Friday, July 18, 2008


by Connie Willis

This is a gripping story. The characters are realistic and compelling. Willis manages to tell this story about NDE research, that has you longing for an answer, yet nearly consumed with compassion for her characters.

Joanne is working on researches NDEs from a scientific and psychological point of view. She is hampered by the intrusion of an author who is more interested in selling books and saying what he thinks people want to hear than in producing an honest report of what happens during these near death experiences. He leads patients on and implants ideas, thus contaminating the information Joanne is trying to garner.

The arrival on the scene of yet another NDE reasearcher would seem improbable in a single hospital setting, yet somehow Dr Wrights appearance is blended carefully enough into the storyline that it makes perfect sense. He is researching near death experiences from a physical cause point of view. Joanna teams up with Dr Wright and things start happening pretty cquickly.

Wright and Joanna carefully compile a lot of information that seems to be going nowhere. Their team of volunteers begins to fall apart. Even though they are working with the same information, it looks like they are both being led in different directions.

This is an edge of the seat read for anyone who likes Willis, or is interested in NDE's. The ending is just that. I was completely unable to guess where it would all lead until the last page ended. And still, She leaves it to you to draw your own conclusions . I heartily recommend this book!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Lace Reader

by Brunonia Barry

Beginning this story is like leaning back into a soft feather bed on a winters night. I am breathless with anticipation as each page ends and I turn to the next. I want more, and I want it now. But also, I dread coming to the end.

I feel the breeze blowing my hair back from my face, and smell that northern sea. There is nothing like it. I watch the bricks of Salem passing under my feet. I am there.

Towner is the main character. Her story is no less compelling or real than those of the others in the book. Eva, May, even Ann one of the more renowned witches in town all have their own equally strong personalities and stories. Mostly, it is about the Whitney family, life in a small town, and the injuries we all suffer as we make our way through life. It is the story of life through the eyes of Sophya, who takes the the name Towner in a desperate attempt to distance herself from things she cannot bear to remember.

May lives on Yellow Dog Island, and her home is a sanctuary for abused women. Emma, her half sister lives there as well. They work the land for food, and they make lace. The Whitney family woman all read lace. It is a family gift, or curse depending on how each woman sees the lace.

Towner is living in California until a call from her brother draws her to her home in Salem. A home only minutes away by boat from Yellow Dog Island. Once she is again face to face with where she spent her childhood, she has to deal with family mysteries both current and in the past. Facing these mysteries, learning to accept the abilities she had to read people, and to see them after they have passed on is a fascinating and intriguing read. No less intriguing is the story of Towner's healing.

Like the most beautiful examples of lace itself, this story is woven, interwoven and no thread is left hanging free. It pulls them all together to create a work of art to be cherished. A piece to look at again and again merely because it exists.

The Resilient Child: Seven Essential Lessons for Your Child's Happiness and Success

by George S. Everly

The most important and compelling information this book provides, is what it calls the seven essential lessons that every person should learn. The lessons, which are each presented as a chapter in the book are:

1) The Value of Friends, Mentors, and the Support of Others
2) The Three Most Difficult Decisions
3) Teach Your Children to Take Responsibility for Their Actions
4) Making the Most Important Investment of a Lifetime: Invest in Your Health
5) Learn the Power of Optimism
6) The Importance of Faith
7) Follow a Moral Compass and Cultivate Integrity

In order to write this review, I was going to choose the one which I thought to be the most important. I found that I was unable to choose.

In a simple, clear and concise manner, this book explains to parents who feel that they are floundering without a manual to raise this little person, that very guide. In a non-judgmental way it suggests how to implement these lessons and make them a part of life.

This is going to be on my list of favorite things to give new parents. I will be sure to tell them that these are the instructions that should have been included at birth

Monday, July 7, 2008

Sea Born Women

by BJ Mountford
I wanted to like this book. I kept it on my shelf until I had a whole day to savor it. The blurbs and reviews were good enough to fuel my anticipation.

Sea Born Women was okay. I was interested in the story. It was fairly well told, and had a bit of everything from history, to mystery to ghosts. It was somewhat unrealistic in my opinion in the portrayal of how often an island such as the one portrayed was visited. The park department had enough employee, and it was those characters that rounded out the story. Each of them was in my opinion, more believable than Bert, the main character.

She had a completely superfluous daughter who was mentioned twice and needlessly. I do not understand what the pint was. But if my own mother was in harms way and neglected to get in touch with me I would be quite upset. But then again, Bert was rather busy fantasizing about the male Park Service employees and doing ridiculously stupid things like wandering around in the dark of night where a previous volunteer such as she died mysteriously.

Bert was a disappointment to me. She was over fifty, yet acted like a simpering juvenile when men were around. Then she did something so incredibly stupid, I kept hoping they would just let her lie in the bed she had made for herself! Sadly it was not to be. She was rescued and back in bed with one of her colleagues in short order.

Is it worth reading? If it comes your way, give it a read, but I would be surprised to find it on anyones favorite reads list.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

The Safety of Secrets

by Delaune Michel

This is a story about two young women who grew up together, both from dysfunctional families.
Patricia and Fiona met in first grade and became best friends. It was a friendship that endured throughout childhood, and even through both working in the dog eat dog world of acting. They were two little girls who learned to help each other through all of the bad times, and to share all of the good times.

But life often finds a way to come between the best of friends.

This is a story of how Patricia and Fiona find their way through life changing events, and what happens in their friendship in the end. This book is entertaining, the characters endearing and real. Some of us will find ourselves knowing just how the experiences described felt for us, others will wish they had a friend just like one of these women. And some will smile, knowing that they do.

I enjoyed this book. It is more than chic lit, it is a story for women about women. I would recommend it to a friend.