Friday, July 31, 2015

The Death of A Hero

Dear Readers,

With all the talk about whether or not Atticus of To Kill a Mockingbird and Go Set a Watchman fame, is a racist or not got me thinking.  Why is to so hard when our fictional heroes have feet of clay.

Atticus is a hero that seems to have fallen, but does he really?  The Atticus in TKAM is almost to perfect. He is raising two young children, maybe a bit unconventionally, but they seem to be turning out okay.  He then takes a stand between mob mentality and a innocent man and to be honest with you, everyone who has read the book wanted him as our father.  Go ahead admit it, even it if was just a little bit.

So when word got out that Atticus was a racist, the literary word went nuts.  Something they were all looking to celebrate, a new book by beloved Harper Lee, was quickly turned into cries of "how could she?" and "I am never going to read it."  Why?  Because a not perfect Atticus was almost more than most of them could handle.

Now let me insert this paragraph first - I don not agree with any of the racist statements in the book.  I do understand they are written as a cultural thing from that time, but it doesn't make the thinking correct.

When a hero falters people struggle.  Our heroes are not allowed to have faults and now a beloved father has one, a huge one and we don't know how to deal with it.  That is why it is so hard when a fictional hero changes, we have only that one way of remembering them and when that changes it gives us pause and we must learn to like them differently. (and we do wonder why the author couldn't write them differently)

I am going to admit, I like this Atticus.  Yup I know, isn't that awful?  But this is a side of him I didn't expect, but it makes me wrestle with him.  I love that, a character that I am uncomfortable with makes me learn things about myself and others.  Atticus makes me look at why people believed the things they did.

Issues still separate us today.  They always will.  We always think we are right, but maybe once again Atticus is pointing us in the right direction, maybe we need to listen more to each other instead of just have a snap reaction and decided that person will be dead to us as Jean Louise did.

So no I don't think a hero died, but I think a hero has become more approachable.

Happy Reading,

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Harper Lee

Dear Readers,

To be perfectly honest I wasn’t sure if I would ever read GoSet a Watchman by Harper Lee.  To Kill a Mockingbird was not that world changing book for me that it was for so many.  There was much discussion of whether we should carry it here at the store. We finally decided we wanted to and I personally am glad that we are. 

Image result for go set a watchmanScout (Jean Louise) is now all grown up and living in New York.  She arrives home for a visit and finds that things, like all of us do, have changed.  Buildings are missing, new ones are going up and even Atticus is starting to show his age.  At 72 he is slowing down and his arthritis bothers him more than ever.  But he is still her father and love him she does. 

Aunt Alexandra believes the visit is long overdue and continues to express her disappointment that Jean Louise hasn’t moved back home, “because her father needs her,” as Alexandra is so fond of saying.  There is also Henry, the young man that has been in Jean Louise’s life as long as she can remember. He is madly in love with her and also pushing for her to move back.  All things that put her on edge and not sure she is going to enjoy this visit. 

I am only one small voice speaking about this book and really I am kind of late at it, but I wanted to talk about this book.  I had been asked to read it and so feel I must write a review on it.  It is an honest review and if I had not liked the book you would not be reading anything about it on my column. 

You will hear Harper’s voice all the way throughout the book.  It is a rawer version of that voice, but it rings loud and clear, which does make for a delightful read.  My wish is that she could have worked on the book a bit more and refined and edited it more.  (More on this tomorrow.)  But that was not to be and it doesn’t take away for the story she is telling us.

I found the book a very interesting read and am very glad I read it.  I would love to discuss it in a book club and get all the different perspectives on it.  There are loads of different topics addressed in the book and each one is sure to garner several hours of discussion on their own. 

If you are still undecided on whether to read “Watchman” or not, let me encourage you to.  There is a lot of food for thought in the book and you just might get a different perspective on a few things.

Happy Reading,

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

New Release - Midnight on the Mississippi - Mary Ellis

Dear Readers,

I will admit that what I know about Mary Ellis is mostly because of her Amish books.  Then just recently she started writing historical and now romantic suspense books.  The first in the Secrets of the South series is Midnight on the Mississippi and looks like it better be a quick addition to any fan of the genre.

Nicki Price is ready to prove herself in her new job as a PI.  She wants to be able to solve the murder of Hunter Galen's partner and quickly.  As she discovers fraud and deception at the Investment firm, she also finds herself attracted to the only suspect in the case, Hunter himself.

