Friday, August 21, 2009

Book List: Artsy-Fartsy, Good Faith, Harry's Final Installment and a Little Light Murder Mystery

The Art Thief by Noah Charney: This novel tells the story of several stolen paintings and the attempt to recover them. The tale takes place in several countries and jumps back in forth between the investigators, victims and criminals in each country. The threads of the story continue to cross and intermingle more and more as the novel unfolds with definitely a few interesting twists. For me, this novel is only enjoyable if you have some interest in art history since it is heavy in details about art and its history. The author is part of an art crime think tank and it is pretty obvious that is his first talent, not writing novels. A little like a more academic version of The Thomas Crown Affair. Not bad, but not great either. On a side note, the author's penchant for including phrases and sentences in other languages (often untranslated) was annoying to me.

Healing Waters by Nancy Rue and Stephen Arterburn: Forced to give up things for her younger, more beautiful and talented sister her whole life, Lucia is constantly feeling inferior, especially now that she's put on more weight, and truly believes that God loves some people (her sister) more than others (herself). When her younger sister is tragically injured, Lucia, a nurse, must become immersed in her sister's world as a celebrity televangelist as she becomes her main caretaker. While Lucia is battling with her sister and her own personal demons help comes in the form of Sullivan Crisp, another famous Christian who is also a psychologist with his own personal struggles. This is part of the Sullivan Crisp series, but to me this book was all about Lucia--a character that I loved. When I saw that this book had won a Women of Faith award, I wasn't sure if it would be a favorite... but I REALLY enjoyed this novel. It had an interesting plot (lots more mystery and depth than my description implies) and some really good, deep characters. There was sadness and anger, but also joy. This book, unlike some other Christian lit I've read, had definitely more emphasis on Faith vs. Religion and that felt good. Even if you are not a woman of faith, this is a good read and I recommend it.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
by J. K. Rowling: I have read the whole Harry Potter series and enjoyed them. This one is one of my favorites. My other favorite is the first book in the series. In between, Harry got a little annoying. Anyway, Deathly Hallows was long, but quick moving and enjoyable. It was very intense at times, a little nerve-wracking for me who gets totally sucked into the characters in most books I read. I thought there were some interesting plot twists and good character development. There are a few deaths that I felt were unnecessary (they weren't gratuitous, I just wish they hadn't happened), but overall J. K. Rowling did a good job ending the series with this book. I was satisfied with the ending and the way things were wrapped up. This book was actually better than I expected.

Size 14 Is Not Fat Either
by Meg Cabot: This was a fun little light read. It's part of the Heather Mills Mystery series. Heather Mills, the main character, is a former pop star who is trying to start her life over by working at a college residence hall after her mom ran away with all her money. For the second time, there is a student murdered in the residence hall and Heather gets sucked into finding the murderer. Not an earth-shattering book, but a fun read. Not quite as good as the last Meg Cabot book I read, but good enough for me to want to read the next book in the series. One of my favorite parts of this novel: the snippets of Heather's songs she writes that appear at the beginning of each chapter. Some are really funny.

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