Thursday, April 16, 2015

Review: The Dogs of Babel by Carolyn Parkhurst

Here is a summary of the book from the Goodreads website:

Paul Iverson's life changes in an instant. He returns home one day to find that his wife, Lexy, has died under strange circumstances. The only witness was their dog, Lorelei, whose anguished barking brought help to the scene - but too late. In the days and weeks that follow, Paul begins to notice strange "clues" in their home: books rearranged on their shelves, a mysterious phone call, and other suggestions that nothing about Lexy's last afternoon was quite what it seemed. Reeling from grief, Paul is determined to decipher this evidence and unlock the mystery of her death. But he can't do it alone; he needs Lorelei's help. A linguist by training, Paul embarks on an impossible endeavor: a series of experiments designed to teach Lorelei to communicate what she knows. Perhaps behind her wise and earnest eyes lies the key to what really happened to the woman he loved. As Paul's investigation leads him in unexpected and even perilous directions, he revisits the pivotal moments of his life with Lexy, the brilliant, enigmatic woman whose sparkling passion for life and dark, troubled past he embraced equally.

My Review:
I am not a stranger to Parkhurst's writing, so when I found The Dogs of Babel at a used book sale, I snatched it up!  Plus, add the cover of a woman sleeping with a dog and it's a done deal for me.  We are brought along on a journey with Paul as he strives to uncover the reason for his wife's odd death.  

As Paul uncovers various clues that will hopefully help him figure out the reason for Lexy's death, we learn about their lives together and the darkness that she could not expel from her soul.  It really didn't matter what Paul did to try to make Lexy happy, because the darkness was always there, hovering just below the surface.  

Knowing that their dog Lorelei was with Lexy when she died, he feels that the dog would be able to offer him substantial information.  Paul then sets forth on a quest to try teaching his dog to talk.  Immersing himself in research, he is led to an organization that swears they have made strides in their experiments with dogs.  Paul can't help but have faith in the possibilities that lay ahead, but in the process he puts Lorelei's life in danger.  

This was an interesting story that left me on the edge of my seat quite often.  With themes of love, trust, and depression you may find this book as interesting as me.  I don't hesitate in recommending this novel for either personal leisure or as a book club discussion.

My Rating:  4/5

Disclosure:  This book is from of my personal collection and I read it for my own entertainment.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Teaser Tuesday-April 14

Check out Teaser Tuesdays from A Daily Rhythm. TEASER TUESDAYS asks you to:

Grab your current read.

Let the book fall open to a random page.

Share with us two “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page.

This week my teaser is from The Fine Color of Rust by P.A. O'Reilly:
My husband Tony-God love him wherever he may be and keep him there and never let him come back into my life-was a stomper.  He stomped through the house as though he was trying to keep down unruly carpet; he stomped in and out of shops and pubs, letting doors slam around him; he stomped to work at the delivery company and stomped home stinking of his own fug after eight hours in the truck; and one day he stomped out to the good car and drove off and never stomped back.

pg. 22-23

Monday, April 13, 2015

Mailbox Monday-April 13

Mailbox Monday is a great meme that has us list the books that we receive. You can check out the Mailbox Monday blog to see what everyone else found in their mailboxes.

Here's what I found:
Descent by Tim Johnston (audiobook)

My Sunshine Away by M.O. Walsh (audiobook)

Sisters of Shiloh by Kathy & Becky Hepinstall (audiobook)

The Communist's Daughter by Dennis Bock (audiobook)

This should be enough audiobooks to keep me busy for quite some time!  So did anything new show up in your mailbox?

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Review: An Unexpected Grace by Kristin von Kreisler

Here is a summary of the book from the Goodreads website:

From bestselling author Kristin von Kreisler comes a poignant, uplifting novel of one woman's journey to healing, and the surprising soul mate that helps guide her there. Lila Elliot knows she's lucky. A shooting rampage at her office left several colleagues dead and others seriously wounded. Lila's injuries will heal in time. Yet though she gratefully retreats to her best friend's house to recuperate, Lila can't quite move past her fear and anger. Being drafted into caring for Grace--a shaggy, formerly abused golden retriever--only adds to her stress. Lila has been terrified of dogs since childhood. But Grace, like Lila, needs time and space to recover.

