Secrets of Eden

Book: Secrets of Eden

Author: Chris Bohjalian

Short Summary:
The night of her baptism by the Reverend Stephen Drew, Alice Hayward is strangled by her abusive husband. He then went on to shoot himself. Soon, however, there are doubts about the murder, suicide, and who exactly was involved. Told through the perspective of four characters, the secrets of that one fateful night are slowly revealed.

My Review:
I listened to the audio book of this one, and I thought it was great. One thing I really enjoyed about this book was the telling of the story through four different perspectives. While I sometimes find this technique to be overused and inneffective, such as in Mudbound, in this case it worked. I also liked that each character told a whole quarter of the book. This really helped me get into their heads and understand their characters. It was much more effective than boucing back and fourth every chapter.

The four voices used in the audio book and the writing to represent the Reverend Stephen Drew, State Attorney Catherine Benencasa, author and angel loving Heather Laurent, and Alice and George’s teenage daughter, Katie Hayward were all very distinct and made this book interesting to listen to.

Some may say that the conclusion of the book was predictable and I would agree, but it did not detract from my enjoyment of the story. Secrets were revealed little by little, which kept the suspense high throughout the entire book.

If you like a highly suspenseful, well written story, this one is for you.

My Rating: 4.25/5



Book: Mudbound

Author: Hillary Jordan

Short Summary:
Laura McAllen was forced to leave a comfortable middle class life when her husband Henry decided to buy a farm in a small Mississipi farm in the 1940’s. The McAllen’s, their two daughters, and Henry’s father who they all called Pappy moved to the farm and a new way of life. There they met the Jackson’s , a black family who were share croppers for the previous owners of the farm and stayed on to work for the McAllen’s. Both families had boys fighting on the front lines of World War II who returned to Mississipi and farm life. Told through the perspective of several characters, Mudbound shows the struggles and joys of life on the farm as well as circumstances that bring people together or tear them apart.

My Thoughts:
I really enjoyed this book. It gave a realistic look at the racism that was such a part of this country. There were times it was very difficult to read because it made me feel so much anger. This to me is a sign of good writing. It was able to stir up so much emotion in me. Some of the themes of this book were similar to those in The Help, yet this book seemed to dig even deeper into the issues of racism and the realities of it.

One thing I’m not quite sure worked for me in this book was the telling of the story through so many different perspectives. I think this technique was overused . The perspective changed too often for me. I would have prefered a few less transitions from one character to the next. This technique made it difficult to really connect with any one of the characters.

Overall, I feel this book is worth reading. There is a lot of important issues brought up and would lead to a great discussion with a book club. If you enjoy reading books about this time period this book is also one you will like.

My Rating: 3.75/5 stars


Book: Limitations

Author: Scott Turow

Short Summary:
Judge George Mason, who has appeared in other Turow books, is the judge on a rape case involving several men. The rape happened a few years ago, but evidence has just arisen. This case stirs up some old memories for George that make him start to questions himself and his abilities as a judge. Meanwhile, he is getting threatening emails and text messages from an unknown perpetrator. Turow leaves the reader pondering the limitations of the law and the limitations of the people who are meant to uphold it.

My Thoughts:
I liked this book, didn’t love it. I listened to this one and it was short and to the point, yet moved slightly slowly. There are times when I crave a good legal thriller, but this book spent much more times outside the courtroom than in. I could have used more courtroom scenes that pulled me in. Turow’s Presumed Innocent were full of them and I was left wanting more out of this one.

I love the title of this books. The story dealt with the statutes of limitations according to the law, but it dove into the limitations we as humans feel to live to their full potential.

Many of the characters from Turow’s previous books make an appearance in this book. It’s always fun to see the return of a character you got to know so intimately in the past. Rusty Sabich from Presumed Innocent makes a brief appearance, which got me looking forward to the sequel of that book titled Innocent, coming out later this year.

If you like books dealing with the moral implications of the law at a relatively slow pace, you will enjoy this one. If you want more action and intense courtroom drama try one of Turow’s earlier works.

My Rating: 3.25/5 stars

April in Review

May already? Wow. First I want to apologize for being MIA lately. I had a computer malfunction last weekend. I’m back up and running, but things are a little tricky and I’m working out some kinks.

That being said, April was a pretty good month. I started doing Soundtrack Saturday and Sunday and hope to continue that. I am such a music lover and the idea from alita.reads is a great one! I got through 6 books, 4 read, 2 audio, and 1 movie based on a book. Here is what I read:

In April I also got to go see Billy Elliot the musical and Ben Folds, my all time favorite musician!

My favorite book of the month was Let the Great World Spin, but Ella Minnow Pea comes in a close second. Very different books, but both great.

I am currently reading The Girl Who Played with Fire by Steig Larsson and Mudbound by Hilary Jordan. I am listening to Secrets of Eden by Chris Bohjalian. All of them are great so far.

May is my last month of school, and I really don’t have much planned for the summer except a one week cruise with the family. I’m hoping to fit in a ton of reading during this summer, maybe fitting in some big ones like Beach Music or Pillars of the Earth. We shall see.

I hope everyone had a great month!