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Nightwoods by Charles Frazier

Nightwoods by Charles Frazier

Charles Frazier is one of my favorite authors, so I greeted this new novel gratefully. It was totally engrossing. The main character, Luce, is a young independent woman who forsakes society and relationships for a peaceful love affair with nature. Everything is upset by the arrival of her sisters two children. Her sister was murdered by her demented husband and the children were witnesses to the crime. They did not speak. Not to Luce, or anyone else the trauma was so great. This is storytelling at it's best. Here you have mystery, humor, loneliness and love taking turns in Luce's extremely interrupted life. I read this book the same day I received it with just a quick stop for dinner, that is how compelling it was. This one goes straight to the bestseller list.

17 Day Diet by Dr Mike Moreno

The 17 Day Diet by Dr. Mike Moreno

I started this diet a week ago and after a few days it's become very easy to stay with. In the first of four 17 day cycles you are dropping bad carbs and concentrating on light meat, like chicken and turkey, (also fish), and vegetables and fruit. There is a suggested menu that is very helpful. The second cycle allows you to add in moderation, starchy vegetables, like potatoes and brown rice and lean beef, pork and lamb.

The third cycle you are continuing to eat very healthy food as a matter of course and feeling a lot lighter. You can always go back to the first cycle for a boost if you start to pick up a pound or two.

Odd, while there is nothing earth shatteringly new here, there is something about the way you are asked to approach this diet that makes it appealing. Probably that the cycles are limited to 17 days and you know change is coming, and it is a good change keeps you going.

I'm sticking with it all the way. So far I have lost five pounds the first week and it has motivated me to want to continue. Recommend for comfortable weight loss and good health.

Nightwoods by Charles Frazier

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

The individual narratives of several black maids set in 1960's Mississippi give voice to this time in history. When Skeeter, a young, white aspiring writer, wants to record their stories, drama ensues. Filled with humor as well as sorrow, you will have a hard time putting this book down as you find yourself involved in the lives of all the women in this story.

Bloodroot by Amy Greene

Bloodroot by Amy Greene

This is a sensitively written novel, an often tragic yet poignant depiction of life in the Appalachian mountains. Specifically Bloodroot Mountain, named after the bloodroot flower that gave Myra Lamb her name. A flower that contains the ability to heal, and also to poison.

Meet Myra, a mysterious young girl and her grandmother Byrdie, who has the "touch" that is magical and fascinating to anyone she comes in contact with. Meet four generations of strong men and women, leading difficult lives in an unforgiving atmosphere. These are unforgettable and intimate portraits of what it takes to stand up to all that life throws at them. A southern gem sparkles in these poetic and heartfelt pages.

Water for Elephants by Sarah Gruen

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

Though he may not speak of them, the memories still dwell inside Jacob Jankowski's ninety-something-year-old mind. Memories of himself as a young man, tossed by fate onto a rickety train that was home to the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth. Memories of a world filled with freaks and clowns, with wonder and pain and anger and passion; a world with its own narrow, irrational rules, its own way of life, and its own way of death. The world of the circus: to Jacob it was both salvation and a living hell.

Jacob was there because his luck had run out-- orphaned and penniless, he had no direction until he landed on this locomotive " ship of fools." It was the early part of the Great Depression, and everyone in this third-rate circus was lucky to have any job at all. Marlena, the star of the equestrian act, was there because she fell in love with the wrong man, a handsome circus boss with a wide mean streak. And Rosie the elephant was there because she was the great gray hope, the new act that was going to be the salvation of the circus; the only problem was, Rosie didn't have an act-- in fact, she couldn't even follow instructions. The bond that grew among this unlikely trio was one of love and trust, and ultimately, it was their only hope for survival.

Surprising, poignant, and funny, "Water for Elephants" is that rare novel with a story so engrossing, one is reluctant to put it down; with characters so engaging, they continue to live long after the last page has been turned; with a world built of wonder, a world so real, one starts to breathe its air.

Incendiary by Chris Cleave

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

I tried to imagine every person ever affected by the horror of terrorism sitting down and writing a letter to the suspected perpetrators. There would be thousands upon thousands and they would probably all contain one common lament...why?

This is the story of a humble English housewife whose husband and son are killed by a suicide bomber in a sports stadium. The effect on London is devastating; the effect on her is final.

With an air of disbelief, she succumbs to the madness around her, the paranoia and aggression of the citizens becomes the new reality. She wanders into other men’s arms, sees her dead son in every little boy that passes by, until eventually she sees him when there is no one there.

A portrait of madness, skillfully presented, that helped me understand what it takes to scare people to death. It takes each other, out of control.

I am glad I read this haunting book, as I feel a little more aware, although deeply saddened by the message.

The Ice Princess by Camilla Lackberg

The Ice Princess by Camilla Lackberg

A very good plot with enough twists and turns to keep the reader interested. I so enjoyed Stieg Larsson's books and have been looking for a similar reading experience. I found it here and highly recommend giving Camilla Lackberg a try. The Ice Princess keeps you guessing for quite some time and when you think you have it, you don't.. Lackberg's novels have continually topped bestseller lists in Sweden and THE ICE PRINCESS was named Best International Crime Novel of the Year.

Cutting For Stone by Abraham Verghese

Cutting For Stone by Abraham Verghese

Quote from Indiebound-- “This sumptuous tale is one of lives, fates, and destinies, how things separate are connected and how those connected are separate. Birth and death are at the outset - and then, pulsingly, heartfully, carry on companionably all the way through. Lifelong wonderings and longings bridge the geography and time spanned. This is like one of the great life-and-death, myth-and-legend sagas with war, famine, exile, love, betrayal, great tenderness and compassion, a cast of characters, and the work of some larger powers all going on.”

We enjoyed reading Cutting For Stone and highly recommend it for book clubs. It has a true epic quality to it and kept our attention throughout.

The Revenge of the Radioactive Lady by Elizabeth Stuckey-French

The Revenge of the Radioactive Lady by Elizabeth Stuckey-French

From Booklist- If revenge is a dish best served cold, then Marylou Ahearn’s feelings for Dr. Wilson Spriggs should, after 50 years, be just about frozen. But at age 77, Marylou realizes she’s running out of time if she wants to make Spriggs pay for his role in a 1950s covert government medical-research project that gave unsuspecting pregnant women like herself a radioactive cocktail that resulted in the premature cancer death of her eight-year-old daughter. Discovering that Spriggs now lives in Florida with his daughter and teenage grandchildren, Marylou abandons her Memphis home, moves to Spriggs’ neighborhood, and adopts the persona of Nancy Archer, best known to B-movie fans everywhere as the infamous “50-Foot Woman.” Marylou/Nancy’s mission is to kill Spriggs, but the reality is that she’s just a nice little old lady, not an overly large woman with super powers. Instead, she decides to wreak havoc upon the lives of Spriggs’ family, to hilarious, and often sobering, ends in this broadly comic, yet essentially heartfelt, absurdist satire. --Carol Haggas

I found this book delightful, with fully developed characters and a wonderful leading lady. The story moved along at a nice pace and I enjoyed being in this other world for a time. Recommended.