Sunday, July 19, 2009

Monday Mailbox - 7/20/09 Edition

Mailbox Monday is a weekly event hosted by Marcia over at The Printed Page. While on vacation I completed 2 review books. When I came home three more books were waiting for me!

This last week, I welcomed three new book into my home and onto my ever growing TBR pile.

I received an (Advance Reading Copy) of Though Waters Roar by Lynn Austin from Bethany House Publications. A publications date of October 2009 is expected for this book.

Product Description for Though Waters Roar:
Harriet Sherwood has always adored her grandmother. But when Harriet decides to follow her footsteps to fight for social justice, she certainly never expected her efforts to land her in jail. Nor did she expect her childhood enemy and notorious school bully, Tommy O'Reilly, to be the arresting officer.

Languishing in a jail cell, Harriet has plenty of time to sift through the memories of the three generations of women who have preceded her. As each story emerges, the strength of her family--and their deep faith in the God of justice and righteousness--brings Harriet to discovery of her own goals and motives for pursuing them.

I am participating in my first Blog Tour sponsored by WaterBrook Multnomah's Blogging for Books Program and received The Hope of Refuge by Cindy Woodsmall to read for the tour. The tour will be taking place August 3rd - 11th. The Hope of Refuge is due out in paperback on August 11, 2009.

Description of The Hope of Refuge by Cindy Woodsmall:

Raised in foster care and now the widowed mother of a little girl, Cara Moore struggles against poverty, fear, and a relentless stalker. When a trail of memories leads Cara and Lori out of New York City toward an Amish community, she follows every lead, eager for answers and a fresh start. She discovers that long-held secrets about her family history ripple beneath the surface of Dry Lake, Pennsylvania, and it’s no place for an outsider. But one Amish man, Ephraim Mast, dares to fulfill the command he believes that he received from God–“Be me to her”– despite how it threatens his way of life.

Completely opposite of the hard, untrusting Cara, Ephraim’s sister Deborah also finds her dreams crumbling when the man she has pledged to build a life with begins withdrawing from Deborah and his community, including his mother, Ada Stoltzfus. Can the run-down house that Ada envisions transforming unite them toward a common purpose–or push Mahlon away forever? While Ephraim is trying to do what he believes is right, will he be shunned and lose everything–including the guarded single mother who simply longs for a better life?

Lastly, I welcomed The Brutal Telling by Louise Penny into my home. The Brutal Telling will be on-sale October 1, 2009 by Minotaur Books.

Product Description for The Brutal Telling:

With those words the peace of Three Pines is shattered. As families prepare to head back to the city and children say goodbye to summer, a stranger is found murdered in the village bistro and antiques store. Once again, Chief Inspector Gamache and his team are called in to strip back layers of lies, exposing both treasures and rancid secrets buried in the wilderness.

No one admits to knowing the murdered man, but as secrets are revealed, chaos begins to close in on the beloved bistro owner, Olivier. How did he make such a spectacular success of his business? What past did he leave behind and why has he buried himself in this tiny village? And why does every lead in the investigation find its way back to him?
As Olivier grows more frantic, a trail of clues and treasures— from first editions of Charlotte’s Web and Jane Eyre to a spider web with the word “WOE” woven in it—lead the Chief Inspector deep into the woods and across the continent in search of the truth, and finally back to Three Pines as the little village braces for the truth and the final, brutal telling.

What books came into your house last week? Don’t forget to stop by The Printed Page and leave a link to your Monday Mailbox post for others to view!

Happy Reading!

Books Read in 2008

Lottery: A Novel - Patricia Wood - (4/5)
Tess of the d'Ubervilles - Thomas Hardy- (5/5)
Leap Days - Katherine Laphner - (3/5)
The Worse Things I Have Done - Ursula Hegi - (3.5/5)
The Rest of Her Life - Laura Moriarty - (4/5)
Astrid & Veronika - Linda Olsson - (4/5)

Family Tree - Barbara Delinsky - (4/5)
The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox - Maggie O'Farrell - (4.5/5)

Budget Time Again - No Time to Read for Fun!

