The Last Widow #KarinSlaughter

Enthralling, Emotional, Enlightening – these are merely the beginning of a long list of adjectives I often use to describe Karin Slaughter’s books. Thrilling and captivating, The Last Widow, was a heart stopping, engrossing read from cover to cover, something I have come to expect from this author, which is why she is on my “must read” list for every new book she writes.

{CE169550-99AD-404B-84A0-3C51EED44953}Img100

After a hiatus, Slaughter has returned to the Will Trent series which includes Sara Linton, both of whom now are working for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and who are tentatively in a relationship. The book begins with a shopping trip turned abduction and rapidly moves to a bombing at the Emory campus in downtown Atlanta. En-route to the bombing, Will and Sara become entangled in a car crash that escalates into murder and mayhem and Sara being taken hostage. Whew! And that was all in the first few pages of the book! Soon we, the readers, realize that all of this is part of a white nationalist terrorist plot that has been brewing for well over a decade. The problem is how to stop the looming attack without losing half the population as well as Sara.

What I love most about Karin Slaughter’s books is the volume of research that goes in to each and every one of them. I know that when I read one of her books not only are they going to be an exceptionally well written thriller, I am going to come away from the experience with a greater knowledge and understanding of the subject matter. She always deals with “ripped from the headlines” topics in her books and The Last Widow is no exception. As the characters are informed and updated on the standing of white nationalists in the US, we learn as well and what we learn is frightening and eye-opening. Never does Slaughter preach or make judgement calls; she is even handed and quite neutral on the issues at hand. I, on the hand, am not at all and wish that there had been more anger on anyone’s part. Those from the FBI often were apologetic over not doing more, stopping more, shutting down more terrorist groups and their reasons were not reasons with which I could agree. Too many people are dying and, unlike fiction, there is no one rushing in to save the day.

The Last Widow is realistic, sobering and frightening and I am quite sure it will regarded as controversial as many of her previous works have been. It is, however, one of the best books I’ve read in a very long time. My only concern is with the first few chapters of the book. Slaughter begins by telling the same events from different perspectives. It is, at first, quite repetitive and somewhat strange. The remainder of the book continues to be told from multiple perspectives but not the same events from each character’s point of view. The shift is an odd one and I’m unclear why it was used in the first place. That isn’t her usual writing style and I found it distracting. Once she stopped doing that, the book was perfection.

If you’ve never read Karin Slaughter before now, I highly encourage you to do so. She has several stand-alone books including Coptown which is one of my all time favorite books. This is the 9th book in the Will Trent series which was merged with the Sara Linton series. You could read it on its on but I wouldn’t suggest it. There simply is too much backstory with all of these characters and it is that backstory that makes this book as remarkable as it is. Start at the beginning of the Will Trent line and work forward – you’ll be glad that you did.

 

Advertisements

The Last List of Judith Kratt @AndreaBobotis

Miss Judith has inherited all that the Kratt family had to offer: a pie safe, a copper clock and a murder no one talks about. 9781492678861_34d7d

Being born and raised in the southern part of the US, I came to love southern literature. It has a flow and charm to it, a rhythm that is unlike any other. When it is done well you can smell the gardenias and magnolias on every page and feel the grit from the dusty Delta roads. The Last List of Miss Judith Kratt is such a novel, one that envelops you and transports you to the hot, humid backroads of the deep south complete with its oppressive heat and family turmoil.

Miss Judith wants to make a list of all that she owns before it is her “time to go.” She doesn’t have much; in fact, she doesn’t have anything of value really except memories and stories and secrets. She would like to keep the worst of those secrets all the way to her grave but she knows that will be impossible when her sister returns home hell-bent on exposing all that she knows regardless of the cost to anyone around her.

The actual story itself is, for many of us, as old as the hills: a family that has grown apart due to a tragedy that had to be kept quiet, in this case a murder that was covered up decades before the story takes place. As Miss Judith tells her story, catalogues her belongings and her life, however, we realize that this is more than an ordinary tale, but rather one that is told beautifully, with eloquence and in a manner not unlike the great story-tellers of the past: Faulkner and Harper Lee, even a touch of Flannery O’Connor’s biting wit comes through in the tapestry that Bobotis has woven together.

Don’t be fooled, however. This is not just a piece of fiction, an historical account of Miss Judith’s life. There is a mystery here, deep and dark, that must be resolved for all those concerned. Regardless of your genre of choice, this is a book for everyone, a classic in the making.

Thank you to #Eidleweiss, @Sourcebooks and #AndreaBobotis for my copy of this amazing book on sale today at your favorite bookseller and Amazon.

#SundayMorningForKids featuring The Saga of Baby Divine! by Bette Midler

Whoo hoo!!!  I’ve been waiting all week for Sunday to come around again so we could celebrate Sunday Morning for Kids and share our favorite kids books!!

