July 26, 2014

Tell the Wolves I'm Home

Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt
2012 Random House
Finished on 4/29/14
Rating: 4.5/5 (Terrific!)

Tell the Wolves I’m Home, was named a best book of the year by The Wall Street Journal, O Magazine, Kirkus, BookPage and Amazon. It was also a Barnes and Noble Discover pick, Target club pick, Costco Pennie’s pick, New York Times bestseller, as well as an American Library Association Alex Award winner.

Publisher’s Blurb:

My sister Greta and I were having our portrait painted by our Uncle Finn that afternoon because he knew he was dying . . .

1987. The only person who has ever truly understood fourteen-year-old June Elbus is her uncle, the renowned painter Finn Weiss. Shy at school and distant from her older sister, June can be herself only in Finn’s company; he is her godfather, confidant, and best friend. So when he dies, far too young, of a mysterious illness her mother can barely speak about, June’s world is turned upside down. But Finn’s death brings a surprise acquaintance into June’s life. At the funeral, June notices a strange man lingering just beyond the crowd. A few days later, she receives a package in the mail containing a beautiful teapot she recognizes from Finn’s apartment, and a note from Toby, the stranger, asking for an opportunity to meet. As the two begin to spend time together, June realizes she’s not the only one who misses Finn, and that this unexpected friend just might be the one she needs the most.

Tell the Wolves I’m Home is a tender story of love lost and found, an unforgettable portrait of the way compassion can make us whole again.

When I started reading Tell the Wolves I’m Home, I was instantly transported back to the mid-1980s when the national and local news was filled with horror stories (and panic) about AIDS, both here in the United States and in countries all over the world. Today, AIDS is still very much a world-wide epidemic and yet it doesn’t seem quite as prevalent in the headlines as it once was. Other than a friend of a friend, I have only known one person to have this terrible disease. Wilson was a young man with whom I worked with at HBJ Publishers in San Diego and although I didn’t know him very well, he and my husband were good friends and we were devastated when we learned of his untimely death from the disease in 1986.

Carol Rifka Brunt’s debut novel is an exquisite story about a young girl and the close relationship she shares with her uncle, and ultimately, the formation of a unique friendship with her uncle’s partner, Toby. I read this absorbing book as slowly as possible, trying to savor Brunt’s lyrical prose, and although it took me a couple of weeks to read, I wanted to continue reading and was sorry when I came to the end of the book. This is a powerful tale of love and loyalty and is quite simply unforgettable. Someday, I would love to listen to the audio edition of this coming-of-age novel and I think, in the right hands, it would make an excellent film.

Final Thoughts:

Tell the Wolves I’m Home is one of the best books I’ve read this year. While talking with friends and customers about specific books dealing with a difficult subject-matter such as Alzheimer’s and AIDS, I am often met with resistance to even considering giving the book a chance. I do hope that readers won’t be put off when they learn that this book is about AIDS. While Brunt’s novel is essentially about the death of a man infected with AIDS, I feel the disease is simply a backdrop to an achingly beautiful story about the tender relationship between 14-year-old June and her uncle’s partner, Toby. I thoroughly enjoyed this author’s engaging style and endearing characters, and I look forward to seeing what she has in store for her second novel!

July 25, 2014

{this moment}

~ A Friday ritual ~
A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week.
A simple, special, extraordinary moment.
A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.


July 13, 2014

The Treatment

The Treatment by Mo Hayder
Jack Caffery Series #2
2012 Dreamscape Media (audio)
Reader: Damien Goodwin
Finished on 4/18/14
Rating: 4/5 (Very Good)

Publisher's Blurb:
The suspense is relentless in The Treatment, an emotional powerhouse of a thriller that brings back Jack Caffery, the detective from Mo Hayder’s acclaimed novel Birdman. A masterful blend of psychological insight and forensic detail, Hayder’s latest thriller is as chilling as it is heartbreaking, a gritty, gripping tour de force of suspense.

It is a perfect summer day in London’s up-market Brockwell Park. Yet, behind the elegant facade of one house, a man and his wife have been taken prisoner in their own home and their young son has disappeared. But the final horror of their terrifying ordeal is still to be revealed.

Called in to investigate, Jack Caffery tries desperately to make sense of the meager clues found at the crime scene. But the echoes of a devastating disappearance in his own past make it impossible for him to view the crime objectively. And as Jack digs deeper, as the disturbing parallels between past and present mount, the real nightmares begin...

I read Mo Hayder’s intense thriller, Gone, a few years ago and have now listened to the audio productions of Birdman and The Treatment. These last two thrillers were exceptionally good on audio. The reader hits his marks with precise tension and emotion, yet I feel the suspense would have been even greater if I had read the print editions (as I did with Gone) rather than listening.

Final Thoughts:

Like Tana French, Mo Hayder is quickly becoming one of my favorite mystery authors. Her thrillers are gritty and not for the faint of heart, but I’ve enjoyed the character development of Caffery and am eager to see how he grows in the future installments to this series. The Treatment is not a heart-stopping thriller like Gone, but still very good! I plan to pick up #3 (Ritual) later this fall. 

Click here to read my review for Birdman.

Click here to read my review for Gone.

July 11, 2014

{this moment}

~ A Friday ritual ~
A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week.
A simple, special, extraordinary moment.
A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.


July 1, 2014

Paris in July 2014

It's that time of year! Paris in July is celebrating its 5th year and I have my stack ready to go. I decided to be a bit more realistic than I've been with other challenges and limited myself to three new books, one re-read and one that I'm currently reading (and almost to the halfway mark). It would be so easy to find more for this pile, but let's be serious. :) There are only 31 days in the month and my granddaughter will be here for two of those weeks. I'll be lucky to finish the Doerr novel!

Click here to see what I attempted to read in 2012. 

Click here to see meet our lovely hosts and get the details about this challenge.