Thursday, January 28, 2010

Book Review: Eternal on the Water by Joseph Monninger

Eternal on the Water will be published February 2010 by Pocket Books.

Cobb and Mary. From the second they meet each other they know they are destined to be together. They really are quite perfect to each other; both teachers, both passionate about something and at the moment they meet, both going to the same direction.

The story begins by foreshadowing what is going to happen in the end; Mary is going to die. Cobb starts to tell the story about their love to a ranger and that way the reader gets to know the story as well. I really liked the way Monninger starts up this book. All the way from the beginning I knew that the end of the book would be sad but also filled with love.

The language Monninger made me speechless at some points, it felt like I was reading poetry. The beautiful descriptions of landscape and the feelings between Mary and Cobb really bring the place the book is taking a place alive and emphasize the love between the two main characters.

With Cobb and Mary, the reader gets a change to travel to New Hampshire, Maine, Yellow Stone National park and Indonesia. All these different places somehow represent the stages of Mary and Cobb's relationship.

I really enjoyed Eternal on the Water. The story is really beautiful, as I said before, and that author has really done his research is writing this. The only minus I could say is the total perfection of the character, especially Cobb. That made the story a bit unrealistic. But we have to consider the fact that Cobb is telling the story right after Mary's death so probably he does not want to think about the bad things and just tells the wonderful things in their relationship.

The ones who love Nicholas Sparks should definitely check this book out!

Book Review: The Sweet by and by by Sarah Evans with Rachel Hauck

Description (goodreads):
A redemptive story from multi-platinum recording artist Sara Evans.
Jade Fitzgerald left the pain of her past in the dust when she headed out for college a decade ago. Now she's thriving in her career and glowing in the light of Max Benson's love.
But then Jade's hippie mother, Beryl Hill, arrives in Whisper Hollow, Tennessee, for Jade's wedding along with Willow, her wild younger sister. Their arrival forces Jade to throw open the dark closets of her past--the insecurity of living with a restless, wandering mother, the silence of her absent father, and the heart-ripping pain of first-love's rejection.
Turns out Beryl has a secret of her own. She needs reconciliation with her oldest daughter before illness takes her life. In the final days leading to the wedding, Jade meets the One who shows her that the past has no hold on her future. With a little grace, they'll meet in the middle, maybe even before that sweet by and by.
My thoughts: Jade has found the perfect man. Max loves Jade more that anything and they are planning their dream wedding. Everything seems to be well but there is a storm inside Jade-- she has a lot of things to go through before she can be completely happy and marry Max. Also Max has his own secrets which he has to reveal before they can be happy and live without secrets.
I really liked this book. The characters are realistic (in some books the perfection of the characters makes me mad). Jade feels like a type of person I would love to have as my friend. She is interested about vintage and she has her own store. She is funny, loving, caring and independent. She has had some major problems with her family, especially with her mother, and she believes that she will never be able to solve those problems.
You could call this book 'Christian fiction'. I would not categorize it there because Jesus, God and religion are quite lightly portrayed in this book. So even though you're not religious (I'm not) you totally can read this book without thinking it to be too religious.
The Sweet by and by is a lovely story about past and future. It is a story about old and new love. It is a story about mother and a daughter who have lifted apart. It is a story about a woman who must go back to his past to get on with her life.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Guest blog From Bonnie Doerr, the author of Island Sting

Today I want to introduce you to Bonnie Doerr, the author of Island Sting. This is my first guest blog ever, lets see how it goes.

