Reviews by lani

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Girlchild: A Novel
by Tupelo Hassman
A book like no other... (3/14/2012)
Tuppman's expressive and inventive prose is a delight that lifts one's imagination with each sentence. I would often stop and picture the image that her gorgeous writing would produce. Her savage depiction of trailer park life and the woes of single motherhood will leave one outraged, yet filled with love for this high spirited child..
All Woman and Springtime: A Novel
by Brandon W. Jones
Good first effort (3/13/2012)
Would I run out to tell someone to read this book? No...but was the author able to maintain a level of tension and spur one on to finish this quick read...Yes! That said, the book was good but with limitations. The beginning dragged with similes that were trite and unnecessary. The cardboard characters were not fully fleshed allowing me to not fully engage and care. Additionally, the abrupt ending wrapped up too quickly to feel a sense of completion.

One aspect I did appreciate was the author's attention to the thoughts and feelings of these sexually trafficked girls leaving N Korea and the ensuing culture shock. In my experience, this disorientation has not been addressed in similar books.

For those not well versed in reading about sexual trafficking, the contents might be graphic but indeed honest, and will open their eyes to this hidden world.
The Healing: A Novel
by Jonathan Odell
Run to the store (3/2/2012)
If I could give this book a 6, that would be well earned. Quite simply,I adored this book which explored slavery and subjugation in a prose so lyrical and moving that I heard the characters lilt in every phrase I read. I was also so astonished at the sensitivity by the author to write in such a uniquely female voice. It is a book that will stay with me for a long time and one that begs to be made into a movie.
The Informationist: A Thriller
by Taylor Stevens
Harrowing! (1/12/2012)
I read this book when it first came out but I only remember not being able to put it down. I just finished her latest sequel,The Innocent,and have to let everyone know that they should run out and read it. It is just as good as the first!! Fast paced chiller action with a character that keeps reminding me of Lisbeth Salander!
Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity
by Katherine Boo
Clarity in disparity (12/27/2011)
First, I must declare my conflict of interest. I am in love with India, have visited 4 times and spent time in the Dharavi slum. I thought I understood intellectually the plight of the poor and disenfranchised but nothing prepared me for the emotional wallop of Katherine Boo's reportage. With a clinical eye, she brought these characters to life, with all their superstitions, powerlessness, envy and indeed their humanity. However, I gave it a 4 instead of a 5 because I got seriously depressed and saddened reading this and had to put it down frequently. I urge you, though, to plunge ahead,to explore the ideas and values that are presented which truly transcend this specific region, ethnicity and culture...just beware; it's very unsettling.
When She Woke: A Novel
by Hillary Jordan
fascinating (11/2/2011)
A wonderful Margaret Atwood type of dystopian tale but, I tend to disagree with the reviewers. I was looking for something more. In fact, what I loved about it was how this mild dystopian nature could be related directly to today's events. I thought it was a winner and definitely "fed" my soul; I could not put it down. GREAT for discussion groups..
Before I Go To Sleep: A Novel
by S.J. Watson
Run...to get this (7/13/2011)
I almost got into 3 accidents because I kept trying to read this at every stop light while I was in the car. Perfect for vacation, a long flight or just everyday reading. The tension continued to build in this book until the last couple of pages and I still am haunted by the conclusion..
The Hypnotist: A Novel
by Lars Kepler
perfect summer reading (7/13/2011)
The tension in this book continued from the first page to the last. Achingly good book that will intrigue people who love Stieg Larsson's work.
The Night Circus: A Novel
by Erin Morgenstern
A blockbuster (7/5/2011)
I predict that this book will be a smash hit. I was hooked from the first chapter and kept trying to find excuses to run away from other duties so I could snuggle up and drift away into this magic dreamworld. It is outstandingly visual and will translate wonderfully into film.Fans of Harry Potter should really adore the incredible cast of characters on a more sophisticated plane. The only downside is that I had to keep referring back to the previous chapters for dates as each chapter often skipped around in time..
Please Look After Mom: A Novel
by Kyung-sook Shin