Fool's Puzzle (A Benni Harper Mystery) - Earlene Fowler - (3.5/5)
Black Girl, White Girl - Joyce Carol Oates - (3/5)
While the Locust Slept: A Memoir - Pater Razor - (3/5)

Birth Of Venus - Sarah Dunant - (4/5)
Fall on Your Knees - Ann Marie MacDonald - (4/5 )
The Golden Road: Notes on my Gentrification - Caille Millner - (2.5/5)

Case Histories - Kate Atkinson - (4/5)
Water For Elephants - Sara Gruen - (4/5)
Mistress of the Art of Death - Ariana Franklin - (4.5/5)
A Painted House - John Grisham - (4/5)
Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress - Dai Sijie - (4/5)
The Bastard of Istanbul - Elif Shafak - (4.5/5)

The Septembers of Shiraz - Dalia Sofer - (4/5)
The Stone Diaries - Carol Shields - (3.5/5)
Daughter's Keeper - Ayelet Waldman - (4/5)

Creation in Death - J D Robb - (3/5)

Stalked - Brian Freeman -(4/5)
Unaccostumed Earth - Jhumpa Lahiri - (3/5)

Louder Than Words: A Mother's Journey in Healing Autism - Jenny McCarthy - (4/5)

There If You Need Me - Kate Braestrup - (3.5/5)
More Than it Hurts You - Darin Strauss - (4/5)

The Last Lecture - Randy Pausch - (4.5/5)

Books Read in 2009

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

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)

The View from Mt Joy - Lorna Landvik (3/5)

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle - David Wroblewski (4.5/5)
The Girl She Used To Be - David Cristofano (4/5)
Across a Hundred Mountains - Reyna Grande (4/5)

The Hour I First Believed - Wally Lamb (5/5)
In the Kitchen - Monica Ali (3/5)
The Uncommon Reader - Alan Bennett (3/5)
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society - Mark Ann Shaffer (4/5)

Awaiting Your Reply - Dan Chaon (4/5)
The Crying Tree - Naseem Rakha - (5/5)
The Hope of Refuge - Cindy Woodsmall - (4/5)
Those Who Save Us - Jenna Blum - (4/5)
The Hope of Refuge - Cindy Woodsmall (4/5)

Prayers For Sale - Sandra Dallas - (4/5)

A Year On Ladybug Farm - Donna Ball - (4.5/5)
At Home on Ladybug Farm - Donna Ball (4.5/5)
The Lost Symbol - Dan Brown (4.5/5)

Emma & Me - Elizabeth Flock -(4/5)

The 19th Wife - David Ebershoff (hope to finish before end of yr)

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Review: The Crying Tree by Naseem Rakha

Title: The Crying Tree
Author: Naseem Rakha
Pages: 353 pages
Publisher: Broadway; First Edition edition (July 7, 2009)
ISBN-10: 0767931408

Book Description from Book: Irene and Nate Stanley are living a quiet and contented life with their two children, Bliss and Shep, on their family farm in southern Illinois when Nate suddenly announces he’s been offered a job as a deputy sheriff in Oregon. Irene fights her husband. She does not want to uproot her family and has deep misgivings about the move. Nevertheless, the family leaves, and they are just settling into their life in Oregon’s high desert when the unthinkable happens. Fifteen-year-old Shep is shot and killed during an apparent robbery in their home. The murderer, a young mechanic with a history of assault, robbery, and drug-related offenses, is caught and sentenced to death.

Shep’s murder sends the Stanley family into a tailspin, with each member attempting to cope with the tragedy in his or her own way. Irene’s approach is to live, week after week, waiting for Daniel Robbin’s execution and the justice she feels she and her family deserve. Those weeks turn into months and then years. Ultimately, faced with a growing sense that Robbin’s death will not stop her pain, Irene takes the extraordinary and clandestine step of reaching out to her son’s killer. The two forge an unlikely connection that remains a secret from her family and friends.
Years later, Irene receives the notice that she had craved for so long—Daniel Robbin has stopped his appeals and will be executed within a month. This announcement shakes the very core of the Stanley family. Irene, it turns out, isn’t the only one with a shocking secret to hide. As the execution date nears, the Stanleys must face difficult truths and find a way to come to terms with the past.

Dramatic, wrenching, and ultimately uplifting, The Crying Tree is an unforgettable story of love and redemption, the unbreakable bonds of family, and the transformative power of forgiveness.

My Review: I was initially intrigued when receiving this book for review by the cover. I am always drawn to interesting cover art. After reading the back cover I didn’t see how the boy playing the trumpet and the title The Crying Tree came together, but very appropriate after reading the book.

I read this book on my vacation and I must say it was a great read! The themes of the story for me were loss, grief and forgiveness. One of the most powerful lines in the books is about pain and grace. How do you have pain and grace at the same time? I guess through forgiveness comes grace. There is so much pain in this story, the pain of a mother, a father, sister and lover. There is a powerful statement made about pain and hatred eating you alive and now you get around that hatred and forgive. I am not sure I could have forgiven as Irene Stanley had, but she was a remarkably strong character. I appreciated her strength and journey.

The Crying Tree by Naseem Rakha is a remarkable and heart wrenching story that will stay with me for a while. The characters are very well developed and you have a good feel for their feelings and values. The characters are very human and have made mistakes. I highly recommend this book. It will draw you in within the first few pages and like me, you will be staying up a bit too late wanting the story to continue!

My Rating: 5 – Highly Recommended

Happy Reading!!!