Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Long Way Home by Karen McQuestion

Title: The Long Way Home
Author: Karen McQuestion
Reviewer: Stephanie
Genre: Adult Fiction (Mildly Paranormal?)
Rating: Worship
Alerts/Warnings: There is a talk about a murder and two physical attacks on a character
Premise: For Wisconsinites Marnie, Laverne and Rita, life isn't working out so well. Each is biding time, waiting for something better, something to transport them out of what their lives have recently become. And then there's Jazzy: bubbly, positive, and happy even though she hears voices of the departed. Brought together by a chance meeting, the women decide to join Marnie on a road trip from Wisconsin to Las Vegas where she intends to reunite with Troy, the boy she raised as her own—and who she’s been separated from since her boyfriend’s death. Little do they know that as the road trip unfolds, so will their lives—in directions they never anticipated. Humorous, heartwarming, and bittersweet, the journey has something special in store for each woman.

Opinions: So this is the third book I have read and reviewed by Karen McQuestion.  The other two (here and here) are YA fantasy.  So I didn't know what to expect from this novel since it was not at all like the other two I've read.  This is most assuredly a book for adults.  Three of the characters are dealing with the death or loss of a loved one and the fourth character hears the voices of departed souls.  Unexpectedly thrown together, these four women go on a road trip to help one of the women try to reconnect with her stepson.

I love the use of the physical journey mirroring the mental journey these four women take.  I really felt the pain that they were in and the healing process they went through.  This is one of Karen McQuestions' strengths as a writer.  She writers her characters so effortlessly that you connect with them easily and quickly.  I was hooked from the very beginning of the book and I couldn't put it down.  I felt like I was a part of the group on the journey to Nevada.

This is a phenomenal book.  It was a great piece of fiction and I enthusiastically encourage you to take the time to read it.  It is worth it.

Friday, May 18, 2012

The Skeleton's Knife by Joni Sensel

Title: The Skeleton's Knife
Author: Joni Sensel
Reviewer: Stephanie
Genre: YA Fantasy
Rating: Worship
Alerts/Warnings: Deals with ghosts and spooks. There is a journey to the land of the dead that is creepy with some otherworldly violence.
Premise: When 14-year-old Ariel Farwalker sets out to return a dead enemy's knife to its source, she lends strength to an evil that seeks her attention. Aided by a new friend with a smuggler's savvy and a talent for charming the wind, Ariel must travel to the land of the dead to save someone she loves and bury both the knife and the past. If she fails, neither she nor her most beloved friends will survive.

Opinions: Now I have to admit I was SUPER excited to read this book.  In preparation for it, I read the first two books again so it would be fresh in my head.  And, honestly, it wasn't the story that I was expecting, but I loved it.  I thought it was a very satisfying ending to a great trilogy.  Ariel and Scarl go on a journey to purge themselves of the violence in their past that haunted them.  Zeke joins them and through this journey they all find  the closure they need.

It has a different feel to it than the first two books.  It's a little darker.  Okay, a lot darker.  But I loved it.  Joni Sensel is an amazing writer and I am excited to see what she writes next.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Timekeeper's Moon by Joni Sensel

Title: The Timekeeper's Moon
Author: Joni Sensel
Reviewer: Stephanie
Genre: YA Fantasy
Rating: Worship
Alerts/Warnings: none
Premise: When Ariel Farwalker hears the moon talking to her, she thinks she must be going crazy. Then she discovers an ancient map, and learns that the moon is part of a mysterious summons that's calling her on a new journey.

With her surly guardian Scarl by her side, Ariel sets out on an adventure that leads her to new friends-the beautiful Flame-Mage Sienna and the mute boy Nace, who captures Ariel's heart. As the four travel on, strange things start to happen-fragments of Ariel's past appear in the present, so that it seems that time itself is coming undone. At the end of the journey, Ariel will learn where her journey began, and have a chance to save her life as she knows it.

Opinions: I am ashamed to admit that I read this book over a year ago and forgot to write a review (hangs head in shame). So I am going to repent and write this review now. PLUS the next review I post will be the final book in this trilogy. The first book in this trilogy is "The Farwalker's Quest" (for my review go here.) When I finished "The Farwalker's Quest" I was completely satisfied. While I wanted to read a sequel, I wasn't sure there would be one. However! I am so glad that there is! I loved loved loved this book. It follows Ariel and Scarl on a journey pushed on Ariel by the moon.

One of the things I like about this book is that in "The Farwalker's Quest" Ariel is learning that she is a farwalker and what that means.  In this book, she is actually farwalking, and it is both interesting and complex.  I love how she grows.  I also really like how her character develops.  Plus the new characters appeal to me and are highly delightful.

This is an amazing series that I have loved.  Stay tuned for my review on the final book.  It's a good one.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Way to Start A Day by Byrd Baylor

Title: The Way to Start A Day
Author: Byrd Baylor (Illustrator: Peter Parnall)
Reviewer: Karen
Genre: Children's Picture Book
Rating: Love
Alerts/Warnings: None
Premise:"Text and illustrations describe how people all over the world celebrate the sunrise." (King County Library System)
Opinions: For our book club this month we are reading a series of Byrd Baylor books. I started by reading this Caldecott Honor book to my daughter this evening and thought it was quite beautiful. The book describes different cultures and ways that they honor the sun. The illustrations fit the language wonderfully and help children to follow along with each culture described. For anyone with little kids this book is a great tool to talk to your children about how everyone starts the day differently.