Friday, August 14, 2009

The Crying Tree by Naseem Rakha

As the title of this blog says, "One of the best books I've Read." So true about this one. This one kept me up until 2:20 AM last night/this morning and I'm dragging today, but what a great story. A family moves from Illinois to Oregon during the 1980's. For some reason Nate (the dad) wants to uproot his family and start over again. Once in Oregon, things go terribly wrong. Shep (their 15 year old son) is killed in their own home during a robbery. Irene (the mother) will never be the same after this horrific event. The killer is caught (19 year old Daniel) and put on death row. The family moves back to Illinois to be with family. After many years Irene writes to Daniel in prison and they begin a relationship of friendship (via mail). Nineteen years after the murder, the state of Oregon finalizes the execution of Daniel and nothing will ever be the same for Irene, Nate, or Daniel himself. This was such a well-written book and a heart-breaking story. For a first time author she really knocked it out of the park. I highly recommend this book. EXCELLENT!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

South of Broad by Pat Conroy

I have been hearing a lot about his book from Pat Conroy for the past several months. I guess it has been 14 years since his last book. I read both "Beach Music" and "Prince of Tides" and enjoyed them both. This book comes out on the 11th of August and I plan on reading it after the very funny "This Is Where I Leave You." Will post more later when I finish it.
Finished this book in a few days. I truly enjoyed the story. It is about Leo who has grown up in South Carolina. His older brother commits suicide and Leo ends up in an institution. When he gets out, he is destined to meet a group of friends that will take him through his lifetime. The book jumps to the 1980's when one of the high school friends returns to the group of Charleston friends in need of help to locate her brother who is dying. The adults rally and head to California to find their friend Trevor. It is a great story of friendship and overcoming the odds of hardship while growing up. I'm not sure this book is in the same category as Prince of Tides or Beach Music, but it was a enjoyable and entertaining read.

This Is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper

This was another book that I had read about in several different places and all of them gave it very positives reviews. I didn't know the author but thought I would give it a try. Boy am I glad I did. I just started the book and haven't finished but really enjoying it. It is pretty darn funny. Laugh out loud funny actually. It is about Judd who had recently left his wife because he caught her in bed with his boss. That scene was hysterical. Soon after his separation from this wife, his father dies and the family is called back home to spend the seven days of Shiva together. They are a Jewish family, but are pretty much non-participators. It is their dad's final wish that they spend the seven days together. There are 3 sons in the family and a daughter along with some spouses, some grandchildren, and a one of a kind mother who resides over the family. The interactions and conversations between the family members are so funny and so real. I will post more when I finish, but I think this is going to be a highlight of my summer reading.

The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson

Last summer I read the first book in this series which was called "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. It was a complicated story, but I really enjoyed it. I had heard a lot of positive press about this second book in the trilogy so I picked it up when it came out this month. It is 500 pages and I finished it in about three days. I really couldn't put it down. It brings back the two main characters of Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist. I thought this was better than the first book. It was pretty much non-stop action from page 1 to page 500. Lisbeth gets herself in a lot of trouble when three people she is connected with are murdered. Mikael knows she couldn't have done it (although he has his doubts) and sets out to help her solve many mysteries that are going on in this story. It is kind of hard to describe the plot because there are so many twists and turns and different characters. I sometimes have a hard time keeping everyone straight because the story takes place in Sweden and Swedish names are used. This is a great mystery series and keep you guessing until the very last page. I look forward to the third book in the series called "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest.

The Ravens by George Dawes Green

This book I literally pick up off the shelf based on the title and the cover. I read the book blurb and it sounded pretty good. Well, what a read it was. It was probably one of the most disturbing fiction books I've read in a long time. I'm not sure there was one redeeming character is this whole book, but like a car accident I couldn't stop looking/reading. I'm very curious to see what other readers think about this book? It begins with a family in the south who win a large lottery. A little over $300,000 million to be exact. They think they have hit the jackpot but little do they know their lives are about to take a turn. For the WORST of course. Two pretty bad guys hear about the win and decide they need to be a part of the winnings. Well, they take the family hostage and the rest of the story just spirals out of control from that point on. I really couldn't put this book down, but was also disturbed at the characters' actions and sometimes the story itself. It was definitely a page turner. Give it a try and let me know what you think!