Sunday, January 22, 2012

[Book Review] Ryan's Return by Barbara Freethy

Ryan's ReturnRyan's Return by Barbara Freethy
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Part 1: From The Book Cover

Famous photojournalist Ryan Hunter has come back to a family torn apart by mistrust and resentment -- to the father who disowned him, to the brother who betrayed him, to the little boy who shares his features. Ryan, the charismatic "bad boy" son, has returned -- stirring up past conflicts and throwing Kara Delaney's fragile heart into turmoil.

Part 2: Recommendation

Ryan's Return by Barbara Freethy is actually our book club selection for April 2012 and I was surprised at why I haven't read any of her books before now.

Famous photojournalist Ryan Hunter has come back to a family torn apart by mistrust and resentment, to the father who disowned him, to the brother who betrayed him, to the little boy who shares his features. Ryan, the charismatic "bad boy" son, has returned'stirring up past conflicts like a whirlwind . . . and throwing Kara Delaney's fragile, passionate heart into turmoil.

. . . and love is Waiting

Kara has struggled back from a disastrous marriage to build a new life for herself and her little girl—a peaceful existence now jeopardized by vicious, smalltown politics, by her daughter's fanciful ghost stories... and by Ryan's return. Now nature's impending fury threatens to expose long-buried secrets. And Kara must join with the enigmatic, misunderstood Ryan-to discover the truth that will save their families ... and to explore a dangerous, irresistible love as mighty and enduring as the onrushing river.

Like any small town, Serenity Springs is shall we say, on the brink of progress or stagnation and it could go either way depending on its residents. Of course, one group embraces progress in order to rebuild their town and to boost local businesses. And there are those who firmly believe that keeping the town as small as it is would help save the town from becoming a ghost town in the near future. Kara Delaney believes that the two opposing groups can compromise if only they would let go of what happened in the past and look to the future with an open mind.

On top of the issue of progress or stagnation, Ryan's Return also deals with the question: What makes a parent - nature or nurture? Is being emotionally unavailable to your child enough to be called father or does being loving and caring to someone else's child makes someone more of a father?

And the ultimate question that Ryan's Return poses for Ryan, Kara, Jonas, and Andrew is this: Are you willing to give up your life, your home, your lifestyle to be with someone you love?

To conclude this review, I truly enjoyed reading this book as Barbara Freethy in Ryan's Return effectively captures the beauty of a quiet, peaceful little town that is Serenity Springs. Ms. Freethy also has successfully managed to bring to life memorable characters that continue to live on the pain of their past, not fully realizing what they are missing in the present, coming to terms with their loss, and finally finding redemption, forgiveness, happiness, love and a family of their own in the arms of the one they truly love.

View all my reviews

[Book Review] The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown

The Lost Symbol (Robert Langdon, #3)The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Part 1: From The Book Cover

WHAT IS LOST...
WILL BE FOUND

In this stunning follow-up to the global phenomenon The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown demonstrates once again why he is the world's most popular thriller writer. The Lost Symbol is a masterstroke of storytelling - a deadly race through a real-world labyrinth of codes, secrets, and unseen truths...all under the watchful eye of Brown's most terrifying villain to date. Set within the hidden chambers, tunnels, and temples of Washington, DC., The Lost Symbol accelerates through a startling landscape toward an unthinkable finale.

As the story opens, Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is summoned unexpectedly to deliver an evening lecture in the U.S. Capitol Building. Within minutes of his arrival, however, the night takes a bizarre turn. A disturbing object - artfully encoded with five symbols - is discovered in the Capitol Building. Langdon recognizes the object as an ancient invitation...one meant to usher its recipient into a long-lost world of esoteric wisdom.

When Langdon's beloved mentor, Peter Solomon - a prominent Mason and philanthropist - is brutally kidnapped, Langdon realizes his only hope of saving Peter is to accept this mystical invitation and follow wherever it leads him. Langdon is instantly into a clandestine world of Masonic secrets, hidden history, and never-before-seen locations - all of which seem to be dragging him toward a single, inconceivable truth.

