Tag: fiction

Book Review–The Beekeeper’s Apprentice

beekeeperFirst, thank you Kerry from Love Those Hands at Home, who recommended this book. It is a winner! My only regret is that the volume that came up first from “on hold” land was the audio version. It was great to sew and listen, but I enjoyed this one so much that I may buy it so I can hold it in my hands and read it again and again. The  Beekeeper’s Apprentice by Laurie R. King, was published in 2010, so it’s been around awhile, but I had never seen it. 

The story is the first in a Sherlock Holmes series set during World War I. Mr. Holmes is now retired, but meets the precocious orphan Mary Russell. The story details their friendship, Mary’s subsequent training and a case or two that cements their friendship and collaboration. 

When they first meet, Mary is a gangly teenage with a smart mouth, and the story is told from her point of view, in first person. And yes, you will learn a little something about bees as well! There are more in this series, and I will be checking them out from my digital library, you can be sure!

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Book Review–My Brilliant Friend

 My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante is a great read. Yes, there is some drama, and intensity, but I most appreciated the look into real life growing up poor in Italy in the 1950’s. I am very interested in seeing how the two protagonists’ lives progess. I would definitely take this with me camping or on vacation, it’s not so involved that you can’t put it down, but makes you want to go back and find out what happens next, perfect for a summer read. Here’s an “official” synopsis; it provides an overview much more eloquently than I can.

A modern masterpiece from one of Italy’s most acclaimed authors, My Brilliant Friend is a rich, intense, and generous-hearted story about two friends, Elena and Lila. Ferrante’s inimitable style lends itself perfectly to a meticulous portrait of these two women that is also the story of a nation and a touching meditation on the nature of friendship. The story begins in the 1950s, in a poor but vibrant neighborhood on the outskirts of Naples. Growing up on these tough streets the two girls learn to rely on each other ahead of anyone or anything else. As they grow, as their paths repeatedly diverge and converge, Elena and Lila remain best friends whose respective destinies are reflected and refracted in the other. They are likewise the embodiments of a nation undergoing momentous change. Through the lives of these two women, Ferrante tells the story of a neighborhood, a city, and a country as it is transformed in ways that, in turn, also transform the relationship between her protagonists, the unforgettable Elena and Lila.   Europa Editions

Book Review–About Grace by Anthony Doerr

I must admit I had a little trouble getting involved with this story, just because it was disturbing. David Winkler dreams things and then they happen. He dreams terrible things, and as a result gets very little sleep and does some pretty scary stuff, and makes some bizarre choices. I am only a quarter of the way through the book, and it goes back to the library tomorrow because it’s on hold for someone else…of course, in just the last chapter I am finally hooked! I’m putting it back on hold and will finish it when it comes back to me.

I loved Mr. Doerr’s other book, All the Light We Cannot See, so I have to believe that my initial lack of interest came from my current mood, rather than any fault of the book!  The writing is excellent, and the storyline is unique. And, while it took me some time to get committed, I didn’t stop reading it, I just didn’t make it a priority.

Book Review–Oliver Twist

For my first classic of the year, I chose Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens. I’ve read Great Expectations and slogged through Tale of Two Cities, and never really appreciated Dickens until I watched BBC’s Bleak House. I realized that for some reason, Dickens is better (for me) in audio form. So, I listened to Oliver Twist, and enjoyed it much more than my previous reads.

Sometimes we don’t appreciate classics because the story moves more slowly and there’s more thinking and less dialogue than what we’ve been used to from watching TV. I just think that classics are good for us! They show us that the concerns of today were the concerns of yesterday, that in spite our great technology, man is still searching. And, while sometimes the language takes a bit of wading, the stories are really good. They require some discipline, which for me is a good thing, and they often require thinking….

Oliver Twist has it all, dramatic escapes, mayhem, murder, a heroine, and a happy ending. For me, it was a great listen! 

Book Review–Shift

I recall saying that I was going to give the sequel to Wool a try, and then decide…I decided. I have to read the third one just to see how this all turns out. Probably more action than character development, but I want to know what happens!!!!! Again, not my usual read, but hey, it’s winter in South Dakota. 

I must say that Hugh Howey does have an incredible imagination. This was a plot twist that I would never have imagined!

I’ve decided to balance myself out with a classic after this, however I’ve decided to do the audio book so I can keep knitting or stitching as I listen.😉

Book Review–After You

img_1011-1I read the first book, Me Before You, last summer. I had no idea what the story line was, had just seen the title everywhere, so I picked it up. I sobbed through the last chapters, not at all what I hoped for in an ending, but I was curious to see what Jo Jo Moyes would do for a sequel. I found this installment more satisfying, though the plot was a bit of a stretch. Sure, it could have happened, but probably not. I appreciated the opportunity to see some closure for Louisa, so in that regard it was a good read. I might try another one of Ms. Moyes’ books, but I’m not running to the library to hunt them down. For me, they were good, but not great. 😊