Shabanu: Daughter of the Wind

A colleague has been sharing her adolescent fictional reads, which have been focusing on young women and their struggles in harsh physical and emotional environments. Shabanu provides an insightful perspective of modern day nomadic, Pakistani culture. Suzanne Fisher Staples actually lived in Pakistan and her experiences shaped this interesting read. It took a bit of time for me to get immersed in the story as I was waiting for the incident described on the back cover to take place. My advice while reading this book is to forget the incident and concentrate on appreciating the well-constructed characters, which include the animals. Staples does a terrific job of bringing the personalities of the animals to life. I wish I could nuzzle Mithoo’s neck!


This is a powerful, haunting story that sadly is the reality of too many women across this globe. I love how the author writes from the perspective of a thirteen year-old Nepalese girl, Lakshmi, in a free verse, poetic style. Patricia McCormack choice of style and vivid language made it a fast, easy and a more interesting read in my opinion. This is an important, compelling story yet I was surprised that this book is targeted towards adolescences. I felt it might be a little too disturbing. 

Midwife of Venice

Historical novels are not usually my thing. However, I was delighted to find that this historical novel moves quickly while not trying to recapture history. Roberta Rich crafts a fresh story with new and thoroughly captivating characterizations. I am definitely looking forward to Rich’s second book that continues the story of Hannah and Issac in Constantinople.


The characters were one-dimensional. Sullivan’s prose is flat. The situation with April is unbelievable, actually laughable. I finished the book, but was not at all enthralled. Sullivan saved herself as an author in writing her second book, Maine.  In my opinion, Commencement can be removed from anyones must read list. 


The cover of this book does not fit the actual story. The cover makes this book seem like a throw away summer read. Instead it is a novel that portrays the lives of three generations of an Irish Catholic family. Sullivan highlights the lives of four women, the matriarch, a daughter, daughter-in-law and granddaughter. I found the stories of these women engrossing. I was sad when the book was coming to an end. I was so engaged that I wanted to know what else occurs for these women in their lives. I rushed out to pick up Commencement, Sullivan’s debut novel, hoping to be immediately captured like I was in Maine. In Sullivan’s case, the second time is the charm. 

Patron Saint of Liars

After State of Wonder,  I tired Patchett’s Bel Canto, which is award winning. I couldn’t get into it. Nothing seemed to happen. However, with Patron Saint of Liars I was immediately drawn in. This story is told from the point of view of each of the three members of the family. Be warned it is fantastic, yet a very sad novel. I was quite taken aback by the ending.

Garden Spells

I am so sad as I have now read all of Allen’s books. It’s been a long time since I have been this captured by an author. Her novels are engrossing. The magical aspects force me to finish a book in one sitting, failing to look up from the page, which Chris says is going to ruin my eyesight. I suppose I have to admit I am also a sucker for the cheesy romances embedded into all her books. I especially love how her stories weave in the powers of plants. Do violets really induce calm? Can snapdragons ward off the undue influence of others? What about anise hyssop, can it ease frustration and confusion? I would like to believe this is true. Maybe in my next life I’ll pursue eastern medicine or become a holistic apothecary. 

State of Wonder

Ann Patchett is very engaging. I am looking forward to reading more of her works. I was easily lost in the possibility of amazing, never before discovered medications in the Amazon. I enjoyed how the author depicted the thrills in the jungle while experiencing the personal journey of the main character. I love the idea of a foreign adventure, although I am pretty sure in reality the whole thing would stink. This book truly transports you. I guess that’s why I love a good story.