Archive for January, 2016

Hotel Ruby

January 26, 2016

24465518.jpgIf you’re looking for a light, but still creepy, ghost story with a dash of romance mixed in – then Hotel Ruby is for you.

Best-selling author Suzanne Young has penned a ghost story/mystery about Audrey Casella, who when arrives for an unplanned stay at the grand Hotel Ruby.  Just months after their mother’s death, Audrey and her brother, Daniel, are on their way to live with their grandmother, dumped on the doorstep of a DNA-matched stranger because their father is drowning in his grief.

Audrey and her family only plan to stay the night, but life in the Ruby can be intoxicating, extending their stay as it provides endless distractions—including handsome guest Elias Lange, who sends Audrey’s pulse racing. However, the hotel proves to be as strange as it is beautiful. Nightly fancy affairs in the ballroom are invitation only, and Audrey seems to be the one guest who doesn’t have an invite. Instead, she joins the hotel staff on the rooftop, catching whispers about the hotel’s dark past.

The more Audrey learns about the weird guests and staff at the Ruby, the more confused she gets. But will she be pulled into the mystery herself, or will she sit back and enjoy the creepy fun until it is time to leave the Ruby?

This novel is entertaining and the reader will be intrigued to uncover the mysteries of the Hotel Ruby- but the characters and the dialogue fall a little flat/cheesy. Either way it is a decent and entertaining read as long as you don’t expect too much.

“The Japanese Lover”

January 26, 2016

“The Japanese Lover” by Isabel Allende is above everything else a love story.  The author explores many types of love–love of self, love of family, love of children, and, of course, all aspects of love between lovers.

Allende traces the life of Alma Belasco from the time she left Poland in 1939, at the age of eight, to her arrival in San Francisco, to her death in her eighties.  As Alma grows up, she is a witness to the historic events of her time.  World War II and the internment of Japanese-Americans, play an especially important role in her life.

Sent to live with her aunt and uncle, she is saved from the fate that her Jewish parents experienced.  Gradually she becomes an important member of the wealthy, socially prominent Belasco family.

9781501116971_p0_v4_s118x184.jpgAs a young girl she meets and forms a deep friendship with the Japanese son of the Belasco’s gardener.  This friendship turns to love–a love that survives separation, marriages to others, and the social conventions of the time.

The story of their relationship is gradually revealed through a series of letters written by Ichimei to Alma through many years.

Equally important to the story are the members of Alma’s adopted family, friends she makes at a retirement home, and the many people she interacts with over the course of 80 years.

Allende has written the story of a woman who becomes her own person pursuing her dreams and the man she always loved.

 

Donate Books!

January 25, 2016

If you don’t find this inspiring-then I don’t know what is:

In light of the upcoming month of February which is Black History Month I wanted to highlight a campaign that is going on not to far from where we live.

11-year-old Marley Dias has founded the #1000BlackGirlBooks campaign which is having a drive to collect 1000 donated books which feature black female protagonists. Marlene Dias said that she was “sick of reading reading about white boys and dogs.” The books collected from the drive will go to the Retreat Primary and Junior School and Library in the parish of St. Mary, Jamaica, where Dias’ mother grew up.

Dias’ mother told the Philly Voicerecently that it was important for little girls and boys to grow up reading about characters they can identify with in literature. “For young black girls in the United States,” she said, “context is really important for them — to see themselves and have stories that reflect experiences that are closer to what they have or their friends have.”

It is amazing that a Middle-school student is promoting this campaign and it’s a great cause so look into donating!

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“American Housewife”

January 24, 2016

American Housewife   American Housewife by Helen Ellis is a collection of short stories.  Humorous, raunchy, caustic, and over-the-top, Ellis’ characters are vengeful, resentful and bold.  No shrinking violets here, Ellis’ women enjoy the shocking effect they convey on people.  In one story, a woman who recently moved into a new apartment does battle via e-mail with an established tenant across the hall over how to decorate the common area they share.  A surprise, twist-ending reaches a violent end as do other Ellis stories in the collection.  A story describing a group of book club women, results in learning hidden secrets of the members that are unexpected and beyond rule-breaking. Several stories are less than 4 pages.  With a ‘Mad Men’ aura, some of Ellis’ stories reveal women who appear submissive, but then make a move that unleashes their independence.

 

 

“My Name is Lucy Barton”

January 21, 2016

My Name Is Lucy Barton   At just 193 pages, ‘Lucy Barton’ reads like a summary of a collections of snapshots.  We are briefly introduced into Lucy’s life by learning that she is in the hospital for several weeks in New York City and this happened years ago.  The reader is given pieces of her life as a child, a young, married mother, and an older-on-her-second-marriage wife.  Elizabeth Strout writes like she is talking directly to the reader in a confidential voice.  She invites the reader into Lucy’s life, but only opens the window momentarily before closing it again.  Like a series of snapshots covering decades in her life, we learn about Lucy at different stages, but only are allowed glimpses.  There is not much (any?) plot.  The estranged relationship between Lucy and her mother is introduced, revisited several times, and then discarded.  As a glimpse into her life and various events that occurred, Lucy Barton is an interesting read.  Upon closing the novel I asked myself, “What was that?”


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