The House at the Edge of Night by Catherine Banner

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Spanning nearly a century this novel follows the lives of the Esposito family who live on Castellamare, an island off the coast of Italy. At the center of the island’s life is a bar covered with Bougainvillea flowers called the House at the Edge of Night.

This story takes you into the lives of an eccentric group of villagers that are in many ways isolated from the outside world yet still affected by what happens through wars, economic downfalls, threat of fascism  and illnesses. Not to mention the intertwined relationships if the residents that fuel the fires of love and hate across generations.

This story meanders like one would suspect life on Castellamare would do. Yet the slow pace keeps you engaged as the people of this island come alive in the twists and turns of the story. I loved everything about this book from the first to the last page. The story revolves around Amedeo, an orphan, a foundling. He comes to the island in 1914 when he is 40 years old to take the position of island Doctor. The plot pivots is Amedeo’s love of stories – stories of saints and miracles, of fantasy and curses and real stories of the past. Amadeo carries a journal where he records all the stories that he hears through his life. This collection becomes an heirloom for his grand children.

Catherine Banner has written an epic story that has the potential to be a classic.

 

 

 

I’m Thinking about Ending Things by Iain Ried

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There are three types of people in the world. Those who have read the book and love it, those who have read this book and hate it or those who have not yet read this book.

I loved it. When you read it you are certain that you have fallen in to an episode of the twilight zone. Nothing is as it appears. The story revolves around a girl on a day trip with her boyfriend to meet his parents. She is thinking about ending things. It is the things that you have no idea what she means. Is she breaking up with him? Is she considering suicide? It is a mystery. Even at the end of the book it may still be a mystery if you don’t pick up on all the subtle hints. I actually read this book through twice be fore I had the ah ha moment and figured out most of the plot. Though very intense, it is an easy read. I read it through the two times over one weekend.

A word of caution! Danger Will Robinson!

There are web sites that discuss the book and the theories around it. Please read the book first before you read any of the theories. It will be a better ride to just go in to the book blind. Please do not cheat yourself of the experience of this roller coaster adventure of this book. Reading fan sites before reading a book is right up there with my aversion of seeing a movie before reading the book.

DON’T DO IT!

I am afraid that if I keep talking I will spoil this for you so I will just leave you with this thought.  This book is deeply haunting and irresistibly unnerving. It will stay with you long after the last page is turned and you put the book down.

 

 

 

Indomitable (The Push Chronicles Book 1) By J B Garner

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“Reality is subjective if you only have enough belief to change it!”

~ Indomitable by J B Garner

 

The first book in a series, Indomitable introduces the reader to Irene Roman, an unlikely super hero. She was forced in to survival which in turn forced her to become a hero. This story reminds me of The Rook by Daniel O’Malley in that the female lead is an unlikely hero. She is intuitive, strong and brave. All the best qualities for a female hero.

What I liked about this book is Garner’s use of words in ways that force us to rethink language. For example, in the story the world is now inhabited by people with super powers. These people are called the Pushed. The concept was a little hard to grasp at first but they were pushed in to these powers by a force that caused this altered state. The reader is “pushed” to accept this new use of the term. This concept of manipulating words and their meanings to fit the story is a cleaver talent that Garner uses well.

One thing that was difficult for me was some of the passages that reflect Irene’s thought and some of the lines she speaks do not sound authentically female. I found myself thinking, no woman would say that. It is my biased female point of view. As a writer I get how difficult it is to write in a voice that is not your norm. It is not easy.

I recommend this book to anyone who likes sci-fi, fantasy and super hero genres. It is a climactic combination of all of those and more. Though it took me a bit to get my head around the concepts, it was well worth the time and energy it took to devour it. It caused me to consider that life is not always what you presume it to be.  I look forward to reading the rest of the series. Keep writing interesting thought-provoking books Mr. Garner.  I am a fan.

I admit it…

I do not like to admit I was wrong, but I was very wrong. I have a certain taste in books. I know I can hear some of you say with much skepticism, “Sure you do.” While it is true I read in and out of several genres, I do have a preference when it comes to story lines. You won’t see me read many westerns or astronomical sci-fi novels. I steer away from the Harlequin type romances and the super sweet chick lit. I also hate to admit that I do, sometimes, judge books by their covers, though I am getting better at not doing that. Call me a recovering cover snob, if you will.

