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Lottery: A Novel
by Patricia Wood
Love is more important than money (6/28/2010)
The Lottery makes you think about life and what is really important. I really enjoyed the novel, and the characters were likable except for Perry's family...I don't know how people could be that cruel and conniving.

I read the book in a day...great story...you will love it...and as Perry says: Love is important...more important than money.
Small Island
by Andrea Levy
Historical and keeps your interest (6/28/2010)
Small Island begins with a chapter about Post-War London and Hortense, a Jamaican bride, arriving in London to meet her husband whom she married but hasn't seen for six months. The reunion is quite a tale.

The book brings to light how immigrants were treated and viewed during Post-War in England. It was an education into how and what went on during that period in history.

At first it was a little difficult to get completely into the book...at times it was just plain confusing, but Andrea Levy has fantastic descriptions of the characters as well as the era. Very profound book. It also makes you laugh out loud at some of the things that happen and some of the things the characters say.

The book is a little slow at the beginning, but as you continue it draws you in and you "need" to know what happens next. The chapters are divided into sections for each character to tell his/her story.

Just as the book BEGINS, it ENDS with Hortense's story. Hortense became my favorite character as you got to know her better...she was sweet, trusting, and very likable.

Andrea Levy is an excellent author and storyteller.

I really enjoyed the content even though I was confused at times.....4/5 for interest, but 5/5 for the historical aspect and explanation of the Post-War Era in London.
The Scent of Rain and Lightning: A Novel
by Nancy Pickard
Predictable? You may be predicting incorrectly. :) (6/27/2010)
The ending is a little predictable, but also a surprise. You will like the story. The story is definitely a page turner. The love and the kindness the Linder family has for everyone draws you into the storyline. I am going to rate it a 4/5 because it was a little slow at times, but the mystery keeps you guessing.
The Forgotten Garden: A Novel
by Kate Morton
Masterful writing (6/27/2010)
Loved it...absolutely amazing....the writing is a masterpiece.

All the mysteries and secrets of the Mountrachet family are revealed....the ending is superb.

The story goes back and forth in time telling the story of how little Nell was put on a boat to Australia without an adult and how the portmaster and his wife in Australia took her in as their own. Nell's life makes a complete turn around for her when her father tells her on her 21st birthday that she isn't really his child.

The book tells of the generations before and after Nell. It is masterfully written...you don't want to put it down until you find out who Nell really is and until you find all the secrets about how she arrived on the boat and in Australia and the significance of the forgotten garden....the garden plays a huge part in the unraveling of the secrets and mysteries in the book.

I usually don't re-read books, but I would re-read this just to be sure I "got" all the facts straight...it was just fantastic....the story was very clever and the characters unforgettable....I didn't want the book to end
Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet: A Novel
by Jamie Ford
Loved It...Incredible (6/27/2010)
Oai deki te ureshii desu ....How are you today, beautiful?

That quote from the book says it all....what an incredible, heartfelt, interesting story...this book is set during World War II and is about the childhood love of a Japanese girl and a Chinese boy during World War II and takes place specifically during the encampment of the Japanese people who lived in Seattle, Washington...it will keep your interest and teach you some history...I learned about The Panama Hotel in Seattle, Washington.

It also is about the conflict between Henry and his Chinese father and the beauty of friendships...it also has some music facts in it for all you jazz fans.

I don't want to give too much away, but it is a nostalgic book and one you will want to tell others about....it is similar to Snow Falling on Cedars.

You will absolutely enjoy it and love it. I loved the story and the lessons learned.
Cathedral of the Sea: A Novel
by Ildefonso Falcones
Gripping, Intense, Beautiful (6/27/2010)
The book was a little slow at first, but the history of Barcelona, the building of the church, and the way people lived and were ruled was fascinating. It also makes one glad to not be living during that era.

It is a long book, but it gets better so don't give up. I enjoyed the history lesson and, of course, the descriptions of ancient Barcelona...what a beautiful, historical city then and now. 5/5

Proud Spanish families, medieval times, the feudal system, lords, serfs, peasants, submission, the plague, and, of course, beautiful Barcelona....all of this and more are the makeup of Cathedral of the Sea.
The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America
by Erik Larson
Historically fun to see all the names you learned in your history class (6/27/2010)
The book was great historically...seeing all these names of people who invented things was great...the mystery surrounding Mr. Holmes was gruesome, but fit nicely into the story's plot. You will enjoy the book, but can skip some of the pages telling about the constructing of the the World's Fair Buildings.

Chicago, Chicago, my kind of town.....Chicago won the spot for the World's fair beating out New York City and Washington, D.C.