As the attraction grows, Nicki needs to decide if Hunter is guilty or not and if he is innocent then who really committed murder.  Are they willing to murder again to keep their secret?

Romantic Suspense is the fastest growing genre in the Christian market.  That means more and more authors will wade into the waters and give us more than we can read.  So it becomes harder and harder to figure out which books are worth reading.  I can safely say, Mary's books are ones I will be adding to my TBR list right away.

Happy Reading,

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

New Release - Center of Gravity - Laura McNeill

Dear Readers,

To be honest when I saw the title of this book I really expected to have a completely different story line.  Mostly because it brings to mind Space travel or time travel.  But Center of Gravity by Laura McNeill is about Ava Carson and her life.

Center+of+GravityAva was only sure of one thing, she was never going to measure up to her mother's expectations.  Then she meets Mitchell and he seems to be the perfect man.  Not only is he loving and attentive to her, he comes already with the perfect little boy for her to fall in love with also.

Quickly they are married and with a new little one, Ava's life is complete.  That is until Mitchell starts acting strangely.  First she blames it on stress and is sure she can solve those problems, but the things get worse and worse and she feels like she needs to flee to save her and her children's lives.              
So a book that is not a light read, but one that may keep you awake at night as Ava finds out about Mitchell's past and why he is the way he is.  Laura is new to my shelves here at the store and so I am interested in what else she will be writing.

Happy Reading,

Monday, July 27, 2015

New Releases - July 20th - 25th

Dear Readers,

Got bunches of books read last week and looking forward to talking to you all about them.  Wonder which one to report on first.  Ah well I guess I will have to wait and see. 

Happy Reading,

Center of Gravity - Laura McNeill - Ava marries the perfect man, loving, caring hand handsome.  He comes with an adorable little boy.  But as their marriage goes on, Mitchell starts revealing a different side.  A side that seems a bit more sinister.  

Balm of Gilead - Adina Senft - #3  Healing Grace novel - Sarah Yoder hasn't seen Henry since he left the community when he became engaged to an Englisch woman.  She can only extend his friendship as he never became a member of the church, but a growing attraction is getting harder to deny.

Made with Love - Tricia Goyer/Sherry Gore - Lovina love living in Pinecraft, FL.  There is lots to do in the small Amish community.  The one thing she is most interested in is a pie shop of her own.  Is Noah the one to give her her heart's desire? 

Midnight on the Mississippi - Mary Ellis - Murder and intrigue in the deep south.  Nicki is a brand new PI and ready to show what she can do.  But will her first case be her undoing as she starts to find herself attracted to the prime suspect?

Through Waters Deep - Sarah Sundin - Waves of Freedom #1 - Set during WWII. Naval officer Ensign Jim Avery works on a navy destroyer escorting ships through the treacherous waters of the Atlantic.  When he discovers sabotage aboard his boat, he works with his childhood friend Mary Stirling.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Kate Breslin

Dear Readers,

Kate Breslin attacked the Christian fiction market last year with For Such aTime.  It was one of the few books by a new writer that everyone seemed to be talking about.  Before I even got a chance to get it read, I had readers coming in and asking for it.   Now they are asking when her next book will release.

Not by Sight is that book and it was worth the wait.  I will tell you if you are expecting a book like the first one, you will be disappointed.  Not by Site is very different and shows Kate’s versatility.  This one is more of a romance, but it shows what it was like to live in England during WWI.  There is more lightness to the book and even parts you will laugh out loud at.  Like I said, a very different book than the intense For Such a Time.

Grace Mabry believes every healthy male should be off fighting the Germans, not just the working class, but also the upper class, and she is about to call Jack Benningham out as a coward.  She plans on giving him a white feather which by tradition you give to the men who are too cowardly to go fight with the rest of the boys.  She is sure she is on the side of the right. 

Jack calls himself a conscientious objector to the war.  He enjoys the life of a rake and plays the part well.  But what he really is, is working for the Crown trying to catch German spies on British soil. 

What happens next you will have to find out for yourself.  It does include spies, lies and interesting twists.  Of course it did help that I was in England at the time of reading this book, but I enjoyed it thoroughly and am looking forward to Kate’s next book. 

Happy Reading