Tag: book review (Page 3 of 10)

Book Review of Palm Trees in the Snow, by Luz Gabas

I read this book as part of the 2017 European Reading Challenge.

Palm Trees in the Snow*, by Luz Gabas, Translated by Noel Hughes


(*Amazon Affiliate link)

Palm Trees in the Snow is set in two time periods, the 1950s -1960s and 2003.  The men of the Rabaltue family (father Anton, brothers Kilian and Jacobo) leave their home in the snowy mountains of Spain in the 1950s and travel to Fernando Po, an island in equatorial Africa, to work on the cocoa plantations.  The stories they bring home are vibrant and entertaining, but in 2003 Clarence, the daughter of Jacobo, discovers a portion of a letter that leads her on a quest to discover the true story of Kilian and Jacobo’s stay in Fernando Po.  Her journey and the discoveries she makes will change the family forever.

I really liked this book.  I learned about life in the Pyrennes mountains of Spain and the changes that occurred in that area with the advent of ski resorts in the 1980s and 90s.  I also learned about Fernando Po, an island today called Bioko that is part of Equatorial Guinea.  Palm Trees in the Snow goes into great detail about the cocoa production on the plantations of Fernando Po in the 1950s, when it was a colony of Spain, and also informs about the growing movement for independence, the treatment of the Bubi, the indigenous population, and life of the colonist.

This novel was originally written in Spanish and is the first novel by Luz Gabas.  For the most part, I liked the way it was written, although occasionally I became confused as the voice of the story would change, sometimes within the same paragraph.  I’m not sure if that was the fault of the author or the translation.  Overall, though, this was an interesting and engrossing story of love, loss, tragedy, and at the core, the strength of family bonds.

Review of World War Z by Max Brooks

I am participating in several reading challenges, one being the 100 Bestsellers List. Here’s my review for World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War, by Max Brooks  This book is categorized as Apocalyptic Horror and is a follow-up to Brooks’ zombie survival manual, The Zombie Survival Guide.  A movie with the same name was made from World War Z in 2013, starring Brad Pitt.

This post does not contain spoilers.

World War Z* by Max Brooks


(*Amazon Affiliate link)

World War Z is different from any of the other books we’ve read so far in that it is a series of interviews of survivors of the Zombie War, which decimated the earth’s population and drastically altered the political and religious makeup of the world.  Since the interviews are of survivors, it’s obvious that humans won the war against the non-humans, although there are still millions of zombies “surviving” in the cold zones of the world and in the depths of the oceans.  In addition, the interview format creates a “distance” from the events that seems to minimize the “horror” aspect of the story, which was good for me, as I am definitely not a fan of horror anything.

In my last review (Weird Sisters), I mentioned that I was going to read The Bestseller Code again in an effort to make more sense of how the books we’ve read so far made it on the bestseller list and hopefully better appreciate the subsequent books we plan to read.  In fact, both Roberta and I wanted to read The Bestseller Code again, so we decided to give ourselves a three-week window for reading and reviewing World War Z.

Read the rest of my review over on It’s A Mystery Blog.


Review of The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown

I am participating in several reading challenges, one being the 100 Bestsellers List. Here’s my review for The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown.

This post does contain spoilers.


The Weird Sisters* by Eleanor Brown


(*Amazon Affiliate link)

The Weird Sisters is categorized as Women’s Fiction, a genre I normally do not read much of, and this book reminded me why that is so. If you like reading a book that leaves you with a vague sense of feeling good and some gentle moral reinforcement, then this might be the book for you. I expected more from a bestseller. Here’s just a bit of what disappointed me:

– The main characters – the three sisters, Rose, Bean, and Cordy – were stereotypical. Why was it the youngest who was irresponsible and became an unwed mother? Wouldn’t it have been more interesting for the eldest, responsible Rose, to make some crazy mistake and be the unexpectedly pregnant daughter?

– The plot was slow and boring (was there a plot?). Mom has cancer, so all the sisters come home ostensibly to take care of mom, but in actuality to hide from and ultimately resolve their secrets. There were small moments of despair and moments of success, but nothing momentous.

Read the rest of my review over on It’s A Mystery Blog.

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