The Girl Who Chased the Moon

Although I am thrilled to return to work at the Alzheimer’s Association, my book blog is really going to suffer. I have read so many books in the last two weeks. I’m averaging a book every other day. I guess the my Association friends can look forward to tons of new books to dive into. I'll be bringing a bunch for our lending library.
The Girl Who Chased the Moon is probably my favorite Allen book thus far. After State of Wonder I will be picking up Garden Spells. At that point I think I would have read all the books by this author. This book is not perfect. By now, I know that in each book the romances will always work out and usually there is a plot line that is too predictable. Nevertheless, this book contains lots of magic as well as mystery, which is expected from an Allen novel. Oh, be forewarned, if you are trying to diet this book may be difficult to read. The descriptions of  decadent southern cakes made me want to head to the nearest bakery.

The Sugar Queen

I like Sarah Addison Allen books. However this one is not as compelling as The Peach Keeper. While at Barnes & Noble's I picked up yet another Allen book. We will have to see which one is my favorite. 

The Sugar Queen has magical facets which seem to be a hallmark of Allen, yet also focuses on superstitions and natural remedies that cure a broken heart or keep evil away. Any book lover will be especially envious that books appear for one of The Sugar Queen's characters. Parts of this book are hooky, but it makes for a fun, sweet, endearing read. 

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother

I really enjoyed this book, but again, I am drawn to stories that provide a different philosophy from mine. I also like tales that challenge my perspective. Chua writes a fascinating, often hilarious and very honest account of growing up under her regime. Chua’s portrayal of herself is often not very flattering. She describes herself as stubborn, mean spirited and demanding. I have to  commend her for being able to self reflect and for being so candid.  Chua approaches are anywhere from mainstream but I felt these methods are well intentioned as she wants what is best for both her children. Luckily her two girls were able to tolerate their mother’s strict processes and did not succumb to severe depression or worst suicide. 

Patterns in the Sand

My mom gave me this book. The story line is boring and predictable. The reason for one of the murders is not clearly defined and it is does not make sense that these woman would be allowed to solve these deaths. Canary Cove is a small seaside town where everyone is aware of everyone’s business. The story is just not plausible. This type of tale and the way it is written seems to be directed towards woman in their late eighties. I have to remember not to pick up another book by this author.

The Scent of Rain and Lightning

After reading The Peach Keeper it was nice to continue with Pickard’s cold-case mystery in a small, ranching town. I will definitely pick up The Virgin of Small Plains. My only complaint is the ridiculousness of Jody ending up with Colin. Really? Other then that aspect I could not put the book down. I was so curious to learn who murdered Jay and what exactly happened to Laurie. 

The Peach Keeper

Allen's style is similar to Kate Morton. The story is not ground-breaking but very enjoyable and makes for a quick read. I love the elements of magic and mystery in this book as well as the descriptions of Southern life. I was born in Los Angeles, but my great grandmother, grandmother and dad were born in the South. I still have family in Memphis. I think I gravitate towards these types of stories because I have this skewed idea that life in the South would be slower and even kinder. I can’t wait to pick up another Sarah Addison Allen book so that I can immerse myself in the fantasy of a life far away. 

Fifty Shades Freed

Finally, the last book in the series! I am still greatly perturbed by the immaturity of the couple as well as why Ana tolerates the controlling nature of Christian. To be fair, by the second and third book the punishments bestowed on by Christian have ended, but his need to control is ever present. Is this what women really want in a relationship? Are obscene amounts of wealth worth complete loss of independence?  I see the character of Ana as weak. She is so enamored by complicated sex and wealth that she jumps into this unhealthy relationship.
E L James ends the series, retelling parts of the book from Christian’s perspective. I felt this was unnecessary and boring. Ending this way further confirmed for me that these books were a waste of my time. 

