Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Same Kind of Different As Me by Ron Hall & Denver Moore

I rarely read non-fiction or memoirs, but this one I made an exception for since it was chosen for our November book club. And I am so grateful to my friend Julie who picked it, because I may not have otherwise given it a chance.

Same Kind of Different As Me alternates chapters in telling the story of Denver Moore and Ron Hall and how a courageous woman's love & selflessness brought these two men together to make a difference in their community and in their own lives. I was deeply moved by their conviction, their passion and their courage. It wasn't difficult for our book club to find things to discuss and bring up examples that made us really think and evaluate our own life in regards to service to others. This story will stick with me for some time to come. I highly recommend picking this one up!

If you hadn't heard of it before, you're about to. Mark Clayman, producer of Pursuit of Happyness has been signed on to produce the film and Samuel L. Jackson will be playing the role. The movie is set to release sometime in 2010. For more info, you can visit their website: www.samekindofdifferentasme.com My suggestion though, don't look at the photos on their website or in the book itself until after you have finished reading the book, it can be a bit of a spoiler for the ending.

There's also another book that was published this last September in response to Same Kind of Different As Me, called What Difference Do It Make?: Stories of Hope and Healing. It is filled with stories from readers who were inspired and went out to make a difference in their own communities and within their own lives.

Description: A dangerous, homeless drifter who grew up picking cotton in virtual slavery. An upscale art dealer accustomed to the world of Armani and Chanel. A gutsy woman with a stubborn dream. A story so incredible no novelist would dare dream it. It begins outside a burning plantation hut in Louisiana...and an East Texas honkey-tonk...and, without a doubt, in the heart of God. It unfolds in a Hollywood hacienda...an upscale New York Gallery...a downtown dumpster...a Texas ranch. Gritty with pain and betrayal and brutality, it also shines with an unexpected, life-changing love.

Rating: ****

Recommend: Without any hesitation.

Friday, December 4, 2009

The Heretic's Daughter by Kathleen Kent

I think I'll go ahead and put the blame of my pathetic lack of reading on this book. Because it bored me to no end. And I being a Type-A personality, cannot just leave a book unfinished and move on. Nope, I have to sit there and drown myself in all 332 pages of blahness. Thanks Dad, you get the credit for that one. :-P

The Heretic's Daughter was a huge disappointment to me. It was chosen as our November book club pick and I went into it with pretty huge expectations. But unfortunately it fell super short for me. By the time I was about 200 pages in, it started to get interesting, but then the scenery didn't change for like another 100 pages and I was ready to poke my eyes out with a pencil. (Sorry Kathleen, I really hope you're not reading this.) True, there were parts in the story that were completely gut-wrenching and the fact that so much of it is based on history, is just horrific to me. But the delivery just really lacked for me, and I think it was because the story was told from the young daughter's perspective, whereas I think I would have enjoyed it more if it was written from the mom's. And the red book! What on earth? Can someone please explain that to me??!! That was the thread of motivation I was holding onto and then what the heck happened? I didn't get it - so were they witches? Were they not? SO confused here people.

Description: Martha Carrier was one of the first women to be accused, tried and hanged as a witch in Salem, Massachusetts. Like her mother, young Sarah Carrier is bright and willful, openly challenging the small, brutal world in which they live. Often at odds with one another, mother and daughter are forced to stand together against the escalating hysteria of the trials and the superstitious tyranny that led to the torture and imprisonment of more than 200 people accused of witchcraft. This is the story of Martha's courageous defiance and ultimate death, as told by the daughter who survived. Kathleen Kent is a tenth generation descendant of Martha Carrier. She paints a haunting portrait, not just of Puritan New England, but also of one family's deep and abiding love in the face of fear and persecution.

Recommend: Not really, unless you're a huge history buff - then you might really enjoy it.

Rating: **

The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks

SO at the beginning of 2009, I set myself a New Years goal to read 50 books this year - yea, not gonna happen. Does it annoy anyone else to set themselves New Years goals only to miss them? Cause it drives me nuts and I wonder why every year I continue to torture myself. Grr...

All you Nicholas Sparks haters - plug your ears.

LOVE THIS BOOK. I honestly thought it was one of his better books in a while. I seriously think I devoured this one too fast - man I hate it when I do that! I thought Ronnie was adorable and I loved her dad. But do yourself a HUGE favor. Do NOT research who will be playing the part of Ronnie when the movie comes out - IT WILL RUIN IT FOR YOU. As much as I was head over heels in love with this book, I still couldn't get the chick who will be playing Ronnie out of my head and it added all sorts of imagined cheesiness to it. And that kinda sucked. But still, there was tears by the end, so my expectations were fulfilled. Sigh....so good.

Haters - you can unplug your ears now.

Description: #1 bestselling author Nicholas Sparks's new novel is at once a compelling family drama and a heartrending tale of young love. Seventeen year old Veronica "Ronnie" Miller's life was turned upside-down when her parents divorced and her father moved from New York City to Wilmington, North Carolina. Three years later, she remains angry and alienated from her parents, especially her father...until her mother decides it would be in everyone's best interest if she spent the summer in Wilmington with him. Ronnie's father, a former concert pianist and teacher, is living a quiet life in the beach town, immersed in creating a work of art that will become the centerpiece of a local church.The tale that unfolds is an unforgettable story of love on many levels--first love, love between parents and children -- that demonstrates, as only a Nicholas Sparks novel can, the many ways that love can break our hearts...and heal them.

Recommend: Of course, I always recommend Nicholas Sparks.

Rating: *****!

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

Whoa did I get behind on my book reviews. I'm quite surprised some of you are still out there actually. And for you faithful followers, thank you for holding out and being patient with me :-)

Ok, on to Catching Fire. I absolutely loooved it, though I think I liked Hunger Games a bit more, but STILL this book was rockin. When I turned the last page, I just kinda sat there reeling from what had just happened and trying to take it all in. I really hope it doesn't take too long for the third one to come out, because my memory sucks so bad, I might have to re-read them to remember what happened! A perfect sequel though, so if you haven't read these yet - get. on. it. ;-)

Description: Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has won the annual Hunger Games with fellow district tribute Peeta Mellark. But it was a victory won by defiance of the Capitol and their harsh rules. Katniss and Peeta should be happy. After all, they have just won for themselves and their families a life of safety and plenty. But there are rumors of rebellion among the subjects, and Katniss and Peeta, to their horror, are the faces of that rebellion. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge.

Recommend: Yes and yes.

Rating: ****