Literary Insights

Literary Insights: A Book Lovers Review

Friday, April 25, 2014

Delicious by Ruth Reichl

This first novel of Ruth Reichl is a combination of suspense, driven pace, great period details, and significant historical backdrop, all in a setting of food and family.  Delicious is a combination of lightness and fun but serious emotions are explored.

The premise of the story was charming and well written. I thought the main character, Billie, reactions to circumstances were a little overdone and unrealistic. The focus moves from Billie’s present in the world of food and culinary journalism, to a story, a mystery, from the past. Billie unearths some letters from a young girl named Lulu, who during World War II corresponded with James Beard. As Billie reads Lulu’s letters, she has a similar experience as the reader does as tastes, customs; people come alive for her in a wonderful way that brings Lulu and her world to life.

This is my first story from this author. I did find that it had too many story lines with family, friends, romance and mystery.  Although it was interesting, it was almost tedious in cutting out the miscellaneous to get to the main reason for the story. The characters were likable and charming but the romance seemed out of place and added as an afterthought. It could have been written into two novels so the romance and family could have been explored fully.

I received copy of eBook from Random House Publishing for my review.

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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

When Mockingbirds Sing by Billy Coffey

What marks the boundary between a miracle from God and the imagination of a child?
Leah is a child isolated from her peers because she stutters. Leah and her parents move to a country home in the small town of Mattingly, far away from the city, where her father still works as a psychologist and struggles with his own inner "demons." Leah's parents are trying to make their way in a floundering marriage.

It soon becomes apparent that Leah has a gift, or a talent, when it comes to painting.  The revealing of her gift coincides with some strange happenings around the town, causing the town folks to take strongly to one side or the other in the debate surrounding Leah, her family, and the paintings.

Leah attributes her ability to foretell the future by painting scenes with incredible detail and filled with prophetic imagery; to an invisible friend she calls the Rainbow Man. Some of the townsfolk are enchanted with her. Others fear her. But there is one thing they all agree on, there is no such thing as the Rainbow Man.

Allie is the one child who befriends Leah even when up against peer pressure. She's willing to defend Leah and even speak for her, but at the same time Allie is wondering how the Rainbow Man is like the God she knows from church.

The story of When Mockingbirds Sings is a like a parable with morals and values behind the scenes. A thought provoking novel that tells the story of Leah and her invisible friend. This is the first book that I have read from this author and is very unique reflecting faith as a child reflects the innocent nature around her. The plot was interesting because you really are not sure if the Rainbow man was good or evil till the end.

I received this copy of eBook from Thomas Nelson Fiction for my review

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Mercy like Sunlight by Liz Curtis Higgs

Mercy like Sunlight is a story about Mary Margaret Delaney. For seven years, Mary has been tortured by demons ever since a tragic event unfolded in her life. This event caused her great grief, guilt, and regret. Closely paralleling the biblical account of Mary Magdalene, this novella, follows the fictional journey of Mary Margaret Delaney, a mentally ill woman adrift in contemporary Chicago, desperate for someone to save her from herself.

 One day she has an encounter with Pastor Jake Stauros. He seeks out the wounded of the world and offers Jesus's love and forgiveness. Mary Margaret doesn't want the help at first, but the love of Jesus that this man shows is like a magnet to her wounded and battered soul.

The ending gives a moving reminder of what Easter is about and even though death may come, it has already been defeated by Jesus Christ. "Where, O death is your victory? Where, O death is your sting? When the body is set free from mortal death, the spirit soars with eternal life."

Liz Curtis Higgs has a unique way of telling the Biblical story using people in today's world. Mercy like Sunlight is an encouraging, uplifting story closely aligned with the account of Mary Magdalene in the Bible. A very thought-provoking novella, Liz Curtis Higgs packs a lot of story into only a few pages, I recommend you buy this for yourself and a great gift for others.

“I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group in their blogging for books program for this review”.

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Saturday, April 5, 2014

A Table by The Window by Hillary Manton Lodge

The youngest heir to a French-Italian restaurant dynasty, food writer Juliette D’Alisa has spent her life negotiating her skill with words and her restaurant aspirations. When her brother Nico offers her a chance to open a restaurant together, she feels torn between the possibility to do something she loves and the “good” job she has with the newspaper.

Juliette is a food writer and critic who turned to online dating as a recipe for love. After the death of her grandmother, Juliette discovers an antique photograph of a man who looks strikingly like her brother. As the truth behind the picture reveals romance and dark secrets, Juliette struggles to keep the mystery away from her nosy family until she can uncover the whole story.  

Juliette attempts to unravel the mystery of the photo while keeping up with her demanding family, her hearts own demands, and the lure of her true calling. Facing a long-distance relationship with Neil McLaren, a handsome immunologist living in Memphis, Tennessee, along with a potential career change, and dark family secret, Juliette must discover what she truly wants from life.

 A Table by the Window is filled with the warmth of family and food. The antics of the French-Italian D’Alisa clan were amusing and most big families will relate no matter the ethnicity. At the end of each chapter, there are real recipes for many of the items mentioned in the book. For anyone who is foodie and a book lover, this is a perfect combination of the two. 

If you are looking for a delightful, well-written, and engaging story, A Table by the Window is a definite treat to read; a story that revolves around family and food. The story was so good that you felt like you were sitting across the table listening to a friend tell their story and you get delicious recipes as a bonus. I am waiting to read the second book in the series, Reservations for Two, not available yet. A Table by the Window is a charming read that I definitely recommend.

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

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