Fifty Shades Darker

I had many issues with the first book as depicted in my review. However, I as I stated before, I am interested in what makes a story popular. The second book is as equally poorly written. The characters are flat. The story line is predictable and boring. The dialogue is repetitive and nauseating. The author tries to use big words. Sadly it is apparent that she is overusing the thesaurus tool to find a more attractive word. Here is a sample, minus the sex of what you are in for if you pick up this book:

            “I love you Christian,” whispered Anna.
            “You are mine, Christian growled.
            “I will always be yours and you are mine.”
    “Yours,” he responds with a smile. “I cannot resist you,    
    Anastasia. You have bewitched me.”
   “It is you Christian that have put a spell on me.”
  “I will die a thousand deaths if you ever leave me. I could  
   not tolerate the world without you, my beautiful Anastasia. I    
   love you.”
  “Christian, I could never leave you. You are mine forever.”
Yuck, yuck, yuck! This scenario has been repeated more then a dozen times! The immaturity of this fictitious couple is annoying. I hate to think that college age girls would strive for this type of relationship. Again, besides the descriptions of sex, I have no clue why these books are so appealing.

Fifty Shades of Grey

I read most genres. I particularly enjoy mysteries and thrillers such as In the Woods or House at Riverton. I also tend to gravitate towards stories from the east. I greatly enjoyed Shantarum and Snow Flower and the Secret Fan. I love reading and learning about people and situations that are foreign to me such as in Moloka'i, The 19th Wife or Bastard Out of Carolina. I find David Sedaris hysterical. I think Jon Krakaue is brilliant. I will also read books that are popular. I like to see what has people buzzing.  Stieg Larsson and his trilogy captured me. After much convincing I finally picked up The Hunger Games. The first book was my favorite, but I enjoyed and recommend them all. The Twilight books were in my opinion horrendous although I can see the appeal for tweens. Fifty Shades of Grey torments me. Why are women enjoying this book? The protagonist Ana is taken advantage of by Christian. She has never been in love or had a sexual relationship. Her first love and sexual partner is abusive and manipulative, but she most likely will return to him in the second book because she is drawn to him sexually and believes like many women do that she can change him. (I have not finished the trilogy yet.) Christian is unable to have a healthy relationship due to the abuse he sustained as an adolescent. Additionally, although in therapy he cannot see that his violent nature is destructive and abusive.
The first book in the series perpetuates a problem I have seem many woman experience. Women adamantly believe they can change a man. If he loves me enough, he will change. If I show him the light, he will transform. I just have to train him. This does not work. People will change slightly, but not significantly. The author is enabling this destructive mindset. I mentioned greatly enjoying Stieg Larsson’s trilogy. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was incredibly violent. The book details a disturbingly, violent rape scene. Yet, Larsson’s books did not spark the type of reaction I experienced with Fifty Shades of Grey. The violence was necessary in Larsson’s first book. Eventually, Lisbeth’s situation is revealed and the perpetrators are punished. As I shared, I have not finished the E L James’ trilogy, however the first book ends with Ana leaving the relationship, yet the reader knows she will return to most likely accept more violent punishments.
This story reminds me of a friend who was raped during her first sexual experience. She reiterated the experience in tears. I told her I was there for her and that we needed to report this immediately. She would not allow me to report it. For this I carry immense guilt. She continued to see this person. She continued to be raped, although she described it to me as consensual and what the mainstream would describe as kinky and a bit too rough. What happened to my friend seems identical to what is occurring to this main character.
The description of sex is at times tantalizing, but for me also deeply disturbing. My partner and I watched The Hunger Games. He did not read the books. He was upset by the movie. He felt it was not a good message for children and teens. I too feel the subject matter is strange but feel the books are well written and am ultimately thrilled that children are reading. Fifty Shades of Grey alarms me. I am not a prude nor against alternative sexual appetites. As I stated before the accounts of the sex and the detailed pornographic nature were thrilling, but the violence in the form of abuse and this young woman’s wiliness to accept it is has me asking what is wrong with society that this book is flying off the shelves?


Fabulous! Robert's is an incredible story teller. This book is gigantic, but don't let that scare you away.  This autobiographical tale draws you in and frankly I was sad when I was coming to the end. Robert's does a terrific job of describing rich characters. Prabaker is my very favorite. This book is a true delight!

Night Train to Lisbon

A philosophical read. (Oh how I miss my college days of philosophy classes.)  Meaty  and  poetic. Elegantly written. I enjoyed, but did not find this a quick read.