Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Book Review: Please Look After Mom by Kyung-Sook Shin

Audiobooks.com had a deal for Sirius XM subscribers for a 7 day free trial.  Taking them up on the offer I downloaded a book from my list and the one I chose (and that happened to be in audio format) was Please Look After Mom.

Please Look After Mom was written in  Korean by Kyung-Sook Shin and translated into English by Chi-Young Kim.  The audio book was read by Mark Bramhall, Samantha Quan, Janet Song, and Bruce Terk.  The book is divided into four parts and each narrator read one part.

From the perspective of a daughter, son, father, and then the mother, this is the story of a mother who goes missing when she does not get on the train with her husband.  He gets off at the next stop and goes back to where she should be, but she is no longer there.

The children, now adults with lives of their own, gather together to create posters to help find their missing mother when they realize they have no current picture of her.  This leads the eldest daughter to reminisce about her past with her mom.

Captivating, appealing, a bit suspenseful.  I wanted to know what was going to happen.  I was worried along with the family and looking for any hope of them finding their mom.  It held my attention long after I stopped listening.  I thoroughly appreciated the story.  Shin did a good job writing the story and I believe Kim did a good job translating it.

I listened to this book via Audiobooks.com for pure pleasure.  All opinions are my own.  I was not compensated for this review in any way.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Book Review: The Victory Season by Robert Weintraub

A look at baseball after WWII.  This book concentrates on the season after WWII when the ball players as well as the rest of America were coming home from the war and trying to get everything back to normal.  It mainly focuses on three teams vying for postseason play; St. Louis Cardinals, Brooklyn Dodgers, and Boston Red Sox.

As a baseball fan, I was intrigued by the book.  There were some interesting bits.  Along with focusing on the major leagues, some pages were devoted to Jackie Robinsons's time at Montreal, the then AAA team of the Brooklyn Dodgers.  This was the year before his famed call up.  But, overall the story was dry and hard to follow.  In the middle of a tale the story would go on a tangent and end up somewhere else, confusing as to where in the time line the reader has ended up.

Not a completely bad book, but I'm sure there are better ones out there on this topic.  I chose to read this book because I was pre-approved at the beginning of this year's MLB season as I'm sure others were, too.

I read this as a review request from netgalley.com using Adobe Digital on my laptop.  All opinions are my own.  I was not compensated for this review in any way.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Book Review: Taylor's Gift by Todd and Tara Storch

Forewarning: This book is extremely sad.  It deals with a major crisis that a parent hopes he or she never has to cope with.  If you don't think you can handle a book so sad this story is not for you!

At the age of 13, Taylor took a spring break vacation with her family to ski for the first time.  She was a natural and graduated to the higher level slopes quickly.  Was this a mistake?  With her younger sister and mother waiting in the lobby, her father, younger brother, and Taylor went down the slope one last time.  Taylor found out she could not stop.  She kept going faster until she got in an accident and bounced around some trees near the slope.  You may have heard of Taylor's story as it made the national news.  She did not survive and her parents had to go through the difficult decision of whether to donate her organs.

This is not the story of Taylor's life.  This is the story of what Taylor provides after her death.  Her parents decided to donate her organs.  I agree with them.  This is the way to go.  Help someone else with their life.  That is what Todd, Tara, and Taylor did by donating Taylor's organs.

What will get you, or rather, what should get you if you are normal is her parents' recovery after the death of their oldest child, especially the mother.  Tara is in such grief she is practically not living.  Her day-to-day activities are being cared for by others, including making sure she eats, which she doesn't, and bathing, which she does occasionally.

Todd, Tara's father, deals in a different way.  He needs to be active and thus creates the charity Taylor's Gift, which focuses on organ donation.  Its sole purpose is to spread the word on signing up to donate organs.  As the Storch family connects with recipients of Taylor's organs it helps them recover.  Tara feels an extreme connection to the new owner of Taylor's heart.

I am interested in stories like these.  I wasn't expecting it to be so sad, but reading about the parents dealing with the grief really pulled the heartstrings. Tara really falls down to the depths.  But, that helps make her recovery even better.

I read this story as a review request from netgalley.com using Adobe Digital on my laptop.  All opinions are my own.  I was not compensated for this review in any way.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Book Review: Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

About a year or so ago I came across Audible's free trial offer.  Within that I was able to partake in other free offers, so I got some good free audio versions of books I have wanted to read for a while.  In the middle of listening to one I lost interest and it wasn't until just recently that I decided to pick up the books and listen to them.  The one I started with was Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank.  This audio book was read by Selma Blair.  At first I thought that was an odd choice, but she became the voice of Anne and the voice of the diary.  I like it.  It was distinct.

Anne's diary portrays life for a German Jew in World War II.  Her family moved to Holland and had their German citizenship renounced.  She no longer thought of Germany has her home anyway.  It starts out on her 13th birthday when she is given the diary as a gift.  She's worried about the war and the Jews treatment but her biggest local concern was who was going to pass onto the next grade.

The majority of the story takes place in the annex of the building where her father works, the place her family hides in for two years with another family and a family friend.  Anne describes her every day life and how she gets along with everyone.  She has her complaints and finds fault in the people she's forced to live with.  Even though she's forced into hiding because she's a Jew, she's a normal teenage girl.

Yes, there is some frank talk about female body parts and menstruation, but it only covers two or three diary entries.  It is graphic, but like I said, it's an extremely small part of the diary.

I really enjoyed Anne's diary and am glad she allowed us a glimpse into her life.  It was her desire to be a writer and to have her diary published.  Fortunately, her diary was saved and her father was able to have it published.

