Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Night Road by Kristin Hannah

You know you got your hands on a great book when you can't stop thinking about the characters long after you've set it down...and then again when you wake up the next morning. Kristin Hannah writes in such a way that you almost feel like you're reading letters from a friend. As I'm brushing my teeth last night, I'm thinking to myself, "What is Lexi going to do now?!" and "Come on Zach, you have got to see what's going on here." or "Jude, sheesh woman, get it together!" I couldn't control my constant inner dialogue between reading intervals and constantly wanting to know what happens next. If I had 2 solid days of free time, there's no doubt I would have read Night Road straight through.

Oh and the descriptions of Seattle! Having grown up in the Greater Seattle area most of my life, I was so comforted and excited to see such accurate descriptions of favorite places back home. I couldn't help but smile when I knew EXACTLY which triangle piece of grass the homeless hang out at just past the Pike Place Market, or dinner at Canlis, or the view over Elliott Bay. It was awesome because I could clearly picture where everything was taking place and after moving away from Seattle 4 years ago this story brought me right back to home.

I have been a huge fan of Kristin Hannah's since reading Angel Falls years ago and since then have not read a novel of Kristin Hannah's that I didn't absolutely love. She is truly one of my favorite authors and one I will always highly recommend!

A special thanks to for selecting me to review an advanced copy! For more info on Night Road please go to Book Reporter or visit Kristin Hannah on Facebook! Night Road will be released on March 29, 2011, so mark your calendars!

Description: Jude Farraday is a happily married, stay-at-home mom who puts everyone’s needs above her own. Her twins, Mia and Zach, are bright and happy teenagers. When Lexi Baill enters their lives, no one is more supportive than Jude. A former foster child with a dark past, Lexi quickly becomes Mia’s best friend. Then Zach falls in love with Lexi and the three become inseparable. But senior year of high school brings unexpected dangers and one night, Jude’s worst fears are confirmed: there is an accident. In an instant, her idyllic life is shattered and her close-knit community is torn apart. People—and Jude—demand justice, and when the finger of blame is pointed, it lands solely on eighteen-year-old Lexi Baill. In a heartbeat, their love for each other will be shattered, the family broken. Lexi gives up everything that matters to her—the boy she loves, her place in the family, the best friend she ever had—while Jude loses even more.

When Lexi returns, older and wiser, she demands a reckoning. Long buried feelings will rise again, and Jude will finally have to face the woman she has become. She must decide whether to remain broken or try to forgive both Lexi…and herself.

Night Road is a vivid, emotionally complex novel that raises profound questions about motherhood, loss, identity, and forgiveness. It is an exquisite, heartbreaking novel that speaks to women everywhere about the things that matter most.

Rating: *****

Recommend: If you haven't read one of Kristin Hannah's books yet, I highly recommend starting with this one! She is a fantastic women's fiction author from the beautiful Northwest.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Her Daughter's Dream by Francine Rivers

Dear Francine Rivers - I love you. Please do not wait so long to write another book. K, thanks bye.

Her Daughter's Dream was the sequel to the Her Mother's Hope which I had read last May. Usually when I pick up a hefty sized book I get a bit nervous that it will take me forever to get through it. But with Francine, the more pages the better, because I don't want her stories to ever end. She is hands down THE best Christian writer out there and more versitile than anyone I know of. She can write historical fiction, current fiction, Christmas stories, novellas... pretty much anything and I have read and loved every single one.

This series takes the reader through 4 generations of women starting around WWII and ending through 2004. The first book was quite heavy and could even seem disheartening at the struggle of relationship between Marta, her parents and then her own daughter Hildermara. But really, Francine was only setting the stage for the redemption and growth to take place in the next generations of the second book. I thought her writing demonstrated so well what we often aim for generationally in wanting to learn from our parents mistakes and grow in the midst of our own, so that we can set up the next generation for even more growth & success. And at the same time, this 2 book saga also depicts so clearly how if we are not careful to recognize the unhealthy patterns of ourselves we can too easily pass them down to the next generations as well.

I appreciated that Francine Rivers included a three page note at the end of Her Daughter's Dream explaining how the inspiration of this series came from experiences in her own life and the women in her family.

Description: In the dramatic conclusion to Her Mother’s Hope, the Cold War has begun and Carolyn is struggling to navigate her shifting family landscape and the changing times. With her mother, Hildemara, away in a tuberculosis sanatorium, Carolyn develops a special bond with her Oma Marta. But when Hildie returns, tensions between she and Marta escalate, and Carolyn feels she is to blame. College offers the chance to find herself, but a family tragedy shatters her independence. Rather than return home, she cuts all ties and disappears into the heady culture of San Francisco. When she reemerges two years later, more lost than ever, only her family can help rebuild a life for her and her daughter, May Flower Dawn. Just like Carolyn, May Flower Dawn develops a closer bond with her grandmother, Hildie, than with her mother, causing yet another rift between generations. But as Dawn struggles to avoid the mistakes of those who went before her, she vows that somehow, she will be a bridge between her mother and grandmother rather than the wall that separates them forever. Spanning the 1950s to the present day, Her Daughter’s Dream is the final chapter of an unforgettable epic family saga about the sacrifices every mother makes for her daughter—and the very nature of unconditional love.

Rating: *****

Recommend: To everyone, but especially the daughters who've struggled in the relationships with their own mom.

Update on Fall Into Reading Challenge 2010:
Her Daughter's Dream by Francine Rivers
Black Rain by Graham Brown
Night Road by Kristin Hannah
Moonlight Mile by Dennis Lehane
Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks
Best Friends Forever by Jennifer Weiner
The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski
The Possibility of Everything by Hope Edelman (added to challenge)
Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (added to challenge)