I had to rethink my methodology for choosing books when I came across Debbie Macomber’s The Inn at Rose Harbor. I had totally not read anything by Macomber because of the sweet covers and descriptions. I thought that this sugar sweet fiction would be uninteresting to me and not be worth my time. I was under the misconception that all her novels should be in the chic lit category. I was emphatically wrong.
When I had finished reading the story of the young widow who left her home and made a new life for herself as proprietor of a bed and breakfast I was left with the need to read the entire series. I fell in love with the people of the scenic Pacific Northwest town called Cedar Cove. I had to find out what happened to Jo Marie. Did she ever get all the answers about her Army husband’s death? Did her guests find the healing that is offered at Rose Harbor?

Much to my astonishment Macomber’s books were nothing like what I had envisioned. They are riddled with full rich scenery, deeply profound situations and intricate characters. It is certainly not chick lit. Macomber weaves amazing stories with people you will not easily forget in this series. It makes me wonder if I was wrong about her books entirely. Just maybe I have been wrong about other authors too! Oh my! What a thought!
I will read more of her books and I will venture off in to other uncharted territory of reading. I will let you know if I continue to shock myself by enjoying books that I never before even considered. Maybe you should try it. Risk being wrong about what you like to read. Who knows, maybe you will surprise yourself too.

There are eight titles in the series, but three are what I call in-betweens that really don’t add much to the story. Here are the titles in the Rose Harbor series and my library has them all! I bet your library has them as well.

0.5. When First They Met (2012)
1. The Inn at Rose Harbor (2012)
2. Rose Harbor in Bloom (2013)
3. Love Letters (2014)
3.5. Falling for Her (2015)
4. Silver Linings (2015)
5. Sweet Tomorrows (2016)

 

 

Delicious! by Ruth Reichl

I absolutely adored this book. It is layers of romance with a side of yummy topped with a sprinkle of mystery. Billie Breslin leaves her family, moves to New York for a career as an assistant to the editor of Delicious a long standing well loved food magazine. She is swept up in the Greenwich Village food community. A deli proprietor and his family accept her as one of their own. When the magazine ceases publication she is retained to answer complaint letters by maintaining the magazine’s satisfaction guarantee. That is every recipe a success or you get a refund. Being in the building alone, after the other staff members have left, she stumbles on a hidden library and discovers a series of letters between a previous Chef contributor employed by the magazine and a 12-year-old girl during World War II. Normally I’m not fond of books in which part of the story takes place in letters, but  I found the letters from Lulu to James Beard to be charming. Billie falls in love with the story of the girl and she falls in love with an architect historian who is hired to appraise the magazine’s office building that is actually an old federal mansion.

There is so much more to this story that I feel I can’t share for fear of ruining it for you, dear reader. Please do not listen to the negative reviews of this book and read it. I almost missed this sweet story because of reviews I read. I am thankful I took a chance and experienced the deliciousness of it all for myself.

 

 

The Rook by Daniel O’Malley

As a librarian my ears perk up when I hear a person say, “I loved that book.” I especially pay close attention when that person is a fellow librarian. The Rook is one of those books. I heard rumblings from the librarians about it that morphed into praises. I decided to check it out, literally. I checked out the book on cd.

The story hit me as a cross between Men in Black and Ghostbusters.  A woman wakes up in a garden, surrounded by several men in latex gloves, and with no memory of who she is or how she got there. Fortunately, Myfanwy (rhymes with “Tiffany”) Thomas left her future self letters. Myfanwy discovers that she is a Rook of the Checquy, a secret society who takes care of supernatural threats to Britain. The only problem is that someone  out to kill her.

I do not want to give any of this thrill ride way, so I will just say that if you like fantasy, thrillers you will like The Rook. If you like fantasy, thrillers, creepy horror with a strong female lead, you will love it.

Zero Day by David Baldacci

I finally got to read Zero Day, the first book in the John Puller series. It did not disappoint. I read the second book first, The Forgotten. I didn’t really know at the time that it was in a trilogy. All the way throughout that book there were references to things that happened in Virginia. I had to know. I had to find out. What happened in Virginia?

John Puller is a combat veteran and military investigator in the U.S. Army’s Criminal Investigation Division. In Zero Day Puller is out on a case in a remote, rural area in West Virginia coal country far from any military outpost. A brutal crime scene, a family slaughtered, a potential conspiracy that reaches far beyond the hills of West Virginia, leads Puller on the hunt for justice. John Puller is a mix of flawed compassion. He is realistic in a super hero sort of way.

The next and last book in the trilogy is The Escape, but it is NaNoWrimo. I am sure I won’t pick it up until December.