Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Girl in the Garden

The Girl in the Garden by Kamala Nair evokes a fairy-tale like atmosphere that I enjoyed after reading about zombies in London!  It was a refreshing change from some of the books I've been reading lately.

Rakhee Singh is a woman who finds herself on a plane to India after leaving her fiancee with a note explaining that she has kept secrets from him, and she must go to India in order to resolve issues that have haunted her since a summer trip to India with her mother at age 11.

That summer trip exposed Rakhee to a whole new world, one very different from her life in Minnesota with her father, a doctor, and her mother, who suffered from bouts of depression and began receiving mysterious letters from India that she hid from her husband.  Who wrote the letters?  

Rakhee's journey back to her mother's family, and the summer she spends in India, are full of secrets that Rakhee is determined to figure out.  The tales of the creature in the jungle behind the family home have her curious, and soon she is wandering down the pathway to a place that contains a family secret only a few know about.  The author's descriptions of the flowers, the sultry summer sun, and the sights, smells, and sounds of India are amazing, and keep you turning the pages.  

What is the secret in the garden?  Can Rakhee figure it all out, and keep her parents' marriage together?  What haunts her from that summer?  This was an enjoyable first novel, and something different for me to read.  This is a good summer read and for anyone who is a fan of novels like Saving CeeCee Honeycutt, The Secret Life of Bees, or novels set in exotic locations.

The Dead by Charlie Higson

 I have to say, I am not a zombie fan, but Charlie Higson can tell one hell of a story. Seriously--this book is not just for teens. Anyone who is a fan of zombie tales needs to pick up this series. The Dead is a prequel to The Enemy, which tells the story about a horrible plague that attacks anyone over 16. They either die or turn into child eating zombies. The Dead starts out a year before The Enemy, and you meet a whole new group of kids who start out fighting their way from a school in the country into London, where they realize there will be more food and better shelter. Along the way, they meet Greg, an adult with a bus who gets them to London. Greg is not a nice man, however, and between his ominous ideas for survival, and the inability of any adult to escape the plague, you have a built in time bomb. You will be on the edge of your seat reading this story! What I love about this novel is how well written it is, and how the plot neatly brings you to the beginning of the first novel, The Enemy. The characters are all great kids who are faced with the devastating knowledge that their parents are either dead or zombies, and they have no one to rely on but themselves for survival. You will be hard pressed to have just one favorite character and yes, there are a few tissue moments. I cannot wait for the third novel! A well written teen series that any fan of apocalyptic novels or zombie novels would enjoy. Disregard that fact that it is a teen novel and pick this one up. And read The Enemy first!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Graveminder by Melissa Marr

Melissa Marr's first adult novel. What an imagination she has--not your usual supernatural tale. Becka returns to the small town her grandmother lived in after getting a phone call that her grandmother has died. What she soon finds out is that her grandmother was murdered in her home, and by someone who was not "tended to" when she died. Daisha is now roaming the town, killing people and getting stronger. Becka and Byron, the local funeral director, find themselves taking on the roles of the Graveminder and the Undertaker, two people who keep the dead in their graves, and are bound together by a love that cannot be shaken. A contract signed between the town and "Mr. D" hundreds of years before keeps everyone from leaving town in return for safety and good health. It's up to Becka and Byron to keep the contract, or all hell breaks loose and the dead don't stay dead.

This is a great mix of supernatural, old fashioned rituals, and the choices people must make in order to keep others safe--sometimes sacrificing their own happiness for the greater good.

I hope there are more stories coming--I will certainly read them.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Giveaway to Celebrate 50th Book...and the Winner is...

Jewels!  Yep, Jewels is the lucky winner of her choice of a Barnes and Noble gift card or an Amazon gift card.  You decide, Jewels!

I will be emailing Jewels for her address so her gift card can be on it's way to buy more books.

Thanks to everyone for sending your comments.  I always love to see what everyone is reading!

Onward to 100.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Bucolic Plague by Josh Kilmer-Purcell

I've been reading a lot of teen and adult titles that were weighing me down a bit.  Nothing too dark or deep, but just stories that I feel like I've been reading over and over again for the past few months.  So, a friend loaned me a copy of The Bucolic Plague and I decided to take a break from my usual reading and dive headfirst into this.

