The Red Tent

Book: The Red Tent

Author: Anita Diamant

Short Summary:
Dinah, the only daughter of biblical Jacob, is the narrator in this story. She tells the tale of the days of old through a woman’s perspective. With her birth mother Leah and three other “mothers” Rachel, Zilpah, and Bilhah she spent time in the red tent, away from the men in her family, learning the secrets of what it means to be a woman. Using what she has learned from her childhood, Dinah uses her strength and character to live an extraordinary life.

My Thoughts:
This book was like a revisit to Sunday school, but with an interesting twist. I loved how it was told from a woman’s perspective, one rarely mentioned in the bible. I don’t claim to know too much about the bible, and Dinah’s name is one I never heard. I tried reading this book when I was it first came out, but couldn’t quite get into it. I think I was too young. I am very glad I gave it another try.

This book was highly entertaining, and educational as well. The characters of the bible and the matriarchs were brought to life. Dinah was a great protagonist. She had such a deep connection to her “mother’s”. The time spent in the red tent together showed how strong the bonds of women can be.

This book had it all; love, sex, friendship, violence, betrayal, and history all wrapped in one. It was a great read which I would highly recommend.

Rating: 4/5 stars


The Girl Who Played With Fire

Book: The Girl Who Played With Fire

Author: Stieg Larsson

Short Summary:
In his second installment of the Millenium trilogy, we are once again taken into the lives of Lisbeth Salander and Mikel Bloomkvist. Two of Mikel’s co-workers and friends are murdered right before a scandalous story they wrote was to be published. Lisbeth is the prime suspect and her fingerprints have been found on the murder weapon. Bloomkvist is convinced that Salander is innocent of the crime and does all he can to prove it.

My Thoughts:
This was another wonderful effort from the late Stieg Larsson. It was easy to fall right into the story because the characters were already so familiar. I also enjoyed diving deeper and deeper into the life of Lisbeth Salander and learning more about her past and what makes her the way she is.

It’s pretty hard to write about this book without giving too much away. It definitely kept me turning page after page with wonderful suspense.

I stated this in the review of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, but it’s worth stating again: Lisbeth Salander kicks ass. She is seriously one of the most interesting, unique, and complicated heroines that has appeared in fiction in a long time. I can’t wait to read the next installment, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest. I also can’t wait for the movie of this book to come out since I was so impressed with the first one.

My Rating: 4.25/5 stars

What the Dead Know

Book: What the Dead Know

Author: Laura Lippman

Short Summary:
A woman who was in a hit and run accident claims to be Heather Bethany, one of the two Bethany sisters who disappeared from a shopping mall in Baltimore 30 years ago. Nobody can be sure she is, in fact, who she claims to be. The book alternates from the day of the disappearance to the present, with little details of the mystery unraveling throughout.

My Thoughts:
This is another one I would consider to be good, but not great. I found the mystery of the missing sisters to be intriguing and suspenseful, and the ending did not leave me disappointed. I also enjoyed the way the author took us back to the very day of the disappearance. I think I enjoyed the parts that took place in the past more than those of the present day.

I listened to this book, and while I found the parts taking place in the past very easy to follow, the ones taking place in the present were more confusing. This may not have been the case had I read the book instead of listened to it. Their seemed to be a lot of characters in the present day, many who seemed unneccessary.

While the mystery in this book was a winner, the characters were not. I found it difficult to really care for any of them. I wasn’t particularly rooting for anyone and didn’t feel invested enough in any of them to wonder how their lives would turn out. This aspect of the book left me wanting more.

I have now listened to several audio books, and one thing I cannot understand is the music chosen for these books. The music in this one was particularly bad. It seemed so out of place and would come in at the most random times. I somewhat understand the use of  a little music as a transition, but for the most part I find it unneccessary and distracting, as was the case in this book.

My Rating: 3.5/5 stars

May in Review

Okay, so May was not a very good month in terms of blogging or reading. I only got through 4 books, two read and two audio. I had a lot going on in my personal life and the second half of the month I was MIA from my blog. But now I am back! My summer vacation has officially started which mean lots of time to read! In the past few days I have bought 7 new books, so there will be plenty to keep me busy.

Here is what I read in May:

My favorite was The Girl Who Played with Fire and I am very much looking forward to The Girl who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest. Secrets of Eden was fantastic as well.

I am currently reading The Red Tent which is great so far. This month I plan to read To Kill a Mockingbird which I have never read! I also have Columbine, Half a Yellow Sun, The Stormchasers, and Innocent in sight. We shall see what I get to. I am going on a family cruise for a week at the end of the month and have to decide what to bring with!

I have been flirting with the idea of reading a graphic novel. I don’t have any, but I think I might start with Persepolis. If anyone has suggestions for a graphic novel which would be good to start with I’m all ears.

While May has not been a productive reading/blogging month, I hope that I can redeem myself in June! Happy Summer everyone!

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