I listened to the audio version from Audible.com via my laptop.  All opinions are my own.  I was not compensated for this review in any way.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Book Review: Accidental Deception by Tina Martin

Set in Charlotte, NC, the main character stops to take care of a homeless woman lying on the side of the street.  This leads to him bringing her to his place and taking care of her there. Carter discovers the woman, Shayla was the fiancee of his late brother, Jacob, a woman he was asked to take care by her fiance after his suicide.

He doesn't tell her this secret.  He lets her live in his house.  He lets her use his car.  He sets up a bank account for her.  It's odd.  Also, I feel the story lacks any meat.  Nothing really happens.  They hang out, but not much is said.  I did not feel there was much to the story.  Also, the ending was very disappointing.  I won't spoil it for you, but I will tell you that I was not happy.

I read this book as a review request via PDF on my laptop.  All opinions are my own.  I was not compensated for this review in any way.  Sorry there isn't more to the review, but there isn't more that I feel.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Book Review: From the Library of C.S. Lewis by James Stuart Bell

C. S. Lewis is one of the greatest and most popular Christian thinkers and writers of the 20th century.  He is best known for The Chronicles of Narnia series, but he also wrote such great works as The Screwtape Letters and Mere Christianity.

James Stuart Bell along with Anthony P. Dawson put together a collection of work from the library of C.S. Lewis.  These are the writers, the thinkers, the people, the works that inspire Lewis.  Bell writes in the introduction, "Yet, except for the scholars doing the research, most of us are probably not familiar with these sources of inspiration."

I'm sure many of you all have heard of people like Martin Luther and maybe G.K. Chesterton (maybe not).  But, have you actually read their work?  Before opening this book I had not.  I was not familiar with the works that inspired a great thinker like Lewis.  Bell's compilation includes short essays, poems, and other pieces from such writers as Martin Luther, G.K. Chesterton, Dorothy L. Sayers, George MacDonald, Saint Augustine, Andrew Murray, Samuel Johnson, and Lewis's close friend J.R.R. Tolkien.

It's a good compilation.  It's good to read what inspired Lewis.  It felt a little dry.  Some of the writing is from early decades.  It's scholarly work and scholarly work I have to admit is not always fun work.  It was interesting to read.  I don't know how much I will read it again, though.

I read this book for pure pleasure and won it in a WaterBroook Multnomah giveaway.  All opinions are my own.  I was not compensated for this review in any way.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Book Review: Paper Airplanes by Kersten L. Kelly

Kersten travels an awful lot for work.  Throughout her travels she has met many interesting people and heard interesting stories.  All of this happens on the airplane to and from her destinations.  She decided to take these stories and work them into a book, which is what we have here with Paper Airplane.

Kersten is a good storyteller.  She doesn't just arbitrarily put the tales in the book.  Each one, she feels, has a purpose and has taught her something.  She writes of tales of a soldier coming home, a man having a heart attack on the airplane, and a woman getting kicked off the airplane.  She has included many other stories that are a joy to read as well.  Kersten is outgoing and not afraid to talk to those who sit next to her and hear their story.

There are a grammar issues in the book.  They don't affect the storytelling.  One of the name changes really baffled me.  Kersten Kelly changes the names to protect identities.  One of the people she meets has a brother who is in the NFL Hall of Fame, if I remember correctly.  I do remember she named his team The Jacksonville Jackhammers.  I can't blame this on not knowing, because she is a fan of the Chicago Bears, so she has exposure to the NFL.  It just struck me as weird and stuck with me.  But, it didn't take away from the story or the rest of the book.

I read this book as a review request using the Kindle App on my laptop.  All opinions are my own.  I was not compensated for this review in any way.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.  Anyone can playing along!  Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page
  • Be careful not to include spoilers! (make sure that what you share doesn't give too much away!  You don't want to ruin the book for others!)

  • Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR lists if they like your teasers.

  • "Yeah! We're going to Starbucks!" Taylor said.  "I'm going to get a crap-a-chino!"
    "What did you say?" Tara asked.  Her friends were puzzled too.
    "A crap-a-chino, everybody wants to get crap-a-chinos."
    "Do you mean a Frappuccino?"
    The whole car burst into laughter, and Taylor joined them.  "I always thought they were crap-a-chinos."
    P. 25 Taylor's Gift by Todd and Tara Storch

    More than two lines, but I couldn't just take two lines from this little passage.

    Saturday, June 1, 2013

    Book Review: Waterfalls (Glenbrooke #6) by Robin Jones Gunn

    The opening of a camp by Meredith's sister and brother-in-law brought her to Glenbrooke where she met the only man who made her heart leap, Jacob Wilde.  He has other ideas about love, however.  Strange ideas that work to break Meri's heart.  She can't get him out of her mind and out of her life as his newest project brings them closer together.

    Meri is a children's book acquisitions editor and Jacob Wilde is an actor looking to turn into a producer with a book and film series.  He wants to work with her publish company and thus puts him and Meri into a work relationship.  Other surprises pop up along the way bringing them together even more.

    Out of all the Glenbrooke books I have read, which I think is only three, this is the one with the most suspense.  The others I could easily tell that the two lovers would get together.  It's not about the end but about the journey.  This one, it was a total question.  I liked that.  Not every romance story has to be that way, but it's nice once in a while for a little mystery.

    The moral of the story, which I don't mind sharing as I don't think it spoils anything, is to wait for God's timing.  God's timing is not our timing.  God has plans for you and He knows the best time to implement the plans and what the plans are going to be.  They may not be what you want or when you want, but they are what is ultimately best for you.  Meredith may not get what she wants when she wants it, but she gets what she needs to take her to the place she needs to be.

    I read this book for pure pleasure.  All opinions are my own.  I was not compensated for this review in any way.