Grace keeps her distance, sensing Lila's wariness, and only perks up for Adam, the neighbor who rescued her. Though struggling to make sense of her recent tragedy, Lila, an accomplished artist, begins to see beauty in Grace's wisps of fur and haunted eyes. As Adam points out, Grace, too, has suffered through no fault of her own. And in helping Grace to trust, Lila is being gently nudged toward the courage she needs to do the same.

Rich in warmth and humor, An Unexpected Grace is a story of compassion and connection, and of finding that what truly makes us whole again may be the love we give away.


My Review: 
My book club has read a couple of books about dogs and considering the premise of this novel, we thought it would be enjoyable.  Although I did feel compassion for the trials that both Lila and Grace encountered, this novel did not resonate with me.

As the summary above indicates, Lila was a survivor in a shooting that took place where she worked.  She struggles with her feelings after the incident-violation, trust, and nervousness invade her thoughts constantly.  A friend opens her home to Lila, a refuge where she can spend time alone, hoping to come to terms with the violence that was thrust upon her.  Her world of safety is shattered when Lila finds out that another house-guest happens to be a dog that was rescued from an abusive home.  Since Lila has always been afraid of dogs, she finds herself on the brink of a breakdown once again.

Lila doesn't plan on getting close to Grace, but Grace inches closer and closer without Lila even realizing it.  Both of these souls have experienced trauma on a grand scale so they must learn to trust each other to get through the day.  Lila finds solace in the company Grace offers during the storms of life.

It doesn't take long for Lila to realize that she needs Grace as much as Grace needs her.  Knowing this is just a temporary home for Grace until the humane society finds a permanent home for her, Lila must figure out a way to keep her for her own.  When Lila realizes that Grace could end up with the owner that abused her, she becomes even more determined to keep the animal.

Like I said earlier, this book just didn't cut it for me, or for the rest of my book club for that matter.  Many parts of the story just did not seem believable to me and the writing was just odd at times.  With themes of violent acts, trust, and forgiveness, you may find more enjoyment from this book than I did.  

My Rating:  1/5

Disclosure:  This book is from of my personal collection and I read it for personal leisure and as a book club selection.  

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Teaser Tuesday-March 24

Check out Teaser Tuesdays from A Daily Rhythm. TEASER TUESDAYS asks you to:

Grab your current read.

Let the book fall open to a random page.

Share with us two “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page.

This week my teaser is from Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand:

He found several thick chocolate bars-probably Hershey's military-issue Ration D bars-divided into segments and packaged in wax-dipped containers to resist gas attack.  Designed to be unpalatably bitter so soldiers would eat them only in dire circumstances, they were formulated to be highly caloric and melt-resistant.

pg. 127

Monday, March 23, 2015

Mailbox Monday-March 23

Mailbox Monday is a great meme that has us list the books that we receive. You can check out the Mailbox Monday blog to see what everyone else found in their mailboxes.

Rebel Queen by Michelle Moran

I haven't received many books in the mail lately, but when I found this one waiting for me when I got home, I was thoroughly excited!  

So did anything interesting show up on your doorstep?

Monday, March 16, 2015

What Are You Reading?

Sheila over at Book Journey hosts this meme that gives you the opportunity to share the books that you have been losing yourself in lately and also the ones that you are looking forward to picking up next.

What I finished listening to:

I finished listening to We Are Not Ourselves by Matthew Thomas.  This was a beautiful saga narrated by Mare Winningham, who did a wonderful job.

What I'm reading now:
Our current book club selection is Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand.  I have only just started but I have a feeling this one is going to be a book club favorite.

What's next?
Sometimes it's tough to pick my next book but I think I'm going with The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson.  A co-worker borrowed me all three of these audiobooks over a year ago and I've listened to the first two, without much enthusiasm.  I guess I'm the odd duck, not enjoying them as much as the rest of the world.  I'm going to finally listen to this final segment so I can at least say I've listened to the entire series.

So what is keeping you busy these days?