I am so glad I did.  I loved this book!  Two men from Manhattan, Josh and his partner Brent, get lost driving through the New York countryside and end up in the small town of Sharon Springs.  Outside of Sharon Springs, they see the Beekman House, a beautiful 200 year old mansion that's for sale.  It's set on 60 acres of land, has a barn, and needs some loving owners.

Josh and Brent decide to buy the mansion as a weekend getaway.  They've been carefully saving money and living below their means, working very good jobs:  Brent at Martha Stewart Omnimedia, and Josh as an Ad executive.  This is their chance to get away and enjoy being gentlemen farmers.

Soon enough, Josh and Brent find the Beekman House taking over their lives.  An ever increasing to do list,  a barn full of goats, and a budding business selling goat milk soap--all the while living and working in New York City during the week-- starts to strain their relationship and their desire to live a simple life at The Beekman House.

If you have Discovery Network's Planet Green Channel, you can see their antics on their show, The Beekman Boys.  They also have a website:  Beekman1802 that is everything Beekman.  I thoroughly enjoyed this book, about two people who try to have it all, and are overwhelmed.  Sometimes the journey is better than the destination, and that is true for Josh and Brent.  It's funny, touching, and full of great stories about the people of Sharon Springs, attempts at becoming goat farmers, and growing a ginormous garden of heritage vegetables.  Pick it up, and you will soon begin looking at your yard, and plotting out a garden for yourself.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Giveaway to Celebrate 50th Book

photo credit

I'm finishing up my 50th book today!  Like I've said before, this is the first year I've kept track of what I've read since January 1st.  While I've made a dent in my reading list, there is still so much more waiting at home to read.  

But with that in mind, I'm celebrating reaching the half-way point in my 100 Book Reading Challenge.  I'm giving away a gift card to either Barnes and Noble or Amazon.  You win, you decide which one you want.  

How to enter this giveaway?  Post a comment telling me what your favorite book has been so far this year.  If you haven't joined my blog, please do so!  If I may say so myself, it's a great blog, and I read every book I talk about--no one else helps me.

I will pick a winner next Monday, May 16th.  You have a week!  

Friday, May 6, 2011

Reading Log Jam

Photo Credit
This is what my mind looks like.  Jammed with books.  I'm reading three books right now--all are halfway done, and I have had a busy week where I haven't been able to sit down and read for any chunk of time.  This weekend looks to be the same as the rest of my week--work, gardening, and everything but reading!

The weather is finally warming up, so that means I can head outside to tackle my Spring list.  No more cozy days tucked on the couch, sipping coffee and devouring a great story.  Have to wait until the Fall to do that.  Now I will be able to sit outside sipping iced tea and devouring a good book.  After mowing, watering flowers, and doing all that summer stuff.  The grass doesn't care if I just have to finish a book.  

Two exciting authors are coming to our Barnes and Noble in May.  Jeff Galloway is going to be at our store tonight to talk about running and sign books.  He's a former Olympian who is famous in the running world for his run/walk method and trains hundreds of people a year to run marathons and half marathons.  I'm looking forward to meeting him and hearing him speak.

On May 18th, Sandra Dallas is also going to be at our Barnes and Noble.  I love her books.  Her new book, The Bride's House takes place in Georgetown, Colorado and involves the stories of three generations of women who call the Bride House their home.  It's one of the books I'm halfway through, and I'm enjoying it.  Sandra has written many other historical fiction novels, so check her out.  Any one of them is good and are perfect summer reads.

Let's hope the log jam of books in my head will soon be gone, and I can move on to even more books.  #50 is coming up soon, so I'll be announcing a giveaway to celebrate my milestone.  It really is amazing to keep track of what you read during the year.  I hope you are doing the same!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Start of the Book Club

If you are a follower of this blog and don't know about The Talking Leaf Book Club, click on the link and sign up to start reading our first book, The Paris Wife.

This is the perfect book club if you don't have the time to go to a meeting, but want to read and discuss books!  I'll be posting a few questions each week for you to think about as you read, and feel free to post a comment about the book anytime.  So hop on over, 'cause today is May 1st, and The Paris Wife by Paula McLain is our book for May.  You have all month to read it at your own pace.

Have fun!