Monday, April 27, 2015

Dreams of Joy

In Dreams of Joy, Lisa See continues the story of Pearl and May, with Pearl's daughter Joy.  Joy finds out a family secret that sends her reeling.  She is so angry with her mother and aunt that she runs away to Shanghai to find her father.  Her step-father has recently passed away (Pearl's husband) and they are all dealing with that grief and guilt.  You can read why when you read this book. The author takes us on a journey to China with vivid descriptions of the culture and people of Red China.  She writes with the detail that only someone who has been there and studied it extensively can do.  Pearl leaves for China to try to find Joy and repair their relationship in the light of newly uncovered information.  She does a good job of letting us see the worry and fear that Pearl has going back China after having left it 25 years ago.  And the innocence and naivete' of Joy as she strives to convince others that she can help rebuild China to become the "new" China.  I liked this book.  The story of Pearl and May begins in "Shanghai Girls" which I read a few years ago and liked it as well.  It is the story of Pearl and May growing up in Shanghai and their father's loss of fortune.  He sells them off as brides in arranged marriages to American men.  But that's another story!  I read reviews of Dreams of Joy to see what other readers thought and I found a mixture.  Some did not think it kept up the excellent writing that was in Shanghai Girls.  Others thought neither book was that great. Some liked one and not the other.  I happened to like both books and was caught up in the story so that I picked it up to continue as frequently as I could.  I recommend Dreams of Joy and give it five stars.  It is written so that you do not have to read Shanghai Girls first.  You can read either without the other and still get an excellent story from each one.  I am glad I read both.
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Friday, April 17, 2015

Georgia on Her Mind

Absolutely loved this book!  It is filled with the "life choice" uncertainty that we all feel at some point.  Macy Moore has just lost her job and her boyfriend!  She has spent her life staying away from her hometown of Beauty, Georgia in the years following her high school graduation.  She is determined not to return there to live, for any reason.  She has everything a young career woman wants;  status car, good job, girlfriends, boyfriends, nice apartment until it all falls apart in the space of one lousy day.  We see her faith deepen during the time she job hunts for a new position.  We see her stubbornness displayed when situations come together to lead her back home, but she will not give in.  I was surprised at the depth of this story and the thoughtful writing about her angst regarding her "failed life."  The author writes Macy's journey to a deeper relationship with God in a very genuine way.  This is not just a light and breezy read that you pick up to kill some time.  It speaks to our heart and our conscience.  I enjoyed it also because I am not always in the mood, or patient enough to dig into a big book with a deep story.  This novel had the depth and detail that kept me interested without the multiple layers of plot and countless characters.  I recommend "Georgia on Her Mind" and give it five stars!  This is my first Rachel Hauck novel and I will be checking out some of her other works.  

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Rachel Hauck. Georgia On Her Mind

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Buried Secrets by Irene Hannon

I was excited to get this book and begin reading it.  I like the title and what it could mean for a murder mystery read. "Buried Secrets"-it sounds exciting! After I started reading it, I was disappointed with enough of the book that I did not finish it through, page by page.  I skimmed it and read the last chapter to see if it was brought to a satisfactory end. It was.  My first twinge of discontent began with chapter one, after an intriguing prologue.  The two central characters spent the first four chapters dancing around their attraction to each other.  The author gave us their every thought as they became acquainted and sized one another up out of the corner of the eye.  The buried secret is unearthed in Chapter 1, but it seemed to take forever to get to the identification of said secret, let alone solving the crime.  By the end of Chapter 4, I was beyond ready for the action to begin.  I like romance with mystery, but just that-mystery that has romance that happens during the mystery and is unveiled and discovered while the crime is being solved.  I did appreciate that the faith of the central characters was woven into the story and that prayer to God for guidance was evident.  If you lean more toward romance with a murder and mystery thrown in, you will probably like this book.  It was well written from the grammar and punctuation standpoint and the sentences did flow pretty easily.  All good things for ease of reading.  This was my first Irene Hannon novel and I am not sure I will check out others.  That remains to be seen.  I was given a complimentary copy of this book from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing, in exchange for my honest review.  These words are my opinion.  I give Buried Secrets three stars.
Stay tuned--lots of good reads coming up!  Thanks for being here!