Where I share my love of books with reviews, features, giveaways and memes. Family and needlepoint are thrown in from time to time.


Friday, February 20, 2009

Friday Finds 2-20-2009

Title: Irreplaceable
Author: Stephen Lovely
Publisher: Hyperion/Harper Collins
Genre: Fiction

(Isn't this a beautiful cover? I am also from Iowa - lived there my first 21 years - this book is set there, and it is hard to find a contemporary book set in Iowa!)

Description from http://www.everywomansvoice.com/ -

One windy April afternoon, a young woman bicycles alone along a stretch of Iowa highway. She’s pedaling hard, hurrying to get home in time for dinner…

Alex Voormann is a cerebral thirty-year-old archaeologist married to the woman of his dreams—a beautiful, ambitious botanist named Isabel. When Isabel, an organ donor, is killed by a reckless driver, Alex reluctantly consents to donate her heart.

Janet Corcoran is a young, headstrong mother of two, an art teacher at an inner-city school in Chicago. Sick with heart disease, she is on the waiting list for a transplant, but her chances are slim. She watches the Weather Channel, secretly praying for foul weather and car accidents, a miracle. The day Isabel dies, she gets her wish.

Flash forward a year. Janet sends Alex a long letter. She’d like to learn something about the woman who saved her life. Alex isn’t interested in talking to the recipient of his dead wife’s heart. Since Isabel’s accident, he’s become grief-stricken and bewildered. His closest companion is his mother-in-law, Bernice. They spend their nights reminiscing about Isabel and hiding out from the world. Meanwhile, a local blues musician named Jasper, the man responsible for Isabel’s death, attempts to atone for his misdeed. Jasper is devastated by the knowledge that he destroyed a life but attracted to the idea that he was partially responsible for saving another life—Janet’s. He sees her as his ultimate salvation.

Irreplaceable is the story of what happens after the transplant—not only to Alex but within the concentric circles of family that spiral outward from him and from Janet. Stephen Lovely takes us vividly inside the lives of these characters to reveal their true intentions—however misguided—and gives us a stunning debut novel of loss and love.

Title: The Laws of Harmony
Author: Judith Hendricks
Publisher: Harper Paperbacks

Description: Sunny Cooper has been running since she was eighteen—from the New Mexican commune where she grew up . . . and from the haunting memory of the freak accident that took the life of her younger sister. Now, at thirty-two, Sunny voices radio spots in Albuquerque while struggling to hold on to a floundering relationship. But when a second tragic accident—and the devastating truths that come to light in its aftermath—turns her world upside down, Sunny runs again.

In the town of Harmony on San Miguel Island, she takes a new job, learns to ride a motorcycle, and makes some surprising new friends. But the past is never far behind. A startling discovery—along with an emotional and revelatory reunion with her estranged mother—is forcing Sunny to step out from the shadows of yesterday to embrace an uncertain future.

Title: Saving Fish from Drowning
Author: Amy Tan
Publisher: Ballantine Books

Description from Barnes and Noble:

A pious man explained to his followers: "It is evil to take lives and noble to save them. Each day I pledge to save a hundred lives. I drop my net in the lake and scoop out a hundred fishes. I place the fishes on the bank, where they flop and twirl. 'Don't be scared,' I tell those fishes. 'I am saving you from drowning.' Soon enough, the fishes grow calm and lie still. Yet, sad to say, I am always too late. The fishes expire. And because it is evil to waste anything, I take those dead fishes to market and I sell them for a good price. With the money I receive, I buy more nets so I can save more fishes." - Anonymous

Twelve American tourists join an art expedition that begins in the Himalayan foothills of China - dubbed the true Shangri-La - and heads south into the jungles of Burma. But after the mysterious death of their tour leader, the carefully laid plans fall apart, and disharmony breaks out among the pleasure-seekers as they come to discover that the Burma Road is paved with less-than-honorable intentions, questionable food, and tribal curses..

And then, on Christmas morning, eleven of the travelers boat across a misty lake for a sunrise cruise - and disappear.

Drawing from the current political reality in Burma and woven with pure confabulation, Amy Tan's picaresque novel poses the question: How can we discern what is real and what is fiction, in everything we see? How do we know what to believe? Saving Fish from Drowning finds sly truth in the absurd: a reality TV show called Darwin's Fittest, a repressive regime known as SLORC, two cheroot-smoking twin children hailed as divinities, and a ragtag tribe hiding in the jungle - where thesprites of disaster known as Nats lurk, as do the specters of the fabled Younger White Brother and a British illusionist who was not who he was worshipped to be.

With her signature "idiosyncratic, sympathetic characters, haunting images, historical complexity, significant contemporary themes, and suspenseful mystery" (Los Angeles Times), Amy Tan spins a provocative and mesmerizing tale about the mind and the heart of the individual, the actions we choose, the moral questions we might ask ourselves, and above all, the deeply personal answers we seek when happy endings are seemingly impossible.

What great books did you find this week?? Stop over at Should Be Reading and share yours!


Anonymous said...

You found some good ones. I love Amy Tan's work.

Beth F said...

Great list. And I agree, Tan's books are almost always great.

Anna said...

You can't go wrong with Amy Tan. I've read all of her novels and loved every one.

Diary of an Eccentric

Jo-Jo said...

These all look great! I haven't read any Amy Tan yet myself. My Friday Finds is posted here.

Rebecca said...

Irreplaceable sounds really good. Good finds this week, Kristi! :)

Alyce said...

I got Laws of Harmony in the mail this week, and it does look very good. The Amy Tan book sounds good too.

Nicole said...

Irreplaceable is really good. I just finished it and am working on a review. The Amy Tan will probably be a good one too.

avisannschild said...

The cover for that first book is so beautiful! I really want to read The Laws of Harmony (or anything really by Judith Hendricks) and I have Saving Fish from Drowning, but I haven't read it yet.

purplg8r said...

I have Irreplaceable on my wishlist!


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