Thursday, April 26, 2012

A Garden of Love

I was wary from the book from the start. Not because of the cover art or anything but because I'd finished reading another one of Jane Kirkpatrick's novels not too long ago and it put me in a depressed funk for days. Thankfully, I can say my wariness was short lived because this novel was much more upbeat and fun to read. 

The novel is loosely based on the Life of Hulda Klager, a German immigrant who raised lilacs and a family in Washington. Tending a garden started out as a hobby for Hulda but as she started cross breeding and hybridizing to make larger crisper apples she realized that she could apply that technique onto her flowers to create new beautiful specimens. Her ultimate goal was to breed a 12 petaled creamy white lilac, an achievement that would take decades of patience. Each chapter follows a character's train of thought, although Hulda's chapters are the bulk of the book. This style works well to voice how other's viewed Hulda's works and achievements and how they admired her. The book starts off in the late nineteenth century and continues all the way up to 1950. Hulda lived to be one old lady! She never had a degree in horticulture, but experts noted her worthy creations and soon began to seek her advice. A small passion turned into a national sensation.

Overall, even though I don't know a thing about flowers I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Getting to share in Hulda's joy as she creates new flower specimens, sees her daughters get married, and hears from famous horticulturists across the country is a wonderful experience. However, Hulda doesn't have a perfect life and it is important to share in trials as well as tribulations in this smashing read, "Where Lilacs Still Bloom." 

 "I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review."

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Globe Trotting: A Perilous Affair

I'm not going to lie this book was depressing as hell. It starts off following a mother and daughter in 1896 as they make a 7,000 mile journey on foot across America in hopes of getting $10,000 to save the farm. From there nothing works out as planned, the farm is lost, Clara loses two siblings to diphtheria while she and her mother are trekking North America, and she learns some dark family secrets. All of this happens in the first fourth of the book. The rest is even more depressing as Clara tries to justify their journey, forgive her family, and find herself. It's based on a true story which in itself is even worse. The feat accomplished by Clara and her mother is impressive for that era and for now, God knows I couldn't/ wouldn't walk 7,000 miles. Unfortunately, the rift it causes in the family seems to negate any good that could have came from it. Read at your own peril.

"I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review."

Monday, April 2, 2012

Everybody Sees the Ants by A. S. King

What an excellent read!I couldn't put it down. I was just going to read a few chapters before bed last night and I ended up finishing it at 1am. This book addresses so many different issues. It goes over: the Vietnam War, depression, suicide, teen sex, pill popping, POW/MIA, family problems and more. The main character, a 15 year old named Lucky, is instantly relate-able and likable and you could envision being friends with him. His journey to come to terms with his crazy family (he refers to his mother as a squid and his father, a turtle) and his tormentor, Nader, is enlightening and entertaining. A must read for all!

I read this book for the SLIS YA Readers Advisory Book Club.