Thursday, May 30, 2013

Review: He's Gone

(From the book) “What do you think happened to your husband, Mrs. Keller?”

The Sunday morning starts like any other, aside from the slight hangover. Dani Keller wakes up on her Seattle houseboat, a headache building behind her eyes from the wine she drank at a party the night before. But on this particular Sunday morning, she’s surprised to see that her husband, Ian, is not home. As the hours pass, Dani fills her day with small things. But still, Ian does not return. Irritation shifts to worry, worry slides almost imperceptibly into panic. And then, like a relentless blackness, the terrible realization hits Dani: He’s gone.

As the police work methodically through all the logical explanations—he’s hurt, he’s run off, he’s been killed—Dani searches frantically for a clue as to whether Ian is in fact dead or alive. And, slowly, she unpacks their relationship, holding each moment up to the light: from its intense, adulterous beginning, to the grandeur of their new love, to the difficulties of forever. She examines all the sins she can—and cannot—remember. As the days pass, Dani will plumb the depths of her conscience, turning over and revealing the darkest of her secrets in order to discover the hard truth—about herself, her husband, and their lives together.

(My thoughts)  This is a psychological mystery that is as much as about the main character as it is about her missing husband. Written in a first person style, this book shifts between present day and past, which intertwine to give a complete history of the characters, both as individuals and as a couple. There are complex relationships with stepchildren, parents, exes and between the couple themselves. The author writes in such a way, the reader must keep flipping the pages to see where the novel is going to go next. I read this book in a few days simply because I needed to know what the happened to Ian. While I can't discuss too much more of the book without giving it away, I will say that the ending was a bit anti-climatic. I did enjoy the novel though and if you are looking for a quick read, that isn't too heavy, definitely check this book out! A word of warning though, if you have any issues with adultery, this may not be the book for you. 

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book to review by TLC Tours and the publishing company but was not financially compensated in any way. The opinions expressed are my own.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Review: A Constellation of Vital Phenomena

(From GoodReads) A resilient doctor risks everything to save the life of a hunted child, in this majestic debut about love, loss, and the unexpected ties that bind us together.

In his brilliant, haunting novel, Stegner Fellow and Whiting Award winner Anthony Marra transports us to a snow-covered village in Chechnya, where eight-year-old Havaa watches from the woods as Russian soldiers abduct her father in the middle of the night, accusing him of aiding Chechen rebels. Across the road their lifelong neighbor and family friend Akhmed has also been watching, fearing the worst when the soldiers set fire to Havaa’s house. But when he finds her hiding in the forest with a strange blue suitcase, he makes a decision that will forever change their lives. He will seek refuge at the abandoned hospital where the sole remaining doctor, Sonja Rabina, treats the wounded.

For the talented, tough-minded Sonja, the arrival of Akhmed and Havaa is an unwelcome surprise. Weary and overburdened, she has no desire to take on additional risk and responsibility. And she has a deeply personal reason for caution: harboring these refugees could easily jeopardize the return of her missing sister. But over the course of five extraordinary days, Sonja’s world will shift on its axis and reveal the intricate pattern of connections that weave together the pasts of these three unlikely companions and unexpectedly decides their fate. A story of the transcendent power of love in wartime, A Constellation of Vital Phenomena is a work of sweeping breadth, profound compassion, and lasting significance.

(My thoughts) Mara weaves together the lives of three main characters in his debut novels that offers a haunting and sometimes chilling look at life in Chechnya during a ten year period. The language in this book quickly transports to you deep into the forest, to a war ridden village that most have deserted. The central characters lives are interconnected in unexpected ways that reveal themselves in the later pages of the novel. The chapters shift from present to past, but are clearly  marked at each chapter beginning, so as to not be confusing. The reader is introduced to what life is like in an ethnic war zone of a mostly unknown place. 

While beautifully written, this is not a light read. Its a novel that I had to put down time and time again to just digest and step away from for a bit, but it is real. War is a central character in this novel but don't let that deter you from reading this book. Its one of those novels that stays with you long after you flip the last page. 

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book to review by TLC Tours and the publishing company but was not financially compensated in any way. The opinions expressed are my own.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Catching Up

Days pass, I think of posts to write, life happens and my new computer sits in the corner collecting dust. 

My family and I have been finding our new normal and the process of going forward. I helped my mom tackle the project of water sealing the deck and have been spending lots of time with my cousins. There was a Barry Manilow concert. Three cousins who went two different proms. New traditions of crackers, cheese and drinks on the deck on Friday nights with family and friends. There's been a renewed friendship with someone who was once as close as a sister and a widening crack in a friendship that has been waning. A close friend lost his mom suddenly. Work days were long. One cousin is preparing for her high school graduation in less than a week. Days are slipping by  so quickly and I feel like I'm barely present before running off to the next thing. 

Last week in a bit of a clumsy  moment, I severely strained a tendon just under my knee forcing me to cancel all the weekend plans I'd made. I was bummed to cancel plans, but I suppose its  the Universe's way (albeit really, really painful way) of saying, "Look, sister, slow down." According to the doctor, I'll have to rest my leg as much as possible over the next two to three weeks which give me plenty of time to catch up on reading and blogging...two things I really love but have been neglecting. 

So, tell me, whats been going on in your lives, lovelies?