Monday, November 24, 2014

THE BIG TINY by Dee Williams

Dee William's life changed in an instant, with a near-death experience in the aisle of her local grocery store.  Diagnosed with a heart condition at age forty-one, she was suddenly reminded that life is short and time is precious.  She wanted to spend more time with the people and things she loved and more time doing the things she loved.  She decided she would rather have financial freedom and the ultimate luxury of time and that would require down-sizing.

She decided she would sell her larger home and build an eighty-four-square foot house--on her own, from the ground up and begin a new life.  She can now list everything she owns on one sheet of paper, her monthly housekeeping bills amount to about eight dollars, and it takes her approximately ten minutes to clean her entire house.

The BIG TINY is a great story on the benefits of slowing down, scaling back, and appreciating the most important things in life.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Edge of Eternity by Ken Follett

Edge of Eternity
Ken Follett

Dutton Adult
Pages:  1120

Ken Follett’s Century Trilogy follows the fortunes of five intertwined families—American, German, Russian, English, and Welsh—as they make their way through the twentieth century. It has been called “potent, engrossing” (Publishers Weekly) and “truly epic” (Huffington Post). USA Today said, “You actually feel like you’re there.”

Edge of  Eternity, the finale, covers one of the most tumultuous eras of all: the 1960s through the 1980s, encompassing civil rights, assassinations, Vietnam, the Berlin Wall, the Cuban Missile Crisis, presidential impeachment, revolution—and rock and roll.
East German teacher Rebecca Hoffman discovers she’s been spied on by the Stasi for years and commits an impulsive act that will affect her family for generations… George Jakes, himself bi-racial, bypasses corporate law to join Robert F. Kennedy’s Justice Department and finds himself in the middle of not only the seminal events of the civil rights battle, but also a much more personal battle… Cameron Dewar, the grandson of a senator, jumps at the chance to do some espionage for a cause he believes in, only to discover that the world is much more dangerous than he’d imagined… Dimka Dvorkin, a young aide to Khrushchev, becomes an agent for good and for ill as the Soviet Union and the United States race to the brink of nuclear war, while his twin sister, Tania, carves out a role that will take her from Moscow to Cuba to Prague to Warsaw—and into history.
These characters and many others find their lives inextricably entangled as they add their personal stories and insight to the most defining events of the 20th century. From the opulent offices of the most powerful world leaders to the shabby apartments of those trying to begin a new empire, from the elite clubs of the wealthy and highborn to the passionate protests of a country’s most marginalized citizens, this is truly a drama for the ages.
With the Century Trilogy, Follett has guided readers through an entire era of history with a master’s touch. His unique ability to tell fascinating, brilliantly researched stories that captivate readers and keep them turning the pages is unparalleled. In this climactic and concluding saga, Follett brings us into a world we thought we knew, but now will never seem the same again.

My Thoughts:

I have thoroughly enjoyed the whole Century Trilogy.  

Going through the Century with these families and seeing how world events brings families together and also separates them was intriguing.  The books in the trilogy do a wonderful job of relating historical fact with the family sagas and bringing out the details of how families were effected by the current events such as civil rights, communism, the cold war, woman's rights, and political changes.

I would recommend the books to anyone who likes contemporary historical fiction. 

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

A Man Called Ove: A Novel
Fredrik Backman
337 Pages

A delightfully quirky debut novel from Sweden, a grumpy yet loveable man finds his solitary world turned on its head when a boisterous young family moves in next door.

Meet Ove. He’s a curmudgeon—the kind of man who points at people he dislikes as if they were burglars caught outside his bedroom window. He has staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse. People call him “the bitter neighbor from hell.” But must Ove be bitter just because he doesn’t walk around with a smile plastered to his face all the time?

Behind the cranky exterior there is a story and a sadness. So when one November morning a chatty young couple with two chatty young daughters move in next door and accidentally flatten Ove’s mailbox, it is the lead-in to a comical and heartwarming tale of unkempt cats, unexpected friendship, and the ancient art of backing up a U-Haul. All of which will change one cranky old man and a local residents’ association to their very foundations.

A feel-good story in the spirit of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry and Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand, Fredrik Backman’s novel about the angry old man next door is a thoughtful and charming exploration of the profound impact one life has on countless others.

My Thoughts - I thought that this was fun book - since we all know a grumpy old man and most can identify with an older person who is ready to go on to the next world.   Ove is just trying to rush his final days until he meets his new neighbors and re-kindles a long lost friendship.  

Ove shows that even in old age, a person can grow, change, and feel like he is important in the life of another.   The love story between Ove and his wife is filled with challenges but they show that love can overcome many obstacles and in spite of their problems the love they shared was amazing.

I enjoyed the story and think that it is a good story for all ages.   It is a great reminder for all that we are important no matter our age.

Monday, November 17, 2014

HIDDEN MERCIES by Serena B. Miller

At seventeen Tobias Miller smashed his cousin's car into a tree, killing his brother only four hours before he was scheduled to marry Claire Shetler.  Unable to live with his father's anger and grief, Tobias left the Amish church and ran away to join the Marines.  Twenty-seven years later, Tobias, now called Tom, returns to his hometown of Mt. Hope, Ohio, a wounded Marine helicopter pilot.  He ends up renting an apartment over Claire's workshop. 

A widowed Amish midwife, Claire is struggling to support her family.  When Tom rents her room she does not recognize him.  She only sees the money as a godsend, though she is nervous about having a strange man so close by. 

As Claire and Tom fight their way through the traumas of the past, they discover the tender mercies God has hidden along the way--including a loving father who has been praying for his prodigal son to come home and a God who can make all things new.