Sat morning kids(1)

Today is my daughter’s birthday – HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOLLY – so I thought I would share one of her favorite books published the year she was born. Omgosh, that’s make both us very YOUNG!!!  🙂   The Divine Ms. M was extremely popular, well she still is, but she was the rage that year and she wrote a children’s book that reflected her outrageous personality, a book that she wished had been around for girls like her when she was a wee one. After reading The Saga of Baby Divine, I totally understood what she meant!!

611y+w1Ta0L._SX460_BO1,204,203,200_

When the Divines have a baby she isn’t quite like the rest of the babies they’ve known or seen. The first thing they realize is that their baby comes with high heels and a grand curl of red hair on her head. But the greatest shock for the poor Divines is their child could already say one word and that word was “MORE!” The poor Divines did not have clue  what to do with their unusual child. But lurking around were three very smart chicks who knew how to care for the marvelous Baby Divine! They whisked her away on moonbeams and shadows and taught her about laughter and joy. They teach her about singing and dancing and fun and made sure that she knew about MORE! But the best gift they gave her, which lasted her whole life through, was this:

“Make sure that your life is a Rare Entertainment! It doesn’t take anything drastic,  You needn’t be gorgeous or wealthy or smart – just very enthusiastic!”

55845335_347591772534172_8225910919385841664_n(1)

If I read this book once, I had to have read it a thousand times over the years to each of my kids. The tongue-twisting rhymes are marvelous, the illustrations will leave you breathless and there’s even songs to sing throughout! It truly is a book made to order for those kids who love to shine.

Over the years, I’ve watched this book’s popularity rise and fall. Right now there are those, like my daughter, who are scrambling to find it for their own kids because they loved this book so much. There also are those who never really read it who assume it is about greed, material possessions and hubris. It is not. In fact, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Midler grew up an overweight, large nosed, curly red-headed Jewish girl who teased her unmercifully every day of her life. She dreamed of flying away at night to a land where she was divine, funny, brilliant, love and accepted. That is what we all want. Every single child who lives wants to be loved. Throughout their lives kids will be told to sit, stand, put their hands by their side, fit in, blend in, don’t stand out, follow the crowd. Sometimes, rarely, there are those who do not! They soar, they shine, they jump, they sing, they glow and they want MORE!!!! Molly grew up to be a climate negotiator for the US State Department and a key author of the Paris Agreement.  She was a homeschooled girl who was told she never would get accepted into the big league universities because she was homeschooled but she asked for MORE.  I say this because books matter. Reading books that encourage your kids to excel, matters. Letting their imagination grow off of the charts matters. Allow them to ride into the night on moonbeams and always want MORE! Who ever achieved anything in life wanting LESS?

You can find a used copy of The Saga of Baby Divine on Amazon. I hope you’ll give it a read. Now, what are you reading this week? Have you found a delightful new kids book that has captured your imagination? Share it with us….

 

 

 

Where the Forest Meets the Stars #GlendyVanderah

Oh wow! I know I shouldn’t begin a review with Oh Wow but I was so blown away with Where the Forest Meets the Stars that it has taken a few days to put words to my thoughts (and you see how well that has gone, right?) Oh wow is what I have come up with so far. 51sZRlFOe6L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_amazonJoanna Teale is an ornithologist is safely tucked away in a researcher’s cabin on the marshes of southern Illinois where she is completing her graduate studies on nesting practices. It is here that she is healing her body and soul after a battle with breast cancer. Nearby is Gabe, the “egg man,” who lives on the farm up the road and is battling demons of his own. Into their lives a young girl wanders. She calls herself Ursa and claims to be an alien in search of five miracles. It is obvious to Jo that the girl needs help on multiple levels, but the girl is brilliant and cagey and every time that Jo attempts to turn Ursa into the “authorities” she eludes them, leaving Jo to care for the girl until Jo can unravel Ursa’s secrets and find out her past. Surely she isn’t really alien, is she? As Jo and Gabe begin caring for Ursa, they find themselves enveloped in a healing process of their own. But there are secrets yet to be uncovered that will have devastating effects on them all.

Where the Forest Meets the Stars is truly a magical tale. In the beginning you wonder if, in fact, it is going to fall into the realm of paranormal. Soon, however, you realize that the magic and wonder that Ursa possesses isn’t fantasy but rather the wonderment of love and that love; true, unselfish, altruistic love, has a healing, restorative effect on those with whom Ursa comes in contact. The miracles that Ursa seeks, baby birds in a nest or new kittens being born, pale in comparison to the miracles she brings to the lives of those around her.  This is a story of forgiveness, friendship, restoration and, most importantly, love. It is simply but poignantly written, almost as a parable, and is one I encourage you all to read.