From Bonnie Doerr, author of Island Sting
And so you ask, how do I get beyond rough spots in the writing process…
I often, too often, reread a passage of my work and freak out at the crude writing I have done. I wrote better stuff than this in high school. Other times I’m fearful of the blank, blinding–white screen daring me to mar its purity with my feeble thoughts. At moments like these I used to fold the top down on my keyboard in misery, only to wander around the house muttering, whining, and frantically searching for chocolate. One day the worst kind of disaster struck. Not a crumb of chocolate to be found.
Just in time, a revelation! I found cocoa in the cabinet. A cup of hot chocolate used to cheer me as a child. I reached for one of my treasured pottery pieces. This chocolate needed heavy duty backup to lighten my spirits. This chocolate needed presentation. This chocolate must be enhanced by the sensual feel and look of a unique, handmade work of art. No ordinary cloned mug was up to the task.
That day I devised the vision that now rescues me from paralyzing despair when my work is drivel or worse. I think about potters. The ceramic artist begins with bags, buckets, or handfuls of particles that to anyone else look like nothing more than rock fragments and dirt. One might think the artist is preparing to play in a sandbox. And in a way, play is what it’s all about. The artist messes with these materials, adding water and whatever other bits of clay, sand, or minerals are needed. And when the mixture feels right, step by step the ceramicist brings a vision to life.
The clay must be worked well, pounded, rolled, slapped around a bit until it is consistent. Then it is pulled, turned, carved, pinched, rearranged. Sometimes again and again until it nearly matches the potter’s vision. Pieces are torn or cut off. Others are added. It sits and rests, not forgotten, but maintained. The dream rests, then the artist returns to the work with renewed vision.
I think of the potters I have known to push me through rough spots in the work of writing. Think of it as play, not work, I tell myself. If a ceramicist can create a miracle out of such humble beginnings, I can play with my own raw materials. The potter doesn’t expect the first mix of materials to be perfect. A potter doesn’t assume each step of the creation will go perfectly. The potter expects much shaping, trimming, and reworking of a piece. She or he even knows that, after the piece is shaped, dried, and the final touches of glaze added, it could blow up in the kiln. Why should I not accept the same insecurities? Why don’t I look at it all as clay?
If I put drivel on a page, why should it send me screaming as if I’ve lost my way? Rather, I must look at those weak words and phrases as the raw material of my craft. I should be grateful that I have already procured my raw materials. They are there for me to shape, trim, rearrange, and pour on the glaze. And hope it doesn’t all blow up in end. But if it does? Well, there are plenty of raw materials for the next play period. Why should I fear the blank page? My raw materials are free and much easier to acquire than those of the potter. I always have them near. I don’t even need technology. Letters, words, thoughts. Put them on the page. Mix them up. Trim the excess. It’s all in the art of play. A lousy bit of writing? A blank page? No problem. These are simply the raw material from which a vision can be shaped.
I believe this. I do. I really do. I believe. I believe. I believe.

Island Sting by Bonnie Doerr is out NOW! For more information click here!

I want to thank Bonnie and Leap Books for giving me this opportunity to post this in Read Read Read.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Book Review: The Love Ceiling by Jean Davies Okimoto

Description (from Goodreads):
After the death of her Japanese American mother, sixty-four-year-old Anne Kuroda Duppstadt finds the courage to confront the toxic legacy of her father, a famous artist and cruel narcissist. When a former art professor invites her to his island art studio, she begins pursuing her lifelong dream to become an artist in her own right. But the needs of her family tug at her heart. Her thirty-two-year old daughter s love life is falling apart, and Annie s husband, facing retirement, struggles with depression, leading her to conclude, There is a glass ceiling for women...and it s made out of the people we love.

My thoughts: I really thought this book would be boring and one of those books I cannot finish. The cause of that thought is the fact that I knew that the book will be about 60 something woman, does not sound very interesting for a young reader like me. I am happy to say that I totally disagree with my first thought now when I have read the book.

Annie seems to be the perfect wife, perfect mother and otherwise perfect. She really is, I think she is adorable character. I love the fact that even though Annie seems perfect there are problems in her life. Biggest of the problems in her 80 something father, a famous artist Alexander Gunther. For her whole like Annie has been despised by her father. With the love of her mother and later on with the love of her husband, Jack, she has gone on. When her mother dies, everything changes. The last wish of Annie's mother was that Annie would start to paint again. As a teenager Annie's father told Annie that she does not have the talent to paint and she stopped and believed her father. Now, with the couragement of Fred, an old artist and a new friend Annie starts to try to paint again and discovers her talent once more.. this time without her father's "advice".

