Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Book Review Club (November 2013)




I can’t tell you how happy I am that it’s finally the first Wednesday of November and our book review club. October was tough for me. Reading-wise, that is. I had the hardest time finding a book I wanted to finish reading. I’m ready to dive into everyone’s reviews (the links are below my review) and get hooked up with some good titles!

RESCUE by Anita Shreve (adult)

The story opens on paramedic and single dad Pete Webster’s fortieth birthday. His seventeen-year-old daughter, Rowan, has fixed him breakfast. Right away, you can see the dad’s walking on eggshells, weighing every word that he says to his daughter. “Webster can feel his daughter’s impatience. Eager to be away.” As a mother of teens, it certainly rings true to me. The second chapter takes us back 18 years, to the night Webster met Rowan’s mother. Back then, Webster was a rookie paramedic, responding to a 1:10am call: “Unresponsive female half-ejected one-car ten-fifty.” Pete, our small town hero, falls hard for the female, Sheila Arsenault. Sheila is our sexy, alcoholic, street-wise, very-rough-around-the-edges heroine. Pete wants to save her. Very quickly, the two fall in love, get pregnant, get married. Sheila continues drinking. Pete keeps trying to save her. The marriage lasts two years. Sheila disappears from Pete and Rowan’s life. Now, with the daughter making some pretty poor choices, Pete reaches out to his ex-wife.

What I liked: The characters. They totally sucked me in. I felt that I knew them, that I might bump into them at the grocery store. I wanted to slap Sheila for the risks she was taking. Rowan, too. Also, there’s the language. Shreve has an incredible way with words. “Even when was an infant, she had that extra, what, quarter inch above the eyebrows. As though someone took a pair of pliers, stretched her head a little. It makes her blue eyes open up. It makes her look a bit startled by life.”

What was a little meh: Pete Webster was a good paramedic, a good husband, a good dad, a good son, a good neighbor, a good…you get the idea. He could’ve handled a flaw or two. Also, the ending felt a bit off. But that could just be me. If anyone else reads/has read this book, please let me know your thoughts.

That said, RESCUE is a good, solid book. It’ll tug at your heart. It'll make you wonder where you'd draw the line with those you love.

And, now, let’s get to everyone else’s reviews!



MIDDLE GRADE/YOUNG ADULT BOOK REVIEWS

Stacy Nyikos: MAGIC MARKS THE SPOT by Carolyn Carlson (middle grade)

Ellen Booraem of Freelance Ne'er-do-well: THE BRIXEN WITCH by Stacy DeKeyser (MG fantasy)

Lucy Sartain of Ranting and Raving: THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN by Katherine Applegate (MG)

Jody Feldman: HECK: WHERE THE BAD KIDS GO by Dale E. Basye (middle grade)
                         THE HATE LIST by Jennifer Brown (young adult)
                          KEEP HOLDING ON by Susane Colasanti (young adult)
                          ENCHANTED by Alethea Kontis (young adult)


ADULT BOOK REVIEWS

Sarah Laurence: THE PARTNER TRACK by Helen Wan (legal)

Stacy of The Cat's Meow: MONSTERS OF TEMPLETON (literary)

Alyssa Goodnight of the Writers' Road Less Traveled: THE HAUNTING OF MADDY CLARE by     Simone St. James (part historical, part romance, part mystery, seriously creepy!)

Beth Yarnall: The Opportunist by Tarryn Fisher (romance)

Prairie Rose of Prairie Rose's Garden: A FINER END by Deborah Crombie (mystery) 
 

NONFICTION REVIEWS

Patti Abbott: LOTS OF CANDLES, PLENTY OF CAKE by Anna Quindlen

Jenn Jilks of Cottage Country: BREAKING DOWN THE WALLS by Norma Yaeger (autobiography)



Note to Reviewers: Any errors (broken link, missed review, etc), just shoot me an email or leave a comment. Thank you so much for your reviews!

13 comments:

Lucy said...

I love a good character driven story. If I don't care about the characters, I'm probably not going to care about the book.

And I understand about having a rough time with books . . .I had a bit of rough patch myself. Here's to hoping we struggle next month with deciding which of the many wonderful books we read in November to review. :)

Rose said...

Anita Shreve's name has come up so often in book reviews I've read, I really need to read one of her books! Sounds like the type of family conflict that makes for a good story, yet is so true to life.

Barrie said...

Lucy, I'm like you. Characters are really important to me. I have to be invested in them. Also, they have to act true to form. I'm just finishing a book where the character doesn't quite feel real enough. And I finally decided it's because she says things that feel off for her.

Barrie said...

Rose, oh yes, read one and get back to me. I think my favorite was Light on Snow. I enjoyed some of her books more than others.

Sarah Laurence said...

Barrie, that sounds like a typical Shreve novel. I've read/reviewed 4 of her books (Body Surfing, The Pilot's Wife, Fortune's Rocks and Testimony). I think I'm more tempted by Light on Snow if I were to read another one, maybe this winter on a plane? Thanks for hosting the book club!

Stacy Nyikos said...

Giving characters flaws is the hardest thing! I had this theory it was a mothering instinct hangup on my part, until I started doing writing workshops with kids. Boys HATE giving their characters flaws. It's as if we all want to be safe, and thus, want our characters to be safe. When they aren't, writing is, well, like standing naked on a busy street corner for three months of prolonged agony. Then again, that may just be me.

Barrie said...

Sarah, I must hop over to your blog and read your Shreve reviews! I really liked Body Surfing, so that gives you a sense of my taste vis-a-vis the rec for Light on Snow.

Barrie said...

Stacy: Ha, ha, ha re the naked on a street corner for 3 months!! Interesting that boys hate giving their characters' flaws. They must grow out of this in their early twenties. I had lunch with Child #1. His advice to me about my current ms? Be meaner. Kill off a friend or two of his. Make him a little nasty.

Alyssa Goodnight said...

I love the backstory on this! Sounds like a interesting read. Glad you finally found one to enjoy--you should have been checking past BRC posts... ;)

Thanks for coordinating the book club, Barrie!

Barrie said...

Alyssa: That works great for me---choosing books to read based on our club! In fact, today I started listening to Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell thanks to Sarah's October review. :)

Ellen Booraem said...

I've actually never read Shreve, but I keep meaning to. Is this where you'd start?

Stacy said...

I've only read one of Shreve's novels (Fortune's Rocks), but I really loved it. May have to give this one a try.

Jennifer A. Jilks said...

Thanks for hosting, Barrie.
It's lovely having a purpose in life and a challenge to find a good book! Or a bad book!