Thursday, February 21, 2013

A Journey of Voices, Stewards of the Land

Book Description: Stewards of the Land is the second book in Diane McAdams Gladow's nonfiction series about common, ordinary families who lived American History and in some cases helped to make it. This book tells the story of the Crume family by interweaving old letters, pictures, land documents, Bible records, and historical references with an account of the family's life and movement through seven generations. The story of this family is truly the story of American history from 1746 to 1946 and the story of American agricultural life and how it changed over two hundred years. 

I honestly thought I would love this book. I have been researching my genealogy for more than 10 years and love reading old documents and information. This book, however, just did not capture my attention or imagination. It was almost like an enhanced software generated genealogy report. This person was born here, lived here, moved here, with facts and dates. Had anyone in the book been a member of my ancestry, it would have been much more interesting, although as a genealogy book it also would fall short because of the supposition sprinkled throughout. There were quite a few statements made with “may have felt” or “Perhaps this was the reason…”, in which the author tried to imagine what happened or how the person felt.
Some of the letters were interesting, but then some were just about resting over a holiday, taking a train ride, or a sore foot. The most interesting information in the book is the shirt-tail connection to Abraham Lincoln. While there is a generation list of the Crume family, a surname index would have been very helpful. I think the key words in the book description are "ordinary people".

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Plague by H.W. Bernard

Terrorism is frightening enough without the thought of a terrorist attack by a deadly airborne Ebola-type virus.   The story starts out strong as the first victims fall ill and the doctors realize what they are facing. The main character, Richard Wainwright, steps in as a temporary CEO of a bio-tech company after the entire administration was killed in an airplane crash. He soon finds himself in more trouble than he can handle.

I did have a few problems with the book.  While the character of Richard was likable he didn't seem very competent in his position, and some of his actions just didn't make sense.  One character in the book came across too much like a cartoon ninja character. Then there was Richard’s love interest, an odd, not very devout Methodist minister.

I enjoyed the beginning of the book, but it seemed to go down too many rabbit trails before if found its way back. I would have liked more medical and fewer escapades.

Monday, February 4, 2013

The Atria International Book of Mysteries

Sample excerpts from 15 different authors from around the world.

This book delivers exactly what it promises.  The Atria takes the works of authors from around the world and gives just of a sample of each.  Some samples are just one chapter and some a little longer, but all of them leave the reader hanging. 

Choosing a book by the title and a short description of the story line can sometimes leave me disappointed. Although the plot may be good, the writing is flowery or overly descriptive which is just not what I enjoy.  With a sampler like this, I was also able to determine whether I like the style in which the author writes. 

I think the one that piqued my interest the most was the sample from Shunning Sarah by Julie Kramer. Her main character, Riley Spartz is a female a television investigative journalist in Minneapolis.  I not only was interested in the topics, but was able to decide whether or not I would like her writing style.

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