Monday, December 28, 2009

Book Review: Mudbound by Hillary Jordan

Before We Begin: A Little About our Book Reviews

Disclaimer: If you are looking for reviews that discuss the juxtaposition of imagery and mood, the symbolism behind the broken flower pot in the garden, and the existential interpretations of a character’s motivation then this site is NOT for you. We’re just a couple of gals who love reading and know what we like and what we don’t. Simple as that.

How We Pick Our Book Selections: Whatever we feel like reviewing. There won’t be a rhyme or reason to what we pick except that it will either be something we have read, heard about, or wanted to read. There are plenty of new book reviews out there, so we’ll probably focus more on older books. Do you have a suggestion of a book you think we should review? Let us know in the comments. Disagree with our review? Let us know in the comments – nicely, of course. (You don’t want to get Christy mad – she’s brutal.) Do you have a bottle of a good vintage Bordeaux you’d like to get off your hands? You can send that directly to Kristi.
At the end of each review will also be a Random Movie Recommendation for the month – just because. Some new releases and some oldies but goodies.
So without further ado, this month’s pick is…..

Mudbound by Hillary Jordan (As always, the following may contain spoiler alerts)

First, our ratings...
K: Definitely a Georgia Peach
C: Yeah, Georgia Peach

NOTE: We were surprised that we liked this book so much as we hadn't liked the previous picks by one of our book club members (she knows who she is :) Although in her defense, several of her picks were critically acclaimed books - they just weren't our thing. So, I went into the reading of this with low expectations, and I love it when my expectations are blown sky high.

Our discussion:
C: It reminded me of sort of a grown-up Little House on the Prairie but way more intense.
K: I don't know. Little House on the Prairie was pretty intense - like that episode when Mary went blind (realizes she's digressing). Although the character in this book loses his tongue and becomes mute, so it is an interesting parallel.
C: Plus, I love historical fiction.
K: I also loved the multiple POV's which seems to be a theme with our book club lately. (NOTE: We've also read The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Society and The Help which had various POV's - and were also amazing books. Both are must reads!)
C: I liked that too. Each voice was distinct and you could "hear" each character when they spoke.
K: That takes a lot of skill for an author to pull off. I also liked the use of the setting and how the mud was used as an antagonist- in addition to the father and societal issues like racism.
C: Definitely a tragic story but it was hopeful in the end.
K: I agree. I'm not a fan of those train-wreck stories that make you feel humanity is lost (like a former book club pick which shall not be named). The Help was like that too - there was so much hope in the ending.
C: It's interesting that we agree that we love all the books discussed today - and they're all historical fiction with multiple POV's.
K: So as not to be boring, we'll pick a book next time that does not contain multiple POV's. Anything else?
C: Nope, it was a great book. Bookclub member 'X' has redeemed herself.

In fact, our next pick has what may be the coolest narrator ever in the history of books. Until next time...

Random Movie Recommendation:

THE BLIND SIDE - I don't often get to the actual movie theater as I have small children and am thus usually relegated to Disney movies or Netflix, but I went with a girlfriend to this movie and LOVED it! Now I'll see any movie that has to do with football, but ones based on a true story, like this one, and Remember the Titans, make my heart sing. Sandra Bullock nails the woman she portrays and the movie is powerful, uplifting and hopeful. WARNING: Bring tissues as my friend and I both needed them at the end - and she's not a crier.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

New Series Post

Ok so we're not so quick with our postings, but it IS that time of year (well that's going to be our excuse for the day anyway!!) Nonetheless, it's me, Christy, and a short while ago I explained I was working on another entry, which will now be known as my Strawberry Series Selection.

This series will highlight one of my favorite literary series and/or authors. Just to give you a background of some of the more mainstream series I follow, I absolutely love the Alex Cross series by James Patterson and the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich. There is just something about following characters and storylines that attracts me. But of course I'm a sucker for new series, so feel free to recommend any you've read and enjoyed. I just had another series that I've started that will DEFINITELY be on the list shortly (just a little something to keep you waiting!! :)

You will learn, if you haven't figured out based on my "favorites", I am a VERY diverse and eclectic reader and the series I read are no exception. There is a little bit of this and a little bit of that so stay tuned and maybe learn of some great new reads for your taste.

My first recommendation isn't technically a series, although it may have been if the author had lived. With that introduction, my first selection is The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson. His next novel, The Girl who Kicked the Hornet's Nest is slated to be released next May but will surely be another fantastic read. Apparently, Mr. Larsson suffered a heart attack shortly after delivering the manuscripts for these 3 novels. And believe me, what a tragedy as he is clearly a talented writer.

These novels have been translated from Swedish, which is not typically my thing as translated novels often seem to lose part of the story (as we've discussed in our review of The Angel's Game) but these stories do not miss a beat. The first approx 50-75 pages of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo seem a little rough at first, but once you get through that bumpy part, it is a non-stop thrill ride. I simply can not say enough about these books and can't wait to read the final installment. Without giving too much away, these stories follow Lisbeth Salander who appears as a modern day Lara Croft heroine for lack of better description. She's not a very likable person but you end up thinking that she is the coolest chic out there!! The other main character is Mikael Blomkvist who is a journalist for a rather liberal Swedish magazine that is no stranger to controversy. Together, this unlikely duo search for the truth shall we say, all while hunting "serial criminals". This is an EXCELLENT series that will keep you up at night turning pages faster and faster.

I hope you enjoy it and we will return SOON, hopefully within the next week or so with our review of Mudbound by Hilary Jordan.

Until then - Happy Reading!!!!