How could this only get one thumbs up? (5/22/2011)
For anyone who is a mother,who has lost a mother , or indeed simply thinks of her mother, this book is a must..I can't remember when I cried so much..
A Visit from the Goon Squad
by Jennifer Egan
what is with all the hype? (5/18/2011)
Yes, it is clever..but that doesn't warrant the accolades this book is getting. Not an arresting book at all..
Radio Shangri-La: What I Learned in Bhutan, the Happiest Kingdom on Earth
by Lisa Napoli
Disappointing tale (1/30/2011)
Perhaps I bring a bias. I have been to Bhutan in the past year and eagerly awaited the depiction of the warm serenity that engulfs the region. Instead, I found a breezy novel with little insight that might appeal to those looking for an entertaining "find yourself' book.I was hoping to hear much more about what she actually did at the radio station and the difficulties she encountered,but again, I found her text to be insubstantial. She talks about various love relationships gone wrong,but brings you to a climax and then drops the stick, never further elucidating what happened. All in all, one might find it a good beach read, but I left it feeling disappointed and wanting more.
The Last Jew of Treblinka: A Memoir
by Chil Rajchman
Painful (1/30/2011)
At the beginning of the book, a partial quote from Vasily Grossman states," to turn away, to close one's eyes and walk past is to insult the memory of those who have perished.".That said, as painful as this was to read, it ranks high among Holocaust memoirs. Although this is a short, sparse novella, I had to take several breaks from reading this,as my mind could not take in the horror..To pay tribute to all who have been lost, one cannot afford NOT to read this..
Left Neglected: A Novel
by Lisa Genova
Good but not great.. (1/27/2011)
I love books when I can learn something new from them. Her easy style allows one to read this in a breezy fashion, while still learning a great deal about a person who undergoes a "left neglect" brain injury and how it affects one's daily life.
Dream of Ding Village
by Yan Lianke
Sobering (1/7/2011)
Novel based on a true story of contaminated Aids blood collection in China . The book, which is an incredible commentary on Chinese society was banned as it explores the government's role in society and the values of what individuals consider important. I would not miss this important book.
You Know When the Men Are Gone
by Siobhan Fallon
Tore at my heartstrings (12/22/2010)
This is a series of loosely connected short stories all dealing with the emotional issues of being the partner or serviceman who has been deployed in war. Normally, I am not a fan of short stories but the loosely interconnected weave of these men and women did not need a prolonged plot. Her writing was superb; I felt the pain and grief of these characters long after I finished it (read in one sitting). It also sensitized me to others who have been deployed, making me look at them in a whole new way. I would run to get this book.
Up from the Blue: A Novel
by Susan Henderson
Don't be put off that this is a teen read (10/16/2010)
This should be marketed for adults as well. It feels like the type of book that will soar by word of mouth from those who have read this until it hits the NYTimes bestseller list. It was an incredibly haunting,tender story told from the perspective of an 8 year old who despite living with a mother psychiatrically unhinged from the world continues to believe in and hold on to this desperate bond between mother and child. When I finished it ,I emailed all my book buddies to run and pick up a copy. Don't let this one go under the radar!
The Lost and Forgotten Languages of Shanghai: A Novel
by Ruiyan Xu
A great postulate gone south (10/1/2010)
The premise of the book held much promise and I eagerly awaited reading it. That said, I was disappointed. The most engaging parts were contemplating the questions of who are without language and whether a common language is important to the emotional connection with one another. However, the plot felt like a predictable soap opera,with characters I did not find believable. Indeed, the Dr.'s unprofessional behavior was so abhorrent and unlikely that it hindered my belief in the rest of the novel.
The Man From Saigon: A Novel
by Marti Leimbach
The exclamation that says it all! (3/10/2010)
Riveting and vivid are two words that come to my mind. The visual imagery that exploded in my mind from reading this made me hungry for every word. She painted a detailed landscape so lush and dense making me feel I was thrust alive inside this horrific world.
Wench: A Novel
by Dolen Perkins-Valdez
The exclamation that says it all! (2/25/2010)
All I cried at the novel's conclusion was, "Why does this have to end!"..

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