Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed

This is the incredible story of Cheryl, a 26 year old woman who had never been backpacking before she set out on a 1, 100 mile hike on the Pacific Crest Trail. Recently divorced from her husband, she quit her waitressing job, sold most of her belongings, and purchased almost everything she could possibly think of for her three-month journey. Besides all her gear, she also needed to carry about 24 lbs of water and did it all in a pair of hiking boots which were a size too small, something she realized after much pain and injury.

All in all this was a recipe for disaster, but fortunately for the reader, it was also a recipe for a spectacular book. “Wild” is a breathtaking adventure tale and a profound meditation on the nature of grief and survival. As the book unfolds, Cheryl tells the parallel stories of her past family life and the day-to -day struggles and triumphs of her three-month hike. The reviewer found Cheryl’s wilderness experience very exciting as she encounters bears, rattlesnakes, ice, record snow and predatory men. If you are looking for a gripping, well-written adventure story with depth and humanity, this is the book for you.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

XO by Jeffrey Deaver

Kayleigh Towne is riding high in her career as a country singer, but her fame has attracted some highly unwelcome attention. She can deal with ordinary fan letters and hate mail, but this new fan believes Kayleigh's form-letter replies to their emails are coded messages of undying love and desperate pleas for rescue from her entourage. With these new unwanted attentions unnerving her, and then, the head of her road crew is murdered, Kayleigh's friend Katherine Dance, a California Bureau of Investigation agent, offers to help. 

It quickly becomes clear that whoever has Kayleigh in their sights is very clever, and as always, Deaver crafts a twisty plot, so just when you think everything's been neatly wrapped up, you realize that there are too many pages left in the book, and that your understanding of what's been going on is about to take a swift and unexpected turn. 
Jeffrey Deaver is usually a very good read, but this book is exceptional. Deaver is highly skilled at anticipating what readers will think, and then twisting their expectations. His characters motivations, especially the villains, can also turn at the drop of a hat, so be warned: no one is ever safe, and no one can be trusted. Expect to stay up past midnight to finish reading XO.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

The Orchardist by Amanda Coplin

This debut novel by Amanda Coplin is thoughtfully written and brings to life the experience of life set in rural Washington State in the early 20th century. 

William Talmadge who’s spent 40 years tending his apple and apricot orchard in a high isolated valley, has his solitude came to an abrupt end when two pregnant teenage girls show up and draw on his compassion. 

Throughout the story, William is also befriended by a local herbalist, and a band of wild horse traders.

Although there is tragedy and struggle, as William’s mother would say, “You belong to the earth, and the earth is hard, ” his greatest rewards are in the relationships that develop. 

The characters are gritty, realistic and all too human. The style of writing is very suited to the sense of an era drawing to a close. The reviewer thoroughly enjoyed reading this novel and would highly recommend this book.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Soulless: Book 1 of The Parasol Protectorate Series by Gail Carriger

Soulless is a fun and campy romance set in the steam punk Victorian era, in England. In this alternate universe, England has accepted vampires and werewolves into polite society.

Our main character Alexia Tarabotti, is a feisty and clever 26 year old spinster, with revoltingly independent tendencies, and an unfortunate complexion inherited from her dead Italian father. Well attending a ball, she is rudely attacked and defends herself, accidentally killing the vampire. 

Suddenly, Alexia finds herself as the main suspect in several mysterious disappearances and the lead investigator, Lord Conall Maccon, happens to be a powerful and arrogant Alpha werewolf.

Will Alexia be able to solve the murders before she suffers further embarrassment? Is there enough tea in the world to civilize Lord Maccon? Will Alexia’s best friend Ivy ever develop better taste in hats?

Find out the answers to these burning questions and more in this light and enjoyable read!