Thursday, January 29, 2015

Deep Down Dark

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Hector Tobar has written a stirring account of the 33 Chilean miners who were trapped in a collapsed mine more than 2,000 feet below the surface. For 69 days! Can you imagine? In August 2010, these miners traveled underground for what they thought would be a 12-hour shift. At some point during that day, the mountain rumbled, and a large stone, estimated to be twice as heavy as the Empire State Building, fell and blocked the only exit from the mine. For the first 17 days of their ordeal, the miners had no idea if rescue was even a possibility. They had only a small amount of food, and not much light other than their battery-operated head lamps. Unknown to them, workers on the surface were scrambling to devise a rescue plan. The government became involved, and mine experts from around the world gathered to help. On the 17th day, a team finally broke through with a drill making a small hole in an area in which they had "guessed" the men would be. From that point on, the men had hope and could receive notes and supplies from the surface. The fact that you may have already seen the news accounts and know the final outcome doesn't detract from the immense readability and suspense of Deep Down Dark. While underground, the men took an oath to protect their story and decide as a group what book and movie rights would be given. Tobar is the author they chose to tell their story. He spent hours interviewing the men, family members, rescuers, and mine officials to piece together a narrative that is factual but also wonderfully personal from many viewpoints. Even if you normally don't read nonfiction, you will enjoy this book.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Steadfast Heart


     This book is the first in a series, Brides of Seattle and set up for the continuing story.    There are four main characters, Lenore, Kolbein, Abianna & Wade.  Plus let's not forget the "3 Aunts" who took Abianna in as a young child & run a "Bride School."  

    Lenore's father is trying to marry her off to a gentleman, more his age than hers.   Lenore knows she much take action quickly.
Than the is Abianna, who lives with the "aunts", and is Lenore best friend and is force to attend the Bride school, but is more interested in what is going on in the world instead of learning to keep house.

    Kolbein came from Seattle to find his sister.  Thinking that she was going to attend the Bride school, he first looks for her there.  Never expecting to find two lovely young woman, make that one lovely woman and one chatty woman.  Wade is a wagon maker who has made it his job to keep up with Adianna and keep her out of trouble.  Well-defined characters bring the story to a beautiful garden of personalities and events

     I enjoyed reading Steadfast Heart and look forward to the second book of this series.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Tuesday's Gone by Nicci French

Thanks to a well read patron, I have found a new author.  This is Nicci French's sixteenth novel, the second starring psychotherapist Freda Klein.  Freda lives in London and has become involved in helping Det. Chief Inspector Karlsson and his team solve murders.  She has a sister-in-law who is the antithesis of herself, a niece and a lover who has just moved too far away.  So she is somewhat at loose ends, when she is asked to give her opinion on a woman found in a dirty, odoriferous apartment with a dead man who has had a finger removed.  The woman makes no sense when questioned, and it is determined that the dead man was just one of her "collections" she had found in the street. 
Through Freda's persistence, it is learned that the dead man was a con man who stole someone else's name and possibly the money of many others.  But who killed him?  This is a dark and brooding novel with a touch of foreboding.  Freda must help her sister-in-law deal with a divorce from her own brother and help her niece deal with her parents neglect.  She takes long walks alone down London streets to help deal with her own turmoil regarding the murder.  Karlsson is dealing with his own personal problems, budget cuts and a staff who don't want help from Freda.
My mistake was in picking this second book before reading the first one, as I now know more about the murder solved in Blue Monday and will not need to read it.  I admire and like Freda.  She is caring enough to help those who were conned, but she finds that she herself can also be manipulated.  Nicci French is the writing team of husband and wife, Nicci Gerard and Sean French.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

A.D. 30

Ted Dekker is at the top of my list of fantastic authors. He does not disappoint in A.D.30 which is an excellent historical fiction. Very dissimilar from his other novels, this one is nevertheless just as captivating.

The main character, Maviah, was an illegitimate child of a father who cast her to the slave traders as an infant. In her life she suffered - she was a slave - she was a woman - she was an outcast.  When Maviah becomes with child, she is sent to live with her father's people again, as a slave. It is here an enemy of her father attacks and in the event her infant son is tossed out a window to his death and her father is disfigured and imprisoned.  It is Maviah who is asked to deliver them - the very ones who had turned her out. She accepts her mission, though she will be held in dungeons and be blinded in the process.

Two travel companions: Judah, a Jewish man who sees Maviah as a queen, and Saba, a strong and caring slave who will eventually sees her that way as well. The mission takes them to the private and dangerous quarters of King Herod. Here, Maviah must present herself as a queen. But does she think herself a queen, or an unworthy slave, a victim?

Dungeons, beatings, kings, journeys....through it all they are led to Yeshua, the Messiah. Maviah will face her anger, hatred and grievances as the result of meeting this mystic of 30 A.D. And she is called to surrender. But how? How does one surrender it all? One word......

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Acceptance is the third and final book in the Southern Reach trilogy by Jeff VanderMeerMany readers report it reminds themof the first season of Lost where strange events and even stranger wildlife was present.  The first book "Annihilation" follows the story of the biologist and the other team members as they entered Area X  and document the strange writings and other horrific events that occur.  Authority focuses on the new director, Control, and the outdated government complex charged with the mandate to keep an eye on Area X and for getting information out of the biologist. In Acceptance, a new expedition has been sent to Area X including the biologist and Control.  Control They are determined to deal with what is going on even if it kills one or both of them.  They are also in search of the biologist's husband.  If you remember, he went back to the area in Annihilation. Of course it is possible the biologist also known as Ghost Bird is already dead and what we see now is her avatar.  

This book connects the first two.  It covers more of the early days of  Area X and the events leading up to the twelfth expedition.  It tells the stories of those portrayed in Annihilation such as the lightkeeper and how his presence at the inception of Area X influenced the events to come. Each character's actions and motivations are filled in.  You learn that the area is free of heavy metals, pollutants and and water and air are pure. It is also hostile to humans.

As in Annihilation, the language is beautiful and flowing.  You feel as though you have been transformed to a beautiful, and dangerous foreign world.  Although the entire mystery of Area X is not so much solved in Acceptance, enough of the questions are answered so you feel satisfied.  You do regret leaving this beautiful world full of possibilities.