Thursday, November 27, 2014

Those Who Wish Me Dead (Michael Koryta)

Having read and liked Michael Koryta's So Cold the River a few years back, I was happy that my book club selected his Those Who Wish Me Dead. It has the same level of high suspense but with more of an outdoor survivalist atmosphere.

Teenage Jace has witnessed a gruesome murder near his house, and now the perpetrators are out to make sure he doesn't speak (if you know what I mean). Jace is whisked away to hide in the mountains, where he attends a survival camp for troubled boys, led by Ethan. The only problem is that the murderers, two ultra creepy brothers, know the general whereabouts of Jace and will stop at nothing to find him. The novel becomes quite the game of cat and mouse, with a lot of characters interacting to either harm Jace or save him.

Those Who Wish Me Dead has some real heart-stopping moments, with almost everyone's life in danger at some point. There's a lot of foreshadowing, which makes it easy to tell who is going to make it out of the mountains and who's not. However, there are a lot of parts that I didn't see coming, and those are the best kind of reads.


Sunday, November 16, 2014

The Matchmaker (Hilderbrand)

Elin Hilderbrand is definitely now getting the recognition she deserves in the literary realm.  I've always said that her books are great for the beach as "chick lit", but also just as ideal for curling up with next to a fire.  I call her the "just one more chapter" author; the late-night minutes tick by but you just have to see what's going to happen to these beloved characters. The Matchmaker is no different.

Hilderbrand's novels all take place on Nantucket but are very different from each other.  In The Matchmaker, Dabney Kimball Beech is married to John Boxmiller "Box" Beech, but her heart has always been with Clendenin Hughes, a journalist who moved away from Nantucket a long time ago.  Box has been raising Dabney and Clendenin's daughter, Agnes, as his own, but now Clendenin is back in Nantucket.  Dabney, who has set up a multitude of other couples, now must make a decision between the two while dealing with her own personal tragedy.

I pretty much sobbed uncontrollably for the last few chapters, and that is purely due to Hilderbrand making you care so much about these characters.  Heartbreaking read.


Reunion (Hannah Pittard)

I picked up Hannah Pittard's Reunion because it was on one of those lists.  You know...the list of books that you absolutely MUST read or risk missing out on something great?  The great thing about Reunion is that it's a pretty quick read.  The not-so-great thing is that it's a forgettable one.

Kate Pulaski is sitting in an airplane waiting for it to take off when she receives a phone call that her father has killed himself.  Since she never had a good relationship with her dad, she is more shocked than upset by the news and does not even want to return for the funeral.  Only after being convinced by her two older siblings does she decide to come back, and once there, must deal with lots of family secrets (including a few big ones of her own).

I can't quite pinpoint where Reunion falls flat, and I wish there was a little more to it.  The story feels like it doesn't have a purpose, meandering about a lot and ending quite abruptly.  However, this is one of those novels that has a lot of great reviews, so if the premise sounds interesting to you, definitely give it a try.  This is just one reviewer's opinion.


Sunday, November 9, 2014

Cutting for Stone (Abraham Verghese)

Wow, what a journey I’ve been on for the past few months.  The cover of Abraham Verghese’s Cutting for Stone always caught my eye at the bookstore, but it wasn’t until recently that I picked it up.  It took a very long time to read, not just because it’s close to 700 pages, but also because the language is so beautiful that you just want to savor every moment of it.

Cutting for Stone begins with Sister Mary Joseph Praise and Thomas Stone as strangers on a ship.  They both end up in Addis Ababa, working at a hospital together, and secretly fall in love with each other.  Sister does not tell anyone that she is pregnant and dies giving birth to twins.  Stone doesn’t want anything to do with the babies who caused Sister’s death.  He simply disappears for years and years, and Hema and Ghosh (who also work at the hospital) raise the two boys as their own.  The reader literally follows the boys throughout their lives, from birth all the way up to their adult lives as doctors.  And believe me, you’ll be so glad you took this journey with them.

This is not a frivolous novel for the beach or vacation, but it will take you on a roller coaster ride, making you feel every emotion there is. I highly recommend Cutting for Stone for the gorgeous read it is.