Cass, Annie's 30 something daughter hasn't been herself for a while. When she gets to know that her boyfriend Richard has been laying to her for a long time everything changes. Cass is in a new situation and it takes her time to discover a way to go on. With the help of her friends and family Cass eventually finds the new happiness to her life.

'The Love Ceiling' is amazingly written book about growth, past and future. It is a beautiful story about a woman who on her old age realizes that there are so many things she wants to do and she has to start to do them now since she does not know how much time she has left. The adorable characters and the story itself make this book a wonderful read!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Book Review: One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez

Description (from Goodreads):
"Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice."

It is typical of Gabriel García Márquez that it will be many pages before his narrative circles back to the ice, and many chapters before the hero of One Hundred Years of Solitude, Buendía, stands before the firing squad. In between, he recounts such wonders as an entire town struck with insomnia, a woman who ascends to heaven while hanging laundry, and a suicide that defies the laws of physics:
A trickle of blood came out under the door, crossed the living room, went out into the street, continued on in a straight line across the uneven terraces, went down steps and climbed over curbs, passed along the Street of the Turks, turned a corner to the right and another to the left, made a right angle at the Buendía house, went in under the closed door, crossed through the parlor, hugging the walls so as not to stain the rugs, went on to the other living room, made a wide curve to avoid the dining-room table, went along the porch with the begonias, and passed without being seen under Amaranta's chair as she gave an arithmetic lesson to Aureliano José, and went through the pantry and came out in the kitchen, where Úrsula was getting ready to crack thirty-six eggs to make bread.

"Holy Mother of God!" Úrsula shouted.

The story follows 100 years in the life of Macondo, a village founded by José Arcadio Buendía and occupied by descendants all sporting variations on their progenitor's name: his sons, José Arcadio and Aureliano, and grandsons, Aureliano José, Aureliano Segundo, and José Arcadio Segundo. Then there are the women--the two Úrsulas, a handful of Remedios, Fernanda, and Pilar--who struggle to remain grounded even as their menfolk build castles in the air. If it is possible for a novel to be highly comic and deeply tragic at the same time, then One Hundred Years of Solitude does the trick. Civil war rages throughout, hearts break, dreams shatter, and lives are lost, yet the effect is literary pentimento, with sorrow's outlines bleeding through the vibrant colors of García Márquez's magical realism. Consider, for example, the ghost of Prudencio Aguilar, whom José Arcadio Buendía has killed in a fight. So lonely is the man's shade that it haunts Buendía's house, searching anxiously for water with which to clean its wound. Buendía's wife, Úrsula, is so moved that "the next time she saw the dead man uncovering the pots on the stove she understood what he was looking for, and from then on she placed water jugs all about the house."

My thoughts:
When I started to read this book I did not really have any expectations towards it. My Finnish teacher as well as my mother told me that this book will be pretty hard to read. After this reading experience I totally agree with them. There are many factors which make this book hard to read but also many things that in the end you notice and you understand all the happenings.

One extremely hard thing in reading this book was following the characters. The members of Buendia family always got the same names and it was really hard to follow all the Aurelio's and Jose Arcadio's and many times I had to go back and see which character is told about at the moment. Also following the characters who leave Macondo and come back was pretty hard.

In this book family members have sex together, there are whores, parties and magic. Some parts of this book where extremely funny, some just plain boring. I think that you really must WANT to read this book so you will be able to finish it. I HAD to read this book, we will discuss it in my Finnish class after the break ends.

I was looking for a family tree of the Buendia family and I found many good examples from the Internet. I found this one the best for my purposes.

This was the first review of 2010! YEY! And the first book completed in 2010.

Challenges I can count this book into:

J. Kaye's +100 Reading Challenge
J. Kaye's Support Your Local Libraty reading Challenge
Gilmore Girls reading challenge (category:other)