Thursday, May 24, 2018

The Secret Refuge Series

Fiction by Lauraine Snelling.

Daughter of Twin Oaks (Secret Refuge Series #1)
Sisters of the Confederacy (A Secret Refuge Book #2)The Long Way Home (Secret Refuge Series #3)

This series is a set of three books that take place during the Civil War. I read this all in one volume from a library edition. This is the way I prefer to read a trilogy: all at one time!

Together, these made one good story with memorable characters.

I also read recently by this author: Reunion

Monday, May 21, 2018

The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane

Fiction by Lisa See

The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane

I have read everything I can find by Lisa See, and loved it, so I was excited to get this new book. It's as good as I expected, a story about a girl born in modern (late-twentieth-century) China but in a hill village so remote that she might have been born hundreds of years ago.

There are many different Chinese minorities, apparently, and they all have their own customs and ways. I did not realize how diverse a country China really is, although it should have been obvious, just based on how huge it is. Even the appearance that we think of as "Chinese" is only representative of one kind of ethnicity, called "Han majority" in this book. One of the ideas explored in this story is the difficulty of maintaining these small authentic cultures in the modern world.

Another thing the book talks about that I hadn't really thought about has to do with all this Chinese girls adopted by Americans in the past thirty years or so. How do these girls feel about all of this? Not to mention all of the young men growing up as only sons in China with no suitable wives around.  The One Child policy doesn't seem to have turned out as well as it could have. It is a lot to think about.

All of that aside, this is a great story about mothers and daughters that is worth reading.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Edge of Eternity

Fiction by Ken Follett.

Edge of Eternity: Book Three of the Century Trilogy

This is the final book in the Century Trilogy, which began with Fall of Giants and continued with Winter of the World . This story begins in 1961 and continues until the end of the twentieth century. . The main focus is the Cold War, so the narrative pretty much ends in 1989.

It was a well-written, character-driven story, as I expected, and I was particularly interested to read about "historical" events that actually happened within my lifetime, since I was born around 1970. Reading this definitely helped me understand things that were going on as I was growing up, although I will note that the author's political leanings definitely colored his view of the events. I suppose all of history is like that; it depends on who is telling the story. As always, Ken Follett does a wonderful job of showing all the characters in the story as multi-dimensional and fully human, despite their nationality or political leanings. Except Nixon. Apparent Richard Nixon is right up there with Adolph Hilter as pure evil in this author's view. But I'll forgive him that; it's still a great book and a great ending to the Century Trilogy.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Never Again Goodbye

Fiction by Terri Blackstock.

Never Again Good-Bye (Second Chances Series #1)

This is a straight romance with a pretty predictable but kind of implausible plot. It's okay but I just couldn't get interested in the characters for some reason. It's one of Terri Blackstock's very early works. She's improved quite a bit since then.

I also read by this author: Downfall, Twisted Innocence, and If I Live

Saturday, May 12, 2018

The Boy is Back

Fiction by Meg Cabot.

The Boy Is Back

Meg Cabot is a entertaining writer! This story is written in the form of text messages and emails, and it's really funny. This is a great little lighthearted straight romance.

I recommend anything by this author for fun reading!

Friday, May 11, 2018

The Masterpiece

Fiction by Francine Rivers.

The Masterpiece (Signed Book)

This is a good straight romance, about a couple of interesting characters from troubled backgrounds.

I also read recently by this author: An Echo in Darkness

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Alternate Side

Fiction by Anna Quindlen.

Alternate Side

I love all of Anna Quindlen's books. The characters are so engaging; you really believe in them and want to know what happens to them.

This story is about a couple who live in a privileged Manhattan neighborhood on a dead-end street. (That's apparently a big deal by NYC standards.) The wife is a die-hard New-Yorker who never wants to live anywhere else, and the husband is not, and some of the neighbors have issues. I'm not describing the plot very well, but trust me: it's really good.

I also read recently by this author: Black and Blue