous threat. But how can she save her father and her world on her own? The task is too huge for one person, so she gathers the help of some unlikely companions–including the nearly five-foot tall parrot Beccaroon–and eventually witnesses the loving care and miraculous resources of Wulder. Through Tipper’s story, readers will discover the beauty of knowing and serving God.

In the summary, The Vanishing Sculptor seems to have all the right elements for a successful plot--intriguing characters, mystery to draw you in, a fantasy world that adds to the drama and interest. However, when reading this book, I just wasn't drawn in. Not that I didn't want to be--I was REALLY looking for a book to love, but this wasn't the one. I made it through 4 chapters. I think the problem, for me, was that it moved too slowly. There wasn't enough to make me want to keep reading. I want the book to draw me along, teasing me with something that needs to be discovered each step of the way. That just didn't happen here. Am I being too demanding of my books? I don't think so. I only have so much time to devote to reading, and when I do give my time to something, I want to be rewarded for it. I don't want to feel like I'm in English 101, expecting a test at the end.

I think another turn-off for me in this book was the need for a glossary. I despise a book that requires a glossary. I don't mind if the author uses a made-up word in such a way that you understand it's meaning and then includes a glossary just in case you forget it's meaning later. I really mind it when the author uses a made-up word and offers no explanation in the text, requiring you to look it up while you're trying to get into the plot. No fun--back to English 101.

So, for me, this book was not a winner. If it sounds interesting to you, by all means, try it out in the local bookstore. But I'd suggest you read a little before you actually commit.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Sisterchicks in Wooden Shoes: Book Review

So, lately with the book reviews, it's been kind of hit or miss. They've either been so bad I couldn't finish them or so good I couldn't put them down. Well, for me, Sisterchicks in Wooden Shoes was middle of the road. I had no problem putting it down when I needed to go on to something else, but I did have enough motivation to actually finish the book. I know, I know. That doesn't tell you much, so let me go on.

When Summer gets the call that a mammogram has come back abnormal, she decides to do something for herself, for a change, and heads to Holland on a whim to see her lifelong pen pal, Noelle, in person for the first time. It turns out to be a visit that they both needed, and they have the time of their lives during her week long trip. It is a tale of unquestionable support and friendship, even through life's toughest challenges.

The message is one of learning to trust in God and the people He has placed in our lives as supporters. Both Summer and Noelle see God's hand shaping their paths as they travel through the country visiting the sites. It is a good story of the deep friendship that can form between two women, even though they are miles apart.

This book doesn't really fall into one of my favorite genres, but the heartwarming story kept me going. Now onto the next one. :-)

Monday, June 1, 2009

Stealing Home and Saints in Limbo: Book Reviews

Stealing HomeWhen I looked at Stealing Home by Allison Pittman, I must say that I wasn't anxious to start it. I had just finished a book that I loved, and I was afraid of being disappointed by a dud. Not to mention the fact that it was about baseball (to some degree)--which I am not interested in at all. But since it was next on my list, I grudgingly picked it up and started in. I must say, by the end of the first chapter I was hooked. I read through the book in about 4 days, needing to find out what happened next. I am a sucker for a good love story, though. :-)

In 1905, Chicago Cubs baseball superstar Donald "Duke" Dennison is sent to Picksville, Missouri, to complete the end of his rehabilitation from alcoholism. He is staying with the father and sister of David Voyant, the sportswriter who exposed the truth of his disease, in a dry town away from the spotlight. Ellie Jane, David's sister, and Floyd, the town sheriff, take him in and try to help him adjust to small town life. Duke finds his own way when he starts a town baseball team, but before he heads back to Chicago, two drifters out for revenge take what doesn't belong to them.

The story comes from 4 different perspectives, Duke, Ellie Jane, Ned Clovis, who owns the local feed store and is in love with Ellie Jane, and Morris Bennett, a 12 year old Negro boy who finds he is a natural at baseball. I really enjoyed the unique perspective of each character. Definitely a good read!

Saints in LimboI was not on a roll, however, with the attention grabbers. I know that Saints in Limbo by River Jordan comes highly acclaimed and has already received the positive attention of readers and critics alike, however, I could only make myself read the first eight chapters...and that was pushing it. I guess I kept hoping that it would get better and really draw me in, but it didn't, and I wasn't.

To be fair, here is the summary:
Ever since her husband Joe died, Velma True’s world has been limited to what she can see while clinging to one of the multicolored threads tied to the porch railing of her home outside Echo, Florida.

When a mysterious stranger appears at her door on her birthday and presents Velma with a special gift, she is rattled by the object’s ability to take her into her memories–a place where Joe still lives, her son Rudy is still young, unaffected by the world’s hardness, and the beginning is closer than the end. As secrets old and new come to light, Velma wonders if it’s possible to
be unmoored from the past’s deep roots and find a reason to hope again.

I guess it just wasn't the type of story that I'm really sucked into. I don't know what was really missing. Maybe it sounds like it is right up your ally. If it does, and you read it, let me know how it ends, because I know I won't be sticking around long enough to find out. :-)