As the world discovered in The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons, Dan Brown's novels are brilliant tapestries of veiled histories, arcane symbols, and enigmatic codes. In this new novel, he again challenges readers with an intelligent, lightning-paced story that offers surprises at every turn. The Lost Symbol is exactly what Brown's fans have been waiting for...his most thrilling novel yet.

Part 2: Recommendation

I first got drawn to the world of Robert Langdon in The Da Vinci Code and was eagerly looking forward to reading The Lost Symbol but sad to say, it's been so long since I added this title to my mental to-read list that I actually forgot about it. I'm being more organized now as I have updated my goodreads.com bookshelves to better track all the books I've read and to-read.

In this stunning follow-up to the global phenomenon The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown demonstrates once again why he is the world's most popular thriller writer. The Lost Symbol is a masterstroke of storytelling--a deadly race through a real-world labyrinth of codes, secrets, and unseen truths . . . all under the watchful eye of Brown's most terrifying villain to date. Set within the hidden chambers, tunnels, and temples of Washington, D.C., The Lost Symbol accelerates through a startling landscape toward an unthinkable finale.

As the story opens, Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is summoned unexpectedly to deliver an evening lecture in the U.S. Capitol Building. Within minutes of his arrival, however, the night takes a bizarre turn. A disturbing object --artfully encoded with five symbols--is discovered in the Capitol Building. Langdon recognizes the object as an ancient invitation . . . one meant to usher its recipient into a long-lost world of esoteric wisdom.

When Langdon's beloved mentor, Peter Solomon--a prominent Mason and philanthropist --is brutally kidnapped, Langdon realizes his only hope of saving Peter is to accept this mystical invitation and follow wherever it leads him. Langdon is instantly plunged into a clandestine world of Masonic secrets, hidden history, and never-before-seen locations--all of which seem to be dragging him toward a single, inconceivable truth.

As the world discovered in The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons, Dan Brown's novels are brilliant tapestries of veiled histories, arcane symbols, and enigmatic codes. In this new novel, he again challenges readers with an intelligent, lightning-paced story that offers surprises at every turn. The Lost Symbol is exactly what Brown's fans have been waiting for . . . his most thrilling novel yet.

The opening line, "The secret is how to die" already grabs your attention, pulls you into the story with the question "Who is going to die and why is he chanting the phrase over and over?"; making you want to read more.

Following the tradition of the other two books, The Lost Symbol is ripe with mysticism, symbols, ancient Masonic secrets and baffling codes delivered in a very graphic, fast paced prose.

To conclude this review, I highly enjoyed it as much as all of Dan Brown's other works and The Lost Symbol, with many references to the Bible, makes me want to re-read and do an in-depth study of the Bible and understand the secrets to a bountiful life contained in its pages.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

[Book Review] Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer

Extremely Loud and Incredibly CloseExtremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Part 1: From The Book Cover

Nine-year-old Oskar Schell is an inventor, amateur entomologist, Francophile, letter writer, pacifist, natural historian, percussionist, romantic, Great Explorer, jeweller, detective, vegan, and collector of butterflies. When his father is killed in the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Centre, Oskar sets out to solve the mystery of a key he discovers in his father's closet. It is a search which leads him into the lives of strangers, through the five boroughs of New York, into history, to the bombings of Dresden and Hiroshima, and on an inward journey which brings him ever closer to some kind of peace.

Part 2: Recommendation

This book was selected for our first office book club meeting and sad to say... I give up on trying to finish this book. It doesn't make any sense to me and it is forever confusing me as to who is speaking. I can't get into the story and the story line doesn't flow as smoothly as I had originally thought. Another issue I had with this book is how depressing and disturbing the characters are. If this is a normal first person point of view book, where the chapters are clearly labeled as to who's point of view that chapter is about, I might probably try to finish this book despite its depressing and disturbing characters and their story.

View all my reviews