A challenge between Chauncey Depew and the Whitechapel Club arose after Chicago won the spot. The challenge was to see if Chicago can make the World's Fair the best and biggest of the time....better than the one that just ended in Paris. Quoting from Page 14: "It was the big talk, not the persistent southwesterly breeze, that had prompted New York editor Charles Anderson Dana to nickname Chicago 'the Windy City.'"

Meanwhile Chicago was growing and architects were becoming wealthy and successful, but the city was so large it was starting to become dangerous and dirty. And all during this, in comes H. H. Holmes also known as Herman Webster Mudgett claiming to be a doctor and pharmacist. He actually did train as a doctor, but had a very shady past. His shady past began surfacing as he built a strange building across the street from a pharmacy he bought from a widow that mysteriously disappeared. His charm and charisma got him out of a lot of trouble and even out of paying his debts. Not one person could even suspect him of any wrongdoing in any aspect. His thoughts, though, were of young, single women and Jack the Ripper.

While he was building this strange building, Chicago had its architects looking for a place to build their "fabulous" World's Fair. Everyone was still waiting for them to fail since Paris in everyone's mind couldn't be surpassed. Finally on December 15, 1890, the committee decided on a location for the World's Columbian Exposition. It was going to be right next to H. H. Holmes' building...this made him very pleased and thrilled. The cost and organization was going to be astronomical. The architects hired were the best in the nation, but none were from Chicago.

H. H. Holmes was thinking more and more about completing his building and also turning it into a hotel and building a furnace in the basement that was able to go up to 3,000 degrees...the mason was a little leary about the shape and size he wanted. The mason said it looked like an oven they used to cremate dead bodies. Lots of signs had been appearing indicating that he was not normal, but no one paid any notice since he was a pretty smooth operator...he still didn't pay any of his bills either unless it became absolutely necessary.

The fair took all the time out of each architect's day...it was slow, and they were afraid they wouldn't get done in time. Obstacle after obstacle kept appearing...if it wasn't the land, it was that the blueprints were late, or that they were worried about sanitation and crime. During all of this, good old Mr. Holmes was still up to his tricks with money and women. He would steal down to the basement and light the furnace and loved to feel the incredible heat.

The building of the fair continued to be a disaster...hurricanes and storms knocked down buildings that were built, men died, architects didn't get along, and Mr. Holmes continued to swoon women and ask them to marry him - he already had two wives and two children. Something always happened to the women he targeted after he won them over and asked them to marry him....he knew which women were weak and which women would be able to help him with their financial assets or family connections.

Opening day was one day away, and the rain kept pouring down causing puddles everywhere. The trash from workers' lunches were still scattered on the ground and they had to do makeshift planting to cover up some of the holes caused by all the rain. They had found the one thing they needed and hoped would be the symbol that identified the World's Fair as being successful and one that would top the Eiffel Tower that had been the attraction in Paris for their World's Fair. Even though the Ferris Wheel was not ready for opening day, they hoped the Ferris Wheel would be their saving grace. It was designed by Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, bridge builder George Washington Gale Ferris.

The fair was a success, it was over, the fair was missed, and Mr. Holmes was missing.
The Kitchen House: A Novel
by Kathleen Grissom
Absolutely wonderful (6/26/2010)
I absolutely loved this book...couldn't put it down.

You will fall in love with the characters and share their joy, sadness, triumphs, and defeats...you will want to be right there with the ladies in the kitchen house preparing meals and being loved by them.

The book is set during the time of plantation owners and slavery. On his boat trip back from Ireland, James Pyke brought Lavinia with him...she is a seven-year-old white child whose parents died on the boat during the return trip.

Lavinia is sent to work in the Kitchen House, and the black families learn to love her and she learns to love them as the only family she knows...her memory is gone when she arrives and remembers nothing about her parents and her childhood.

Lavinia works alongside the ladies in the Kitchen House and then learns to take care of the Mistress of house's new born baby...the Mistress begins to teach Lavinia how to read and write. Lavinia is the main character along with Belle, Mama Mae and Papa George and of course the harsh plantation owners

The book takes you through the loyalties the black families have for each other and their Master and his family. It also makes your heart ache at the truths of what really occurred on the plantations concerning the relationship between the slaves and the plantation owners.

A lot of tragedies throughout the story, a terrific account of occurrences, excellent depictions of the surroundings and people.

Through the author's wonderful descriptions, you feel you are right there...the novel is fabulously written.

If you loved The Help, you will love this book as well or you may like it even more.

ENJOY! It is wonderful.
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