Tuesday, December 03, 2013
Time travel has long been a popular device used in fantasy and even some romance tales. Stephen Kiernan's debut novel, The Curiosity, takes a bit different approach. The Goodreads description of this book begins, "Michael Crichton meets The Time Traveler's Wife..." That is a perfect nutshell description of this book! The story involves a scientific expedition to the Arctic to probe for organic life within large ice masses. The project is funded by a wealthy pseudo-scientist who sees himself as something of a modern day Dr. Frankenstein, aiming to "regenerate" life from death, usually using small creatures, such as shrimp. When the team makes a totally unexpected discovery in the ice--a frozen man--the story takes a crazy turn and is dubbed The Lazarus Project. A media firestorm ensues, and the world is watching as Jeremiah Rice, a man who fell in the ice and drowned in 1906, is regenerated into a modern world. Dr. Kate Philo, a supervising scientist on the team, begins to wonder about the ethical quagmire they've embarked upon and at the same time becomes personally involved with the gentle Jeremiah. This is a fascinating and wholly original premise for a story, and it will sweep you right into the flow and make you think about the nature and sometimes competing needs of life and science. Is Jeremiah a scientific subject that demands examination, or a living being who deserves privacy? Whatever you decide, he is definitely a curiosity.
Friday, November 22, 2013
Cutting, or self-injury, a not so uncommon means today used to cope with one's gnawing inner emotional pain, is the topic of this precious fictional novel. In St. James', The Merciful Scar, you will learn about the pain and the method of cutters through one young woman who seeks relief from an incident that happened to her family in her early teens.
Kirsten Peterson is that woman. She is a young grad student who hopes to marry a long time boyfriend. That dream comes to a halt and Kirsten's world tumbles down. She responds in the manner she is used to - she cuts. She self-injures. However, this time it is different because this time Kirsten's cutting ends her up in a psych ward. From there she follows through on a suggestion to go to a Montana working ranch to get the much needed help she knows she needs. Frankie, an ex-nun, runs the ranch and cares for the hurting while providing a place for women such as Kirsten to face their hurtful memories and hopefully find an eventual healing. Also at this ranch are Emma and Andy, both with their own repressed memories and frozen lives. You will be cheering for each wounded character in this book.
A perfect book for those also driven to cut or those wanting to understand those who cut. For sure this book is a page turner and one of the best reads on my book list for some time!
Thursday, November 07, 2013
In the last Harry Hole novel, he was shot in the head and left for dead by his girlfriend's son. So is he alive in this new mystery? For much of the book, we don't know and if I tell you it will spoil the entire book. The serial murders in the book seem unsolvable. Policemen are being lured to the scene of a previously unsolved murder and then murdered themselves in the same manner. No clues or fibers are left behind. No one knows who will be next. Hole's fellow detectives Beate Lonn, Stale Aune and Katrine Bratt are in charge of solving the crime. Can they set a trap for the killer? Is the killer one of their own? Could it be the new Chief of Police, Mikael Bellman?
Nesbo leads us on wild goose chases and down dead end streets. There are several red herrings. But this is a book for those of us who love Harry Hole! Unfortunately I cannot tell you more, you must read the book. Nesbo's other characters are interesting and well developed. The villains are sexually perverted and or insane. And the ending leaves us with a taste of what is to come in the next book.
Sabrina, the college girl who was an Olympic-bound runner in high school, lives with shattered dreams due to an on going illness. She keeps her hurts to herself not wanting pity from anyone but at the same time hadn't really dealt with the changes this has brought in her life. She speaks of her faith in God, yet she can't seem to establish trust in Him or in people in general.
Brandy, the delinquent comes from a fractured home and doesn't know the meaning of love. She's bounced around without feeling the security and care of family until recently when her grandmother takes her into her home. Her wild nature gives no respect, even to her grandmother, as she makes poor choices in friends and attitude.
Running is the common thread that forces the two girls together, however, there is tension and dislike between them. Sabrina, who can no longer compete as a runner, is asked to coach Brandy, who is flippant regarding her ability to achieve what Sabrina wanted so badly. If Sabrina refuses this request of the judge, Brandy will find herself in Juvenile detention for a while.
I think this is a great book for anyone who is dealing with past hurts. I love the way Kathryn Cushman put the girls together to help both of them deal with their past and future.
It is 1970 in a small town in California. “Bean” Holladay is twelve and her sister, Liz, is fifteen when their artistic mother, Charlotte, a woman who “found something wrong with every place she ever lived,” takes off to find herself, leaving her girls enough money to last a month or two. When Bean returns from school one day and sees a police car outside the house, she and Liz decide to take the bus to Virginia, where their Uncle Tinsley lives in the decaying mansion that’s been in Charlotte’s family for generations.
The Holladays used to own the town's cotton mill, but all that's left is the decaying mansion where Charlotte's widowed brother still lives. Less cutesy eccentric than he first seems, Tinsley gives the girls the security they have missed. Bean soon discovers who her father was, and hears many stories about why their mother left Virginia in the first place. Because money is tight, Liz and Bean start babysitting and doing office work for Jerry Maddox, foreman of the mill in town—a big man who bullies his workers, his tenants, his children, and his wife. Bean adores her whip-smart older sister—inventor of word games, reader of Edgar Allan Poe, nonconformist. But when school starts in the fall, it’s Bean who easily adjusts and makes friends, and Liz who becomes increasingly withdrawn. And then something happens to Liz.
Jeannette Walls, has written a deeply moving novel about triumph over adversity and about people who find a way to love each other.