Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Review: The Kindness of Strangers by Katrina Kittle

Title: The Kindness of Strangers
Author: Katrina Kittle
Pages: 400 pages (paperback)
Publisher: Harper Perennial (January 2, 2007)
ISBN-10: 0060564784

From Publishers Weekly
Master caterer Sarah Laden is barely holding her life together as a widow with two difficult sons—recalcitrant teen Nate and troubled fifth-grader Danny—when the unthinkable happens. Her best friend and neighbor, Courtney Kendrick, is arrested in a child sex abuse scandal. Courtney's husband has vanished; their 11-year-old son, Jordan, is in the hospital recovering from a suicide attempt; and across the street Nate is finding, in Jordan's backpack, evidence of unthinkable abuse. Kittle (Traveling Light; Two Truths and a Lie) crafts a disturbing but compelling story line, as Sarah, Nate and Jordan uncover and come to terms with the horror in alternating chapters. Sarah, for instance, is shocked to learn that she dropped off food for the Kendricks' sex parties; Jordan must decide whether or not he wants to continue a relationship with his mother—who insists she's innocent—if and when she gets acquitted. Kittle's research sits awkwardly in expository dialogue—"One in four girls and one in six boys are sexually abused before their eighteenth birthdays," intones the detective who will later become Sarah's love interest—but it doesn't slow the momentum. Though the movement is toward healing, there are bumpy roads ahead for everybody in this melodramatic but gripping read. (Jan.)

My Review
Readability: This is a compelling read. I started this book late one evening and was up way too late reading! I began reading the book again once I awoke.

Overall: Last night before bed I started this book. I read until after midnight and dreamed about this book all night. I woke up and finished the book before noon. It was a disturbing subject matter, but very well written. It kept me wanting to know what happened. It was the story an abused child and his journey to recovery and his experience with the legal, foster care and social services agencies. Being a social worker in a social services agency, I find this type of book very compelling. I rate this book 4.5/5 = Recommended / A good read.
Happy Reading!
Jen C

Review: Barefoot by Elin Hilderbrand

Title: Barefoot
Author: Elin Hilderbrand
Pages: 432 pages
Publisher: Back Bay Books (June 9, 2008)
ISBN-10: 0316018597

From Publishers Weekly
Hilderbrand's sixth novel heaps on the trauma as a substitute for realistic connection in this heady mix of beach house, cancer, affair and mom lit. Connecticut housewife Vicki, diagnosed with lung cancer, has packed up her two kids for a chemo-commuting summer at the family's Nantucket cabin; sister Brenda, a newly minted high-powered assistant professor, has just been fired for having an affair with one of her students; Vicki's best friend, Melanie, newly pregnant, has discovered her husband is cheating. The three hit the tarmac of the tiny island airport, where they run into home-for-the-summer Middlebury senior Josh Flynn, who has a summer job there that he hates. Hardened cliché Brenda pines for her stereotypically weathered Australian lover. Melanie is a chronic complainer until she romances grim aspiring writer Josh, whom she has run into again and brought on as the house babysitter. (Josh thinks his old girlfriend should "locate her center" and "operate from a place of security.") Of the three women, only the suffering, stubborn Vicki, who keeps a list of "Things That No Longer Mattered" and cries when she can't seduce her visiting husband, draws readerly sympathy. There are some tender moments in Hilderbrand's latest beacher, but others are as irritating as sand in your swimsuit.

My Review
Overall, this book took me a while to get through. It wasn't overly exciting and it was another book about a person with cancer. I have read a number of books lately about cancer victims/survivors. I rate this book - 3 = Okay / An average book.
Happy Reading!
Jen C

Welcome to Reading in WBL

Hello - Thanks for stopping by my new blog. Many of you may know me from my xanga website, Ostara's World. Part of my reason for separating my book reviews from my main blog, is that I would like to grow my involvement with publishing book reviews.

About me: I live in Minnesota. I grew up in South Dakota, but am truly a Minnesotan. I enjoy reading, but as with any reader, I wish I had more time to read in my daily life. I work full time as a social worker and do truly enjoy my profession. I have been married to my best friend, for 9 years. Together we are raising three sons, ages, 21, 16 and 7. In addtion to reading, I enjoy cooking and many domestic endeavers.

I am a graduate of St Cloud State University and completed all the course work for my Master's Degree at Augsburg College. I am active in our church and belong to a wonderful book group.

To give you an idea of the books I enjoy, below you will find what I have read in 2009.

Things I Want My Daughters to Know: A Novel - Elizabeth Noble - (4.5/5)
The Shack - William P. Young - (4/5)
Moloka'i - Alan Brennert - (4.5/5) (Book Group Selection)

Lace Reader - Brunonia Barry - (4.5/5)
Firefly Lane - Kristin Hannah - (3/5)
Barefoot - Elin Hilderbrand (3/5)
The Kindness of Strangers - Katrina Kittle (4.5/5)

The Secret Between Us - Barbara Delinsky - (3/5) (Book Group Selection)
The View From Mount Joy - Lorna Landvik - (3/5) (Book Group Selection)

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle - David Wroblewski - (4.5/5) (Book Group Selection)

Rating Scale Used -(From the Bookies WebSite)
5 = Highly Recommended / Another "Classic."
4 = Recommended / A good read.
3 = Okay / An average book.
2 = Would Not Recommend / Less then satisfying.
1 = How did this get published? / Poor.

If you would like to see what else I have read, check out my Reading Retreat site.